10.16.2014

The Evolution of a #HouseToHome

Seven months after we were married, we fell in love again. This time it was with a 1500 sq. foot, 2-bedroom, 1-bath, 1940 brick bungalow. As soon as we walked in the door, it felt like we had come home. Oh sure, it needed some tender, loving care (the kitchen made no sense at all), but we both saw the potential for what it could be, and felt like it had good "bones" to work with.

Checking out the kitchen on our first walk-through in 2001

Over the last (almost) 14 years, we've torn off, ripped out, added on, and redone the entire house, leaving very few of the original "bones" intact in the process. From 2001 - 2005 we lived in chaos as we handled a home renovation and addition, doing everything ourselves except the shingles, the gutters, and some cement board siding. We went from 1500 sq. feet to 2000, added a new section of basement, created a master bedroom and bath, and modernized important things - like the plumbing and electricity.

Hard at work on the new basement wall in 2003

In 2004 we took our first longer trip overseas, and by 2005 we were committed to full-time international travel and work, which we continued until December 2008. On occasion we would pop home to check on family and get visas for our next destination. During these down times we continued to tweak the house, doing things like adding a third bathroom (which we had already plumbed for in the basement) on a $1200 budget.

Toilet, sink, shower, and fixtures - amazing what clearance shopping can do!

In 2009 we were trying to learn how to stay in one place for more than 3 months at a time, but since the bug of change seems to have bitten us pretty hard, we expressed that through more home renovations rather than constant travel. Peter crafted beautiful built-in bookshelves and a storage bench in our library that eventually put us on the cover of a magazine. We repainted the living room... twice, and started drawing out plans for our next major project - gutting the front half of the house.

Our library was the cover story for the USAA.com magazine in 2009

In late 2012, a new idea began to brew in our brains, which we ended up sitting on for over a year before taking any action. In late 2013 we started the ball rolling on some life-changing stuff that, in May of this year, motivated us to get started on our renovation plan. For the last 6 months, we've once again been living in chaos. We removed all the plaster, added insulation, and reworked the existing floor plan to make the most of the space that we have. What looked like this in late April...

The living room in April 2014
Looked like this by the end of May...

No more walls, no more heavy lath and plaster, new ceiling joists, new wiring, happy homeowner

And as of October, it looks more like this (with sheetrock scheduled to go up at some point in the next 2 weeks)...

Wood floors repaired, bathroom walls up, insulation in place (with just a touch more to come)

Over the last 14 years, we've pretty much left no part of the original house untouched. Even the outside went from this...

Summer 2001

To this...

Summer 2009

The fact of the matter is, we love our ever-evolving house. We love that we already have ideas for what to do next and how we could improve on what we already have. But we're also grateful for it. Living among those who have far less gave us a perspective that we didn't have when we first starting this never-ending project. Like anyone, we look around and think, "oh, we really would like to have... or change... or get...", but we also realize just how much we already have. This time around, every change is done with a new perspective and a new goal of sharing our home with those God brings into our life. Home renovation is fun (for us), but I'll be honest... it's more fun with a bigger purpose. 

How will you share your home this year?

11 comments:

  1. Love it Carrie! Beautiful work! Hope you are both doing well!
    Laura

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  2. You two never stand still--even though you've stayed "at home." What an inspiration! We're still in the come-and-go-tweak-when-we're-in-town stage. We would like to share our home with missionaries needing an R&R, friends passing through, and our children/grandkids, when they can make the long trek. Perhaps we'll really settle down when we get old (like 75 haha). Thanks for all the beautiful pics! I miss your blogs!

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  3. Oh my goodness. You guys are the renovator King and Queen! I'm so amazed that you did everything yourselves!! Looking forward to seeing it when it's all finished because I'm wondering why oh why did you change your gorgeous living room!

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    1. Long story (re: change the living room), but mostly because we had no insulation and our house was cold and it's time to warm it up. :)

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  5. I can't get over your creative drive and your design and construction abilities. That's amazing! You must love being home. My house is under 900 square feet and we've changed all the windows, doors, siding, roof, and added a bathroom. We also had the red oak floor in the living room refinished and took down a wall in the kitchen. We are done. Lots could still be done but it's not happening. Thanks for sharing this. I love seeing what can happen with the right mix of talent and eye for design. I didn't even pick out my own paint colors. Good job Carrie and Peter!

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    1. Thanks, Jane. It's something that we both really enjoy doing, and since we're both introverted, yes, we love being at home. :)

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  6. You guys are amazing! : ) May God continue to bless your efforts and be glorified in your home!

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    1. Thank you, Sandy! I miss hearing from you!

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