renovation

Operation Renovation... It's Time for a Change!

As Valerie shared in a post a few weeks ago, multiple rooms and floors of our home were damaged due to a drain/roof leak. Since that fateful day, we’ve had men in our house working on the renovation and restoration of our damaged home, and just about two weeks ago, they finally finished up! They did a fine job, but living in a house during renovation definitely proved to be a challenge. There was furniture in our kitchen (in fact, a few randoms times I ate my cereal while sitting on our sofa in the kitchen), a mattress and a shoe rack among other things in our office (which we claimed as our temporary bedroom as well, hence the mattress), clothes in random rooms and places, and one could not keep up with all of the dust that comes along with drywall work. I truly now know why it is called drywall. Living in disarray for two people who usually pride themselves on at least trying to be organized proved to be interesting to say the least. While I’m not necessarily looking forward to this ever happening again, realizing that you have no control over a situation that you might otherwise have, and giving into that, can actually be a bit therapeutic.

Instead of focusing on all that seems “wrong” or out of the ordinary, we chose to take advantage of the fact that everything was out of place and, therefore, had to be put back into place. This provided an opportunity for us to re-evaluate each item in our home and whether we really need it or not. Now that the renovation is complete and we are starting to put our home back together, it is literally like moving back in again. And, that means that we can, in an essence, start fresh. Clean slate.

Speaking of starting fresh, this doesn’t only apply to our home. Valerie and I decided to use the last two months to examine all facets of our lives and how we can improve them. For example, the workers showed up by at least 7:30 every morning, which, in turn, forced us to be up and ready just as early. And while this may not seem early to those of you who start work at that time or earlier, that’s early for us. But getting up earlier and having the opportunity to actually sit down and eat breakfast, do a little cleaning, or run an errand before our crazy work days start, has been a breath of fresh air (luckily our air is much cleaner now without all of the drywall dust!).

The point is, even a seemingly bad situation may have its perks. Don't be afraid to embrace these experiences and make a change! Anyone have a similar story or anecdote to share?

An Unexpected Renovation.. Ahhh!

If you've noticed that we haven't posted too much about our home and our projects around the house lately, you might be wondering why! Well, today, we are finally letting you all in on the craziness of what has been going on around here for the past month or so! Here's the story! It was a rainy Saturday morning, and I was just getting dressed and ready for a baby shower for a friend of mine, when "whoooossshhhh", an unmistakeable sound of rushing water gave us very little warning of the cascade of water that would come pouring into our bedroom moments later. Ahhhhh! Luckily we were still home and began grabbing towels, buckets, etc. to defend our home from whatever was happening!

Check out the picture below to see exactly what was happening!

SIDENOTE: We often have really lovely interior images on our blog, but the images you're about to see are not so lovely! But hey, it documents the experience, right?

The water leak.

More of the water leak.

Well, I could give you the play by play of the next several days and weeks, but I'll spare you all the details and try to make a long story short. Apparently, a drain on our neighbors roof (we live in semi-attached city row homes) had clogged, and standing water was backing up on their roof. Upon their attempt to unclog the drain, the concealed drain pipe must have broke, because all of the standing water, as it flushed down the now unclogged drain, didn't make its way down the down spout as it should, but instead came pouring into our house! The water entered on the ceiling of the second floor and, because of the volume of water, made its way all the way down to our first floor and even into our basement! Ahhhhh! We are thankful, however, that we were able to move most of our personal belongings out of harms way (only a few things were damaged/ruined), but the walls and ceiling didn't fair so well!

The resulting damage!

More resulting damage!

Ceiling damage on the fist floor.

So, with extensive amounts of water damage, we called our insurance company and a restoration company, both of who acted very quickly to remedy the situation. Roofers came to repair the damaged drain pipe, and restoration workers came to tear out our damaged walls and ceilings and take the necessary measures to dry out and sanitize surfaces from potential mold, etc.

The demolition.

More demolition!

Fans drying out the space.

Gutted room with anti-microbial spray.

Obviously, we were very upset at the situation and maybe a bit angry that it had affected us, but the damage was already done! Unfortunately, all we could do is fix the problem and chalk it up to "sometimes in life, things happen beyond your control". But, it didn't help that we were just starting to feel like we had made some progress on the design of our living room. We had just, a week earlier, installed a wall to wall custom built-in unit (that luckily didn't get any water damage) that we hadn't even gotten to share with you yet - more to come on that in the future. Anyway, we were ready to pull together the next layer of the space, when this little set back happened!

So, forgive us if we've been a bit busy with an unexpected renovation!

Drywall in the room.

Well, thanks to everyone who has helped us during this crazy time. We appreciate it!

The painters are here today, so we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel! Hopefully, our home will be back to normal soon. Did I mention that we are basically living in one room of our house during this process. I'm ready for this to be over, hehe!

Wish us luck as this process wraps up. Have any of you ever experienced a similar situation?

Our Blank Canvas

First, and totally off topic from this post, I have to say… Yay, Logan finally had some time to publish his first blog post! I’m looking forward to being able to post more often with two authors and give our readers (the few that may be out there) more updates, inspirations and ideas. Of course, it will be nice to hear all of this from two, often different, perspectives as well. So, yay for that! Anyway, back to the topic of this post. In a couple posts back, we introduced you to our home as it looked when we purchased it – nothing but the bare bones. But, I think it might be nice to show you how it looked right before we moved in (with the renovation complete), with freshly painted walls, newly refinished 100 year old floors, and all the standard conveniences of a modern home. Since we had made an offer on the house early in the renovation process, we were able to choose some of the finishes, but unfortunately, we did not have the opportunity to customize that much. That would be up to us! We look at it like this - we just lucked out on not having to do any of the fun, but often difficult, renovations like wallpaper removal, floor refinishing, relocating plumbing, ripping up old tile, etc. ourselves – maybe we’ll tackle that in our next home, haha.

Anyway, I dug (virtually) through photos to find some to share, and while we documented the renovation progress with hundreds of photos, it seems we failed to take good photos of the finished empty rooms, before we moved all our stuff in... bummer. Anyway, feel free to check out these pics from move-in day, but please forgive the cardboard boxes and random dropped placement of furnishings.

Empty living room.

Empty dining room area

Empty kitchen.

Empty bedroom

Empty hall.

Empty bathroom.

Bedroom with boxes and furniture.

Empty office.

So, our newly purchased house was pretty much a blank canvas for us to design and create into our own home. How exciting! I do remember being really excited, ha! Yet now, a little over a year later, I’d say we are still in the sketching stages of completing our work of art. But give us some time, after moving from a tiny studio apartment in New York City, we had very little furnishings to fill our home, and many of which we’d like to replace with “grown-up” pieces. We’ll get there slowly but surely. And if you know me, you’d know that I can make quick, innovative design decisions for anyone but myself – so imagine the analysis paralysis! If you’re not quite sure what I mean by that, I feel certain I’ll explore that in later posts! Stay tuned.

For now, we’ll hope to finish at least a few bits of our work of art (our home) and show you the progress as we go.

Our Happy Home

So, I’ve mentioned before that on our blog we hope to share with you our design ideas, projects, etc. Well, we will definitely be sharing what we can of our client projects, but we’re also happy to share the design journey of our own home. So, we thought we’d give you some background, or point of reference, on our happy little home before we would delve into any details in the future. So, here goes. Logan and I bought our first house here in midtown Harrisburg about a year and a half ago (wow, seems like just yesterday - time flies!). Like many house hunting stories, we saw the home listed for sale and called the seller to schedule a time to view it. We were told it was in mid-renovation, but we could definitely come check it out. Being the DIYers that we are, and knowing that we could see the potential in anything, we decided to go see the home. Here is what we walked into that day - an over 100 year old city home that had just begun a much needed renovation (forgive the picture quality, it was dusty and dark in some areas).

View of living room and front door during renovation

View of Valerie in kitchen with tape measure during renovation

View of 100 year old painted stairway during renovation

View of hallway during renovation

View of Logan pretending to wash his hands in our bathroom sink

View of office/studio during renovation

View of Logan and Valerie pretending to lay in their master bedroom during renovation

So, as you can see, we had to use our imaginations quite well to envision this as our home. But, we did, and the ideas were already swarming. I remember standing in what is now our master bedroom whispering to Logan, “I think this is the one!” After months of house hunting, and coming oh-so-close to deciding on another home, we were extremely excited about finding this place. It was in the perfect location, the perfect price and being a blank slate only made the deal more perfect. So we made an offer while there were only studs for walls, it was accepted and we bought the house! We were so excited to finally own our home and have the opportunity to make it ours.

So, over the following 2 months or so, we would travel back and forth from NYC to visit the house, make design decisions and see its renovation progress - so much fun! Eventually, we moved into the house, and began the seemingly never ending journey of designing the spaces, choosing color schemes, finding the right pieces, and working on projects to make this house our home. Well, I’m sad to say that we have unfortunately only made baby steps (in my opinion), okay maybe toddler steps, with so many other things going on and little time and budget allotted for our own home. But, I suppose since I claimed I hadn’t made a New Years resolution, focusing on finishing the design of our home would be a good one. We'll be sure to post any progress!