Progress Over Perfection + Some House Pics

If you know me or have read my blog for very long you probably know we’ve been remodeling an 1860s farmhouse for the last five years. Five years in and we’re still not done but we’ve made tons of progress and feel like we’ll be totally finished in the next year or so. Hallelujah.

I’ve thought often of sharing pictures of our home and the work we’ve done along the way but always hesitate and delete any drafts with these projects. Yesterday I was thinking again about sharing some before and after photos and finally put my finger on why I always back out: Intimidation.

The world is so stinking visual these days. Which is awesome and I love all the beauty we’re surrounded with as much as anyone. But when it comes to actually sharing your own imperfect home and life in an equally imperfect photo, it’s easy to chicken out and hide behind the more talented faces and photographers out there.

But I’ve decided that’s silly and I’m over it. My photos and projects aren’t going to compare to a lot of what you see on Instagram or Pinterest but I think I’m finally okay with that. I’ll do the best I can and hopefully learn some things along the way too. IMG_20180218_081555_117.jpg

I have this photo of our home when we first bought it hanging in our living room; it reminds me of where we started, where we’ve been, and how far we’ve come. It’s a good reminder on the days when I get frustrated with unfinished projects and all the messiness and imperfection that will always be a part of this life. I need to remember sometimes that we’ve learned a lot and accomplished a lot these last five years and I’m excited to finally start sharing some of that with you too. After all, there was a time when our house looked like this so things are definitely looking up (and I’m not kidding when I say fixer upper!).

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I’m starting with something small, the mudroom/entryway because, apart from our daughter’s nursery, it’s one of the few rooms that’s actually almost 100% done (there’s always that almost 😉 )

When we first moved in, this place was not at all done. It was kinda a hot mess. In our hurry and also being super broke by that point, a lot of stuff was finished as quickly and cheaply as possible even if it wasn’t what we were really dreaming of when we started. We were also both pretty burnt out by that point and just wanted to get stuff done and behind us.

Now that we’ve lived here for almost three years, we’ve started to put our finger on what we love and what we’d still like to change. The mudroom/entryway was one of the first things we completely redid. The picture of Darren with Roman in his coat (lol) shows what the entryway looked like for the first year in our house. We painted it a beige-like yellow, put a white shelf up and hung a metal bar for coats and that was that. It was pretty ugly and not that functional but I didn’t really have an ideas for improvement at the time. FB_IMG_1518980035424.jpg

Then we spent a few days at a rental in Quebec a couple of years ago and the entryway there totally inspired me. It was so simple but perfectly functional too—a pallet wall, hooks for coats, and a bench for seating and storage. Before we left I started planning with Darren how we could make our own mudroom look like the one there.

We researched pallet walls on Pinterest and Darren used rough-cut boards to lay it out. He stained the wood all different shades to get the look we wanted then nailed the boards to the wall. We added black hooks for coats and bags and a bench to sit on and store stuff in. We chose a blue/gray paint—the darker color is a lot easier to keep looking clean in a high-traffic area and I love how it contrasts with the white trim. The area is really small but it still works perfectly for our needs: A place to sit and put on shoes, hang bags and coats on our way in and out, and storage for shoes and hats and such in bins under the bench. There’s also a place for keys and mail in the wire rack on the wall. It’s never this clean unless I’m taking a picture and usually has the carseat and stroller jammed in the corner, just so you know 🙂

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Across from the mudroom is the entrance into the garage. We used a piece of wood leftover from the original 1860s house for the shelf and just added the brackets underneath to hang it. The mirror reflecting the light from the window makes the small space look bigger and brighter and I love these curtains for that same reason—they give a little privacy but also allow for a ton of sunlight.

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Even though these are just small nooks used mostly for coming and going, it’s also the first thing you see when you walk into the house so I’ve really enjoyed having it cleaned up and decorated in a way I love and that helps keep this drop area a little more organized than before.

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Anyway, I’m curious to know if you’d like to see more posts like this sharing our remodel and projects? I’m thinking of doing one a month if you’re interested so tell me what you think!

House Remodel Update

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In April we bought an 1860 colonial farmhouse in need of some serious renovations…and by serious I mean light a match and burn the place down…no, just kidding, we didn’t do that…but maybe we should’ve ;]

All summer long we worked on getting building permits and approvals from the town and as soon as we were given the go-ahead, we got busy and watched this shabby little place began to transform right before our eyes. We have two family friends doing most of the work and they have been fantastic. My older brother also drove all the way up from Louisiana to help raise the roof– now that, my friends, is love :] Little by little we watch this dream of ours take shape. Every time I stop by it looks like a different place and just a little bit more like what we imagine it can and will be.

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It would have been easier and more practical to tear the place down and start from scratch, but the bones of this place are too magical to throw away and Darren and I both knew from the beginning that we wanted to preserve as much of the original structure as we could. Everything that’s been torn down was deconstructed by hand, board by board and nail by nail in order to save as much of the original wood as possible for later projects.

This place is built out of hand-hewn timber and wood nails and the bones that hold it together today are just the same as they were 150 years ago. So when we raised the roof to give us a full second story, we left the original timbers and wood nails in place and just jacked the roof up and up instead of taking it off and starting over. Everyone told us we were crazy for taking that approach, and we probably were, but we’re happy with the end result and happy we were able to preserve just that much more of the original construction. We’re hopelessly nostalgic, what can I say :]

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Darren has painstakingly drawn every single sheet of blueprints for this house. We sit down together and talk about what we want this place to be and Darren gets busy measuring and figuring out how to make our vision a reality. We had settled on a plan and figured out where everything should go and then I went upstairs after they raised the roof…and the view! I had no idea how pretty it would be looking across the field and into the woods. We had planned on having our bedroom on the back of the house but once I stood there and saw the view from the front, I knew I would die a little bit if we didn’t have our bedroom on that side of the house. So Darren very patiently redesigned and redrew pretty much every part of the house so we could move the bedroom.

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Darren draws while the cat and I mostly just look at pretty pictures on the internet and say, “Put that there. Move this here. Ándale.”

I would tell you he’s a saint, and probably he is, but last night he coerced me into digging out the basement floor with a shovel and since we were there until 1:00am and almost got eaten by werewolves wolves, I haven’t quite forgiven him yet. He did buy me a pair of steel-toed boots as a peace offering…which actually worries me a little bit…?… :]

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The whole upstairs is framed in and I like walking around up there getting a feel for the size and layout of the rooms and imagining what everything will look and feel like once it’s done.

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This week all kinds of equipment has been rolling around as a foundation for a small addition is dug out and the yard undergoes extensive landscaping. We are working against the clock trying to get the foundation in place before winter takes hold.

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We are a long ways from done, but we’re a long ways from where we started too…and that feels good :]

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{Lately} Feathering Our Nest

Here’s the pictures I promised of my projects around the house. I’ve been working on our bedroom and building a cozy little nook in the guest bedroom. The thing I kept in mind as I worked away was “warmth and light.” I wanted our home to feel feathered and cozy—especially as we go into the colder months.

{Guest bedroom nook}

I kind of love forts and nests and cozy little corners where you can snuggle up and hide away. Watching Darren gave me the idea for this nook. When it’s cold he snuggles up on the floor with his back against the baseboard heater.

You know what he’s doing in that corner? He’s freezing to death. And yes, he’s wearing his coat…in the house…next to the heater. So, to keep the man warm and give him a better spot to read than the hardwood floor, I decided to build a cozy spot with fat pillows and soft blankets next to the heater in the guest bedroom.

The guest bedroom is the perfect place to snuggle up because it is flooded with natural light. In the winter we go in there, close the door, turn on the heater, and chill. The room is tiny so the heater works fast (unlike the rest of our cold little house). We spend a good part of the winter in there and now we have an even better spot to snuggle up with books and movies.

{Bright happy quilt on the guest bed}

This puffy little blanket is on the floor in the nook. I’ve had it since I was 18. My sister-in-law, Rachel, gave it to me as a high school graduation gift and I carted it off to college with me in South Carolina. I still remember I was sitting on it in my bunk bed there in the dorms when Darren called me for the first time. He introduced himself and asked me out all in that first phone call. I had no idea who he was…but I liked his deep voice and agreed to meet him :] This little blanket went back to school with me every year. It was mine and Darren’s first blanket after we were married and still sleeping on a futon mattress on the bedroom floor. It goes camping with us up in Vermont every summer and keeps us warm and cozy through the cold nights spent in a tent under the stars. The rest of the time it lives on the guest bed. Until now—now it’s the cushy bottom to my happy little nook. Good job Rachel—that little blanket is one of the best gifts I’ve been given :]

We also did a lot of work on our bedroom. We painted, replaced the carpet, and bought curtains, lamps, and a duvet.

{I just adore these curtains. I love the pattern and the way they filter in the morning sunlight}

{Our duvet…it’s covered in words…imagine that}

{I love the soft, warm light a lamp casts across a room}

So, that’s what I’ve been doing. Now I’m going to go cozy up in my happy little nook :]

{Bam. The End}