As any of you who follow me on social media are well aware, my husband and I bought our first house this summer. After seven years of transient traveling, moving, and relocating, we’ve finally put our roots down in an adorable rural town in our home state of Minnesota. The original foundation and the home above was was built in 1920, and at some point people added on a front porch (that acted as the town salon for a while), a large living room, deck, and three season porch off the back. We’ve absolutely fallen in love with the house, our neighbors, and the town. We love our back country roads, small town festivals and gatherings, corn fields, and the quiet nature of it all.
Luke and I have never been the type of people to rent a place and leave it as-is. The only place we didn’t end up painting and making our own was a tiny little apartment we had in Fort Collins, CO – and that was because we were only there for about 2 months before moving again. It’s always been worth it to us to put in the work to make a place feel like ours. To make it feel peaceful, welcoming, and a place that we can relax in and enjoy.
So it’s no surprise that we would dive right in on the projects as soon as we bought a place of our own.
The first major project we took on was taking up the overgrown lilies that covered the front of the house. They were pretty in their own right, but the moisture they held next to the foundation of the house, plus a slope that caused all water to sink in towards it, meant that we had a lot of leaking in the basement.
I think we were two weeks in when we broke ground:
It was a multi week project, but we couldn’t be happier with the end result!
We learned a lot with this project. The first? That house projects take a lot longer than you’d ever expect them to. And there are always surprises. We didn’t expect to find an old cistern and pathway buried alongside the house! And of course, it loves to rain when you’re working outside.
After that was done, we were free to tackle an indoor project. The first stop was the kitchen. We had gotten Luke’s parents old fridge, so we were excited to get that thing in. The only thing Luke needed to do was take down a cabinet and shave down another. Here’s the before and after photos:
I don’t know if you can tell from the photos above, but our back-splash was the same Formica that’s on the countertops. Some day in the future Luke will rip it all out and put in some tile, but for now we wanted a cost effective update. So, I sanded it down the best I could and applied paint. I’m super happy with how it turned out! The one downside is that it chips off fairly easy, but that’s something I’m willing to live with for a while. Adding a dab of touch up paint here and there is worth it to have my kitchen looking this much better! Eventually we’ll tile the floor and refinish the cabinets, but we have a whole winter ahead of us for such projects.
After setting up the living room, dining room, and clearing out the laundry room, it became apparent that I need to have my office set up. I work full time from home, so although we had my desk set up in the living room, it was becoming increasingly difficult to stay on task. My last place had a designated office, and I didn’t realize until now how much of a difference that made. So, this last weekend we got to it.
I decided on the upstairs “fire room”. It was a room that I imagine a kid had, and he/she loved fire. I personally loved the east facing window for morning sunlight and the layout. So, we began the work.
Again, it was much more difficult than first expected. The new floors went in just fine, but the paneled walls needed to be lightly sanded to get random dobs of paint off. Luke also took a piece of paneling off so he could install an outlet that would go right under my desk. He still has to make the new trim, and together we’ll stain and seal, but I’m happy to say it’s ready and set to go for work this week!
I’m settling into life in a way I never have before. It’s new, exciting, challenging, stretching, and showing me a whole new world of opportunity. I haven’t even begun to unpack the ways God has been doing a renewing work in both Luke and I’s life.
You can be sure that there are many more stories to follow in the days, months, and years ahead.
If you want to follow along with future projects, you can join us at Facebook.com/TheLarsonCreative
Kristen Larson started writing in 2011. Since then, she has contributed to the Faith Radio Network blog, wrote devotionals for Daily Wisdom for Women 2016 with Barbour Publishing, and got her dream job working on book covers for Bethany House Publishers. She and her husband live in an adorable rural town in Minnesota, where they love spending time together working on home updates and renovations.
For more information, visit her About Page.