Well, you know the old saying. If you give your husband a kitchen to remodel, he will end up gutting the entire first floor of your home. I’m living the grown up version of “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.”
We bought our house five years ago before the housing market started to rebound, so we got it at a great price. We faced what many people eventually face, though, which is a family that has outgrown their space. The house itself is large enough but the kitchen was small and not very user friendly. Everything was built in place – including the appliances – and the refrigerator we are currently stuck with is a small, apartment sized model woefully too small for our crazy hungry family of five. We couldn’t make the kitchen into what we needed without a complete gut job, because if you changed one thing about the layout, you had to change everything. Everything about the space was custom built to accommodate things as they were precisely, down to the very inconvenient baseboard heat.
So we were faced with the decision to either move, or make the house work for us via a little remodeling. We chose the latter, because we knew that we couldn’t sell our house and make what we would need in order to actually achieve an upgrade – if that makes sense? Plus, we love our property and we really love the house itself. It may only be a two bedroom house now, but it has plenty of space to work with and holds endless possibilities.
So we gave Mike a sawzall and let him loose. This is my house right now.
The thing about my husband is, though, that he never does a job half way. And in Mike’s mind, just doing the kitchen was doing an incomplete job. So instead of just gutting the kitchen, he took the opportunity to gut the majority of our first floor. So we moved everything we own down into our basement, where we will be living for the forseeable future.
The basement already had a kitchen. The previous owners decided to forgo installing central air and instead, just live in the basement during the summer months. Our house is old and doesn’t haven insulation so it gets pretty hot so I understand their need to do something. I just wish that something would have been “add central air.” Oh well. Live and let live, right?
Anyways. The basement had a kitchen but it was gross to the max. Some old water damage had made the cabinets stinky and the lighting was dim and oh yes – Mike had been using it for the past year and a half as his work space for his business. So first things first, he gutted the basement kitchen so that he could install the upstairs cabinets downstairs, along with our old appliances (Minus the dishwasher. Gooooodbye my lover…Goooodbye my friend. You are beautiful. Beautifulllll.)
So now, all that is left is for Mike to finish demolition before he can start putting everything back together again. There isn’t much left – he just has to tear up all the kitchen flooring and then there is one small detail of blowing a hole into the living room wall where he is going to install a sliding door to lead out onto the patio. No biggie. I’m soooo chill about this all. Completely fine. This process does not bother me at all.
Mike has been great through all of this. He certainly knows his stuff and I have complete confidence in him. For years, Mike worked with a contractor who remodeled historic homes. There really isn’t much Mike can’t do, and he has put together a fabulous design for the new space. And through all this, he is continuing to run his woodworking business. Just today he shipped 14 orders – two of which went overseas! I’m so proud of him. He does a lot.
There are times that I look around and see and feel the stress of the project and ask myself “Why the heck are we doing this?” and “Is this all worth it???”. Like when I’m sitting in the basement, trying to blog, and pieces of the ceiling fall on my head, for instance. Or when I look around me and everything is boxed up/piled up/strewn about in our attempt to combine two floors into one, and I just have to not really see what is happening. The mess is for realz, people.
But here is the thing.
I mentioned in my last post that I do not love the area we live. We’ve gone round and round on the issue. Do we sell this house and find another one in this area? Do we sell this house and get the heck out of dodge? Or do we stay put?
Ultimately, we decided that our current location makes for a great “home base.” We still want to travel. We still want to see the world. We still want to discover those places that tempt us to never leave. But for now, this sweet little home that we’ve been blessed with is a wonderful place to grow and nurture our people on a daily basis.
And so we renovate.
Ever since we bought this house, it has been my dream to see it full of people. I’m so incredibly grateful for my three babies and I want to create a home where my kids grow and thrive, but also understand that we have been called to help others grow and thrive. I want this to be a place where my kids invite their friends because they know they will be safe and well cared for within these walls. I want our friends to know that this is a place to laugh over the good things and sit shoulder to shoulder as we cry over the hard things. I want our home to become a safe harbor for those who need a meal, a friendly face, or a refuge from the storm. I want to be the house that always has popsicles in the freezer, an extra place setting at the dinner table, and fresh sheets on the guest bed.
Our home isn’t fancy and we don’t pretend to be anything we are not. Our kitchen renovation isn’t going to include granite countertops or state of the art appliances or even air conditioning. 😉 But those things don’t really matter to me anyway. We are doing this project because we have big plans for our home.
It can be kind of hard to explain, and I’m not going to pretend we fully understand the direction our life is taking right now. All we know is that God has been talking to us a lot lately about who we are, the fleeting nature of time, and what our life is supposed to look like.
And so we renovate.