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What A Difference A Year Makes

by - Thursday, July 03, 2008

Hard to believe, but it was one year ago today that HandyMan and I got the keys to our new old house. We didn't really get to work until after our late August wedding so its been about 10 months of living with paint fumes, construction debris, and messy unfinished rooms. A bit of chaos and discomfort have become part of our daily lives, but they're tempered by the feeling of satisfaction and happiness when we see something we've dreamt of and created with our own hands come into reality. I'm sure many of you other renovators out there can empathize.

Sometimes, I can't wait for it to be all over. But most times, I relish the hard work, the long road ahead, the sweaty effort and aching muscles, the doubts, the (small) arguments, the trial, and the error... all just stepping stones to getting it just right. We still have years to go before we finish all of the rooms - but finish is the wrong word - for a house is never ever really done, is it? There will always be little decor changes to make and new furniture to incorporate. A constant changing of your small piece of the world to reflect who you are at that moment. I'm happy with what HandyMan and I have managed to accomplish thus far. Some of our progress in the rooms is small, with barely an item checked off the To Do list. But we'll get there. There's no rush. This is our perfect-for-now-house. In the meantime, here's a peek at where we've come from... and who we are, at this moment.

Before and Afters...

...the entry

...the kitchen

...the living room

...the dining room

...the office

...and the house

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  1. Anonymous12:24 AM

    Wow everything looks so nice! I can't wait until we start having some before and during pictures. Because like you said there never really are "afters." : ) Is it just the angle of the pictures of did you remove a fireplace? Was is a real one? We plan to remove a two real fireplaces (one on each floor) and everyone thinks we're crazy but it will give us a lot more possibilities.

  2. Everything looks absolutely beautiful! I'm especially in love with the dining room alcove and would like to pull up a pretty chair. What are you serving after drinks?

  3. A Good House Is Never Done (

    Great work so far!

  4. You're right threeacres -- I should have labelled them "Before and Durings" ;) Yes, we did remove the corner wood-burning fireplace. We tried to donate it but no one would take it (apparently the fire code has changed since that thing was installed 30 years ago, lol). It really ate up the floor space. But, we'll be replacing it with a narrow, ribbon-type gas fireplace and we'll make use of the existing chimney. I really love fireplaces but the old was just not 'us'.

  5. There's always room for one more at the table, Marilyn :) With the kitchen still out of commission though, we'll have to rely on the bbq to get us fed. HandyMan makes mean Korean Short Ribs!

    Thanks Raven!

  6. Everything looks fantastic - I'm looking forward to seeing your finished kitchen with cabinets. What a difference gorgeous hardwood makes to your front entryway - love it!

  7. What a wonderful transformation! You and the hubs must be so proud of yourselves. Cannot wait to see your kitchen!

  8. I really do love the wallpaper in your dining room. :)

  9. Anonymous9:39 AM

    That is some SERIOUS progress. I love seeing all the before and after! Although you're right, a house is never done... after 3 years I'm just starting to go back and redo the rooms I finished when I first got the house! lol.


  10. Mer, we were lucky that the original hardward was in such great condition and only needed a bit of refinishing. Looks like you've had similar luck with your stairs!

    We can't wait to get the kitchen in either Sarah! I think that will probably be the room I'm most proud, just because we stripped it down to bare studs.

    Thanks Phoenix! Most people either love it or hate it. Glad you like it ;)

    Kitliz, coming from you, that's a great compliment :) I read your blog to get inspired and get my butt in gear! I guess we have done quite a bit though in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't seem so big, lol.

  11. That dining room transformation is STUNNING. I mean, you can't believe it's the same room. I remember seeing the "after" and liking it, but I don't remember seeing the "before" before (if that makes sense). I am doubly impressed with your work now! -Julia

  12. Happy House Anniversary! You're doing a great job and have a ton to be proud of. Hopefully you've done something to celebrate this weekend :)

  13. Thanks Julia! We had a pretty blank slate to work with in most of the rooms. I think it helped to stimulate our creativity :)

    mrs.limestone - we celebrated in the most perfect way... enjoyed the summer's day and did no work on the house at all!!

  14. Anonymous11:43 AM

    I love your writing, your pix, your decorating style. Happy anniversary and keep up the energy! Your room transformations are stunning thus far.


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  16. Great before & after shots - that office of yours came together perfectly.

    This is the perfect post for me right now. As we are approaching our 1 year in house date we area getting the feeling of "Oh no what did we do! This house is way TOO MUCH WORK!" But I know that a house is never really done, no matter what you do to it. It's great to see that we are not alone in this house crazy world.

  17. Verynice! You have gotten so much done in the last year!

  18. jbhat - thank you! Keeping up our energy is the hardest part of it all, especially in the summer time!

    Thanks Kristin. It is too much work but I guess some of us are crazy enough to take it on :) I've liked your transformations too...and I'm totally jealous of your little side walkway ;)

    Jennifer - I think its because we just got the house. I expect the pace to slow somewhat going forward, lol.

  19. Anonymous3:34 PM

    simply ama-zing! i can't believe you did that in less than a year! you've got serious talent [and drive!]. it looks fabulous and looking forward to seeing your continued progress!

  20. That house was lucky to get you.


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