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Fixer Upper

Dear HGTV, if you are looking for a Northern counter-part for the Gaines Family, you've found us.

We recently had a pond dug for our Muscovy ducks. One of the last major landscape projects we were planning for this summer. After it was complete, I sat out on our side deck and looked out over the yard, freshly mowed and planted. I watched over the chickens and turkeys hopping around in their run, saw the sunlight's warmth caressing the vibrant green leaves in our vegatable garden, and the breeze rustle the leaves of the blueberry bushes. We had arrived.

Not so long ago, this yard was filled with literal garbage. In less than a year's time, we had completely overhauled the interior of the house, cleaned out the yard and garage, and have almost completely updated the look of the home's exterior.

Completing this pond project, which seemed completely far-fetched not that long ago, has me reminiscing on how we got here. So, today I thought I'd share with you all of the best before & afters we have completed. I will go into more detail in later posts.


Looking back at these photos, I am actually not at all sure what I was thinking. After looking at probably 50 different houses (I am fairly sure our Agent wanted to strangle us :-) She's the real MVP), this one didn't seem so bad compared to others. It was filthy, and wildly artistic, but it had great bones. And the moment I stepped on that front porch, the vision of hot summer nights, rocking chairs, kids catching fireflies and the Homestead Hubby and I catching our own buzz, I knew it was home. It took some convincing on my part, but I eventually wore the Homestead Husband down, and he agreed to jumping in with both feet on this project.

Now, I was also a bit niave at the time... I was certain that some updated flooring and paint would be all it would need.... until I saw countertops, and cabinet knobs, and lighting, and, and, and, and.... the list grew fast. Before I knew it, we had all but gutted the place. I had no clue we were ever going to get that involved with a home renovation but alas, this place is full of surprises.

This place was a disaster, and we bought in the Spring. If you live in Maine, you know that just means basically late winter. So, as the snow melted, it slowly revealed more and more debris and piles of junk for us to dispose of. As part of the sale, we agreed to take the place as it was - although, we did have the sellers abate the bats from the attic first. They had to go.

There were food scraps and stains on the walls, inches of dust, and when we washed the walls, they became a different color... before we even painted on new colors! Sadly, the home had gotten away from the previous owners, and just out of hand. They were happy to be moving on from it.

Things I still to this day, do not understand:

Beige trim

Lilac carpet

Duct-tape in place of screws

Stick-on flooring

Rainbow ceiling fans

...Amongst many other questionable design choices....


After six gruling months of labor, before night shifts, after day shifts, all weekend long, and into many nights, the place finally became everything we had dreamt up. We took help from anyone who would offer (and even those who maybe didn't offer so willingly...) - parents, siblings, friends. Thank GOODNESS for them because it took a dang village to get this place livable again. We did all but replace the sheetrock - actually - we did add new sheetrock in a small section of the house. Thankfully, we did not have to demo any walls - only the floors.


We continue to finish up smaller projects, and add more personal decor touches as time goes on. Through this experience, we gained many new skills and a lot of confidence. It is always so inspiring to me, to learn something new - with hard work and some creativity you can do anything. This is especially true here, as we had no prior home renovation experience. We decided to wing it, and make it work. It came with a slew of arguements, lots of big anxiety-inducing decision making, and even a couple of injuries. It was worth it, and we came out of it stronger. I wouldn't change a thing.

Most of this house was put together on a shoe string.... Yard sales and thrift stores were a huge help when it came to finding statement pieces - all our favorite junk. Very few things do we ever buy brand new. Things with a little rust, or wear, are often our most treasured pieces because they were well-loved and tell a story. They add to our story. A life and home full of character.


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