A diamond in the rough.

That’s what this house is – a diamond in the rough. Like, in the very rough. And uncovering its potential has already been incredibly time and labor intensive. (Ask my sore neck and shoulders how they feel about home renovations.)

To be honest, I had my first “Oh my gosh, what have we done” moment the other day. All I could see was the (years of) work. So then I had a small mental/emotional breakdown. Why did we sign up for this?

I still can’t put my finger on exactly why we did. The swings between excitement and dread happen on nearly an hourly basis. What I do know is that this house was begging to be saved, and there is something so rewarding about the hard work of rescuing it. Over the last two days, I spent eight hours scrubbing walls. Eight hours of scrubbing and scraping and wiping and scrubbing some more. But when I stood in the middle of my finished work, I felt what can only be described as pride. I did this; I made something better.

Unwashed wall
Unwashed wall
Washed wall
Washed wall

Don’t you dare say there isn’t a difference, because there is. Squint if you have to. And also don’t remind me that there are other rooms to do. Let me revel in this progress for a little bit longer, please.

If you have the energy to keep reading, I included some other photos of the house and property. You can expect to see them pop back up again, since we’ll feature some before-and-after posts as work is completed. Also, remember to view the house and property with a lot of imagination. Like I said, squint if you have to.

Day 1 After - outside
From the front walk (after we pulled a million weeds)
Barn and silo (photo from Zillow)
The side of our property (photo from Zillow)
Garage (photo from Zillow)
Orchard that’s not ours, but is pretty to look at (photo from Zillow)
Other barn
Barn from the 1800’s, that’s also not ours but sits right off our property and is pretty neat (photo from Zillow)
Standing in the mudroom
Living room/dining room
IMG_2036 (1)
Living room/dining room
IMG_2037 (1)
Living room/dining room
IMG_2040 (1)
IMG_2041 (1)
IMG_2042 (1)
Up the stairs
IMG_2043 (1)
Bedroom 1
IMG_2044 (1)
Bedroom 2
IMG_2045 (1)
Bedroom 3
Bathroom - before
Bathroom (photo from Zillow)


Wallpaper is the Devil’s work.

Like, I don’t know who thought of wallpaper. “Let’s use disgusting glue to put this terrible printed paper all over every surface in our house. It’ll hold smells, trap moisture, fade, and be outdated in five years. Oh, and it’ll take an act of God to get it down!” Cue evil laughter.

Up until this point in my life, I’ve only watched other people strip wallpaper. The house I grew up in was covered in wallpaper, dating from sometime between about 1956 and 1976. I was only four years old when we moved in, but I vividly remember watching my mother battle several (sev-er-al) layers of wallpaper in our dining room and kitchen. Before the ease of steamers, she tacked warm, wet towels to the wall, muttering under her breath the whole way. Cursed wallpaper.


Here, you can see me stripping some wallpaper in our new house, from circa 1998. While the wallpaper may be the Devil’s work, the electric wallpaper steamer is a DIY-er’s miracle. If you have to encounter wallpaper in your lifetime, a steamer is a must. (Although my official recommendation is that when someone says, “Oh, this house has wallpaper, but you can easily take it down,” you say, “HA!” and then you run like the wind. Run. Like. The. Wind.)

In all seriousness, while it might be a bear to take down wallpaper (from virtually every room, did I mention that?) I am so looking forward to the end result. The house already smells better! And it’s been a serious bonding experience for us… and for every family member who has been foolish enough to volunteer their services.

Here are some more photos of the progress. Next steps will be to clean the walls, repair the chipped plaster, and lay down some heavy-duty primer.

Wallpaper - Start 1
Living Room Before
Wallpaper - Progress 2
Living Room Progress

Stay tuned, everyone!