Renovations

I’m getting really tired of renovating fixer-uppers only to have someone else to enjoy the final product. We have already resurrected two houses from the 1970’s and are now on our third…by far the most difficult of renovations. We got it for a really good price and will hopefully be able to make a decent profit when the time comes to build our own forever-home. When we bought it there was blue and white linoleum I the kitchen and bathrooms and a beat-up pet-soaked Berber carpeting in all of the other rooms. The kitchen counters were wonky and the walls were covered in the traditional 1970’s dark paneling. It is a timber-frame chalet style house with full floor to roof windows and absolutely no insulation in the roof. Cathedral ceilings with exposed beams and tongue and groove decking complete the inside. It is very pretty to look at but a freezer in the winter and a furnace in the summer. This winter has been worse than most. Why anyone would not insulate a roof in Michigan “is a puzzlement”, as Yule Brenner would say.

We’ve did all we could ourselves. We’ve gutted and updated both bathrooms and replaced the counters in the kitchen and added some new cabinets; put new flooring and carpet throughout; reconfigured the stairway and put in a new railing; did some landscaping, added a paver patio and walkway. There were only two major projects I could not handle myself: insulating the inside of the roof and replacing the wall of original single-pane windows on the front. We hired a local contractor to complete those. Now all that is left to do is keep it nice for whomever gets the pleasure of living in it next…Arg, I do not want to renovate again. The demolition is messy and dusty and difficult to do while living in the house, and the putting back together can be expensive and time-consuming. Not to mention that it is hard work, and my back since surgery is not quite as strong as it once was.

Renovating is not unlike a Christian’s life. The Good Lord purchased the property and the Holy Spirit moves in. He takes a look around and starts making plans about what needs to be done. It is often uncomfortable while the work is being done…we feel grungy and dirty all the time as decades old dust settles everywhere till the project is complete. We may not like all of the changes, but like any General Contractor, he is the one in charge and we are sub-contractors…tearing out, cleaning up, and putting on the finishes so that He can have a proper place to dwell. I could not even count the times I have had to renovate this or that part of my soul. It is a difficult chore tearing out rooted habits and long-held beliefs. Then, when the dust settles and is all is swept clean, and we see the wide open empty space that once was our cluttered, claptrap soul, it seems like things could never be put back together again. How will the new fit into the old? How do you build something that will last? There are times when we need help from someone who has been through a renovation before and knows how to do it right. Some projects are just to big for us to handle on our own…this is What Friends Are For.

I would love to be able to have a brand spanking new house the next time. Just a simple ranch house and some acreage with a garden and no neighbor in sight. It would be wonderful to just move into a finished house, settle in, and live life. But I’ve heard that even new homes need work from time to time and simple chores can become huge projects if left undone. I don’t really expect my hammer and saw to be unused in any home we live in…except for that one…I’ve heard someone is building me a mansion.

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