I vaguely remember, at some point in the process of buying this most recent home, turning to Ryan and stating very matter-of-factly, "The best part about this house is that we don't need to do anything to it before we move in."
Hi me. Have you met me?
I absolutely meant what I said on that particular day. The house was cute enough for now, and I had absolutely no desire to live through another renovation process at this juncture. (Check out our 2008 condo rehab. Password is chicagocondo).
At closing in April, we decided that the size and condition of the house called for a major renovation in 5-7 years. We figured that giving the house a minor face lift now would help us avoid temptation to overhaul prematurely.
Shortly thereafter, we started tearing shit up in our 1925 Georgian colonial gem.
I should have realized at the outset that I'm particularly fussy. I like things a certain way - So does Ryan. And, if we agree on anything at all, we agree on spending money. A "budget" is the total amount we've spent on getting something just the way we want it. A "budget" is a moving target.
We gutted the entire kitchen - junked the appliances and sold the cabinets. The floor was a challenge - covered in chunky tile awkwardly affixed to cement board, glued to ceramic tile over linoleum that was stuck to the original hardwood. It was ridiculous.
We also removed the damaged hardwood on the first floor, demolished the banisters and upstairs built ins. Tore out trim and mouldings that didn't match and basically pulled out every piece of DIY nightmare the three previous owners had proudly installed. It's almost as if, over time, each of the three tried harder and harder to turn this Georgian into a beadboard-clad beach house.
In the interest of taking this house back to 1925 and achieving legitimate colonial revival style - symmetry, built ins, simple paneling and moulding, wrought iron and brass - we need to finish the construction efforts by procuring hardware and lighting true to the house. Hence, moving target on the budget front.
I'm not exactly sure why or how we assumed that "sprucing up" our new little house was going to be a simple endeavor. Maybe because we know how to do most of the work with our own hands, it seems easier than it actually is. Maybe we pushed memories of the condo reno to the deep recesses of our brains. Maybe we are insane.
Insanity aside, I have fond memories of rehabbing the condo. We were weary masters of demo. We laid hardwood and nailed trim. We painted. We installed floor and wall travertine, marble and subway tile. We grouted like champions. We ate from a coleman cooler and brushed our teeth in the tub for the sixteen weeks before our wedding. We fell asleep to the DIY network every night.
Good times. [sigh]
Good times are here again, but this time with the help of a master carpenter and an incredibly tenatious family member. I'm more balanced now that the deconstruction is over. The last few weeks have been insane. Last time we attempted such a feat, we didn't have a toddler.
We need to have the condo ready for renters by July 30 and I anticipate a meltdown or two before then. Hopefully, I'm more realistic about what I can handle as that day approaches. If not, I'm sure I will let you know all about it.
Has anyone else dared endeavor to do something similarly crazy? Please post a comment and share your fuss with us.