Before and After: The Tale of our Home Renovation Part 6, A Big Mess

I'm back today with more of the tale of our Brooklyn home renovation, if you are new to my blog I've been telling this tale in a series of posts, you can catch up here. Last time I shared our bathroom renovation with you. I had planned to continue the tale with the renovation of our upstairs but as I was going through our pictures to prepare the post I realized that here is where it gets messy.
Oh yes, really messy. You see, we had to gut the whole top and bottom floors of the house. Unlike the parlor level, these two floors did not have any antique molding details that could be salvaged, and some very poor decorating choices had been made over the years involving lots of dark wood paneling and linoleum. All of this had to be taken out.
To give you an idea I'll give you look at our upstairs hallway, here it is before...

and after.

I called this post "A Big Mess" because I realized that in telling you this tale with all of my fun before and after pictures I have been leaving out an integral part of the story. Of course the before and after pictures are definitely great fun, but I also don't want to gloss over all of our hard work and all of the "meat" of what came between the "before" and the amazing home that our house is today. That meat was difficult and it felt so long, although it really was only the length of a summer. I was pregnant with Jasper, due in October, so that was our deadline. The demolition began in April. Frank hired a crew to come in and take everything out, I was too afraid to even go look at the house at that point, let alone take pictures...I started to loose faith that our house would ever look like the home that I imagined we could make it into. Here is the same hallway again, this time in progress...

Frank built up the walls again with wooden studs and sheet rock, and then there were months were it looked like various stages of the above. The plumbing was redone. The electrician tore up walls to replace wires. All sorts of things were sticking out of walls and lying here and there. It was very, very, dusty.
We really were in a "space between", we knew where we were headed, and thought that we could get there, but that in between time felt so uncomfortable and scary. I so longed for it to be done, but being pregnant there was not much that I could do besides sit and think (and shop for tile and appliances). Often I would just go over to the house and sit in the yard out back and just stare at the building, imagining it's future self...the one that we were calling it to be with our renovating. I still find myself thinking of that sometimes now, when I am in the yard with the kids playing, and I realize that here it is! This is what I envisioned, and the power of that never ceases to amaze me.
This is a lesson that I like to hold onto. Things can feel dark, scary and unknown, but if I have a vision of where they are going and how I wish them to be then I gaze towards that, I try to manifest that....and through hard work, and all that "meat" in between, that vision can be reached.

Here I am, in a candid moment that Frank captured. I am 8 and a half months pregnant, heading down two flights of stairs  to use our only working half finished bathroom. We had moved into the house at that point, but as you can see it was far from finished. I look at this picture, with my 5.5  years of wisdom and I see HOPE. There was so much hope in our act of buying and renovating this house, and that is what I see, and really that is what this tale is all about.

6 comments:

BananaSaurusRex said...

Omygoodness - that must have been SO hard! We moved into a fixer with an 8-month-old and I don't think I put him down for the first 2 weeks because the carpet was so gross. Makes you appreciate the finished house even more! xoxo

Kirsten said...

This has been my favorite part of your Tale Faith, it is like it got harder and harder the deeper you got into the renovation, and then when it got this far along, you finally reached a place where it could not get worse, it could only get better! You did a beautiful job of creating the dream! What an inspiration!

jacqueline said...

Dear faith, i've always enjoy your before and after tale. It's always filled with inspirational words and photos! Thanks so much for sharing it here with us! Have a lovely merry happy weekend and love to yoU!

karan karla {EnRouge} said...

Oh my goodness. . . I would have loved to have seen your house on Day 1. That must have been something to behold. . and to consider tackling the whole thing is so brave. I'm glad you mentioned all the work and time it takes . . that's a tedious sounding "journey", seems like, to live in it day after day . . waiting and visualizing it {and expecting on top of it all!}. I don't know how you survived what seems like a lot of stress. I think it's good though that you can now sit and remember the hard work and see what a beautiful home you've created. How on earth will you be able to stand moving??

Kristopher said...

Wow, heh. First of all, I would like to applaud you for having the audacity and the guts to ride the lightning on this thing. You've stricken down the degradation, and brought something far more livable in place. Though it won't hurt bringing in professional builders in the future. I mean, go easy on yourselves:)

BlairGCRoofing.com

Tina Mongeon said...

In renovating a house, you need to mess things up first to come up with amazing results. Tearing the walls and the floor apart is truly worth it. The hard work has paid off. Now, you have a beautiful living space, almost looking like brand new. Congratulations!

Tina Mongeon @Enviropure

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.