A few nights ago, Aaron finished installing the face frame on a new built-in bookcase I'd been envisioning for the last few months. Shortly after, he suggested that I write a new post, claiming I had a lot to share. "But nothing is finished!" I protested. I had enjoyed posting the progress of our gross foreclosure as we ripped out walls and tore down ceilings. The pictures were messy and tools were everywhere. But it was supposed to be messy. How was I going to convey the amount of work that went into our Fixer Upper without a messy backdrop for reference?
Six months in, its still a mess. Not in the same "help me I'm drowning in this mess" way that it was during the big overhaul. Nowadays its the mess that results from where our grand ideas collide with our measly budget (and where the power tools collide with the toddler toys). Ideally, we would go room by room, throw down the cash to git-r-done and be on to the next. Realistically, we cannot finish everything all at once. Lacking stacks of cash, we are instead ticking boxes off our project list in a much more strategic way. The progress is more staggered but still just as rewarding. Our addition of several new storage areas means that the last of our boxes has officially been unpacked and our day-to-day lives function a little smoother.
And working with limited resources has forced us to put on our thinking caps, stretch ourselves, and create outside the box. Our version of "reclaimed wood" means it generally came out of a trash pile or was on it's way there. Neither of us is above taking curbside items the night before trash day. We're also big fans of the 70% off lumber bin at Home Depot and scooping up useful items at secondhand stores. It started out as a way to save a buck but it's quickly become our default mode of operation.
If we are really honest here- we enjoy this. It's why we jumped feet first into a house we knew would need so much love. Our lives would be a little emptier without this home that also doubles as our hobby. So although it's still a mess, I keep reminding myself that it's also work in progress.
Today's featured "space in progress" is the larger of two rooms in the converted attic. We have slowly been setting it up as our Playroom/Guest Room (and we've FINALLY stopped referring to it as "the Purple Room"). When we bought the house, this room was one of the bigger eyesores. Originally a kids bedroom, it had not fared well during the homes extended vacancy. A water leak from the roof had caused extensive damage to the space. Repairs had been done haphazardly before we purchased; the drywall job was sloppy at best. The walls (and trim!) were a saturated purple and the ceiling boasted a dark blue. In a room with two smallish windows, the dark color made the room feel cramped. The floor was wood but had been covered in a gray paint that flaked every time I walked across it.
To get things started, we attempted to sand down the worst of the shoddy drywall. While sanding, I noticed that the wall with the larger window was incredibly unstable. I asked Aaron to come take a look and what we uncovered was a wall with ZERO support inside. It had all completely rotted away from water damage/an improper window install. After reframing the window and reinstalling drywall, I painted the room a light and airy blue-green. While I kept most of the first and second floors neutral, I wanted to use a more lively color in the kids' space. The trim and ceiling were both painted white, carpet was installed (oh happy day!), and Aaron rewired the entire room. The existing wiring had been run along the top of the baseboard and, because he is my hero, he moved it all inside the walls.
More recently, as we've gotten the house situation under control, we've started to make this room into a functional space. Aaron built a bookcase along the window wall that will house children's books and toys. Eventually we will add a window seat under the window to complete my vision of a cozy reading nook.
The daybed we had originally used in our apartment as part of Addie's nursery fit perfectly along one wall of the room. I love that a daybed provides a "couch" by day and "guest bed" by night if we have company. Eventually the whole room will have a more cohesive feel (I'm looking at you, mismatched pillows) and more of a "theme". I've been intentional about steering clear of loud themes in any space. I'd rather have more neutral walls and textiles that will ebb and flow with ever changing design trends. But this room might be the exception. Aside from completing the reading nook, there is also a wall mural planned for this room (theme TBD) and of course, I'll have to remedy the serious lack of art.
Eventually, the ceiling will also get some love. Our house has forced air but no A/C. This means that the playroom is cold all winter... and blazing hot in the summer. We'll replace the one overhead light with a ceiling fan/light combo to help with airflow in the summer months. I'd love to do bead-board on the ceiling (and maybe some recessed lights?!) but for now those plans are just wishful dreaming.
All in all, this room is miles and miles and miles away from where it was the first time we stepped inside it's purple-y weirdness. It's not Pin-worthy perfection- with a little luck it may be close someday. But for now it's just a piece of our life-in-progress; our messy, hand-on, slightly frustrating, sometimes overwhelming, creative, quirky house.
About the Author:
Tasha is a freelance artist, stay-at-home mama, and, in her husbands words, a lifestyle manager. She and Aaron are in the midst of renovating their 94 year old home while raising their sassy daughters, Adelaide & Emma.
Following along on Instagram? Look for #HessFixerUpper