Champagne, 1 Year Ago

One year ago, we gained official access into this house. For good luck, we smashed champagne, toasted a new bottle on the porch and ordered pizza with our friends. It was perfect.


The following months (and months and months) were a blur that, honestly, feels like it happened decades ago! We called exterminators (ew), picked out sledgehammers and ate our fair share of fast food for three not-so-square meals a day. We knocked through our first ceiling, rolled nickels on Chicago’s most uneven floor and camped out in the guest room – our safe zone.


Looking back, the thing we remember most vividly is the dust. Dust for days! Jack fell in love with his new daily companions, our contractor team, and he gained a good 5 pounds while sneaking in their sandwich crusts and potato chips for 4 months (no matter how many times I told them not to give in!). Once their work was done, we romanced all the house’s possibilities at once and wanted to start all of them, but we were stunted by our lack of mental energy to think past any singular task at hand (demolish this closet, pull down this door, scrape all the paint off all twenty windows!).


There was so much we wanted to change; we had walls to move and chimneys to expose and bathrooms to tear out (the latter of which is still a someday dream). We’ve come so, so far, and yet there’s still so, so much more ahead – but that’s not to discount every step we’ve taken. (Self, remember that!) There are rooms that have yet to be touched, and there’s a garage that makes our skin crawl. There are danger zones of toppling boxes and tools stuffed into unused (for now) rooms, and have I mentioned (ha!) that we still don’t have a bedroom closet?

Jumping in with both (four?) feet into this house has been much more than we ever thought it would be. It’s been harder than we thought – emotionally, physically and mentally (and I mean this to the fullest extent possible). It’s been draining. It’s been scary. It’s caused arguments, anger and harsh words, but it’s also resulted in celebration, belly laughs and memories that we’ll be talking about for the rest of our lives.


We feel as though we’ve only just touched the surface – the majority of this home still hasn’t even reached it’s starting point, but when we’re in the thick of it, we tell ourselves, this is it! We’re really doing it! And that? That’s a pretty incredible feeling.

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  • Hollie @ Fancykins7.1.14 - 8:47 AM

    What a year, what a lot of dust, what an amazing recap. And here I thought moving into an apartment was hard, and that doesn’t even require sledgehammers and exterminators!

    Best of luck with all your future projects, can’t wait to follow along :)ReplyCancel

  • Kelly7.1.14 - 8:51 AM

    I love the 4th pic down, both for the composition and for your pup’s face! She (he?) looks rather tenuous about making the decision to trek down the stairs. :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim7.1.14 - 10:14 AM

      That’s Jack – such a creeper! Although the photo would suggest otherwise, he had no problem rolling in all the dust throughout all the demo!ReplyCancel

  • Happy 1 year! I truly hope you are celebrating and looking back with SHEER amazement at what you’ve done in JUST one year. We totally understand the renovation blur, the days where nothing goes right, the drain. But somehow looking back at what was and knowing it only changed because of us makes it all worth it. You are building a beautiful home and as long as you can hold on to those occasional belly laughs, you’ll get through the rest.ReplyCancel

    • Kim7.1.14 - 10:16 AM

      Thank you, Heather! Too often we DON’T look around with amazement (quite the opposite), but looking back on these first-few-months photos makes us see how far we’ve come. It’s funny that we have to constantly remind ourselves of this, but you’re right – just keeping holding on to the laughs!ReplyCancel

  • Liz7.1.14 - 9:04 AM

    Happy 1 year anniversary! I am so impressed with how far you guys have come in one year. Cant wait to see what happens in the next!ReplyCancel

  • Rita7.1.14 - 9:26 AM

    You guys have done a great job. It has truly been a journey for you both.ReplyCancel

  • Katja | Shift Ctrl Art7.1.14 - 9:39 AM

    It’s been so much fun following along. I can totally relate to all those renovation feelings. Both the good and the bad. In the end, it’s just so addicting. I love it. You have made such a great space already.ReplyCancel

  • Kiira7.1.14 - 9:40 AM

    Congrats, guys! It has been so fun (and inspiring) to watch your progress. And as always, your photos of the process are beautiful, even if the subject matter is dust and debris.ReplyCancel

  • Has it already been a year? I can’t believe it, to me reading your amazing and inspiring posts it seems like much less time. Either way congrats!ReplyCancel

    • Kim7.1.14 - 10:16 AM

      Funny, right? Depending on how you look at it, it’s like we blinked and we’re here – or it’s been years and years and years. Not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing? Ha!ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca7.1.14 - 10:08 AM

    Happy first-year house anniversary! You’ve done so much in just one year. I look forward to reading about your exploits in year two.ReplyCancel

  • Laura @ Rather Square7.1.14 - 10:33 AM

    You’ve accomplished so much in just a year! It really shows when you look back at the photos of where you started. Thanks for sharing your process and journey here – it’s been very inspirational and educational. I think (hope!) everyone feels like they’re taking baby steps when renovating a house, but it’s important to step back and look at the big picture every now and again to really see the progress you’ve made. And to pat yourself on the back!ReplyCancel

  • Shavonda@ahomefullofcolor7.1.14 - 10:52 AM

    Congrats on your milestone and happy one year housiversary. That’s totally a word, by the way. You guys are doing such an amazing job and your house is becoming a beautiful home more and more each day. Enjoy the process. Here’s to more demo!ReplyCancel

    • Kim7.1.14 - 12:37 PM

      Yup, it’s absolutely a word! Thank you, Shavonda!ReplyCancel

  • Dave7.1.14 - 11:34 AM

    You guys are impressive. The amount of work that has been completed in one year is astonishing. Keep up the great posts!ReplyCancel

  • Alexis7.1.14 - 12:31 PM

    It is incredible to see how far you guys have come!!! I forgot about the terrible orange walls and that you didn’t always have the arch in the entryway.
    You both do incredible work and make reading and viewing your journey so inspiring and compelling.
    Cheers to you both and your first year in your beautiful home!ReplyCancel

  • Kalli7.1.14 - 3:53 PM

    You’ve already accomplished a ton. I know it’s constant work and requires a lot of energy, but you guys are stubborn in the best way and will keep impressing us all for a long time to come! *Clink!* (glass noises as I virtually toast with you : )ReplyCancel

  • Amy7.1.14 - 6:28 PM

    What a great post! I’ve been following your remodel since late last year and it’s so wonderful to see a recap of just how much work you two have put into this beautiful home.

    I’ve used your posts for inspiration and motivation as I do some incredibly simple remodels of my own. If Kim and Scott and tear down walls and rebuild floors then surely I can paint this bathroom evenly in one color!

    I look forward to seeing more soon!ReplyCancel

  • maria laura7.1.14 - 6:37 PM

    It’s been draining.It’s been scary. But it’s been especially magic too because you and Mark have made wonderfull things about your house and get a lot of friends who folling every progress your make and become happy with this. Congrats friends!!! ( excuse my English…I have trying but…)ReplyCancel

  • ELLEN TILLERY7.2.14 - 11:19 AM

    I started reading regularly a year ago, at the same time you bought this house, and I am stunned speechless at the amount you’ve accomplished. It’s been so great to follow along. Congrats & here’s to more laughs, celebrations, and memories in the years to come!ReplyCancel

  • Cait7.2.14 - 1:27 PM

    Wow, I can’t believe it’s been a year! On one hand it seems like it’s been longer, but on the other hand whoa that flew by! You and Scott (and Jack & CC) have accomplished so much in a year’s time! I know it’s hard sometimes to step back and see the progress, and I hope you are able to soak it all in. Seems like this will be the perfect long weekend for a repeat of champagne & pizza on the porch. Maybe you should make that a yearly tradition, and look back at everything you accomplished over the past year?

    Happy housiversary!!ReplyCancel

  • Liliana7.6.14 - 10:48 AM

    I have been reading but not commenting, and but did not realize it has been 1 year. Time flies. Congratulations! Your house looks amazing!


    • Kim7.7.14 - 9:42 AM

      Thank you for the sweet comment, Liliana!ReplyCancel


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