Posted in Livin' la vida loca!, Time for a change of scenery


When Chip yells, “DEMO DAY” it looks super fun … right? I think it appears that way because he only does it for a little bit and it is fun … for a little bit. Then the crew comes in and Chip goes onto something else.

I admit, there is something quite therapeutic about busting tile, knocking down sheet rock and making a big old mess. My kids loved it! I only got to take part in the fun for about a week before I had surgery. After that I was sidelined from the whole demo situation. That was a shame because there was still a lot of demo to be done. Once the contractors stepped in to help my husband things went quickly. After the walls are down, the tile is busted, wires are exposed, and it looks like a shell instead of a house it gets a little spooky. That moment of, “what did we do” creeps up on you in a hurry and it gets rather easy to wonder if the process will ever end.

Just like many remodel projects, when you tear into something you often find another problem that needs to be addressed. You also might have great design ideas that create more work in the long run. It was easy to tear things out, but it is not easy to put things back together, especially if you have a picky customer, like me. In all reality, most things went quite smoothly, but the things we thought would be easy created the most frustration.

I was sure that tearing out the wall in the kitchen was going to cause problems. We knew it was ok structurally, but I was worried about electrical, sheet rock, and everything else that could go wrong or cause issues. It went smoothly and my husband completed nearly the entire project on his own. The electrician and the granite installers were the only professionals that helped him tackle the project. We also hired plumbers for the project and I shouldn’t leave them out, it was just bad. I think the guys were new to plumbing because my husband had to tell them how to install the faucet, it was that bad. Everything in the kitchen went as planned and there were no major hiccups.

The guest bathroom was another issue, major case of hiccups. Once the old vanity was removed and the new vanity was installed we discovered that the tile had not been installed in all areas of the bathroom and we had some 1980’s leno shining through in my new design plan. The plumbers I mentioned before also struggled in the bathroom. They left the job with exposed blue pex pipe in my bright white newly remodeled bathroom. It was so bad that I cried. Not only were they very slow and extremely expensive, the work was not good. We paid them and moved on. My husband came up with an idea that fit perfectly in my design and we were also surprised to find some matching tile out in an old storage shed on the property. The issues were resolved and we moved forward.

The never-ending DEMO DAY is still ongoing in our master bathroom. Some issues you don’t see until you pull back the layers. We found out that the drain was done incorrectly when the home was built and we have to have the concrete jack hammered out and new plumbing installed. AKA … this is why you haven’t seen any pictures of the master bathroom. It has a beautiful new door that stays closed and I am praying it is complete soon!

What was the biggest issue what we have dealt with? What do you think? I never would have guessed that the most stressful and maddening issue in the entire remodel would be the ceilings. Seriously … the ceiling? YES!!! THE CEILING! UGH … On my list: remove popcorn, remove florescent lights, add can lights, move a couple of fixtures, remove skylights, sheet rock skylight holes, hole from previous wall, new texture and paint. We hired it all out too, y’all! It wasn’t like we were in here playing construction crew. We hired a crew with references and great photos to come knock it out. It was so rough … more crying. Aside from just generally doing bad work they also sprayed texture all over every window in the house, the antique stove, showers, it was everywhere. There wasn’t a room in the house that looked good. Here is another mistake we made that you can all learn from. I was still not able to get around well and I couldn’t be here to check the work. They finished after hours on a Friday and it was dark with only a few spotlights for Jason to check work with. Insert contractor sob story (love y’all … but all of you a lot of you do it) “It’s Friday and I have to get the cash to pay my guys, we can come back and do touch ups”. Don’t do it, don’t fall for it … poof they are gone. Then you walk into your house in the light the next day and loose your ever-loving mind!! Like … HULK OUT … then remember you are a Christian and you can’t hulk. UGH! After this experience we hired another guy to come in and re-do the ceilings. This next guy was a good kid and he was a jack of many trades, but I don’t know that texture and painting were his strong points. Our bedrooms and bathrooms all look fine, no major issues. The focal point of my house, the living room, dining room, and kitchen are not ok. In certain light it looks alright, but to anyone that knows sheet rock and texture or even to an untrained eye in good lighting, its just REAL BAD! At this point we were really done with the ceiling, done with contractors and we needed a place to live. We moved in knowing that we will have to re-do the texture and pain in the main living space of the house at some point in the future. I’m praying that it is at a point when we are gone on a week long vacation because I just can’t with the dust anymore.

So what do you think? Do you want to tear out some walls and get busy? DEMO DAY!! The demo is fun, but the putting it back together part, not so much. I can firmly conclude that I will gladly take part in demo day on future projects, but reputable contractors will be taking it from there. The best part is that is was another project under our belts and more lessons learned. Previous projects we have tackled have not involved as many design and functionality issues, but I learned from each challenge and every frustration. Here’s to another demo day … hopefully coming soon! (NOT AT MY HOUSE) hahahah!!

Finding our New Home

After we decided on our new hometown, we got busy looking for the perfect place. As it turns out it was hard to find our place in Schroeder (because that is what we wanted), there just wasn’t a copy and paste version available. It’s exactly what we were looking for, but we sure couldn’t find it. Our amazing realtor worked hard and showed us so many places. We were all over the place too! I would have had serious reservations about showing too many properties when you are looking at raw land, ranch properties, fixer uppers …. dumps, and then scheduling showings in neighborhoods. We didn’t know what exactly we wanted, but we knew we weren’t finding it and we were running low on time.

After so many showings and so many LONG trips to see properties I sat down one night and looked through listings again. There was a place that our realtor had sent me before, but I didn’t even schedule a showing. It checked most of the boxes, but when I looked, I just thought, I’m going to want to update everything and we won’t be able to make the budget work. As I looked at it that night, I just had this peace about it and I thought, this is it. We had just returned to Victoria from some showing and we couldn’t head back. We had too much going on at work and had just moved out of our home in Schroeder and into a TINY apartment. I sent a text to our realtor to find out if it was still available and she immediately contacted the listing agent. It was, but there were lots of showings and they were expecting an offer. There wasn’t time to make the trip to look. We asked my father-in-law to meet our realtor and walk through the next day. God love him, he sure wasn’t much help. Hahah! Love ya, Craig. Our realtor had walked through a zillion places with me and she is just a person that you meet, and you know, she’s good people. We got her on speaker and told her to tell us what she though.

That folks … that’s how we bought a property without ever looking at it. Nothing else would work and this all fell into place. We negotiated and had the place under contract later that night and we finally got to see it during our inspections. That just us … a little crazy, but a whole lot of trust in God.

exterior front of house

We didn’t even tell family what we had done. When we went to meet the inspector, we just told everyone we were looking at a property. Only the two of us knew that it was under contract & as long as the inspection was ok, this would be our new home. Driving up I was relieved! It was adorable, and the pictures did not do it justice, it felt like home. This quaint little 3 bedroom needed some updates and the property needs some cleanup to be where we want it, but it had good bones.

After the inspection was done, we let our family know that we already had the place under contract and were moving forward … insert judgmental looks here! Lol It’s alright though, we knew it was right.

Our realtor had told us that the family selling the property had built the home and were the original owners of the property, but had reached an age where they needed to move into town to something more manageable. The understanding of the gift God had given us didn’t come full circle until closing. We purchased our property and home from the Kniffin family. We met them at closing and learned more about these wonderful people. The land has long been in the Kniffin family and they drew the plans and built this home themselves. They have lived here for the last 30 years and they are absolutely heaven sent.  It was hard for me to leave our place in Schroeder after only 5 years of memories, I can’t imagine leaving after 30. After getting to meet this beautiful family and hug their necks it was hard to contain the tears. When you look for a new home it can get so stressful. We had cried, been mad, lost several places during negotiations and we couldn’t make anything work. That was all planned and God had the perfect place for us on FM 113. In His perfect time, we found peace and the right place was revealed. Not only did we find beautiful land and a wonderful home, but we were given the most wonderful sellers to work with. I am honored to make this place my own and raise my family here in this place that they have loved for so many years. Mr. Knifin has stopped by a few times since closing and I can’t wait to have them both out after our renovations are done. The home was in great condition, but we are making it ours. We closed in early October and we are finally moving forward. Stay tuned for more updates and sooner than later I’ll start sharing remodel progress.