Monday, April 23, 2012

So Where Do You Start?

We figured that to make the house livable, we would need to have three rooms put together; a bedroom, the bathroom and the kitchen. Unfortunately, each one of these rooms have some real issues.

When my FIL bought the house, the kitchen was a porch that had been tacked on to the back of the house and walled in. The main wall of the kitchen actually still had the original wood siding from the outside of the house. The worst part was the wasp nest in the corner of the ceiling that was the size of three basketballs (thank you to my brother Jake for getting rid of THAT mess!). Before we knew that we would be taking the house, Dad had a contractor take off the porch/kitchen and replace it with a real kitchen. It's just studs and plywood at this point, but it will be something much better than it was!

(If you look in the picture directly above this, you can see the old house siding on the left wall. Crazy how someone thought that it would be a great idea to wall in a porch and call it a kitchen! The contractor did a fantastic job of making the new kitchen and attaching it to the house).

 Above the new kitchen, Dad had the contractor build an entirely new bathroom. The bathroom that was originally in the house was stuffed into a tiny corner with the tub on a raised platform. Thankfully that went away as well. The new bathroom space will be about 10x15 feet - a vast improvement over the 4x6 that the other one was!

Part of our activities last weekend included taking out the old insulation (that nasty dusty stuff on the floor) and getting the old siding off of the kitchen/bathroom walls. We literally had to use a shovel to get insulation off of the floor.

We also worked on what will be the master bedroom, just adjacent to the bathroom. Most of the walls in the house are old horsehair plaster with thin wooden lath in them. Because we need to redo most of the electric, we decided that the walls need to come down. The room looked like this in the morning...

And like this after we were finished.

There is something very therapeutic about smashing walls! There was a ridiculous amount of dust, and I'm still sneezing black gunk, but we got quite a bit done.

Can't wait to see what next weekend brings!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

We're excited, nervous and totally out of our league! We're doing exactly what we swore we would never do!

We're in the process of moving to and renovating an old farmhouse.

You would think that growing up in one in New York would have completely turned me against such an idea. I watched my parents fix up the house year after year. The work was never finished. The floors were always creaky and sloping. The windows were drafty and cold in the winter, but stuck in the summer so you could never draw a breath of fresh air. Mice ran in the walls. Bees made nests outside and inside. Old houses are clearly not for the faint of heart, or the lazy. I swore that I would never live in an old house. It wasn't worth the effort. Why fix up a house when you could buy or build one with amenities, modern conveniences, and every conceivable personalization that you could want? My someday house was going to be cozy, but modern enough that I wouldn't have to worry about outdated light bulb sockets or electrical plugs with only two prong holes.

One day last year, my father-in-law bought property adjacent to his own, and I fell in love. 

I tried not to. I really did. But there was something about it that called to me and begged me to clean it up and give it a new life. So when my FIL told Daniel and I that we could rent the house if we wanted it, I was thrilled. Living in a tiny apartment in Pittsburgh was not exactly a lifelong dream for Daniel or I, nor was a daily commute to and from the city. We knew that we needed a change, but weren't quite ready to give up our jobs just yet. 

We waited and prayed. My job became intensely more frustrating, and I felt that it was time for me to look elsewhere for employment. The idea of moving north and trading in a view of Mattress World for one of green lawn and apple trees grew more appealing as the weeks passed. The farmhouse became a real option for us, and we felt that God was calling us move there.

Doors began to open.

I turned in my resignation.

Daniel was given permission to keep his current job and work from home.

And now it's real! We will be trading in big city life for a farm in the country. My FIL will be working on the house during the week when we can't be there, and we will be spending our weekends there tearing down plaster, running wires, insulating and doing all we can to make the house livable as soon as possible.

So follow us on this blog! We'd like to offer our friends and family a glimpse of what we will be doing over the next lifetime - because anyone who lives in an old house can tell you, the work will never be done!