The House That Built Me

Weather you plan to flip it or keep it, searching for and buying a fixer upper can feel stressful. You've decided you want to buy a home you can fix up to make your own. Sounds easy enough, right? 

At least that's what we thought when we decided about 8 years ago we wanted to buy a fixer upper for ourselves to live in. 

We were still really young at the time (you can read about that here) but we knew we probably wouldn't be able to afford a new build and buying a fixer upper was the next best option for us. Nick has always been a handyman, and pretty much able to do anything so we knew we could take on most of the work a fixer upper would consist of. 

With all that being said, when our realtor contacted us about a foreclosed property that had been sitting empty for 3 years we were pretty excited. Well, Nick was excited. Me? Not so much. I had always envisioned a brand new home, in a cute little neighborhood. (I don't even know who that person was now that I'm looking back at it!) But I went to look at this house anyway, because Nick was so excited about it.

"It's going to be beautiful!" He said. 

My first reaction when pulling up the driveway? I didn't want to get out of the car. Was he being serious with me right now? This house was basically falling down. Walking inside was even worse. It was musty, dark, dated and was just an absolute mess.

 I wanted to cry. 

"No way." I said. "NO WAY." 

Needless to say Nick put an offer in and we within a month we owned a house. I mean, what was left of one at least. I WAS TERRIFIED. I seriously didn't want to do all of the work needed to make this house a home I could love. 

I remember ripping all of the wood planks off the walls in the dining room, hands covered in blisters, and in that moment I realized, this was our home.
 I could sit and feel sorry for myself or suck it up and do everything I could to make it beautiful again. I was going to take the high road this time. 

So, we worked and worked and worked. I painted and painted and painted AND PAINTED. We ripped down walls, put in flooring, I picked out cabinets, painted the rooms one color and then painted again when I realized I hated it. We laughed, and cried and laughed some more. Nick was working so hard, so hard to make our dreams come true and I'll never forget sitting on the unfinished steps in our now entryway watching him hang sheet rock and realizing that this home already had so much love in it. Because we were putting so much love INTO it.

 You see, it's not about how big it is, how fancy it is. It's not about paint colors or flooring. It's about taking something others look over and making it beautiful again. 

I once read a quote that touched me in so many ways:
Some people see a beautiful place and others make a place beautiful. 

This house taught me so much. SO much more then I ever thought it could. And while at the end of the day a home is nothing without the people you get to share it with, this house does mean something to me. 

During the renovation process the house became more beautiful by the day, and my love for it grew and grew. You could start to see us in every nook and cranny of this place as we transformed it into something beautiful. A house we turned into a home. 

While some days I sure wish we were able to build a brand new home, and I wish I didn't have to fix and replace floors before I could even begin to paint a room, I'm really thankful for this journey and everything it's taught me about life, hard work, seeing the beauty in things when it's not so obvious at first.

There are many reasons you shouldn't buy a fixer upper, yes. If you don't want to put in time, love and labor then you might want to pass on a fixer upper. But if you want to see something once left alone and forgotten then buying a fixer upper just might teach you more then you ever thought it could. I have to admit, this whole experience surprised me, in more ways then one.
(This picture was taken almost 3 years ago and we've made even more changes since- like adding the garage, filling in the original stone and stoning the side fireplace. )

Have any of you bought a fixer upper? Or are you living in one now? 
I'd absolutely love to hear from you guys- You can chat with me on Instagram, Facebook or right here in the comments. I respond to every single one. Thank you so much for allowing me to share so much of my heart and home with you! It truly means the world to me!

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  1. I loved this article and it made me even more excited to one day buy my own fixer upper. Thanks for the inspiration! ❤

  2. You guys are such an inspiration! What a massive undertaking!

  3. Our first house was a fixer-upper that we lived in while we worked on it. The only thing left to do was custom gutters and downspouts when we were notified that my husband was being transferred for his job. Three years of work...poof!

  4. I tell you what, doing renovations to a home is hard work! My husband and I just bought a house built in the 1920's and we have so much work to do! Gives me anxiety but your posts on Instagram gives me hope! Thanks for being an inspiration during this time!

  5. I think you all did an amazing job and it was so well worth it. Your home is so beautiful...

  6. Thank you, we are currently trying to make our house a home! You are an inspiration & love your blog!

  7. We also bought a fixer upper. Its a 1970s farmhouse and its in a dire state. It's been a long process of renovations (7 months in and still no inside fridge) but doing it ourselves has been really rewarding. Your home is an inspiration and I can't wait to see what else you do with it!

  8. What a beautiful and raw post! I love it. And I love how you made a house your home. I know it was worth every penny, stress and tear! It's beautiful.

  9. I bought a fixer upper in April and it is a work in progress but I'm learning as I go and loving every minute of it
    Will be creating a blog of my own to show the transformation soon
    Thanks for sharing
    Blue house happy life coming soon to a blog near you..........

  10. Hi Laurie! What a great story you have and I also read the other one linked. I had gathered that you were a really young couple, with a baby at a very young age. But, look at where you are. You guys are inspiring and your home is beautiful ❤ we have bought more than one fixer upper. And we live in one of those now. I love following along with you on Instagram. Let's face it, you have the best tips and decor. I just love your story and of course will be following along as long as you will let meπŸ€— from, Stormy