Caldwell Reno Here We Come!!

I’m excited to report that the historic commission passed our plans for the Caldwell renovation two weeks ago. Yippie!! Not only were the members of the board very kind and not scary at all, I was blown away at the kindness of our Caldwell neighbors who took time out of their night to come voice their support of the project. “Awesome Neighbors” will definitely make it on my future Zillow listing.
“So what now?” you ask. Well, with the historic commission’s stamp of approval, the only thing that stood between me and progress on the Manor was a buyer orrrrr Rory changing his mind on the ol’ “wait to renovate until we find a buyer” plan. Wellllll guess what?!?!! My scheme idea to convince Rory that we should move forward with the Caldwell renovation with the back-up plan to move into it ourselves if it doesn’t sell worked! That’s right!!!! The ban on the Caldwell reno has been lifted!! We are moving forward and boy oh boy have we been moving… in just 2 short weeks we (as in the professionals) added 13 new footings to help this 100-year-old home stand strong and firm for at least another 100 years; demolished lots of old stuff (Rory and I) and framed up some new areas (Professionals), cleaned out a mountain of racoon poop from the attic (Rory and I), and unleashed the plumbers to start ripping out ALL the old pipes to make way for new plumbing.  It feels soooo good to be working! And I’m predicting you might see some exterior changes on your drive by within the next few weeks.
But let’s back up and revisit the “backup plan” for a bit.  So when I presented my idea that we could live in the English Manor if someone else doesn’t fall in love with her, my thought was we would list both Caldwell and our house at the same time and then live in whichever one didn’t sell.  Sounds reasonable, right?  Well, not to Rory- It still made him nervous to think that we might have 2 mortgages to pay.  But rather than rejecting my plan all together he countered with “move forward with reno (sans buyer) AFTER we sell our house”. Honestly, I would have been happy with any deal that meant the end of my production strike but I pressed my luck and argued we should at least start the exterior renovation to help attract potential buyers. AND, while we’re at it, we should probably go ahead and complete the demo, framing, and rough-ins on the interior so the house won’t continue to scare away those that do express interest in the Manor. However, I pinky promised that once the drywall was up we would once again halt construction until we either found a buyer OR sold our house. Rory begrudgingly agreed, we sealed the deal with a kiss and that my friends, is where the Caldwell Saga sits today.
Ironically it wasn’t until I was knee deep in raccoon poop that I came off of cloud 9 to realize this new revised plan:
A) does not account for where we will live during the time our house sells and we continue with the Caldwell renovation.  Hmmmm? and….
B) Oh my goodness! I’m selling Sister!!!!!
Yes friends, for those of you that never made it to the intro of this blog, I call my house Sister. You can read all about it here but basically, Sister was conceived from my need to squelch the baby bug.
When I finally realized there was no convincing Mr. Thompson of going for baby #3, I made peace with my circumstance by telling myself a story: My house could be my baby and all the energy and money I would have spent on a little girl I would just spend on dressing up my house instead!
And just like that, I cured my baby bug and two-story sister was born. Now I bet Rory wishes we would have just had that third baby instead of going on to adopt so many houses…..
Unfortunately, when I chose to personify my house so many years ago I did not think forward to what this would mean if we ever decided to move. Luckily, I was able to use the same strategy that got me into this mess to help me see my way out and once again be at peace in my world- I told myself another story: 
You see, over the last 8 years, we have poured our all into raising our little girl. We have cared for, corrected, molded, and above all loved her into the home she is today. Today she has an inner beauty that matches her exterior. But now that she is fully matured she is ready to fly the nest… or… she is ready for us to fly away, whatever. She is ready to settle down with a new family. 
See what I’m doing here- I’m convincing myself that I’m not really abandoning my house, Sister is simply getting married! It will be an arranged marriage of course; so I will be choosing her new family for her- which is perfectly normal and acceptable in American house marriages. Work with me here folks, this is what I have to tell myself to be able to sleep at night. Just remember the fate of Caldwell rides on my ability to let go of Sister. 
We have a little sprucing and touching up to do before Sister will be ready to entertain suitors (aka potential buyers) but we hope to have her ready by the first week in June. In the meantime, I thought I would use these next few weeks to share with you a few of Sister’s biggest transformations.  
Besides a little paint and refinishing of the floors, the first major renovation project we completed on Sister was the kitchen- aka the heart of the home. It took me 3 years of cooking for families to save up enough money to redo this kitchen but, in that time, I figured out exactly how I wanted my kitchen to look and function AND to this day, 5 years later, I wouldn’t change a thing. I blogged about the kitchen renovation here but neglected to mention how the 2-month process sent me to the emergency room with a panic attack from the stress of living thru the chaos of a renovation. I guess I wasn’t into sharing my crazy in 2012- but since the crazy has become the bread and butter of this blog- I thought I’d share it now.  Living in a construction zone is nutso and I don’t recommend it to anyone. I live, eat, and breath home renovation and dreamed of nothing else in the 3 years leading up to this kitchen reno and it still almost did me in. So my advice to anyone who will listen is to move out during a major reno OR renovate before you move in. That being said, you will see in the coming weeks that I neglected to heed this advice many more times while living at Sister but Rory and I have both said we will never live at another construction site again.  
Because this blog already has a detailed description of the full reno here I’m just going to give you a few before and after photos to summarize.
The Befores:
And the Afters:
During the Kitchen remodel we also added built-ins to our office.  Can’t seem to find any before pics  so just imagine a plain, cranberry red room.
And now: (will show you the rest of the office another time when I’ve had time to clean it.)
Well, there you go, the first of several blog post dedicated to Sister.  Tune in next week for more updates on Caldwell and for the scoop on Sister’s exterior facelift.  

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