Renovating during a pandemic has its challenges, but we’re grateful for how far we’ve come. Today, I’m reflecting on the journey to this point, as we celebrate the 1 year anniversary of purchasing our beloved Two Flat.
Happy Anniversary to our Two Flat! It’s been one year since we closed on this project, and man, how the time has flown by. From the beginning, Scott and I laid out all of our projects into a spreadsheet, and it’s almost comical to see how quickly those projects have either escalated into another emergency (new roof, cough) or how we’ve had to switch gears entirely. In some ways, time feels like a slog, and yet, it’s like, slow down, please.
Renovation is like that, I guess.
But here we are, one year into our renovation, and we’re exactly where we thought we wouldn’t be. According to our “plans” (plans, ha!), we should be wrapping up the bathrooms and moving onto the kitchens. Instead, we’re in a heightened state of emotions and uncertainty, as I’m sure you are, and you and you and you. Renovating during a pandemic is a privilege we don’t take lightly, and the precautions we’re taking to be safe are at the forefront of every conversation.
Should we do this? Could we do this?
If we’re unsure of pandemic protocol, we err on the side of nope. As in, we don’t do anything. It’s absolutely terrifying (we see you, financial deadlines and final inspections!), but we’d rather be safe and stay healthy above all else. For us, for you, for the whole planet, when it really comes down to it.
What’s the Plan for the Two Flat?
Our plan has always been to lease Unit 2 as a traditional rental, and you’ve likely heard us mention that we’ve been noodling on the idea of turning Unit 1 into a short term Airbnb rental. Ideally, we’d love nothing more than to fully furnish and design Unit 1 from top to bottom, and a short term rental would give us the freedom to do so! We want it to feel really special, because the Two Flat is so special. But now? I’d be lying if we said we weren’t scared.
I asked Scott if we should design Unit 1 any differently in the off-chance we end up renting it as a more traditional, yearly lease. But he reminded me that any risks we might take with our design choices will only attract the right person for this home! So we’ll be forging ahead with the same decisions we’d be making for a short term Airbnb rental – pink tub and all. My only fear is that we will want to move into Unit 1 ourselves! (Only half-joking here.)
Today Is a Celebration!
But, Friends, today is still a celebration! While we will always allow ourselves to feel scared and overwhelmed at times, there is also so much good happening, and I want to focus on that. Who remembers when the basement / den in Unit 1 could only be accessed from the outside? This is what you used to see:
And here is the same view today! Do you see the bathroom in the photo above? That’s Scott, below, walking out of the bathroom and into the den. We also closed up the outside entrance and instead, opted for stairs that lead down from the kitchen:
And what about when Unit 2 was down to the studs, below?
This same view is looking so, so pretty! The arches! The vintage maple flooring! Oh, and this is totally a sneak peek of the finished trim (more on that coming soon):
At one point, we began the video journal series Dear Two Flat, but after a lot of feedback, we learned that the overwhelming majority preferred Instagram Stories to longer format YouTube videos. (But if you’re curious about the content we did film, you can see those all in one place here!) While we thought the videos were fun, they also took a lot of time to create and edit, so we’ve nixed the series (for now) in favor of more in-the-moment snippets as they unfold. Even still, I can almost guarantee that we’ll still film a virtual walkthrough when the home is complete!
I’ll end this post-turned-brain-dump on one of my happiest memories – an itty bitty Lucy, photographed in my favorite room of the house. I’m still holding onto the strips of wallpaper I salvaged, and I’m forever holding onto the sound of her giggles at this age.
PS: You can watch our first (hilarious) virtual walkthrough of the Two Flat, we respond to the most asked questions in this post, and you can follow along from the very beginning right here. We’re so lucky to have you all here for this wild ride!
Here’s an idea for you for the wallpaper! I saw this on property brothers, the one where they were renovating the house owned by the realator twin (Drew? No, Jonathan. No, Drew…) right before he got married. His wife took a photo of the wallpaper and then used snapfish or a similar service (they didn’t say who they used) to make throw pillows. Genius idea, right?!
Oh, how cute is that?! It was definitely Drew. I mean Jonathan.
Happy 2-flat anniversary! So grateful to be able to virtually cheer you all on throughout the process. Thank you for being a source of positivity and inspiration, too.
Congratulations! You’ve gotten an amazing amount of work done so far, especially considering all the challenges thrown your way. I think even if people remain physically distancing for some time and so the tourist population is minimal, there will likely be people who are very happy for a new short-term rental to hit the market. People who’ve had trees land on their houses, housefires, etc. who need a place to stay while they figure out what comes next would be very grateful.
You’ve accomplished a massive amount in a year! Those maple floors are particularly gorgeous. Can’t wait to see how the rest of it unfolds!
Thanks so much!
I appreciate your long videos! Because they are wonderful in and of themselves and because I’m not on Instagram — yup, true fact :)
You do beautiful work and I’m glad to hear you’ve been able to proceed and be safe.
Thank you so much. ☺️
what Chicago roofer did you use and recommend?
They were hired by our architect.