January 27, 2021
It’s here! It’s FINALLY here! We start demo this weekend, but where do I even begin?!
This renovation has been a long time coming…and not just since we moved in in May 2020! We got married in July of 2018 and I moved into Lavon’s apartment he was already renting for several years from his uncle. We dreamed of owning our own home and remodeling, and everything in us ultimately wanted that. But oddly enough, we felt we were supposed to rent a bit longer and the Lord made that very clear. We didn’t know how long though, so we still kept our eye on recent listings, looked at a few houses every now and then, and even put an offer in on one home that felt sorta right at the time. We trusted the Lord’s timing on all of it, but it definitely wasn’t as easy as that! When we wanted our own home and our own yard soooooo badly, renting required patience upon patience, as well as faith, selflessness, and the self-control to turn away from worldly wants and be okay with not having that. I learned so much in our first two years of marriage while renting, and looking back, I wouldn’t change a single thing about it. God really did know what he was doing, there’s a reason we didn’t get that house we put an offer in on, and I can easily see the big picture now. Someday, maybe I will share more about why we felt we were supposed to rent longer and buy later, as those details are very, very, very personal to both of us, but for now I’ll share the story of how we came to this house.
By spring of 2020, we were finally feeling like buying was in our near future, and I truly believe that was God’s plan all along. The market in our area was hot, and houses would usually have an accepted offer by the next day. We knew that if we found one that felt right, we had to jump on it quickly! We were looking for a house with 3 bedrooms on the main level (or 2 bedrooms and an office), as well as an open floor plan or a layout that we could remodel into an open floor plan. As long as the house had great bones and no major issues, we were okay with a fixer upper type/older house, but if the right one came along, we were also okay with a newer build.
On April 27, 2020, Lavon texted me around 4pm the link to a house that just listed about 20 minutes prior. The listing price was a little bit above what we were looking for which made me hesitate at first glance, but as soon as I saw photos of the inside, I had a really weird, indescribable feeling. It was the same feeling I had on our first date in 2016 – that feeling where it feels so right that you can’t believe it’s happening…we both were thinking “I’m going to marry him/her, I just know it.” It’s the feeling where you just know, but it seems too good to be true! This house had everything we were looking for, plus my favorite part: a sunroom which was an unexpected blessing. It’s also on a quiet dead end street with only six other houses, and we loved the privacy and no traffic that it could give us, despite being in town. Those were two things that we loved about it, but they were never on our “required” list – we couldn’t be too picky!
We were able to look at it that same evening, and we were hooked! Our realtor could tell how excited we were, and before we even left the house, I already knew it felt right. We went home, talked everything over, and let our realtor know that we wanted to put an offer in! We signed papers and officially put our offer in around 11am on April 28, and that started the what seemed like long, excruciating hours of waiting to hear back, even though it was only a few hours we had to wait…haha! In that short time frame, I basically convinced myself that we wouldn’t get it. Like I said, the house seemed too good to be true and we loved it so much; so much so, that we didn’t expect them to accept our offer and we didn’t let ourselves get our hopes up. I don’t think I got ANY work done that day because I couldn’t focus!
Lavon called me around 3pm and said “Guess what?! It’s ours, babe, it’s ours!!!!” Cue the tears! In less than 24 hours, we went from having no idea when we would find the right house to suddenly having one! I think my response was, “Nuh uh! NUH UH! Stop it. Are you being serious?!” We were both in disbelief!
We were able to look at it that night again for the second time and bring my brother and sister-in-law, Levi and Elaine, along. He does construction, and Elaine is actually amazing at interior design and designing floor plans! Since Levi would be doing the remodel, we wanted them both to come look at it before we closed to make sure all of our remodel ideas were actually doable and nothing would hinder us from changing the floor plan to an open floor plan like we wanted. Thankfully, they confirmed all our ideas, plus gave us some new, better ideas!
Some of my siblings were able to see the house with us one night too! I distinctly remember my youngest brother, Landry, tell Lavon “You really need to mow!” Keep in mind that was before we officially bought the house lol!
On April 29, we heard that closing would be June 12, and we were already excited to pack up and move. That date seemed like years away! We had our inspection meeting on May 1, and since the house was built in 1968, we weren’t sure what to expect! It’s an older home, so we were a little bit nervous and just prayed that no major issues came up in the inspection report that would keep us from going through with closing. Our inspector was so impressed by the shape the house was in, despite it being over 50 years old, and it was an answer to prayer to hear that! He said “If I were to grow old in a house, this is the house I would want to buy!”
Throughout these few days, we were both blown away by how many things were miraculously falling into place. God was very obviously showing us that this is the right home for us at the right time, and it’s what He was wanting us to be patient for all that time while renting. We were finally understanding how important it was that we didn’t buy immediately when we got married. May 7 was another answer to prayer. A few things fell into place, and we were able to move the closing date up to May 28 instead of June 12. We would be closing exactly one month from the day we put our offer in, and this also saved us half a month’s of rent.
We wanted a photo in front of our apartment on our last Sunday coming home from church, so our sweet neighbor took it for us. We got really close to her while living there, and we miss her so much!
We closed on Thursday, May 28 as planned, then cleaned the house, mowed the yard, and pressure washed the house on Friday! We then moved on Saturday the 30th! It didn’t take us long to move AT ALL haha! We both have big families, so it was amazing that we had a ton of help! Our apartment was in town and only a couple minutes from our new house, so there were no long drives. But what saved the most amount of time was that we couldn’t have very much furniture and “stuff” in our apartment due to the small amount of space, therefore it minimized how many belongings we had to move.
So thankful we got this photo with our realtor at our closing meeting! He is a dear friend from church and I’ve known him my whole life!
My nephew “helped” us clean the garage – in other words, he dripped water all over the floor and got soaked! But he still had fun that’s for sure!
We worked all day Friday then had a date night at the new house – picnic on the sunroom floor with Survivor!
We quickly unpacked and settled in in the following days, and it immediately felt like home. Then we started saving and planning for the remodel we wanted to do, all while doing a ton of yard work! There were originally overgrown, weedy flower beds, trellises, and clotheslines everywhere in our yard, and we decided to take most of it out – besides some around the house! It’s amazing how much bigger our yard felt with having more open areas! We seeded in grass over the summer and put in a fire pit!
In the first couple weeks of moving in, I would lay in the sunroom almost every morning – the warm sun felt glorious!
Levi helped a ton and he saved us hours of work by bringing his skid steer over!
We knew that if we did invest in new furniture and decorations first, even if it was thrifted/garage sale items, it would push the renovation back even later. We also knew that if we just made do with the very few, simple things we already had from our apartment for awhile, we could probably start demo within a year from moving in. We limited shopping other than necessities, and did everything we could to keep our expenses low. And here we are seven months later. I truly believe it’s important to make things beautiful with what you have, not always WAIT for the perfect thing at the perfect time, and just start somewhere, but in our situation, I didn’t mind waiting just a couple months to save every penny for something bigger first. The same self-control we were learning while renting was the same self-control we had to practice and learn while saving to start the remodel, instead of shopping and buying new things. Hence why our house is still pretty empty!
The main reason we didn’t do the remodel right away when we first moved in in May was so that we could pay for the remodel up front and not go into debt. That was so important to us. In our hearts, it didn’t feel right for us to get an extra loan and pay more interest for a big renovation like this that we WANTED when our house was perfectly fine to live in as is. It met all of our needs, and like Dave Ramsey would say, the remodel wasn’t a NEED. We did our best to wait patiently, and now that it’s here, we actually can’t believe it!
Living in the space for several months has also given us a pretty clear picture of what we would like to change, and we’re most excited for how different everything will look! It won’t even look like the same house! I always love seeing before and afters of other homes, as well as the whole process, so I thought it would be fun to document it all! Another reason I want to document the process is because it’ll be nice to have the details all written down somewhere. Life gets busy and we’re bound to forget how it all happened, so this will be fun to look back on when we’re old!
We will be living in our “finished” basement (in quotes because it’s basically 70’s style finished…HA!) while we finish the main floor, and we plan to move today! We have already moved our kitchen downstairs because we took the kitchen cabinets out last Saturday which was really exciting! Our basement kitchen is already proving to be really interesting, but we’re hoping it will feel a bit more normal once we are living down there too and have everything in one place again! Once we are completely out of the main floor, we will tear out carpet and demo everything else on Saturday. It will be so dirty, messy, and dusty to live in, but I keep reminding myself it’s only temporary; the end result will be well worth it!
Tomorrow, I will share before photos of the house as well as more specific details about the changes we’re making! Part 1 is the main floor remodel, Part 2 is the basement remodel, and Part 3 is the exterior and yard! We’ll take this day by day, and we may not start each phase right after each other, but who knows!