How I’ve Handled “The Process” For Nine Years (So Far)

Matt and I bought our current house in August of 2013. At that time, we were living in a little condo close to the campus of Baylor University. We didn’t move into the house immediately after we bought it. I had some big projects I wanted to tackle before we moved in, like removing all of the green carpet, sanding the original hardwood floors, and finishing the floors. If you’re new here, this is the beautiful green carpet that was in the house when we bought it…

And while that was a huge project, I was thankful that that green carpet had been hiding (and protecting) the original hardwood floors for decades. Here’s what the floors looked like after I refinished them. I was so happy to get this done before we moved in…

DIY refinished hardwood floors

There were a couple of other projects that I did during that time between buying the house and moving in, like removing the hallway closet, so altogether, I think those things took me about two months before we actually moved in.

When we moved into the house in October 2013, my work on the house had only just begun. The hallway bathroom still looked like this…

The kitchen still looked like this…

before - kitchen 2

And the room that is now the breakfast room and pantry still looked like this…

(That wall between the two doorways is where the kitchen peninsula now sits, and the room through those doors is the kitchen. The windows on the left side of the photo are the front windows of the breakfast room.)

So it’s been a long journey, and it’s one that I’m still on. Nine years later, I’m still working on this house, and still living with unfinished rooms.

I had a long-time reader ask me this a couple of days ago:

Do you ever just get tired of being in the process and want it to be done? How do you handle that (if it happens)?

The short answer is yes. I do, at times, get tired of the process and just want it done.

I especially got tired of the process when I was working on the main areas of the house, like the living room, kitchen, hallway bathroom, etc. There were years when I couldn’t invite people over because the living room looked like this…

Or the bathroom looked like this…

hallway bathroom remodel - original tile floor and subfloor being removed

Or our kitchen looked like this…

I mean, would you even want so much as a glass of water coming from a kitchen like that?

No. No, you wouldn’t. And neither would anyone else. So during those years, I didn’t invite anyone over. Our house, while we did live in it during those years, didn’t exactly feel like “home” to me. It just felt like a project.

And I’ll admit, those years started to get difficult. I cried tears from time to time. Tears of exhaustion. Tears of exasperation. Tears from thoughts that our house was never going to actually be finished. Tears from thoughts that I’m just a big fraud who has no clue what I’m doing. Tears from the idea that the people who told me that I was biting off more than I could chew were right from the beginning.

But in between those moments, I also had loads of fun. I mean, knocking down walls in your house? Have you ever tried it? It’s fun. And therapeutic.

And I also learned a ton of stuff. While I may still have my moments of doubt in my abilities, overall my confidence has grown about 1000% since the day we bought this house. I’ve done projects that I never would have dreamed of nine years ago.

And most of all, I’ve gotten a completely customized, completely “Kristi” home out of the deal. When I shared the dreadfully depressing all brown picture of the living above, did you even recognize it? Let me show it to you again, and then show you what it looks like today.

Here’s that same dreadful, drowning-in-brown living room (cropped just a bit)…

And here’s what that same view looks like today…

So was the effort worth it? Did those few years of hard work, frustration, and the occasional tears pay off?

I think so. Because I now have a home that I’m excited to share with others. I love having people over to our house now. I love seeing their reactions when they walk through the front door and see a completely unique, customized home that was mostly accomplished by my hands.

And the best thing is that the house is to the point now where the unfinished areas don’t have any effect on our daily lives at all.

We’ve never had a functional master bathroom in this house before. So the fact that the master bathroom is still unfinished doesn’t really affect the way we’ve been doing things for the past nine years. When it’s finished, it will be a great addition to our lives. But the bathroom being under construction for so long now has never been a subtraction from our lives, if that makes sense.

In other words, it’s not like we went from having a large, fully functional master bathroom, and being accustomed to using that large bathroom on a daily basis, to then having that bathroom be under construction for over a year. A large master bathroom is something we’ve never had, so we’ve never been accustomed to it. The construction is not a subtraction or an inconvenience, but the completion will be a huge addition to our lives.

The same goes for the home gym. We’ve never had a home gym before, so that room being under construction right now isn’t a subtraction, and it isn’t an inconvenience. But when it’s finished, it will be a great (and new) addition to our lives. But for now, both of those rooms hide behind a closed door and have absolutely no effect on our daily lives.

And as far as my studio goes, the only person affected by that not being finished is me. Even when it’s finished, it won’t be some great, new addition to Matt’s life. He’s excited for me to have a functional studio, but it won’t affect him or his daily life in the least (except that maybe he’ll see me less throughout each day 😀 ).

All that to say that while those few years of having the main areas of our house torn up and under construction were difficult and felt somewhat isolating (although the “isolating” part also comes with having a husband who has MS and didn’t want to leave the house for 13 years), if I had to do it all over again, I’d follow the same path. The payoff has been worth it.

And things really turned a corner once I got all of the main areas finished, i.e., the areas that guests would use when they come over. As a reminder, all of these areas in pink are completely finished. Tools and paint cans no longer accumulate in this rooms. I keep them clean. I don’t let clutter accumulate. And I have guests in my house at least once a week now, and soon to be twice a week on a regular basis.

Guests in our home are not affected in the least little bit by our unfinished home gym, our master bathroom construction, or my studio in desperate need of cabinets and storage. Those areas hide behind closed doors, and unless my guests are curious and want to see the bathroom progress (which some do, and in which case, they know they’re walking into a construction zone), they never have to see those areas that are tucked away behind closed doors.

So once we turned that corner where we had a completely finished entry, living room, music room, kitchen, hallway, hallway bathroom, breakfast room, and pantry, life became a whole lot easier.

And while biting off such a huge project isn’t something that anyone else can decide for you, I can only speak for myself and say that it was 100% worth it. I wouldn’t wish away these last nine years even if I could, and the best part is that this house doesn’t just feel like a project anymore. It truly feels like home.



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  1. I don’t follow blogs with one exception… yours! I have been watching your progress for years now and have been inspired, challenged, and encouraged that I can create a home the way you have. I hope you walk through your home with a huge smile on your face… it is well earned! Thanks for taking us on this journey!

  2. I love revisiting the before and after pictures. I need to see these reminders of how far you’ve come. Your ability to envision these projects never ceases to amaze me. Thx for sharing !

  3. I’d say that has been a well-spent nine years of mostly solo work: construction, furniture building, sewing, design, etc. The results are beautiful and unique. My hat is off to you!!

  4. I’ve been following you since your condo days and am always impressed that you are true to yourself. I like that you follow what you feel is best for you and Matt. I was so happy for you two when you found a way to explore with the new van and with all of the spaces you have created to suit your lifestyle. Congratulations on continuing in expanding your life in a way that benefits your family.

  5. You are an inspiration. Your home is lovely, unique and tailored to your and Matt’s needs. I’m so anxious for gym and master bath to be finished. AND you are so close. A big push and bam those are done!!! Good luck.

  6. I am always SO amazed at all you’ve accomplished over these years. You have worked so hard and have been so creative. And I appreciate how you’ve always been so open and honest throughout the process – victories, challenges, etc. Thank you so much for sharing your home and heart with your readers. (Also – I’ve been following your site since at least a year before you moved … and it feels strange to think you’ve been in your home for nearly a decade already!)

  7. Hi Kristi, I’m following your blog from Sweden – found you through the ORC when you did the pantry. When reading this post I was reminded of Proverbs 24:3-4, “By wisdom a house is built and by understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with every precious and beautiful treasure.”

    Also, couldn’t help thinking about how a renovation like this is such a good picture for the Lord’s renovation of us as individuals if we let Him take ownership and move in. 🙂 When He finds us, many of us are in a state similar to the house you bought. And when we’re in the middle of His process, many of us feel like that bathroom… But He knows the unique potential in every single one of us, and He brings it forth with patience and perseverance until we reflect His beauty and can become a blessing to the world, just like your home.

    Thank you for everything you share on the blog. And keep running the race! / Cecilia

  8. You have such great vision. Looking at the “before” it’s hard to imagine the “after.” Can that space ever look bright and clean? Lol We bought our first house four years ago- 6 people and one shower. So we turned a half bath in the master into a full one and created a walk in closet. I had so much fun designing it, and was thrilled with the outcome. It’s addicting. We’re now updating the main bathroom and while I can sometimes feel overwhelmed with all the small details (as you know, trim seems so easy, but it can be really hard- especially in older homes), overall it’s so fun. Your blog is very inspirational- and honest.

  9. Been following you since the plastic spoon mirror—can’t believe it’s been that long!! I’ve moved 4 times since then and still read every post. Have used a lot of your ideas in my own house even though I haven’t a tenth of your bravery! Thanks for all you’ve given us!

  10. Kristi, your perspective concerning the areas of your home you have finished, which really have no relationship with guests, is very wise. You have completed the projects that most visitors will probably see at this point, and, if they don’t, I hope you give them a major reason to enter your fantastic pantry because it is a show-stopper. Those tiles alone are amazing. (That may be about when I became a subscriber.)

    It is really a good way to think about prioritizing projects and so thanks for explaining your reasoning. I think that will be helpful for many of your followers to consider also.

    A little peek into your life through your description of daily/weekly activities helps us appreciate that you do live a balanced life while accomplishing so much. I am glad you and Matt are having outside adventures and inside ones as well when friends and family visit you.

    The other day you mentioned feeling perhaps less productive when you take a pause and chill. It seems to me that your creative juices are still sloshing around in the background of whatever you are doing. Those stops and restarts are valuable.

    The bathroom looks so beautiful. Huge project and it is so close to the end. Good for you!

  11. Thanks for this post – it is amazing to look at the before and after of the living room. I don’t remember what you were doing when I first started following, or even how I found you! BUT, I don’t remember that brown room, so sometime after that! I look forward to your posts though, and I love watching your process, and choices. What amazing progress you have made since I have been following, and since you bought that house. It would be so hard for me to see past that old house, but you saw great potential. You are amazing.

  12. I’ve been following since you bought that house and started ripping out the carpet! Gosh in some ways, it doesn’t seem that long. I’m so impressed with your work, ethics, and all of it combined. You are truly a superwoman to do all that plus care for a disabled hubby during it all! I’m so impressed!!! And happy for you!!

  13. Beautiful.. i think i came in when you were trying to make th living room a dining room… then you changed it back to a living room… so pretty 😊. And let’s face it, we all lost a year in 2020… so, tremendous progress.

  14. I’m an Australian who stumbled across your blog when you had just started blogging about this home- in that time I have quietly watched and applauded from afar…even as my marriage of more than 20 years came to an end, and I reunited with and then married my first love . We have been renovating for 5 years now-a few small tasks and one major one each year (currently replacing the kitchen). During this time, I have always loved coming to your blog and being inspired to get through the challenging times by reminding myself of what YOU have achieved. Be proud of what a difference you have made to not only your own life, but also strangers across the world.

    1. Yes, but he also has an Xbox set up in the bedroom. The bedroom TV is larger than the breakfast room TV. And I’m planning on having a large TV in the home gym as well, with a small setup for his gaming systems. We won’t have room for all of them, but he can at least choose two or three of his favorites to have set up in there.

  15. To use a particularly Southern phrase I’m so proud for you! Just looking at each photo of the rooms in your beautiful home reminds me that nearly everything in the photo has been touched, refinished, designed, built, painted, sewn, or otherwise altered by your hands. What an accomplishment! I hope you and Matt will have many more years to enjoy the results of all your hard work.

  16. I recently discovered your blog and you are amazing! You have really done a good job. So much fun color in your world too!
    I keep looking at your home layout and can’t figure where the master bedroom is?

    1. We don’t have one right now. 🙂 The room that was originally the master bedroom has now been turned into the master bathroom. We are planning an addition to the back of the house, and that will include a new master bedroom, laundry room, and family/media room. Until then, we’re using the guest bedroom as our main bedroom. You can see the original, current, and future floor plan here:

  17. You are so brave! This remodel is awesome! I am not sure I am patient enough to go thru with something as massive as this one.

  18. I don’t usually make comments on your posts but I have been watching your progress for all of those 9 years. I don’t recall how I stumbled across your blog but it is the only one that I truly follow. I am in awe of your ability to complete work that I wouldn’t even try to attempt and I have learnt so much from watching you rework an area of your home that is not quite right for you and Matt… e.g. your gorgeous green kitchen. I love what you are doing with your bathroom and cannot wait for you to finish your studio.
    Congratulations for sticking with what YOU love!!