I Think I May Have Been Crazy

I have one more main project to do before the guest bedroom is finished. I still have to sew the draperies. Other than that, it’s just a few touch ups, some accessorizing, and then it’s done!

But this past weekend, I was at the point of the project where I was starting to feel like it’ll never be done. Honestly, I’ve been at that point for a couple of weeks now. And when I reach that point in a project, I start to question if I’m ever going to get this house done. And then I start to question what the heck I’ve even accomplished in the first place since we bought this house. Since I live in this house day after day, and I only experience the gradual changes each day, sometimes it’s hard to remember exactly what I started out with.

So last night, I took a trip down memory lane to encourage myself, and remember exactly what this house looked like when we signed the papers and were handed the key.

I’ll never forget walking through the house the first time with my mom. She looked at me with the most concerned look on her face and asked, “Kristi, are you sure you can do this?” I responded, “Yes! I really want to do this!” My brother simply looked at me like I had lost my mind and said, “Well, I’m glad it’s you and not me.”

before - living room
The original living room.
before - entryway
The original entryway (foreground) and music room (background). The living room is on the right.

They were concerned that I was biting off way more than I could chew. And they had every reason to be concerned! Frankly, I had no reason at all to be so confident that I could tackle this house on my own. I was ignorant and naive, and I had no experience with the majority of the things that I’d face when remodeling this house. And yet, for some strange reason, I just knew I could do it. Or I knew, at least, that I wanted to try.

And nothing, not even a kitchen that looked like this, was going to put a damper on my excitement, enthusiasm, and unjustified confidence.

before - kitchen 3
The original kitchen with the den (what is now the breakfast room) through those doors.
before - kitchen 1
The original kitchen with the sunroom seen through the doorway. The room immediately connected to the kitchen through that doorway is the original dining room (what is now called the music room).
before - kitchen 2
The original kitchen. The back area of the original den that is seen through that doorway on the right is now the walk-in pantry.

It’s hard to believe that the kitchen was the first room remodel that I tackled in this house. Talk about diving into the deep end of the pool! I just went for it and figured things out as I went along. And I think it paid off! Because that old kitchen seems like such a distant memory, and the transformation is so much sweeter knowing that I did this with my own hands.

teal kitchen wall of cabinets

There was so much that went into that kitchen, and it was such a confidence-booster challenging myself to figure out solutions as I was met with problems. And getting that room completely finished made me feel like I was unstoppable. And I needed that confidence because I went on to tackle the hallway bathroom, which started out looking like this…

before - guest bathroom
The original hallway bathroom with the window that looked into the sunroom.

That was quite a project, too! But it was well worth the effort. I love my pretty little hallway bathroom now.

All of these before pictures seem like a distant memory to me. Each time I open up the folder on my computer (which I do every few months just to encourage myself), I’m shocked each time. I’m shocked that seven years ago, I somehow, and for some inexplicable reason, felt like I could tackle this house largely by myself. I’ve definitely had some great help along the way, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I walked through the house the first time. That didn’t stop me, though! It only made me more determined.

I remember seeing this big room next to the kitchen and having absolutely no idea what I was going to do with it. The previous owners called it a den, so initially that was my plan as well. But somehow that plan evolved into turning this into a breakfast room with a walled off section at the back for a walk-in pantry.

before - breakfast room.2
The original front of the den. This area is now the breakfast room, with the kitchen on the right. The doorway on the left led to the garage, which is now my studio.
before - breakfast room
The back of the original den. The open doorway went to the kitchen, and the closed door went to the sunroom. The back area of the original den is now the walk-in pantry.
Butler's pantry remodel with dark teal lower cabinets, floating corner shelves, and whitewashed wood countertop

And of course, there’s so much more that’s been done since we bought this house. But I just needed a little pick-me-up, and flipping through some of these before pictures was just the boost I needed to tackle the very last project that remains on the guest bedroom.

Speaking of the guest bedroom, remember what it looked like originally?

before - guest bedroom 1
The original guest bedroom. The hallway bathroom is directly across the hall.
before - guest bedroom 2
The original guest bedroom with the doorway that went to the front porch.

I can’t wait to get this done so I can show you the full before and after! Just one more project!!

If you’re remodeling your house, or thinking about buying a fixer upper, please be sure to take loads and loads of before pictures!!! Trust me, you’ll need them. And especially if you’re DIYing the remodel, which naturally takes way longer than hiring out the whole thing, you’ll be so glad to have those pictures to look back on when it feels like the project will never end. Being able to see the progression through pictures is sometimes just the boost of encouragement I need to push me over that finish line.

By the way, if you want to see more pictures of the our house on the day we bought it, you can see those here:

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  1. You are like a pack of Virginia Slims, “You’ve come a long way, baby!” It helps to see where it was to help you regain focus and momentum. It will be nice for you both to be in a bedroom and get your breakfast room back so you can enjoy those fall mornings. You are doing great and yes, there are those times that you question, but in the long run it will all be worth it. You are an educator–yes, all of us fans/followers are your pupils, and we depend on “teacher Kristi” to show up and show out! I know everything cannot be a showstopper, but it is fun to see how much you can do. Thank you for allowing us to come along for the ride. It is fun AND educational!

      1. No kidding, thanks Gina, I needed that motivational pep talk!! Xo

        And yes, you have indeed Come a long way Baby!!

    1. Thanks for the recap Kristi… it made me realise that I have been following along since you first started this project.

      So much has changed and although you may think it will never end you have come such a LONG way!!

      Congratulations for your tenacity and staying power and you should be VERY proud of your achievements!!

  2. You have really gotten a lot done, Kristi! I love following you, because you remind me of myself. I am on my 4th home, doing most everything myself. The sense of happiness that comes when the project is finished is so gratifying! Keep up the good work!

  3. I’ve been following you from the first and remain in awe of your skills and your sense of decor. Your home has certainly evolved into a beautiful, colorful, Cozy place. Thank you for sharing the journey.

  4. Kristi, you may need a reminder of how far you’ve come but I don’t! It has been an amazing journey and it’s etched into my mind! I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed with my building projects and repairs myself and look forward to that imaginary day when it is all done. I have to fit it all around monthly trips 2 1/2 hrs away to help care for my 90 year old mother, a child an hour away that I am Guardian ad litem for, an adult child living with us with severe anxiety issues, and all the endless chores of running a home, seeing clients in my part time personal training business and other volunteer efforts. We have to give ourselves a break on occasion and just know we are doing our best and that there’s really no hard deadline most of the time to get things done. Setting deadlines can keep us on track but can also unnecessarily stress us. Thank you for the wonderful example you set with your devotion to Matt and everything else that you do to support your family financially by being a fabulous teacher of skills and knowlege! We all love and admire you!

  5. You’ve used vision and tenacity to turn a pit into a real gem. You should be proud of what you’ve accomplished. We all have moments at work when we lose motivation and remodeling has been your job since the condo. Remember, you’re self-employed and can take some time off when you need to regroup and recharge; we’ll be here waiting for your next great reveal.

  6. It is hard to believe everything that you have done. The before and after photos are so wildly different. You have great skills. And even better for all of us, you are a great communicator and teach us so much. I appreciate that you are open and share the emotional parts of this journey, so you teach us more than how to use a paint sprayer or build something — you also teach us how to be resilient and work through all kinds of problems!

  7. Absolutely amazing. Your talent for design and your ability to do the work yourself is just amazing. I understand the feeling of being over whelmed at times but like you said, look at your before pictures and then tell yourself “you got this girl”. My kitchen is being redone at this moment. I designed it but we’re not doing the labor. Don’t think I could’ve made it through that. Your home is beautiful. Don’t know how you are doing it. Oh, I had to share your coffee table with my cabinet builder. Beautiful.

  8. You are an amazingly talented person. We haven’t gotten 1/10th of what you have gotten done and we’ve lived in this house 10 yrs. all we did was strip wallpaper and paint. Oh, and put in two floors with easy to stick on tiles and some strip flooring (improperly done). You are frankly amazing!

    1. I agree with all the kudos above adding the workroom with the 2 huge worktables!!! And the back entry too. Also, not only have you redone these rooms, some have had several iterations. Remember the livingroom to dining room back to livingroom? I don’t know where you get your energy or tenacity from, but in my next life I’d love a cup or 10 for myself😉

  9. Kristi, you are amazing. You inspired me to take on an old farmhouse remodel. Oh my gosh! I had nightmares about this property. And we still aren’t done. But we’ve come a long way. Thanks for blazing the trail and showing us all what is possible. I’m so glad I took a chance on my farmhouse.

  10. Your house is gorgeous now, and YOU did that. All your “stuck” times eventually go into the “done” file. You’ve redone more square footage than exists in my entire home. We love coming along for the ride. I can’t do half what you do, and the other half, I don’t want to do. but I sure appreciate what you have done, and it was done so well and to a very high standard. When I see all that you have done, it seems like it would have been more than 7 years…it would be for me!

  11. OMG!!! I’ve been following along with you this entire time, and really enjoying your labor and decorating skills. And then I see all of these “befores” which had completely dropped out of my head..and this has just blown me away. What goes way, way beyond “amazing”? That’s you.

  12. Oh my goodness! Those pictures brought back memories. I remember the day I went with you to see the house for the first time. I knew you were looking for encouragement, but I couldn’t think of one single encouraging thing to say as we walked through. For one thing, the first thing I saw as I walked in the front door that rainy day was the bucket in the floor under the leak. And it went downhill from there. 🙂 You have done, and continue to do, an amazing job and almost totally by yourself. I’m so proud of you. Of course, you have always done things by yourself, no help from anyone, from the time you were a toddler. How many times did I hear you say very confidently, “Me do it me-self!” I think that when the house is finished you should design a cute sign to hang on your front door that says – Me did it Me-self. 🙂

  13. That breakfast room is absolutely gorgeous!!!! I have not seen it before. Wow!! The kitchen is also probably the most beautiful kitchen in this country. I like to look at house interiors and have been disappointed so offen.

  14. WOW!!!! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more professional and stunning transformation- and we own a construction business! You are truly amazing, especially since you just learn as you go. We have employees that have been in the business for years and probably can’t do half as much as you do on your own! Love, love, love it.

  15. Every room you’ve completed is so completely and beautifully done! Be proud of yourself and your accomplishments. You are amazing! Review the photos you have and that should give you the push to complete yet another room. Go Kristi!

  16. When I think about the fact that you were gutsy enough to tackle this house ON YOUR OWN, with only occasional help from family, I want to stand in front of you, clapping my hands and shouting “BRAVO!” Seeing what you have accomplished so far is just amazing! Never feel discouraged….yes, it’s taking a while, way longer than most people, BUT…….you are doing it alone, hardly any help from the outside, and also maintaining care of Matt, two cats and a dog, plus helping Mom at times, cooking meals, shopping, paying bills, and I’m sure so much more that we have no idea about. I’m lucky to run the vacuum, dust , put in a load of laundry AND fix a dinner in one day! Some days I just stay in jammies and watch tv while cruising the internet…….so a big RAH-RAH-RAH to Kristi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Ditto to all these absolutely wonderful and encouraging comments. The love emanating from your followers touches my heart. Thank you, Kristi, for reminding us of the beginning so we can celebrate with you how far you’ve come and your God-given creativity that continues to inspire and amaze each of us.

  18. Kristi, you should feel extremely accomplished. Everything you have undertaken and completed just blows me away! You seriously have more talent in your little finger than I have in my whole body! You’ve come a long way, baby… and don’t you ever doubt it! <3

  19. Kristi, don’t doubt yourself, you are truly amazing! You enjoy what you are doing with the house and this is even more important than the final result. Life is a journey.

    And thank you for this post, I am looking for a job right now and needed it to remind myself what I have achieved.

  20. the way you casually say, “the kitchen was your first project” … i beg to differ Missy! that floor! remember… you ripped out all the old carpet and sanded that baby BY YOURSELF!! Then did an amazing job refinishing the entire thing before even moving in …
    Well done!
    and despite a few threats of quitting the blog you have continued to lovingly forgive comments and educate us and bring us all along on the journey!
    love ya babe from Australia xx

  21. You are so amazing and inspirational! I can’t believe how much talent you have and how varied that talent is. From putting in floors, building furniture, sewing drapes, you can do it all. Your home is beautiful!

  22. Amazing work, Kristi! You’ve accomplished so much!! Thank you for sharing your journey with us 🙂 Love seeing the before and afters!!!

  23. Kristi, your house is beautiful. What I really love about your house projects is how you figure out ways to achieve your vision in a way that is so true to yourself. You never just copy a trend just because some celebrity or blog does it. And it’s inspiring how you figure out how to diy projects and end up with a refined, professional finish. I like how you analyze something, figure out how to diy it, and then you show us how you did it so that we can try new things too. The transformations are so dramatic too!

  24. Don’t let emotions slow you done. I know it is tiring. I know how hard it is when you have that stage we’re it is a horrible mess. The only thing I can do is turn off the brain and just do. Only way to get it done. You can do this. I know you can. And you will end up with your vision in your happy place. Now go rock this out!

  25. Wow! I have followed you since you bought the house and watch in awe of how much work you’ve done. Finding the motivation can be hard, but it all looks so great!

  26. You have come a long way in this house and should be proud! You are an inspiration to my mom who is renovating the inside of her house herself and follows along with your updates religiously.

  27. You have been at this point a couple of times. Step back, take a deep breath and look around at what you’ve created. You will finish your guest room and much much more. One day at a time.