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Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Path to Our Dream Home - Back to the Beginning

Our house has so much potential.  We always saw the possibilities.  I will chronicle the constant improvements we've been making since it became ours in 2008 with a series of posts, starting with this story of where we started.  The before pictures are pretty awful.  I say this with the utmost love for my home because it belonged to my husband's family and my husband lived here as a young boy.  But it hadn't been updated (for the most part, but we'll come back to this) since it was built in the 1960s and it was a rental for nearly thirty years before it became ours.  And as I couldn't have imagined at that time that I'd be blogging about this a few years later, there are too few pictures from before and of the progress along the way. 

Here is the original floor plan.  It is a shallow rectangle, with two bedrooms and a den (bedroom with no closet), a galley kitchen, and one and a half bathrooms.  There was a rickety-looking, completely crooked raised platform that led into the house from the garage, and the washer/dryer sat in the open in the hallway between the garage and the living room/kitchen.  That large white box represents the hearth and wonderful wood stove that were added in the living room after a fire in the original fireplace in the early 1990s. 

The floor plan makes it seem simple and harmless.  Here is the fun stuff...
{Yes, that's a toilet in the backyard!}
{The world's largest Hydrangea!}
{Master Bedroom}   
{Main Bath}
{Kitchen (Living Room Side) and Dining Room}
{Kitchen (Backyard Side) and Dining Room}
{View from Living Room to Dining Room and Backyard}
{Large Hearth and Wood Stove in Living Room}
{Crooked, Scary Platform from Garage into House}
{Washer-Dryer Open Area}
{Half Bath}
Ack, right??

We were quite fortunate to be able to move in with my in-laws while my husband managed the enormous project of completely gutting it and making it our own.  I played the role of designer and with a lot of input from my husband we chose all the finishes - cabinets, tile, floors, paint colors, etc.  With some major help from some close friends that happen to be very skilled and generous carpenters, we stripped away the old and put the house back together the best we could within our small budget and the limitations of not adding to the square footage. 

It is hard to describe the feelings of love I have for this house.  Sometimes I get frustrated with its lack of space and layout, but when it comes right down to it, unless we had some (impossible) humungous budget to build a different, more unlimited house of our dreams, I can't imagine living anywhere else.  I have a lot of pride in the home we've made, and I'm excited to share it with the world.  

When we started this massive remodel, our first daughter was a few months old and we were so excited to have a home of our own, that it seemed to take forever and we moved in just as soon as it was livable. With the next posts in this series, I'll take you on a tour of how each room ended up when we called it good enough to move in, as well as the projects we are still working on today to make the spaces of our dream home work for us the best they can.  

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