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Six years ago, we took on the biggest challenge of our relationship and a different kind of adventure, purchasing a disaster of a house and renovating every single inch of it. Looking back at the pictures of the beginning and all the stages of renovations our house underwent, I am unbelievably proud of us and completely shocked at what we (along with plenty of help from our families) managed to accomplish.
When we decided we wanted to live together, we agreed that buying a house would be a better investment but at that point in our lives, me freshly out of law school with a mountain of student loans and Kevin struggling to pay off his own debt, our options were pretty limited. It seemed we could only really afford a fixer upper. I grew up in a very handy family, my father is a contractor who handled the major construction and the rest of it, we planned to figure out along the way.
So, we searched for the worst house we could find, and boy did we really go for it. When we walked into 633 S. 4th St it was a wreck, it had been abandoned, it was in a state of ruin, filthy, hideous, stripped of all the piping and electric, had a huge hole in the roof, water damage, a dilapidated barn in the backyard and a couple of free floating 2x4’s wedged in the basement holding the house up. And despite all of that, which would probably send most people running in the other direction, it felt like home from the moment we walked in.
We dove head first into the challenge with a wild and un-deserved confidence that we could put in the work and make it happen. We took a huge chance on ourselves and the result blew our expectations out of the water. Not to say we didn’t struggle, it was in fact pretty excruciating. We argued about every decision, every paint color and every step of the process. We made tons of mistakes, it seemed everything we did, we did wrong at first. We spent an embarrassing amount of time at Home Depot. The renovations took everything out of us, we were both working full time and working on the house every day, every night and every weekend for months. We sacrificed, put our heads down and pushed through it all. We poured blood, sweat and tears into that house.
But the funny thing is, we also had a blast. It was the first time we ever experienced designing and building anything and we both discovered hidden talents for renovating and creating a home and a knack for distressing and DIYing. We learned a lot about ourselves, each other and we grew as a couple. We really enjoy the process and as we developed our skills, we took on bigger projects. Besides traveling, working on a project together is when we are at our best.
Some of our favorite home renovations were our kitchen cabinets, our walk-in closet and blackboard wall, our built-in shoe closet, our outdoor bar and pretty much our entire backyard.
We are both excited about starting over with Wanda and already have plenty of ideas. So, stay tuned for what we come up with!
By Ashley Quiambao