Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Barn Redo: the Basement


As we first walked through the house, we knew that in order to make this work for our family we had to completely overhaul the basement.  It's condition was, well, a bit scary.  It was functioning as...

  • a single car garage
  • a workshop
  • laundry
  • rough plumbing for a bathroom
  • a crude excuse of a bedroom

But it was also the place that really anchored the uniqueness of the property.  This, as I mentioned in my earlier post, is the original part of the barn.  It has amazing beams and rock walls and even a bell that the house next door could ring to call the servants with...NO JOKE.  We had some initial thoughts like flipping the stairwell and restoring the 1930s metal cabinet sink, but as we stood in the space and got thoughtful and practical about it, we threw those thoughts out.

Here's what we decided we needed to do...

  • rip out the old bedroom and put in a fresh one for the boys
  • move the ridiculously huge furnace, water heater, and a whole bunch of duct work so that we had more space for a proper laundry room
  • get rid of all the random crazy electrical and put in lighting
  • put in a bathroom with a shower for the boys
  • put in a mud/coat room
  • take out the garage door and create a rec room for the boys

It's kind of a tall task.  Convincing the heating and cooling guy to move the furnace and all was task enough!  I think he thought I was crazy to spend the money to move them over a few feet, but crazy or not, I was completely right.  Anyway, so we are well underway down there.  We've already...

  • moved the furnace etc.
  • ripped out the nasty bedroom, every random cabinet, workbench, and a bunch of the bizarro electrical
  • done all the framing and drywalling and mudding
  • replaced the laundry room sink
  • plumbed in the bathroom
  • painted a TON
  • I've even done some cement work on the walls.  That's right.  I did that.
  • hung up a bunch of lighting

I'll post pictures of the finished work once things wrap up, which I made my contractor promise would be before Christmas.  But for now here are some of the before pictures.

That back corner is now the sight of the furnace and water heater in a storage closet.

Some of this is still raw storage but the corner where the wall Ts is where the coat room is going.

We were able to move all the red metal supports into walls which really helped design the space.

Bye bye garage, hello foosball table.

Check out that monster of a furnace!  In the back, where the shower curtain is, is where the new bathroom is going.

It was a cool sink and I wanted to save it, but it just didn't work out.

See why I wanted to move those monsters?  That is now on its way to being a spacious laundry room.

The white door towards the back will be the new entrance into a garage/storage area.

I have other pictures of the bedroom but I think this one does the job of showing what a poor joke it was. 
So excited to share the updates!!  It's genuinely going to be such a cool place.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Snippets of the last 6 months.

So, here's my cheater way of catching you up with the last 6 or so months according to what I posted on good ole Instagram.

There was berry picking...

Elise portrayed Mother Theresa for her school wax museum...

And a bride in her dance recital...

One of my dearest friends from college and her family came to visit...

We sent two amazing girls off to camp for their 3rd year!

And survived hanging out with those other three.

 We, of course, found time for pie!

And then summer was over and I saw these two girls go off to middle school (7th and 6th) together.

And these two to another year of elementary (3rd and 4th).

And I watched my bestie marry an AMAZING man!

And last, but never least, this little man went to preschool.

In other words, life has continued to be full.  Good and full.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Barn.

So a little over a year ago I told you about the house we had bought and are redoing so we can move our family into it. But I haven't said really anything about it since and with less than a year left before our planned move, I figured I would bring you all into the ride we are on.

To start with things, I should let you all know that we refer to the new house as The Barn, primarily because, well, at one point it was one.  So, plan on me just calling it that from here on out.

Just to give you a little history on the place...the date of the barn is 1934, but from what I can tell, that must just be when it was converted into a home.  Originally it was the barn to the amazing house next door (the Emily Loomis House) that is, as it turns out, owned by some dear folks we go to church with.

That's our barn!  How cool is that?!

So some of the basement, at the very least, is original and it is incredible.  A stone basement with huge tree trunks as joists and supports.  It's the kind of thing that people have really reacted to when they walk in.  Truly unique.

It's been kept up pretty well and was even in Better Homes and Gardens at one point because of the conversion.  I haven't been able to hunt down the article yet, but it does have this nifty plaque out front.

So what are we doing to fit our family into it?  There are some normal updates like interior paint and flooring, but we have two major projects that we want to complete before we move in and a few major exterior ones that we will attack as we can.  I'll start breaking down the first major project that we have been tackling, the BASEMENT/GARAGE, on here soon, but for now here is a little tree trimming comparison from last fall to kick things off.

Such a huge difference!!  Looking forward to seeing and sharing how the rest of the barn shapes up!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

As the fog clears.

Okay, so it hasn't cleared yet, but I feel like it is at least thinning and I can see spots of sunshine here and there.

This fog is why I have been so quiet.

So, what was the fog?  Primarily it has been the stress around our current adoption (although not entirely).  The four years of waiting on Rwanda, followed by the year and a half before our match last February, and the excruciating months of delays that have followed...I'm tired.  I'm unbelievably sad.  I have felt so alone.

It has been one of the most trying seasons of my entire life and has left me in this thick fog that has been consuming.  I've kept going but it has been hard.  My house has actually been quite clean because it was one of the things I could keep doing.  I've tried really hard to keep my temper and emotions in check when it comes to the kids and I feel like I have done a pretty good job.  The rest of my family might disagree but they don't know what has run through my head, so trust me...

I've been really intentional about how I spend my time and energy and emotions because even though I have had plenty of time, the others are in short supply so I have guarded them carefully.  I have been quiet, not just on here but in my real life.  I have shared what I can but that isn't always as helpful as one hopes.  But oh how I have tried to do this well.

And there has been a lot of happy too.  And I haven't missed all of that.  I mean, I dare you to hang out with Matthias for very long without giggling.  That boy has been such a gift to my heart.  And there has been exciting things going on like work on our other house and a summer packed with berry picking and friends visiting and camp and peaceful days at home.

So, I'm going to try to get back on here so that I don't lose those things.  Because those are the spots of sunshine that will help clear the fog.  And I deeply want to get out of this.