Jan 19, 2010

In Our Spare Time

Remodel: To make over in structure and style
Renovate: To restore to a previous or better condition

A little off topic, but thought I would share what we have been up to lately. Our house is a very, very, very fine house. But it took a lot of remodeling and renovating to get there. The “before” picture above was almost twenty years ago. Before marriage, kids and horses. Before we grew up. Way back when, while driving around the countryside, John and I stumbled upon what the kids would call “a Scooby Doo house.” Old and rundown. Scary. But we had a dream.

Looking back, it was probably more of a nightmare, but we were romantic and idealistic. So what! if the house hadn’t been lived in by anything but raccoons for 30 some years! So what! if there were no windows and there were holes in the roof. So what! if we are going to have to move it over 30 miles before we could even begin to think about fixing it up. In our pea-brained mind, it was all very doable.

Somewhere in between getting married, having babies, both of us working full-time and my horse obsession, we got it done. We even moved in an old barn to make our farm complete. Since we did all the work ourselves, it literally took us years and several different color palettes to complete. And we swore we would never do it again! Give me a two bedroom ranch any day!

Fast-forward about eighteen years. After being snowed in and watching way too much HDTV, my house was really starting to bug me. “They” told me on HDTV that we really should update every five years. I am a decade overdue. As I glanced around my rooms, I wondered what is up with my pink/lavender/grayish walls? Was that my choice of color? Why didn’t we redo the floors instead of laying carpet? Why, oh WHY, did I insist on wallpaper. And who let the dogs in? Yep, it’s time to refurbish.

Refurbish: To make clean, bright and fresh again

When I get a wild hair, I just want it done. Now. From the moment John said the floors under the carpet aren’t that bad”, we had it ripped up, rented a sander and started stripping the floor. After some repairs to the office floor and a few more coats of shine on the floor, we’ll start painting the walls and hanging new light fixtures. Home Depot has become my lunchtime haunt, hoping against hope the guy from House Crashers will spot me and I can take him home with me! (To work, silly!) Pictures of Great-Great Grandma & Grandpa Hornbussel (from my genealogy phase) will be replaced by some of my Lucky Shots. A new look at what our family is today.

This first phase of refurbishing includes the living room, dining room and office. Don’t tell John, but the bathroom and kitchen are next! It won’t take eighteen years; you'll be surprised at what we can accomplish with a few more snow days!


  1. Wow. Love to see more before and after photos. What a task you took on! Beautiful house!

  2. WOW! That is an incredible makeover. You have a beautiful house outside and it looks like the inside is going to be awful nice too.

  3. Wow, those before and afters are INCREDIBLE! I had to go back and forth, thinking it CAN'T be the same house... you've done a great job restoring it. Really amazing! AND raising a family and growing up at the same time. Truly incredible.

  4. I love it!! It turned out so good! I love that porch. And the wood floors!! Beautiful!
    We need to update our house too. We did update 2 bathrooms, but only because we had water damage, and it ended up happening sooner then later!! If only I had money.....

  5. Awesome doesn't even cover it! That is one beautiful renovation! Just the rewards of the hard work you did has to really make you feel good!

  6. Thanks, all. So many of the early pictures were, of course, not digital. I'll have to scan some in (when my office gets put back together) so I can share. I was trying to find a front view - what the "after" picture doesn't show is the 2 car garage we added to the right of the porch. We also added a 24 x 24 addition to the back which is now our kitchen.

  7. Well, when you jump in you use both feet! Great makeover, you did a great job. We did that once too and it was lots of work so I know what it takes. Ah, to be young and idealistic again.

    Can't wait to see your finished projects this time around.

  8. Wow. That's a lot of work. Every 5 years seems a bit excessive. I doubt most people could afford that. I'm going for every 15 years myself. I'm also waiting for the dogs to pass on before replacing the carpet. Those floors that we choose to be wood can be done sooner than later, but I do like some carpet since I do floor exercises and walk around in bare feet.

  9. I'm not going to refurbish or renovate....I'm going to smash my current house with a bulldozer and start over!!

    Yours, however, is beautiful.

  10. Well now THAT song will be stuck in my head all day. :)

    I am super duper impressed with all of it Tammy.

  11. Woweee! I'm amazed at the before and after photos!
    Most folks would just tear down a house in that bad of shape.

    Maybe you feel the inside of your house needs refurbishing, but the outside is beautiful the way it is.


  12. AMAZING! What a job you have done on the house! I think that the 5 year mark is probably set by Home Depot and Lowes. Keeps them in business.

  13. You are a brave woman. As I search for a future home, I am considering how old of a house I can go -- what's the balance between paying less money up front and having to deal with the sort of baggage that an older home can have. I do like the character of older homes though and yours turned out wonderfully. (Thanks also for the insurance info)


I am so glad you stopped by and look forward to hearing from you! Do come again.