We recently purchased our second real life fixer upper. We literally found the worst house in the best neighborhood to turn into our dream home. Now all we have to do is to tear down some walls (which will inevitably be load bearing), add a fresh coat of paint, discover and/or install shiplap, put in a custom island, and call up HGTV to let them know we are ready to fill in for Chip and Joanna.

That’s the TV way. That’s the American way. But it’s not reality. Not for most people.

I am not serious about those design plans for the record. If you watch Fixer Upper you know that first paragraph is pretty much quoting the show verbatim.

I am a huge Fixer Upper fan by the way, but I also I love this blog post by Mary Carver called “Why I Don’t Want Watch Fixer Upper” . In it Mary talks about how Fixer Upper and similar HGTV programs and home renovation shows appeal to the part of her that is so unsatisfied with what she has. There is nothing wrong with these shows, but if it’s causing you to covet or be discontent why would you want to feed that? I can certainly relate.

These days there is SO much emphasis on outward appearance, whether it’s our bodies, clothes, hair, or house. Have you seen the dumpy cars with bumper stickers like this?


Or this?


We make jokes, apologies, or disclaimers because we are all too aware that maybe our possessions don’t measure up. I want a sticker for my house that says “We are renovating”, because I want people to know that I can see how ugly my house is before they have the chance to think it. My brother came over for the first time on Easter and said “I think I saw a house exactly like this as the “before” on Property Brothers.” That pretty much sums it up. The main bathroom is red with black accents. One of my friends hit the nail on the head when she described it as gothic. The stair railing has painted grape accents that say 1994 Olive Garden and are a far cry from farm house chic. When I say we are renovating people think of an Extreme Home Makeover approach, but that’s not the direction we are heading.

This house was move in ready when we bought it. We don’t HAVE to fix much and the aesthetics are not something that are a priority right now.

Our old house was what I called the seven year flip.





You can see the other pictures and read all the details, including how much we profited here.

I think seven years (not for paint, but for the WHOLE project) is a realistic marker and that means that our kids will be in or somewhat near the teenage years by the time it’s done. It is crazy to even think about, but hopefully they will be less likely to destroy everything at that age.

Anyway, this isn’t even what I was going to talk about today. I wanted to talk about the big blessing we received last week and instead I became a little squeamish and ashamed to even post pictures of my family room.

This family room is so perfectly amazing for us. It has its own bathroom and kitchenette area with a refrigerator and a microwave. We went from no microwave to two! From one bathroom to three! We never even had a family room or a working fire place before.

All of this is really exciting, but instead all I could think about was the tacky faux stone that looks like giraffe print. So I felt a need to give a disclaimer. 

The fact is it’s an awesome family room. We are blessed. The kids have a blast down there building forts and playing legos.



The icing on the cake is that J’s boss was getting rid of his old flat screen and offered it to us. When we moved to Ohio 4 years ago we still had a box TV. Then my dad bought us this little flat screen which was awesome because we had a tiny apartment and it took up less space than the box. The small screen size worked out perfect when it’s on the floor level in close proximity to the couch, but when we moved into our house and had it up on the mantel in a large room it felt really small.


So you can imagine how elated we were to receive a free 42 inch smart TV.  Isn’t that cool?


Little by little we’ll be incorporating our own style, but in the mean time I’m not going to look like the miserable person in the “before” photo.