In our 14 years of marriage, Husband and I have belonged to 10 different addresses.
We have owned, rented, bought, sold, lost, renovated, and built from the ground up. We’ve lived in apartments, condos, big houses, and small houses. With each move we’ve taken away a surer sense of what’s important to us as a family, a greater understanding of our needs, and an ability to create a sense of “home” no matter the house. We’ve also picked up quite a few new skills along the way: everything from how to lay tile, to how to electrically wire an entire house, to how to take a space that feels small and make it feel “cozy” or a large space and make it feel “warm.”
We also learned how NOT to do these things.
But that’s a story for another day.
One thing that’s become clear over the years is that both Husband and I genuinely love the process of making a home. He loves learning new aspects of carpentry (and all the subsequent new tools they require), and I love the design end of it all. While some find building and renovating to be stressful, we actually kind of love it. Some of our favorite dates have been spent strolling through tile stores, or pouring over floor samples, or commiserating over window trim and molding.
Try not be jealous of our wild and crazy dating life.
Through all of our projects and moves over the years, we were always working our way towards the dream of owning a little piece of land that gave us room to breathe, and a home with just enough Craftsman charm to feel like it belonged there. It required a lot of sacrifice to get here, but we finally found our nirvana in a small patch of land in the countryside, fell in love with the view, and built our “Forever House” on it.
We realize that we shouldn’t even be allowed to say “Forever House”, considering how many times we’ve moved. We also know that there’s probably no such thing as an actual “Forever House”, because life is crazy and unpredictable, but that’s not the point.
For once, we see ourselves raising our kids and growing old here.
As much as we love it and never want to leave, we realized that we actually miss the process of dreaming it and building it. Maybe we are just gluttons for punishment, but we loved the process almost as much as the finished product.
Maybe it’s because Husband is a “project guy.” He is a financial advisor by trade, a job that he enjoys and is brilliant at, but after sitting at a desk all day and dealing with the pressures of managing other people’s money, he likes to come home to some kind of a manual-labor project where he can work his body and rest his mind for a bit. It’s a therapeutic outlet for him.
It just so happens that aside from writing, interior design is a secret passion of mine.
So when he brought up the idea of flipping houses, I don’t know why I was so surprised. It actually made a lot of sense for us. He would get to have the ultimate project, I would get to keep designing homes, and we’d get to keep hanging out in that creative niche that we both like to inhabit without actually having to move again.
And after 14 years of marriage, if you find a creative niche that you both happen to enjoy, you don’t just inhabit it, you burrow down and set up camp there. Because everyone knows that shared hobbies are a precious commodity in marriage.
Plus, if it all went according to plan, we’d also make a few dollars in the process.
Granted, house-flipping is a risky venture, but if I’m being honest I think Husband and I are both at a point in life where we’re dreaming big and swinging for the fences, risk be damned.
We’ve recently wrapped up our favorite project to date and I’m happy to report that we had multiple offers within hours of being listed. This was a four bedroom, two bathroom, 2,300 square foot house on 3 acres that had been abandoned and neglected for years, and is now revived, updated, and ready for someone to move in and breathe new life into it.
After posting few pictures on my Instagram, (@didishavemylegsforthis, in case we’re not friends over there yet) I had so many people ask questions and show interest that I thought it would be fun to give all of you a little behind-the-scenes look at the before and after pics.
The kitchen was cramped and dank, with a heavy 70’s vibe, compliments of drop-down fluorescent lighting.
We ripped everything out, opened up the space, and updated it with bright white cabinets, open shelving, lots of shiplap, marble countertops, and stainless steel appliances. If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then this place has mad heart, yo.
The living and dining rooms were separated by walls and a bulky, lopsided fire place.
So we knocked out the walls to create an open floor plan, removed a large portion of brick so the fireplace is now a walk-around feature that serves as a focal point in both rooms, updated the mantle with a distressed beam and shiplap above, whitewashed the brick, and painted all the tarnished gold hardware a bold black for contrast.
The bathrooms were outdated, in disrepair, and had to be completely gutted.
We splurged on an extra large walk-in tile shower in the master bath, as well as tiled floors and a tiled shower in the guest bath, so we got creative with lovely and inexpensive custom-built vanities (compliments of Husband), concrete countertops, a basin sink, and simple chrome hardware.
The bedrooms were covered in graffiti, had hundreds (thousands) of staples and nails in the walls, and were literally unlivable.
Unfortunately we can’t show you those pictures but we moved walls, rebuilt closets, painted, carpeted, and added windows.
We also built shiplap cubbies in the foyer for extra storage and added dimension to the newly open and blank space.
We did a number of other updates, including but not limited to: roofing, heating/air, all new windows and trim, new flooring throughout the whole house, a double swinging butler’s door to the mudroom/ laundry room, fresh paint both inside and out, all new fixtures, clearing the landscape, removing trees, updating the outbuildings, pouring a new patio,…the list goes on and on. I’d love to show you pictures of all of it, especially the outside and the bedrooms, but because the home is already in escrow we want to protect the new buyer’s privacy.
I could not be more proud of Husband, and thankful for his vision, initiative, and dedication. I got to do the easy part, like pick out tiles and paint color while he was the one, working alongside our contractor (shout out to Mr. Simpson) making it all come to life. This has not been easy or fast, but we’ve both taken a lot away from this particular experience and we’re thrilled to have taken a space that was broken-down and abandoned and made it lovely again.
We’ve had some exciting and wildly unexpected opportunities sprout from this project, but I can’t tell you about them just yet! But if and when those opportunities become realities, you guys will be the first to know.
Well, after our family and friends and stuff. So technically you’ll be the third to know. But who’s counting.