Friday, October 5, 2012

I can't believe we're doing this

There are a lot of unbelievable things that I'm about to tell you. First, after 19 months of having one blog, I've decided to start another one. I first graced the blogging world with my style blog, My Greatest Hits in March of 2011.

While this blog is still in full-force, I’ve decided to pick up another project. Which you already know all about, because you’re reading it!
My husband, Justin, and I have recently been making a lot of transitions in our lives. I’ve decided to (kind of) change careers and go from working at an advertising agency to working in the marketing department at a large corporation. This change came after a multi-year struggle with work-life balance, wanting to spend time with my husband and friends and to actually enjoy what time I had left to be young.
So after six + years of working in the advertising world and four years of living in fun places across the country like beautiful Denver, Colorado and the sauna that is Richmond, Virginia, we were finally coming home to Minnesota.

Midwest is best
It's true.
Our families were ecstatic. Justin, being the family guy that is, was ecstatic. And I was, well, surprisingly ecstatic. We made the transition home just three weeks ago and it’s gone fairly smoothly thus far. My new job took great care of us in terms of relocation, packing and moving our things, storing it while we’re living in corporate housing, and paying for anything that they could so it didn’t break our bank. Thank god for them. Other than some lots of lost mail (ugh!), it’s been great.

But our biggest piece of unbelievable news is that we’re moving back into our house in Minneapolis. Honestly, when we moved to Colorado four years ago, we had both hoped that we’d never see this house again. After rushing into buying a house when we were far too young, inexperienced and not financially fit, we immediately regretted it. The house didn’t have a user-friendly layout, it was tiny, it was old, and it took up far too much of our time and money to keep it running.

Unfortunately, with the housing market crash right after we purchased, there was no selling that thing unless we wanted a short sale. Which we didn’t. So we’ve held onto it and rented it to a wonderful family the entire time we’ve been gone.
Now we’re home and are going to own up to our “mistake” and actually live in the house that we own. Oh, lordy.
You may not know this, but Justin is a wonderfully skilled craftsman. He’s been a carpenter for 15 years doing everything from framing houses to trim work to roofing to cabinet work. Having someone this handy around the house (or apartment) has been absolutely wonderful. If anything is broken, he fixes it. Simple. No need to hire a handyman because Justin’s got it taken care of.

We're so funny.
Because he’s so handy and we truly were dreading moving back into such a dysfunctional house, we had big dreams of remodeling. Ripping down half the house (that was built in the 1920’s) and completely starting from scratch. Our list of benefits was immense. Making the rooms bigger and improving the layout. Adding air conditioning. Fixing the air duct system, better insulation, better this, better that, better, better, better. We were excited and ready to get started until two weeks ago when our renters moved out of the house and we walked through it for the first time in four years. It was not quite what remembered. It was actually smaller than we remembered! Our remodeling ideas weren’t as cut-and-dry as we had thought. It would take a lot more work and a lot more money than we were anticipating and we realized we probably wouldn’t get a return on our investment.
So, back to the drawing board.
After getting upset that we had to move back into this terrible house when all we wanted to do was rent a cute little condo overlooking Lake Calhoun, we came up with a new plan; Work with what we’ve got.

Look at how little we are! The first picture with our house taken back in 2007.

We looked at what we disliked about our house. We prioritized those to things that we could immediately change, and other things that we’d need to save and plan for over time. We came to three, very cosmetic things for our immediate list.
Strange, non-user-friendly floor plan.
Wasted space.
Too small of rooms for our furniture.
And then we figured out a way to change those three things. Why not just rip down a couple of walls? It would open up the floor plan and in-turn get rid of that wasted space in leiu of larger rooms that would fit our furniture. The solution seemed so simple that we couldn’t believe we didn’t think of it before.
So now we’re remodeling our house, one little, baby step at a time. We’re working from our immediate list first, then slowly, over the next few years, making our way down to the more involved or expensive items.
And that’s where you come in.
We want to share our progress with you!
We want to show you what we’re doing and how it looks. And maybe some of you out there are DIY’ers too that want to learn how to do some weird, crazy, handyman type-thing. Well, I have a carpenter as a husband so what better way to show you how to do it, than to blog a few How-Tos while I’m at it.
Welcome to our journey to make this small, awkward little house we own, a home.


  1. There is nothing I love more than making a house into a home that serves you well. It's what we've done over and over through the's our passion. I think you'll fall more and more in love with the house and you put in this work and sweat :). Can't wait to watch the process with you!


    1. Bobi - I'm so happy to hear that. We're really hoping that making updates over time will help us to fall in love with the house. I'm excited to truly get started!

  2. Hi Kayla. You commented on my board and batten project and I came over to check out your blog. I love this post! Great attitude and it is perfect. Lots of people are doing just that now, making it work. And you know what, it may be perfect when you are done! I'll definitely check out your Monday DIY linky party.


  3. Your house isn't terrible. We just knocked down a terrible house! Your updates are great! You're already turning your house into a home. Keep up the great work!

  4. I totally agree that Midwest is best! I mean, we're technically South in Arkansas, but it's close enough. :)Your house is FAR from terrible!!!