Babies, design projects, a store, and just life in general are all trump cards when it comes to blogging, but I'm dying to document this whole renovation on more than just instagram so am going to try my best on the old bloggity blog. Let's pick up where we left off last time with a little intermission called Hunting Vintage.
Back in January, Gray and I filmed with Pietown Productions and HGTV for a new pilot series called Hunting Vintage - Think House Hunters with a vintage twist. We have always loved historic homes, especially since selling our first home (featured in HGTV magazine here) and have had our eyes on that part of town over our last four moves in the last three years. Yes... FOUR moves over the last THREE years... while I was pregnant. I think Gray should give me some kind of medal.... or a great vacation for letting me actually go through all of this craziness that I insisted on. :)
Anyway, Pietown Productions contacted us and were interested in learning more about our project and after a few Skype conversations and emails we were set to film the show. Gray and I were nervous but the whole process was so much fun. I think 95% of that has to with the amazing crew we had. It's like going on a blind date at first but by the end of the first day it felt like we had been friends forever. The show aired two weeks ago and the response to it has been so positive. I'm not sure if we will film any more shows yet documenting the progress but as soon as I can, I'll put the episode link up and my next post will give more details about the show.
Ok, so just to catch up from the very first post....
If you follow along on instagram, you may have seen a few posts of my newest project, a 1928 home that hasn't been touched (except for maybe a few updates in the 1960s) that Gray and I just purchased. Gray was at the house meeting the utility companies to set everything up in our names when he came across this coffee mug that was left behind. He sent me picture of this mug with a few choice words. Demo hasn't started yet and we are already getting warning signs. Yikes!
The goods news is that our general contractors are a dream. It's a husband/wife team. That's right... a female general contractor that is a wife and a momma. She knows what I'm saying when I'm not saying it. She understands preschool pick-up times and why I really think it's important to have a mom drop zone with a charging station. I have a few other construction teams that I work with and love here in Wilmington, but Stephannie is a good friend and between running a design business, opening a store, being a momma, and renovating a house, I know I can just say "just do what you think is best" on those little decisions and she will make the best decision. I have to focus on my clients and answer those little questions on their behalf and I'm glad that I have the Pioneer Group to do that for me too.
Speaking of little questions.... this is the existing kitchen. It is ugly. No way around it. My mom and grandparents were in town last week and I walked them through the house. My poor Memaw and Mom just kept telling everyone..."just don't touch anything... Lindsey it's going to be gorgeous when you are done but please don't walk those youngin's through this house!" The house isn't a crack house for goodness sakes, just a few water bugs here and there!
I promise this is the worst of the house... the rest of it has beautiful details and great bones.... the floors (except the kitchen) are even in great shape and we just have to refinish them. The kitchen looks like a different house, but it's still the house. Y'all just send good vibes over. The architect and my positive attitude hopefully will get us a long ways because that's where that coffee cup was found and Grayson Cheek isn't quite so confident today!
The reason we are so in love with the house is the back yard. It has this massive oak tree that just feels like home. The yard is big and it needs a lot of work and it has a pool that makes me so terrified but I know that with the right work and the right design, it will all amazing. The backyard is more overwhelming to me than the house because it has two sheds, a basketball court, a green house, a pool, and an exisitng garden. Right now, it looks more like a swamp and an overgrown jungle. This is more of a long term project, more because of budget than anything, but I'm actually most excited about this than anything else. I've started an entire Pinterest board for our landscape designer and luckily, he is totally stoked about the whole thing.
We knew it was going to be a tough renovation budget wise. The words "moving target" are talked about a lot and to a designer, those words are no fun. We knew going into this it we would disagree, we would have have some hard conversations, but acknowledging that upfront, I can say it's not been too hard on our marriage. Y'all budgets and renovations are no joke. With a new construction, you can go over budget by adding more square footage, great finishes/tile/lighting/etc. Renovating a 100 year old home, we've had to spend money on things I will never actually see like new footers. The words "load bearing walls" are like a curse word to me now. Everytime I hear that curse word, I just have to strike off another gorgeous light fixture or millwork detail I had plans for and put that on the "phase 2" list... but I'm OK with that. I don't expect to have my dream house at 33. I'm beyond thrilled that Gray and I are able to have such a great house that we can work on long term. It won't have all the furniture and all the wallpaper and all the artwork that I'd love for it to have, but that's what makes it exciting to me. We will be moving into a home that has 100 years of history, renovated by a team that we love dearly, and year by year we will add the layers and our own history to make it ours.
Quick tour of the main areas
existing dining room will be our living room
existing living room/music room will be master bedroom
existing office will be master bathroom (adding square footage here)
existing entry walls will be opened up
Patience has been on our side through this renovation as we've run into some major hiccups due to boring things like steel beams, rotting wood, and crumbling footers. Tens of thousands of dollars that none of us will actually ever see have been spent (bye bye herringbone floors and steel windows) but at the end of the day, we are still happy to own this house.
Renovating a home that's almost a century old is like running a marathon hung over. Almost every day I feel like we've had bad news but we just keep our chins up and make necessary adjustments and at the end of the day, we know that this home will be a great place for our family. Adam, who is the husband part of The Pioneer Group, lovingly said that maybe it was all of our fault. All the problems that we've run into have been because this old dame of a house heard us talking about making her more modern and she reared up and gave us a hard time. Hopefully now that we are just giving her updated bones and a new foundation she will be happy with her face lift and a little nicer to us now.
Renovating has been such an eye opening experience and something that I've really enjoyed. I'm blessed to work with great clients that have beautiful homes, but there is something about bringing a crumbling old home back to life, the imperfection and ugliness of it all is so rewarding. I went out of town last weekend with the kids while Gray worked on the house and my one request was that the refrigerator in the back yard with the rotten pickle jars be gone when we got back. Baby steps....