Monday, July 15, 2013

Up to our Necks

We are compulsive DIYers who have found their ultimate fixer-upper in rural Northeast Iowa. With a continuous project list that ranges from interior and exterior house improvements, landscaping, gardening, and generally just learning how rural utilities work, we will be up to our necks for years to come.

Andy and I are both from the suburbs of Chicago; never more than 10 minutes from a Jewel. 

We bought our first home in Dekalb, Illinois- a large college town.  

It was the perfect starter home- 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms- with some minor improvement projects so we could get our feet wet.  Throughout the 5 years we lived there, we painted every room (several rooms got multiple color applications!), gutted the bathroom, replaced kitchen countertops, ripped up SMELLY old carpet throughout, converted a “den” into a 3rd bedroom by adding a closet, landscaped, put a new roof on and painted the exterior.  We were just starting to putter around the house, with not much else to improve when a new job took us to rural Iowa!

The house hunt started in town.  We looked at several homes within walking distance to the main street and several parks but were discouraged by the small yards and fixer-uppers that really were “tear-er-downers”.  Our realtor took us out to a house about 5 miles from town and we fell in LOVE with the countryside.  We immediately felt at home and loved the peacefulness of the area as well as the idea of lots of space to spread out.  We were sold on acreage living.  It took two houses before we found OURS.  Andy loved the four acres of land, numerous outbuilding and endless possibilities for workshops, playhouses, etc.  Megan was not so sold on the 70s interior (including rust shag carpeting), gravel road and the 15 minute “commute” to town.  Andy had to sell it a bit to Megan (it took about 10 minutes…. We are not picky house hunters) but eventually everyone was on board.  What really sold it was E- she got out of the car and went berserk running around the lawn chasing the butterflies.  On selling day, the house looked like this:

A big white block but lots of potential and pretty good bones.  After a whirlwind move and rocky start (we had to call in the well repair man the day after the moving truck dropped our stuff off), a year later we are settled in and here to stay!

We are blogging all of our adventures as we DIY our way though house projects and learn more about living in the country (are chickens in our future?!?) to share our mistakes and successes as well as have a record of our time in our home for our future.  Maybe someday we can laugh at the ridiculous “city” mistakes we make (Megan JUST found out Allis Chalmer is a brand of tractor, NOT a last name… Megan to Andy, “Wow, there are a lot of Allis-Chalmers in the area!”  Andy’s response, “Bahaaaa.  That is a tractor, idiot”.)  With two kids in tow, battling nap times and the munchies, we make the best of what we have and look forward to the next adventure.

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