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  • Writer's pictureKelly Rozema

Our Real-Life Home Renovation (it's not like tv)

What started out as fun and exciting, is now just dirty.

And loud.

In fact, I'm wearing headphones as I type this.

Most days I'm ok with living in chaos and having to move the saw to open my fridge, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't get to me. Homeschooling was an unwanted surprise that was never on my bucket list. Homeschooling while running a business in a construction zone 10 days after moving was on the "You're crazy. Never." list.

There was one time this spring when I ran to my bedroom feeling totally overwhelmed, desperately needing a minute to myself. I plopped on the bed and began to sob when I realized I didn't have walls. I could see straight through the bathroom. And closet. And dining room. And sitting area. Into my third grader's zoom meeting.

That was a low point.

On the flip side, it's been a dream come true. Josh loves building, and we work great together. I'm so proud of his work and how he's able to customize each space to fit the needs of our family. I've enjoyed fussing over the details, and the kids have remained positive and helpful. They loved the day we gave them hammers and told them they could knock out the walls. That was exciting. Picking plaster boogers for days, not so much.

Poster-board for a school project was replaced with wallpaper that would be coming down. It's not every day you hand your kids a sharpie, and let them "do school" on the walls.

Zoom meetings were frequently interrupted by the table saw or air compressor, and as the kitchen counters disappeared, my office became the classroom.

We've come a long way, but not without a few unwanted surprises. As soon as we realized that a basement window was leaking, my builder-father-in-law, Bob Rozema, was here, eager to get out of the house and fix the problem. Thanks, Dad!

If you read my previous blog post, you'll know that I was having a hard time making decisions about our floor plan.

All the designs we were debating between would have involved a large steel beam to replace our load-bearing wall. Well, sometimes your bank account makes those decisions for you, and it turned out to be the best "setback" ever.

I enjoyed the creative challenge to incorporate the load-bearing wall into our design. The picture below shows what we ultimately settled on. The big red wall in the middle is the untouchable section of the, load-bearing wall.

It took a bit to get used to the idea of a smaller living room than we had planned, but I immediately fell in love with the idea of moving the laundry area out of my mudroom and into the master suite. This also allowed me to extend my kitchen all the way to the front of the house.

Here's the original floor plan we started with:

We all love "Before and After" photos, and although we're not quite to the "after" part, I'll give you a sneak peek into what we've done so far. Some of the "before" photos are taken from the MLS listing.


DURING (below): Of all the changes we made, opening this area to the front of the house might be my favorite.

I can't wait to ditch the old sink and dishwasher, which is where my kitchen island will be (painted in SW 6031 Glamour). In a world where everything is labeled "essential" vs. "non-essential", the dishwasher was deemed essential in our house.

BEFORE (below): This picture was taken with my back in the corner between the front door and my studio. A wall divided the area between the foyer and the (then) dining room.

DURING (below): We removed the wall, and will use this space as the living room. Removing walls required us to re-rout heat vents. Not wanting to punch a bunch of holes through our load-bearing wall, we built another wall in front of it for the duct work to run through. This also created a space to design a little nook in my wall for decor. Score!

BEFORE (below): The door to the garage is to the left, The half bath is tucked around the corner past the dryer. This didn't leave much room for backpacks and snow pants. The new layout gave us enough space to have our laundry in the master closet, freeing this space for lockers.

DURING (below): I felt extremely vulnerable sharing our floor plan and asking for feedback, but you were so kind and helpful! With the fast changing high and low temps of Michigan, we loved the advice about having a coat closet near the lockers. Thanks Lisa B!

BEFORE (below):

DURING (below): Ignore my mess.

Home makeover shows like Fixer Upper make this look so easy, turning a dump into a diamond in 60 minutes. I have to remind myself that they have a crew. And they're certainly not living there!

Some weeks have felt like year but we're FINALLY starting the fun part: lighting, paint colors, counter tops, new doors and floors, and closet design!

I can't wait to show you the bricks I've been making for an accent wall! Seriously, with the right products, it's super easy and cost effective.

Until next time,

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