Monday, June 1, 2009

Confession Time

Since the birth of this blog, I have been posting about various projects I’ve done around my house (along with lots of food, posts about my little guy, and a bunch of crafty things), but there is something about my house that you don’t know…

Ok, here goes….

My house SUCKS.

Yes, its true, if you’ve been to my house, I either really trust you not to be judgmental, or I didn't know you were coming over.
About nine years ago, we bought an 80 year old schoolhouse that the previous owners had been in the process of converting into a home for a number of years before they divorced and left the house in its unfinished state. If my experience is any guide, I'm betting the house ate them alive. Lord knows it has put a strain on my marriage from time to time. After that, the house laid vacant for several years before we bought it. Imagine the amount of dirt, insects, and ummmm, yeah, rodents, that can build up in an abandoned country house over a period of several years. You have the picture in your head? Yep, that's it. To put it nicely, the house was rough.
On the bright side, this is the view out my back window: I mean, there was little to no drywall inside, plywood floors through most of it, junk windows that didn’t do much for protection from the elements, and a roof that leaked so badly there were mushrooms growing out of the kitchen floor (literally, I’m not making this up).

The kitchen, as it was, happened to be an extension of the original building and was built around the old back porch of the school. That being said, the kitchen floor was made up of the original planks from the back porch, just closed in, but never treated or covered. It had to be ripped up, one tiny, rotting chunk at a time when we replaced it. Fortunately, we did manage to get the roof replaced before Matt's job went down the toilet, so, I guess you could say, at least we had a roof over our heads. Our relationship was still young, and we had a lot of energy to take this shell of a house we fell in love with (it had a great “loft” area that was the selling point for us) and put our hearts and souls into renovating it and turning it into a wonderful country home.

That dream suffered a long, painful death.

Almost immediately after buying the house, Matt was laid off for 18 months. We had no money for remodeling. We lived in the shanty of a house for quite a long time with very few of the comforts of home that most of us take for granted. For the first several months, I didn’t even have a stove, cooking solely by way of microwave, crock pot and electric skillet. (and you all know that was incredibly painful for a foodie like me.) Over time, and the course of several years, we have managed to bring the house up to livable standards, a process which got pushed into overdrive when I got pregnant and we had to consider whether we could raise a child in the armpit that was our house.
Most of the major interior work was completed within a few weeks of Ty’s birth, but we have been wrapping up loose ends and miscellaneous improvements in the four years since then. Naturally, when you think about bringing a child into a house, you think about the inside of the house first. Well, that’s what we did, too.
What am I getting at? The siding, of course. The siding on our house was never even 100% finished by the previous owners, or painted (at least not so far as you can tell) and it has been a great point of stress for me, knowing that it did not provide much protection for the house during severe weather season. I rarely invite people to visit, because, frankly, its embarrassing. We live waaaaay out in the country, so it hasn’t been a major issue until now. I have even been very adamant about not taking pictures of the house, because I simply don’t want to remember it the way it was.
BUT, the time has come. At long last, we are going to be FINISHING our house. The siding is going up, and the only thing left to do will be landscaping. I cannot even begin to describe to you how happy and relieved this makes me. So, I think I can do it. I can finally share with you what my house looks like, and show you some of the changes that have taken place. The pictures in this post are really the only ones I have of the house as it was before we started fixing it up, so that's all you get. But, being as the siding is the hot topic of conversation right now, I'll give you the exterior as it is today.

Here it is… house. Fooled ya, didn’t I? Really, though, that IS my house….or at least, that’s what it looked like 80 years ago. More accurately, this is the Mount Vernon School, Hettick, Illinois.

Now….HERE is my house. I’m gonna give you one good look before the siding goes up. Its going to be a very dramatic change, to say the least.So, there you go! I confess! I live in a crappy, crappy house….but it is well on its way to being the dream we once imagined. Next up – the interior! I don’t have many pictures of what it looked like before the changes, but I’ll give you what I’ve got. Stay tuned!


NV said...

I’m SO happy for you. That is marvelous! “Done” isn’t part of my vocabulary, unfortunately, so I can’t help but be a little jealous, too.

I think your house is charming and I’ve got to think that you appreciate it all the more for having come such a long way with YOUR OWN HANDS. Keep the faith – it will be awesome!

Bev said...

For most of the hundreds of trips I've made between C'ville and J'ville, I would cut through from Rte 4 to the Emerson Airline and go through Palmyra (one summer I actually lived in my camper at Otter Lake) so in all my years I've only passed through Hettick a few times. That's my verbose way of saying that I don't recognize the house or the road...and you know how much we country folks like to 'place' ourselves in the picture.

Having experienced my fair share of life's ups and downs in my nearly six decades (YIKES!), I can however fully appreciate and identify with how thrilled you will be to get this major project done.

Also, a serious word of life advice here...with all your interests and activities and accomplishments (not to mention that adorable boy of yours) please don't ever be embarrassed about anything as relatively trivial as the condition of your home.

Kim said...

It will be so rewarding when your home is finished. You all deserve a lot of credit for all that work!! I bet you really enjoy the rewards the home brings!!

Ty'sMommy said...

NV - oh, don't worry, I said "finished", not "done"! There are still plenty of projects to complete. I already have at least three major yard projects, and the laundry room, that I tend to forget about, which is still unfinished as well.

Bev - thank you! Yes, I am goign to be VERY excited to have it done, its going to make all the difference in the world. Just a couple more weeks!

Kim - so nice to see you stopping by! I grew up in Ohio and spent some time in Kentucky with my cousins in Louisville. Its beautiful country there! Thanks for the compliments! I can't wait to see it finally finished - and to post pictures!

Kelly Corcoran Williams said...

I think the house is fantastic, and how great that you have a picture from 80 years ago!

Anne said...

Your house is not crappy! It WAS crappy, and it still has crappy siding, though not for long. But the inside has clearly come a LONG, LONG way and it isn't just nice in comparison, it is actually really nice! You should be very proud of it.