Two Years Ago We Bought a House

Two years ago, we bought our house. The process of turning it into what we want and need continues, a well as the slow progression of building our garden. First year projects included removing blackberries, building the hen house and run, building the fence on the East side of the property, and taking down shed #1 of 2. In case you missed it, you can see the progression what we accomplished the first year here.

While the first year was all about learning what we had to work with and starting to work outside, year two focused on the house: painting the exterior, updating the kitchen, pulling up the carpet, and rearranging the living room more times than I can count. Here’s the journey of accomplishments from our 2nd year adventure in creating our homestead.

When we bought the house, it was painted a color I could only describe as “1000 Island Dressing” and HATED it with every fiber of my being. I tested several shades of grey before settling on this shade, which is Mercer Charcoal from Sherwin Williams, the trim is Swiss Coffee. The front door is Queen of Hearts. I still have to finish the trim, and there are sections on the back and side that need to still be painted grey, but I don’t see the hideous color anymore when I pull in the driveway, so I’m significantly happier.

front of house, then

year two

The fence on the West side of our property is slowly reaching the finish point, we’ve got about a 1/3 of the way to go. Once that’s done, we’ve still got a back section of the existing East line to rebuild, and then the front sections. So many fucking post holes. Pretty sure that when we finally get done, I’m going to have a Scarlett O’Hera moment…”As god as my witness, I will never dig another post hole AGAIN!”.

fence line, then

fence line, now

The garden is coming along nicely, with all efforts focused on this east side of the property. To date, we’ve brought in 43 yards of compost. We’ve got all the permanent raised beds on that side built, and are finally harvesting good quality produce. The fruit trees are also doing well. Hopefully we can get the beds planned for the other side done this coming year, as well as some more trees and bushes, but first we have to get a tractor back to do some grading to solve our flooding issue.

garden, may

garden, now

building the fence, then

fruit trees, now

We removed shed #2, which was the well shed with the broken pipe saga. The well hole is under that plastic container, needing to be re-lined and a new pump. It doesn’t look like getting that fixed is in this years budget, but we are hoping to get all the concrete around it broken up soon.

shed, then

shed gone, now

When we bought the house, we were told their was maybe hardwood under the boring beige carpet. Quickly after moving in, I pulled a corner up in the guest room closet, but only found pressboard. But then, while rearranging the furniture in the living room, I noticed a small slit in a carpet and peeled the corner back, to see the seams of hardwood. Unplanned chaos then commenced as we procedded to rip out all the carpet, revealing mostly hardwood- there are a few sections of pressboard and plywood. Because there is a door or an opening on every wall, and the front door opens into the middle of the room, the room is hard to arrange. I think I’ve finally got the living room set up in the most efficient layout.

living room, then

living room, now

And the most expensive project of the year: the kitchen. We replaced the cheap Home Depot stove with a 6-burner Blue Star Range. The standard flipped-house pressboard cabinets got upgraded to custom cabinets, which we saved thousands of dollars on by painting and sealing myself. They are painted Cloud White, by Benjamin Moore, and hardware is from Restoration Hardware. The counters are a brushed granite.  Top cabinets were replace with open shelves, made from boards reclaimed from the shed demo. The tile floor was replaced with the unfinished oak, and then stained. I haven’t sealed it yet, as I’m wanting to to get some scratches and scuffs in it to match the rest of the old flooring. Eventually, probably next year, we will refinish all the flooring and stain and seal to match.

kitchen with stove, then

kitchen with stove, nowAs we enter year 3 of home ownership, we are turning our focus back to the yard. Finishing the fence will be the first thing, and then we hope to have the mess of concrete from the sheds and the patio removed. I’ve got one quote to break and haul, but its WAY out of our budget, so I’m now looking into just having it broken up and I’ll dry-stack it somewhere into a wall. After that happens, we need a swale dug and the yard graded, hopefully solving the drainage issues. That will likely take all our house funds for the year, but hopefully we can squeeze in some rain barrels along the chicken run, and rain tanks from the house. Oh yea, we also need new gutters and a sump-pump installed under the house.

The joys of home-ownership! Make sure to follow along in our third year adventure!


10 thoughts on “Two Years Ago We Bought a House

    1. Isn’t it amazing! We got it from a guy in Napa who bought a house that was done up all farmhouse, and he wanted stainless steel everything. His loss!

  1. Love your posts Melissa.

    The 5-gallon bucket-watering technique is brilliant.

    It reminds me of a morning in Bangkok some years ago. Waking up in the guest house we were staying in, I walked out onto the balcony and spied plastic coke bottles suspended above hanging flower planters.

    It all looked a bit odd. But upon closer inspection, it was clear that the bottom-removed, upside-down bottles had some tiny holes drilled into their plastic caps. Fill ’em with water in the a.m. and the plants get drip-watered until the bottles emptied — kinda like an hourglass. No drip-age from the hanging planters — no waste-age.

    Looking forward to more or your writing,

    – Andrew

    PS. Love the before-and-after pics. But … um … it looks like you’re doing ALL the work. You look thinner than three years ago and your husband looks thicker. Wussup w/dat? You gotta work that young man harder !!

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