Starting To Look Like Home

Here are some before and after pictures of everything that has been done so far. Look how much of a difference just drywall makes! We walk into our front door and feel right at home!

We look back to before we even bought the house and remember the drawings and ideas we had for this place. It wasn't easy for other people to see what we saw at the time, but we knew that we were capable of taking on this renovation and could see the end result. Every day, we continue to see the vision we had from the beginning come to life. It excites us to take our friends and family through to show them the progress in person and see them actually see the vision we had from the beginning. We are starting to not look crazy for buying this fixer upper!

From here on out, every little step will look and feel like a big step! Before, the work that was being done was more structural so it didn't look extremely different. Some days after working for hours we would leave and it would look like nothing changed. But now we will be doing more of the cosmetic things, so visually it will be a lot different every time! From painting to floors to bathrooms and kitchen. We are so excited to see all of our hard work pay off and being so close to the finish line!

I have never done anything like this before, so for me I am learning so much through this process. I am learning how to build, use more power tools, being okay with change when something unexpected comes up, and being the best wife and supporter I can to the man who works so hard to make this dream a reality. 

We both said that once the drywall is up, we will be spending the night on an air mattress until the house is finished so that we can spend every free moment finishing our house as quickly as possible. And we did just that this past weekend! We spent our first night in the house and it felt just like home to us even with it not being finished. 

We are so excited for these last couple of months we have left, but even more excited to start making memories in this house! I know that we will appreciate this house because of all of the hard work, time, energy and money that we have put into it to make it our own. 

We can't wait to share all of the finish work that we have left, so there will be more blogs to come more frequently from this point on!

Our Biggest Faith Adventure Yet.

This right here is our biggest faith adventure yet. A lot has happened while renovating our 100 year old farmhouse, some good and some bad, but we have learned to take it day by day while still keeping the big picture in mind through it all. 

It may sound silly that renovating our farmhouse is our biggest faith adventure yet, but it truly has been. Through this process we have learned that we have to rely and trust in The Lord more than ever. Not every day is going to seem as good as the day we bought our first house or the day we will get to move in. It really is a roller coaster. It doesn't take much to get discouraged when it is only the two of us working on the house in our spare time. It is physically and emotionally draining to say the least. One minute we are on top of the world because we have been getting lots done and keeping on schedule and the next minute we have to remind ourselves why we didn't just tear the house down and put a double wide in its place (which we joke about sometimes). The issues that arise might seem like a big deal at the moment, but in the grand scheme of things it is only but a little bump in the road. We have been standing on God's Promises and giving it all to Him in the times we get discouraged. We know that all things will work out for the good, so we cling to that and keep in mind that this will be more than worth it in the end.

With that being said, things are going great right now! We finally have all of the mechanical in for the rough in inspection and all four of the inspections passed! Woohoo! So right now, insulation is going in at the house to get it ready for the drywall next week. The garage foundation is going to be poured next week and we started framing the porches. So things are moving right along and trying to get back all of the lost time. We are trying to remember to enjoy every minute of this process because it will pass by quicker than we know. Here are some pictures of all of the progress we have made so far!

 

Also, we would love for anybody that is interested in seeing the house at the stage that is in right now before drywall goes in to contact us and come see it! It is in way better condition already than when we first bought it, but would love for anybody to come see the before and then come again once the house is complete to see the after! 

I also just want to give my husband a shout out! Thank you for working so hard everyday! You amaze me with your work ethic. You get up and do manual labor everyday that probably wipes you out, but then we spend almost every night down at the farmhouse trying to finish it. You work more than 12 hours every day. You never even complain about all of the work you do! I just want to say that I am so thankful for everything you do for me and to provide for us. I can't wait till our house is done and we get to move in to enjoy all of the countless hours we put into it! I love you, babe!

I made him pose like that! ;)

I made him pose like that! ;)

The House Everybody Wants

So if you haven't come across this house for sale, I am sure you will. It has been on the market for about 3 days now and I have seen about 20 of my friends alone on Facebook mention this house. But what I have been trying to figure out is why? Why is this house so attractive to people? Yes, I understand it is beautiful, but why don't other old, historic houses have this same reaction? There have been other 100 year old houses for sale with tons of character, in better neighborhoods with more history behind the house than this one. But what about this one is different? 

It is funny because I did the same exact thing as everyone else, fall in love just from the pictures alone. I had to go look at this house, so we did just that! Since Ben has his real estate license, we couldn't pass up this opportunity to look inside. We pulled up and it looked like they were having an open house because of how many cars were lined up on the side of the road and piled in the driveway. (I wish I would have taken a picture of that because I have never seen that many people showing a house all at once). At first glance, our breaths were taken and minds were blown away. This house was even more gorgeous than the pictures. How could that be? As we walked through the house, we fell in love with every detail and kept brainstorming of how beautiful it could be with a little bit of love. We were thinking of all of the possibilities that you could do with it.

Once again, why was this house so popular? Because they don't make these kinds of houses anymore. The attention to details on this house was outstanding and is what gives the house so much character. Most (not all) houses now a days are cheaply made, meaning they are all similar in floor plans and the materials that are used. This is because builders can get the most bang for their buck. They have built so many of the exact same houses that they know exactly how to get the cost to build it down as low as possible. Which most buyers love because they can get a brand new house within their budget. The downside of this is that most are cookie cutter houses. The reason why this house is so popular is because these kinds of houses aren't being built anymore. It is so unique and different from anything being built now a days. 

This is why we love what we do! We see potential in every house that we come across. Our goal is to turn houses, whether they are beautiful to start with or not, into dream homes like this one. Why is this one house so popular? I have seen many other houses with similar character, but haven't even been noticed. We want to bring back houses that were once beautiful to their original state with our custom designs. We want people to have the same enthusiasm about other houses as this one. We do what we do because we love seeing our clients in love with a house they only dreamed was possible, but we are able to make their dreams become their reality. 

This house really got me thinking and excited for what is to come for our business. We always had a feeling but now know that restoring houses is what people love seeing, they just might not be able to envision it. But that is what we are here for, to help see the vision and do the work that is needed to make houses like these be more common. 

P.S. if someone knows who is going to buy this house, send them our way! :)

(Just has been on my mind & thought I would switch things up a bit from just farmhouse updates, although we will still keep those coming!)

Progress Being Made

It has been a while since I have given an update on the progress of our farmhouse, so that is just what I am going to do. 

We were at a stand still for a while and it felt like there was no progress being made (even though there was...it just didn't seem like it). There was a problem that we had to take care of before we continued working on anything else. The issue was with the 100 year old stone foundation. And as you can imagine, it was a bigger problem then what we had planned. We knew when we bought the house that the foundation might need a little patch work done to it, but that was about all we planned for. As you might know, more times than not things don't go as planned with construction...there is almost always something that you run into (whether small or big) that you could not see and did not plan for. Unfortunately, this was a bigger problem than we thought and it was going to cost us more than we budgeted for, too. We got a quote from a company that would work on our foundation and it was going to cost us $15,000. We knew it had to be done, but we weren't willing to fork out that much money considering that is more than we paid for the house alone!! My handy husband decided that this was a project that he could do himself and save us at least $12,000. So that is what we have been doing for the past couple of weeks. We knocked out the corner of the stone foundation, and put a beam in its place while we jacked up the corner of the house with two heavy duty hydraulic jacks. That was stressful to say the least...we could hear the house cracking and see it being held up by this beam alone. We knew that we would never have been able to do this on our strength alone, so we leaned on God for His wisdom. We then poured a footing below the frost line and replaced the stone by building a wall with cement blocks, then finally let the house back down once the mortar dried. We can now say that we have successfully lifted up a house and did foundation work (add that to the list). Here are some pictures that speak for themselves. 

But praise The Lord that this is behind us now! Such a weight has been lifted off our shoulders and we we are one step closer to moving in! 

We have been very busy which means we have to find time to squeeze in working on our house. During the day we work on the business and at night we work on our house. So we don't get a ton of time to work there, but we are making every minute count! We have been working hard this past week and can finally say that all of the framing is done! We started with the upstairs, then worked our way downstairs. It is starting to feel like home to us! We can see where we will be doing laundry, where we will be working in our office and where our baby (one day) will sleep! All of this is so exciting to us because we are seeing our dream come to life! There is still a long way to go, but we are enjoying the process and growing closer in our marriage because of this! 

Keep your eyes peeled for more!!!

The History And Stories Unfolding

This is what people see when they drive by our house. Almost everyone looks as they pass, slows down or stops to talk to us. We have had many people stop to ask if we are keeping the house or tearing it down. They tell us what they know about the house, then tell us how happy they are to see people doing something good to this house since has been unoccupied for years.

But today was different. This old couple stopped by and once again asked us what we were doing with the house. Then they proceeded to tell us that she used to live in this house when she was younger in 1940. We walked them through the house and she told us what the house looked like when she lived there. She shared the history of the house and told us that she would try to look for a picture of the house from when she lived there. She left by saying that she couldn't be happier knowing that this house wasn't being torn down, but instead keeping the house and all of the character it has.

I love hearing all of the stories and history that come with this house. We are honored to be able to restore this house and keep all of the history alive. I can't wait for the house to be done and for people to still stop by and show them everything that we have done and everything that we have kept that was the original. I am so glad that we bought this house as our first home. I will cherish this forever!

Let The Demo Begin

These are just a few pictures from the progress that we have made so far. As you can see, things are definitely getting worse before they get better. We completely tore out the front and back of the house, reframed both walls, took out a beam, replaced floor joists, re-leveled the floors near the front of the house, hammered all of the plaster off the brick chimney and much, much more! 

Some days everything seems to be moving along so quickly and other days seem to drag on and almost seem like we are moving backwards in this process. Even through the bad days we just look at the big picture and know that everything we do is getting us one step closer to moving in to our new home. We are continuing to lean on God to give us all of the grace and favor we need for this project. This is just the beginning!

We Are Officially Homeowners!

Ahhh! Just a quick update to let you all know that we are first time home owners of a beautiful 1907 farmhouse! God is so good! We were believing that this house would be ours and guess what...it is officially The Black's Homestead. The wait was worth it all to have this house we get to call home. We are so excited to start renovating and bringing this house back to life. There is a lot of work that needs to be done, but we know that we are capable of a project this big. It is going to be long days and nights of working hard to finish our house, but we are preparing ourselves for this new season of our life. Stay tuned to find out more and follow the progress of our 1907 farmhouse! 

Standing In Faith For Our Farmhouse

While my husband, Ben, and I were waiting to hear back if our offer was accepted, we continued to dream and create a vision and plan for this house. Some people would tell us not to get our hopes up and that we would be completely heartbroken if our offer wasn't accepted. But we know that God knows the desires of our heart (this was one of them), so we asked God and stood in faith believing that this was going to be our house. 

We took measurements at the house and used those to create a SketchUp model of both the interior and exterior. Right now, the house is completely gutted down to the exterior studs, so that gives us the freedom to do what we want. We designed the space to our liking while keeping in mind what would be the best for resale. My favorite part of remodeling homes is seeing the vision in our heads turn into a visual model which will eventually be the end product. It helps not only allow us to visualize the space, but for others to jump on board and get where we are heading.

 

Once we figured out exactly what we wanted to do with this house, we created a loose budget. (Talking about the budget is always the worst, but it shows us exactly what we are able to do with what we've got - and we make it work one way or another.) We even called people to get quotes for the parts of the projects we are letting experts do - HVAC, roofing, electrical, etc. Now if someone would have looked at all we had done for this house already, they would have thought that we already closed on the house and were about to start this project. 

This isn't even all...

Ben and I love to go on dates to Home Depot and Menards, weird I know, but we both love and have such a passion for what we do. Well it was one of those dates, and Ben looked at me and said "This might sound crazy, but I think we should buy things for our farmhouse and make this be a faith statement claiming this house as ours." At first I did think he was a bit crazy, but he is such a strong man of God that I did not even question him. Needless to say, we ended up buying $3,000 worth of stuff for our house. We bought light fixtures, toilets, windows, doors, and even special order garage doors which couldn't be returned. 

We continued to wait and finally heard back that they didn't except our offer, but they did counter back at $13,000. We could have accepted right then and there and the house would have been ours, but we decided to counter back at $10,500. Now we will continue to wait just like before...

This Is Where Our Story Begins...

What do you see when you look at this house? An abandoned home that is too far gone to save? Well when we saw the listing for $14,999 we said the same thing. Although that was our first thought, we are always trying to find a way to see the potential in everything. It didn't take long before we were dreaming of what this old farmhouse could look like if it was fixed up a little (and by little I mean a lot!). 

It was only a few days later that we drove to that house to see if we were completely out of our minds and crazy for even thinking this dream could be a reality. But you can say we are crazy because we completely fell in love with this broken house. We fell in love with the clean slate, the nine foot ceilings, the original staircase, and all of the history that came with this house. 

We knew that we wanted this house, but was not sure whether we wanted it to flip and sell or if we wanted to occupy and live in the house. We went over the pros and cons of this house, but could only think of one con. The location was both a pro and a con to us for different reasons. I remember clearly both of us saying that we will NEVER live anywhere south of Three Rivers. Well guess where this house is at? Constantine. And where is that you might ask? South of Three Rivers. But on the other hand, Ben's family lives in Three Rivers so it was closer to family, which for us outweighed the thought that we would live in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere.

From the moment we saw the house in person, we couldn't stop thinking, dreaming, designing and planning what this house would look like if we bought it. We knew that we wanted this house, so we put an offer in and waited for what seemed like forever to hear back. And so this is where our story begins...