My House Hates Me

Y’all, will you indulge me for a few minutes while I whine and pout like a spoiled little girl?  I know that my house troubles aren’t unique to me.  I’m certainly not the only person who has ever had furnace issues, or plumbing problems, or electrical issues, or trees that need a serious trim.

But that certainly hasn’t stopped me from wallowing in self-pity over the last 24 hours.

Let me explain why I’m wallowing this morning.

At this moment, I want one thing, and one thing onlyI want to have our foundation leveled.  It’s the one single thing that I’ve desperately wanted to plunk down a wad of cash for ever since the moment we closed on the house.

The cost?  About $2800.

Right now when you walk through the house, you can feel at certain spots where you’re literally walking uphill and downhill.  Trust me…no level is needed to see if the floor is uneven.  You can feel it, without question.

We actually get quite a kick out of it sometimes.  Matt will roll up to me in his wheelchair to talk to me about something, let go of his wheels, and just start drifting backwards.  We laugh.  We make our jokes about it.  We laugh when guests are here, and he shows them how unlevel the floor is.  We all get a kick out of it.  Ahhh…good times.

But I want it fixed…immediately.

It happens with old pier and beam houses, and it’s fixable.  But of course, the fix costs money.

And I can’t really dig into this house and get stuff done until the foundation gets leveled.

You know how I want to add wainscoting to the living room and our bedroom?  (I want to do something similar to this tutorial on This Old House.)

wainscoting tutorial via this old house

I can’t do that until the foundation is level.  If I get everything straight-ish on the walls right now, and then they come in and level the foundation, it’ll mess everything up.

I’d also love to replace the trim around all of the windows and doors, starting with the living room and bedroom.

I can’t do that until the foundation is level.

I’m so unbelievably anxious to rip down all of those polystyrene ceiling tiles and see what’s hidden behind them. Chances are that some or all of the ceiling will need to be re-drywalled.

I can’t do that until the foundation is level.

I could go on and on, but you get the point.  So much has to wait until the foundation is level.  Adding trim, wainscoting, new drywall, new walls, and anything else that actually gets attached to, or becomes part of, the structure of the house has to wait until the foundation is level.

But every time we think, “It’s time!  We can get the foundation level!” another issue arises, whether it’s having trees trimmed, or parts needed for the furnace, or electrical upgrades so that I can actually use my dryer.

The latest?  Plumbing.  More stinking plumbing.  We’ve already spent $1500 having the pipes coming into the house replaced.  (Yes, I realize $1500 is quite a steal of a deal for that much plumbing, but remember…I’m pouting like a spoiled child right now, and if you’ve read this far, you have, by default, agreed to indulge me.)  😀

Now the issue is the pipe(s) going away from the house.

The culprit?  Roots.  My beautiful oak tree has turned against me.

Large oak tree in front yard 2

And because its roots are blocking the line, it causes nastiness like this in my bathtub.

(Turn away now if you have a weak stomach.  Seriously.)

sludge in the tub

Aahhhhh…isn’t that delightful?!

Interestingly, it didn’t look or smell like sewage.  It looked like dirt.  And when I would run water in the kitchen sink, the tub would back up even more.

Anyway, after my sister Cathy and brother-in-law Bill came over to try to help me out (with no success…obviously…because the problem ended up being roots and not just a random clog in the line), I decided to give Liquid Plumber a try.

And here’s my public service announcement…

Don’t ever use Drano or Liquid Plumber if you have an old house with old metal pipes.  Never.  Just don’t.  If you have a bad enough blockage and that stuff sits in the line, it will eat right through that old metal.

And that’s exactly what it did under my house.

So the plumber replaced the pipe under the house.  That was the quick, (seemingly) easy, and surprisingly inexpensive part.

But it still wasn’t draining properly.

So they went out to the front yard, and searched for a cleanout so they could snake the pipe.

And they searched.

And searched.

And searched some more.

Long story short, I don’t have a cleanout on my pipe.  Current code states that you have to have a cleanout at the house, and another one at the street.

I have none.

What they did find was that evidently the pipe has been snaked before, but because there was no cleanout, someone just literally carved out a big 5-inch-long hole in the top of the buried pipe and then tried to cover it with some PVC.

Such a big mess.

They snaked that thing from the house to the street about four times, and finally got it clear enough so that everything would drain properly, but the bottom line is that the whole pipe from the house to the street needs to be replaced, and I need two cleanouts added.

That’s another $1200 (plus the $180 I’ve already paid them over the last two days).

Once more, my house leveling has been postponed, along with all of those projects that have to wait until the house is level.

And so that, my friends, is why I’m pouting like a spoiled child.

And wallowing in self-pity.

Because all I want to do is decorate.



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  1. Wow. I feel ya. Our floors are uneven like that, too. And our house is only 15 years old! I hope it works out for you. Pout away.

  2. We’ve all BTDT; stamping our foot, glaring our eyes and sticking out our tongue at the crap of life. 😛 …And we’ve all discovered, “This too shall pass.” 🙂 Perhaps, “Patience is a virtue” is a needed daily mantra? 😉

  3. The same thing happened to our drain pipe and we also had no cleanouts. Ours eventually cost us about $9k because we ended up replacing all of the pipes… and we’re in Los Angeles. It’s those little surprises that keep life interesting! Ugh!

    1. Linda, it probably cost you $9,000, or triple what it will cost Kristi, BECAUSE you live in Los Angeles. I’m in L.A., too, and everything here is two, three, four times what it would cost elsewhere in the U.S., including rental pricing these days! Ah, I guess we have our fine weather that makes up (LOL!) for it? That is until we have that major 7.8 earthquake the Red Cross is predicting for us. Good times! 😀

  4. Hey Kristi!

    I’m so sorry that you are dealing with this kinda stuff and I feel you! We bought our first home (built in 1865) over the summer and it has been nothing but foundational, electric, plumbing, lead paint, and plaster wall (blech!) issues the whole time. I feel grateful that someone else is feeling my pain and annoyance. I feel like I plunked down a huge sum of money for an bare and barely insulated box. Everyone told me homeownership would be a challenge, but I was not expecting this. However, I feel like I am learning SO much that can be put to use when we end up in our forever home! Hang in there (insert cute kitten hanging from tree limb)!

  5. That’s the “beauty” of older homes in established neighborhoods with beautiful trees. BTDT as the comment above says. I know you want to do the trim, wainscoting, etc but you can’t so why not focus on the things you can do like the window treatments???!!! After a good pity party of course.

  6. Hi
    Oh I feel you on this. When we moved to our dream place I had so many plans. New furniture, new kitchen, decorating etc. what I didn’t have plans to do was rip out our paved driveway and front lawn to put in new water lines. And as if that was enough three months later digging up the side yard to put in a new septic tank and system. Seems when ever we turn around something stood in my way. New hot water tank. New propane tank. Heaters breaking. It was endless. Money was flying out of our pockets faster than we could replace it. But it’s fixed and will last years and years. Hang in there.

  7. I don’t mean to be smiling when I type this, but I am… not because I enjoy your dilemma, but because I 100% understand the desire of only wanting to make things “pretty”! Fixing the house so it’s safe and to code is so annoying, isn’t it!? It will come, I have no doubt, you’ll put your head down and make your house love you! 😉 And then we will all love it!

  8. If you cancel the order for the drpaery/upholstery fabric, you can put it towards getting the STRUCTURAL issues corrected. Perhaps you should be spending your time reading up on things an owner of an older home should know (like how to take care of a clogged METAL pipe), instead of worrying about decorating.

    Didn’t you get an inspection before you bought this house?

    1. Well, aren’t you an absolute delight!? I’m sure you’re a blast at parties.

      I’m really not looking for input in how to budget/spend my money, or my time, for that matter. Thanks for the offer, though.

      Are you having fun leaving snarky comments all over my blog today? That’s a rhetorical question, by the way. Please don’t feel obligated to come back.

      1. Not a very good listener, is she? You pout all you want, Kristi! Then you’ll have a brilliant idea and get busy on another project and delight us all!

      2. Hi Kristi!
        Don’t waste your precious time responding to “Hunnies” who offer you unsolicited advice! Those of us who “know” you and follow you, understand and feel your frustrations and discouraging moments…we all know you will eventually get around to doing what you love and can hardly wait to see the results! Keep your chin up…when it’s done, you will know you have done it right!

      1. Well- that confirms what I have always thought about blog “trolls” that get all snarky up in their bits. WHY?! How is that even productive? Last I knew this was NOT your blog, it’s Kristi’s.
        KEEP ON Keepin’ Kristi! Ignore the “Hunnys” in life because as far as I know that is just short for HunnyBucket and we all know what they are full of. 😉
        I for one enjoy your blog for what it is. Human and real. 😀

  9. It’s your party … whine if you want to! I just spent two nights helping friends get their new house ready for new carpet….it was a big huge mess and not fun at all. But the carpet goes in today and the decorating can commence. You’ll get there … at least with the pipes fixed, you don’t have to worry about plumbing backups completely ruining any decorating you would have done. Probably doesn’t help, but it’s one way to look at it!

  10. It is tough to have an old house! The character! the charm! The pain in the neck! Eventually it will all be upgraded and then you won’t have to worry about this stuff anymore. Get that condo sold! It can only help with the financial situation and besides that, I miss it. : )

  11. I can so relate! Our house is over 100 years old and has suffered through some very ugly re-dos over the years. In the process of trying to get to where I can decorate we are also having to level our floors before we can do any other work. Just remember that you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear so the structural work is the most important and well worth the wait. Cheap, improper fixes end up costing more in the long run.

  12. Oh, man. Our house is over 160 years old – BUT someone who owned it BEFORE us – was very wealthy and replaced all of the plumbing and electric and heating. It’s not perfect…but it’s all quite modern. We are so grateful for that.
    Go ahead and whine. No sweat. It will all come together – it might just take a little longer than you’d hoped.
    Merry Christmas!

  13. I totally get it. When we bought our house 2 years ago my only stipulation is that we had to install a dishwasher (there are 5 of us and at the time 2 still were using bottles.) My parents bought us a dishwasher as a Christmas gift because we moved the week before Christmas. We discovered we couldn’t install it because of the subfloor in the kitchen we would have to remove either the floor or the counter top and ideally the cabinets. We also couldn’t install it because there wasn’t enough room in our panel (had to get a new one and upgrade to 200 amp service) and we couldn’t install it because our water supply lines had pretty much corroded shut (had to replace them). So my one little request of installing a dishwasher ended up costing us about $11,000. Totally feel your pain.

  14. Kristi, go ahead and play your fiddle and have your pity party. You’ll bounce right back with your ‘can do’ positive attitude. And then you’ll realize that it was wonderful to find out all the bad stuff discovered and fixed so you can be assured you are living in a sound, sturdy house which will serve you for many, many happy years. Like someone else suggested, work on your drapes to take your mind of this while it is being fixed. And perhaps in no time, you will have saved up again to level the foundation. I sure wish you could get your condo on the market so that would relieve some expense and help you out financially. Suffering with you toward a more permanent solution. Someday soon you will say it was all worth it.

  15. I have discovered growing up that when you move into a house, any house, That you should reserve about 6 to 10k dollars on upgrades and renovations. Mostly two things that most homeowners (even really good homeowners) will skip if they even think about it is Electrical & Pluming. Hence the 6k – 10k reserve. I mean if it still works why “fix/upgrade” it? My father being an electrical engineer has kept the house we are living in for the last 20yrs updated. You will likely not even find a new home as well equipped. Pluming included. Part of that is an honest dislike of “accidents” I mean plumbing and electric only break down at the worst times. If you get a new HVAC every 10 years then your going to both save money and repairs. Not to mention the pure hassle of having it break down at the most inconvenient time too.
    I know you just want to decorate but you should consult a person in electrical ect. to make sure you have enough outlets, plus that your fuse box is up to code and has enough beakers to carry the load you will be putting on it for the next 5 yrs. Same with plumbing. Is it all city, or do you have a septic tank? If you are on a well ect. Likely you already did alot of this before you bought the house. but make sure before you do much else to check your wiring/electrical.
    Last bit was just a personal thing. I rented a place whose wiring was old. were talking almost 40’s old.

  16. I feel you pain Kristi. I moved into a 164-year-old home last August and it has been one issue after another since moving in. Long story short, nearly all my decorations are still in boxes and will remain that way because now we are moving in the summer and I need to finish all the projects before then so we can sell this house.

    Just sayin’…you’re not alone. Doesn’t make it any better, but still. Solidarity, my sista!

  17. So sorry, Kristi. After remodeling my 100 year old Victorian several years ago, I definitely feel your pain. It was the first house I bought after my divorce, so money was tight and it seemed that so many things needed to be done. It took me four years to do the whole project, and when I sold it, it still didn’t have everything done that was needed (new windows and insulation would have helped a LOT!). We live in home built by a builder for himself, only 7 years old, and we have had to replace the water heater already, had to build a massive retaining wall, a leak in the hall bath wall, and the list goes on and on. But, I wouldn’t trade home ownership for anything. It will come together and you will love your home.

  18. Know that feeling. First off, it is harder to design your own home vs a client. I know your are anxious. When you move into a new place, you want to be able to go into it and design overnite (so to speak). Try and take one thing and day at a time. This may avoid quick decisions made and not being happy. Love all the pics you posted. Each one is truly gorgeous….. It will all come together and you will get your new home design as you like it in time. Patience is hard but it usually helps to work out what you are trying to accomplish. Good luck and thinking about u as you make your home yours. Prayers…

  19. I am sorry all theses things are happening. A good pity party clears your soul. Then you can focus more clearly on the ” FIX”. Keep plugging away you are doing great. Also your house does not hate you! It is like a child trusting you to make everything better.LOL Your house is enjoying the love you are showering on it. It is going to love you right back with warmth and beauty and coziness soon!!! Keep up your amazing work. I love your blog and thank you for sharing.

  20. I know how you feel I lived in a 100+ year old house and everything I wanted to do had to wait because something else needed done before you could do anything else, it is a vicious cycle.

  21. I’ll listen to you whine any time Kristi! I love hearing about your new house, even with all its flaws! I live in a very new home and have NO trees (unless you count the sapling in my yard), a peanut sized yard that barely encircles my house, and neighbors literally an arms length away. So I’m just envying your huge yard (and naughty tree).

  22. Courage, Kristi! You’ll get thru it — I PROMISE!

    I so understand your frustration. My condo slopes 8½” from front to back. I also kicked and screamed, but in the end decided kicking and screaming only blocked out the sound of my friend’s toddler rolling marbles across the floor and giggling her head off.

    You’re a strong woman, Kristi, with LOTS of people who care about you. You’re a lucky girl. Now, GET ONLINE AND FIND MORE LOVELY SITES TO DREAM OF AND DROOL OVER!

  23. Oh Kristi- I feel your pain. For me it is not floor leveling, but instead it is getting my hardwood floors installed. Every time it is just about to happen, our car either needs a new engine or we need to replace the pipe from the house to the street- yep I had that same issue last Thanksgiving. Oh the joys. 🙂

  24. Kristi, I feel your pain! Boy do I feel ya! I can drop a can in the kitchen and watch it roll through two rooms until it hits a wall! It’s been that way for 9 years and I don’t see a change in the near future since the previous owner told me she had three different companies try to fix it, but they all said that to jack the house up enough would damage the structure, so it has to be fixed from the inside. Which means raising the floor during the kitchen reno. Which can be done for minimal cost and effort, but major pain in storing everything kept in that room…..hence the MAJOR reno part of the equation.
    Bravo on setting ‘Hunny’ straight also. I’m not one to pull any punches as a rule, but I always play nice on the internet and have made my motto ‘say nothing if it’s not nice and supportive’. I follow several blogs and always want to be supportive of the heart and soul yall pour into your work. I’m so sorry you have to put up with folks like that and congratulate you on getting her/him told in such a nice way! Go girlie!

  25. I hope things get better soon! Homeownership is a mixed bag… we just installed an “inexpensive” vent free gas heater in our basement. We thought it would be a very easy install since the gas line came out right where we wanted it installed. Well, after two days with the installer and rerouting half of the pipes in the basement, I am happy to say it has been installed. Of course it cost more for the installation than it did for the heating unit itself…lol. So much for simple and easy. One thing I love to do is watch old classic movies as an escape when things get crazy… A very funny one for you to watch right now would be “George Washington Slept Here” (Jack Benny and Anne Sheridan). Your current situation will seem much brighter and you will get much laughter to melt off some of the stress. Take care and God bless!

  26. We had to replace the line from the house to the sewer on a 60 year old house. $6,000. I guess in the 1950s in Southern California, they were putting in lines made of heavy duty cardboard. We had to have it snaked annually and we only had fruit trees. Now that we have fancy new pipes no more problems. Best investment ever!

  27. It’s oh so frustrating, isn’t it? I’m so sorry for your trying experiences but so amazed at how well you cope. Go ahead and whine – cry if you can – it really, really helps! So fortunate you are discovering all this at the beginning, though. Loved the comment that your house is crying out for help. It will be such a wonderful place to live. When I feel overwhelmed, often I think about 6 months down the road and realize that it will be better by then. Sometimes even 6 weeks can make a huge difference.

  28. We bought our house 6 months ago and knew the foundation was settling. It’s a newer house (10 years old), but here in CO because of the unstable soil, it’s a common problem. We had to stop the the settling. After an engineer inspection and two bids for the work, we ending up having to spend $30,000 just to get everything stabilized – not leveled, just stabilized. We were expecting $10,000-$15,000, but because the basement was 10 feet and then two 10 foot stories on top of that they engineer said we required 23 piers (at approx $1500 each!) to make sure the foundation was stable. Plus, they had to drill the piers to 100 feet deep to hit bedrock even though they thought it would be around 30-50 feet. Thank goodness we went with the slightly higher bid that the price remained the same regardless of the depth they had to drill! Our engineer told us to look for several things in the bids – and unlimited depth clause and a lifetime warranty. The floors still slope, it would have been an additional $10,000 to level everything, but we now have the piece of mind that we won’t slip away into a sink hole! *LOL* The point is, at least yours is just 1/10 the price. 🙂 The cost is worth the piece of mind. We had to put everything on hold for 3 months while we went through the whole, inspection, bid and construction process, but now I know when I levee a door it will stay that way. Hope that helps make everything feel a little better. Hang in there!

  29. Yup, structural stuff gets you.
    I can’t decorate our house outside for the Holidays because the electrical is so old and horrid- 1972. Looks like a handyman pulled the aluminum wire and replaced it with copper, upgraded the then-old panel, but used a very small panel and never used wire nuts. Electrician prefers to work in a cold attic vs. hot attic here in Texas. Currently, the only outside outlet is the same circuit as the indoor one we use for our tree.
    Majority of our bedrooms on the same circuit- yup.
    Kitchen circuits trip if you have too many appliances working at the same time- yup.
    Only one bathroom has a heater and exhaust fan, the others do not.
    All electrical changes require the new panel and separating some circuits. And other big expenses have delayed that new panel for 2 years now.
    I do feel your pain.

  30. Awww, feel your pain, Kristi. Me, too…all I want to do is decorate. But for the last several years I’ve been working on the “bones” of my old house. New roof. New windows. Re-stucco. Etc, etc. Now I am in the middle of a one-woman DIY kitchen remodel, and I feel like it’s NEVER going to get done. And the only thing that keeps me going is knowing that when this is all over (bones good, remodel done) I can D-E-C-O-R-A-T-E!!!! Seriously, I know exactly how you feel. Good luck with your plumbing. What sucks about plumbing shizz, is that after you spend ALL that money you don’t even have ANYthing to show for it, you know?? Nothing cool to look at. Sighhhhh… But don’t worry, you WILL get to all the fun stuff!! One foot in front of the other… 🙂

  31. Welcome! to the, “I live in an older home and every time I BLINK something goes wrong” club (your certificate and lapel pin are in the mail). You have every right to have a pity party. I know I have one at LEAST once a year. We’ve lived in a 60-ish year old home for ten years and we’ve gutted, moved walls, re-did all the floors, new kitchen (same footprint) same with the bathrooms, new interior doors as well as exterior, the whole sha-bang. We had our money put aside for all our projects. We know, NOTHING ever goes as planned (you can quote me on that). The first big thing that went wrong, (even with an inspection they can’t for-see everything) our well had a crack, like a hair line crack. Probably because the well is near our giant willow, you know how you feel about your oak? I love my willow and it’s been hit by lightning once and high wind storms I think at least 3 times. My once gorgeous, full, 100 year plus willow is now very sparse 🙁 Anyway, as I was saying about our well, we had silt in our water (very fine dirt particles, that I’m sure rich women pay to have spread on their faces at the spa). I should have opened a spa to off-set the cost of a new well, 10,000 dollars. Yep, no lie. So that was a BIG chunk of our house re-do money. Here we are 10 years later and still haven’t got many things done for one reason or another…like, our neighbors trampoline smashing into our gutters, roof, and brick on our house, smashed the window out of our car, then landed right in front of our front doors for it’s last resting place. It was a crumpled mess, springs everywhere, it was sad. We had a high wind storm. I could go on and on and on but I don’t want to depress you anymore than you already are. All I can say is, I put on my big girl panties, because that’s what size I wear, and I decorated even though my floors are all wonky. I made my home cozy for us even though there are plenty of things that still need to be fixed. I don’t let them bother me as much anymore. I still have my annual pity parties, wishing we had the money to have this or that done, but I get over it and move on to the next project I can do that doesn’t cost money or I already have supplies for.
    I really hope your problems from this point on will be small and few.
    I have been following you for awhile now (that always sounds weird to me, I’ve been FOLLOWING you, like I’m some sort of stalker) but you are so talented, I absolutely love your style and creativity. I really look forward to seeing what you do in your new house.

    All the best to you….Co 😀

    1. We had sewage backup and a snaking done, replaced an electrical panel, removed the ugliest, nastiest wallpaper from several rooms (and gave up and painted over a few more). The people who lived here were wallpaper obsessed, they even did some of the ceilings in wallpaper! Our fence blew down in a windstorm…I feel all of you ladies pain too…my house was built in 1962 and I love it, but so many things need done…sigh….

  32. I know. I know. Been there. Yes, you will get through it eventually and get to your decorating but it may take while, so take a deep breath. Houses are money pits, face it now because this is the reality of home ownership. And with old houses, it will never end…just a fact. When we moved to our Small House in 2000, we were here one month and needed a new water heater. Then at month three our septic backed up (yes, I said I know your travails). Snaking, pumping, until we put down a tiny camera and discovered TREE ROOTS!! This was month # 3. Then we had to replace the entire septic and drain field. Thirteen years later, we just replaced water heater number 2 AND put in a new house pump….. If I made a list of all the repairs, fixes, and replacements between 2000 and 2013, you might cry so I won’t do that to you. If this is your forever house then it will be worth fixing right. Hang in there…and know… it happens to us all.

    Small House / Big Sky Donna / White Oak Studio Designs / SW Michigan
    Hand-Painted Vintage Furniture Transformations
    Facebook: [email protected] (for portfolio of chalk painted work)

  33. You are absolutely entitled to have a whine before you have to get down to this house leveling business! All your readers and supporters will be cheering you on as you go through this, and then stand back in awe of how you beautifully transform your home. You have accomplished so much, and deserve a pat on the back!

  34. Kristi, close your eyes, take a deep breath, hold the breath for a minute, then very slowly exhale. I have been there and done that. It does get better. I will say a prayer for your house that nothing else interferes with getting your house leveled.

    The whining does help for a short time so enjoy your pity party for as long as you need it.

  35. Kristi,

    This is a good dose of reality to wake us up from our romantic dreams of renovating that cute little 100-year-old cottage. It all looks so easy when you see the “before-and-afters” in “This Old House”. But you are living where the rubber meets the road.

    With your talent, I KNOW it will all turn out STUNNING! It will all be worth it. Hang in there. <3

  36. I have the same issues sans the plumbing, but I’ve been afraid the trees that are too close to the house might interfere. I was so surprised to hear you say 2,800 dollars to relevel the house. We need ours done and from my research online they said you may have to spend 8,000 or a lot more.

    I think our sloping floor has something to do with the trees too close to the house as well as the fact that their is no gutters on this house!

  37. Oh Kristi, I’m sorry but I have to tell you that I was laughing out loud a few times with this one. I’m picturing you having friends over for cocktails and the light conversation begins and then Matt whips out his little parlour trick of showing how his chair rolls away by itself and everyone tinkling with laughter. And I’m reading the blog in your voice in my head and feeling how exasperated you are because of the stupid old pipes when all you want to do is play with pretty fabric! Well here’s a big Canadian hug coming your way!

  38. Oh go ahead and whine. At this point you deserve some whine time. Or some time with some wine. You pick. At least you’ve been, well, on the level!

  39. I’m sorry to hear this, Kristi, and you can pout all you want to because any one of us (Hunny especially – I mean, look how bent out of shape she got just READING about housing problems on your blog!) would feel the exact same way if we finally bought the home we wanted and things started going wrong. I feel so badly for you. But once you get all the really important things done like electrical, plumbing, and structural, you know your house’s bones will be all set and then you can layer on the pretty. Of course we’d all rather dress the old girl up first, but we first we must give her a bath and wash all her bits up first!

  40. Oh, Kristi, so sorry for these derailers. It is all part of the journey of making your house, your home. With you strength and talents, and much time and sadly much money too, you and your husband will have the home of your dreams. It’s ok to whine, and your followers will listen and support. Know you are not alone, do what you have to do, and carry on!! Love your blog!!!!!!

  41. Kristi, you can root prune up to a fourth of the roots off your tree without causing damage to the tree, as I am told by my arborist.

  42. If you haven’t become a member of Angies List, I highly recommend doing so. I was able to find people who were good and cost literally hundreds, if not thousands less, for home repairs and other jobs.
    I forget where you live, but here is one method from a company in Houston. There could be more than one way to repair the foundation, maybe this could be cheaper? (I have no idea, this just popped up in a search) I totally understand. I almost feel we are cursed. I left one house with leaks and moved to one we haven’t figured all the leak issues…I also have massive trees with massive root systems too, but one leak is in an upstairs bathroom and we haven’t figured it out. So, I have two huge holes in the ceiling drywall, I think they have been there a year or so now and one bathroom is still leaking (bathtub). I am very frustrated.

  43. Kristi,

    I just recently found your blog and absolutely love it and can’t wait for your next post. You have so much talent and I feel like I know you. I am so sorry for the problems you have encountered but remember “this too shall pass”. I completely understand about just wanting to decorate. I know you home will be beautiful. I am so sorry about the negative comments from Honey. I can not understand people like that but you handled it beautifully. Hang in there.

  44. Wow, I am so sorry 🙁 These kinds of problems can be real joy thieves, can’t they? I’m in “the trenches” with you. I think we may live in the same house just a 100 miles or so apart! lol Our root problem kicked into hyper-drive on Thanksgiving! Yay! lol Right now we’re dealing with this ice storm with no central heat. Brrrrr….
    BTW, my husband is also a DBU alum…a decade or so before you, I think.

  45. I can relate in some way. All I want to do is remodel and decorate my off-white blank canvas of a home. It needs updating as well as color, furniture, storage/organization solutions and warm style. I am the mother of a large family and I simply have no time to actually get anything done. I have all these ideas and I’m so excited to get started, but then the reality hits that I will have very little time to do what I’d like to do. I walk around planning out every room and deciding just how I’d like it, and then end up feeling frustrated because I don’t know if/when I’ll get it all done.

  46. Kristi, your luck sounds like mine. We recently discovered that the drain for our washer is non existent. The place in the wall that the pipe is supposed to go into is there so from the outside it looks just fine, so we’ve had the washer draining into the wall for the past 4 months that we’ve lived in our house. The only reason we discovered it is because I was pulling winter things out of my closet which shares a wall with the drain and found mushrooms growing on my carpet. Thankfully, all my clothes were stored in plastic totes or they would have been ruined. I was able to use mildew remover on the trim and walls to get rid of it and got the carpet to dry, but we are currently draining our washer into a trashcan and hauling it outside to dump it three times for every load of laundry until my husband has a chance to rip out all the drywall, install the plumbing, and put up new drywall. Hooray for old houses!

  47. I just leased a 1905 Victorian to use as my interior design studio, and got the rude awakening that there is no heat! It is actually colder inside than outside. I can totally relate girl. Hang in there! 🙂

  48. Hang in there! I just bought a 1977 1472 sq ft rambler that was supposed to cost $55k to renovate and instead has cost us $90k and counting! We now think we may have a heat pump issue and maybe something wrong with the septic. After the inspector told us we had 5-7 years on our roof, a leak appeared. Go figure ha! I’m sure there will be more surprises in store. And I have had plenty of pity parties for myself that are followed by really happy moments. So this probably won’t be your last pouting session but it will all be worth it in the end! Once again, hang in there!

  49. Hi Kristi, I was just wondering if there might be some government assistance to level your floors and other upgrades that may be needed due to Matt being in a wheelchair. It couldn’t hurt to look into it. There are often programs to help people retrofit homes to assist people with disabilities to be safer and more comfortable I their homes. Maybe even something as simple as an interest free loan would be available. Good luck.

  50. I hear ya. We lived in an old farmhouse for over 20 years and the floors were a freakshow from room to room. Unfortunately, the home was over 100 years old with an old stone foundation, there really was no fix to it unless we jacked up the whole thing and replaced the foundation. Too much money and that would’ve set off another whole set of issues. Our current home is starting to show its age and we’re faced with a list of things that need to be replaced soon (within the next 2 years) before they become a real hazard: new windows, new furnace, and a new deck. Those items supercede my want for a new kitchen and bathrooms and that’s if nothing else pops up. I’m sorry you’re going through this but I think we all understand that its 1 step forward, 2 steps back in any remodel.

  51. Thank you for posting this! I have been in my 100 year old house for almost nine years, and about 8 years ago I wanted to have a proper mantlepiece installed and the fireplace set up to be cozy for for the winter…. But then I found the termite damage, and had to jack up the house and replace joists and 30% of the floors on the first floor, AND replace (a) the new roof that the previous owners had put on (badly), along with (b) almost all the plaster inside that had been ruined by slow leaks new and old and covered up with joint compound, (c) both water heaters (which had been recalled), (d) the boiler which was leaking CO . . . . Long story short, the antique mantle I found is propped against the wall in the living room and I am waiting to have $1850 to have it properly installed (including rebuilt brick behind it). At least I have gotten the chimney re-lined and capped already. But I have to remind myself that the house is beautiful in so many ways and loves me for bringing it back to life. Reading your post and all these comments help and let me know I’m not alone.

  52. Ouch! I’m sorry you have to go through all of this. Our house is quite old and we are JUST starting to notice a few problems arising (plumbing in particular). A little worried but we’ve started to put some money aside in case any problems arise. I hope you get your foundation problem sorted out and I’m sure you’ll feel more optimistic in no time!

    Happy Holidays,

  53. I have just recently found you and started following along. The first thing I saw with the house tour. I thought, “oh, my!” then, I saw the living room update.i m soi pressed. I can’t wait for more updates! Thank you for sharing! You are a talented visionary!