the state of our [home]

as of tomorrow—february 26, 2010—we will officially celebrate the one-year anniversary of owning our home. i remember the day we closed...there was a huge snowstorm and after the closing, we didn't even go up to the house!

that day, i started this blog. i posted this verse:
"unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain."
Psalm 127:1

what a blessing this home has been! God has sustained us through demolition and construction. there was minimal bloodshed. but on top of the physical structure, God has built our home spiritually. ben and i have settled in and we often think about and pray for the children who, Lord willing, we will raise here. just last weekend we were able to host two gatherings and afterward, i was filled with joy about having a warm, comfortable place to host friends and family. wow. Lord, thank you for all you've done for us!

so what's next for our home? i'm so glad you asked. :) well, we're starting the last project that will complete the entire re-do of the first level of our home: the master bedroom. we'll start the demo this weekend.

but before i get into that, i thought it might be a nice time to post some current photos of the house.

today i'll start with the living room. i'm not sure i've ever posted a picture of the changes we've made! let's recap. when we bought the house, the living room looked like this:

today, it looks like this:

one of the first things we did in the house was rip out that carpet. we eventually framed in the wall to close if off from the previous dining room (now the mudroom—layout here). once the drywall was installed and taped, we tackled that eyesore of a fireplace. it was in such sorry shape and kind of overwhelmed the room. we built out the hearth and paid for tile to be installed. (we're beginners when it comes to tiling and because it is such a focal point, we wanted it to be done right!) we also had our cabinet designers make us a mantle. it is huge, but we love it. we got an estimate to install a gas insert, but it was kind of spendy. so maybe we'll save up for it in the future. for now, we've got a chimney balloon helping to stop cold air from coming down.

we don't have any window coverings up yet, but we'll get there. we are borrowing those comfy chairs from ben's sister and her husband. once we figure out how we really want to use the room (tv? computer? etc.), we'll get some new things and i can really "decorate" it. can't wait!

i'll do another entry on the kitchen soon. thanks for sticking with me! it's been a very good year.

six months later

we've owned this house for just over six months. honestly, that fact coupled with the truth that none of our rooms are actually finished is a bit discouraging. on friday night, we got a little down about it. we've been waiting for our framer to get started on the siding, new windows and roof - he has been busy building a haunted house at buck hill! funny.

we're ready to get moving on the finishing touches. we spent a few hours at menards picking out our base profile. i'd love to do a really wide base - something really substantial - but we don't have high ceilings. what we picked is nice, though. i didn't really like anything they had in stock for casing. thankfully, ordering from scherer bros. is an option (sometimes, menards just doesn't quite cut it), and my father-in-law had a bunch of leftover samples from his homes. yesterday, i primed and painted them to see which one we like better. i think we'll go with the one on the left. the edges are a little softer. again, i'd love to do something wide and dramatic, but we have a simple ranch home and we don't want to go overboard.

ben also framed out the new hearth so that it will meet code. we are going to install a really basic solid taupe tile surround with a white mantle. we are hiring a contractor to do a sort of smooth stucco treatment over the brick, so it will appear to be drywall. we can paint it the same color as the room.

i've been priming and painting doors in our living room "workshop."

and yesterday, i finished tearing down the wallpaper around the front door.



our new front door came in last week, and i'm excited for less of a peep show! it just has a few small panes of glass on the very top, so people won't be able to see so much into the house. i think it'll make us feel a little safer.

pressing on!

weekend update

the weekend isn't over yet, but it has been fantastically productive. ben took friday off of work to work on the house, and we accomplished quite a bit: taking down wallpaper, taking off siding, narrowing tile choices to two for the fireplace surround, picking up roof samples, and other small things. our new front door, garage door, and a window were delivered, too.

kristen graciously volunteered to spend her saturday morning helping me and ben outside. we started tearing off the masonite siding on the back of the house. man, was it hot and humid!

(kristen takes it to the house. literally.)

(and she holds the rope for my man on the roof, while i snap pictures.)

(hanson sisters unite!)

(at one point, i'm sure it was "the lovely white house on the corner.")

(ben takes a sledgehammer to the fireplace.)

(admiring his handiwork. better already.)

(today, three tiles came off the vanity. i heard a crash and this is what i found. this bathroom has to last us for a while, though...)

(decisions, decisions.)

we are going to push hard to get a lot done in the next month. we're finally getting the summer weather here in minnesota, but fall isn't too far off and we want to have the windows, siding, and roof finished soon. then we are going to take a break.