Fatigue is the Best Pillow

Fatigue is the best pillow.
– Benjamin Franklin

We are in the midst of remodeling 4 different properties. Here’s a sneak peek.

We’re doing a Ronald Reagan (“Tear Down That Wall”) in the first property:

We are still in the middle of the remodel, so I don’t have an After picture yet. Here is a glimpse mid-construction:

Another property is in need of some major concrete repair work:

My favorite new project is a house that is over 100 years old. There are FOUR leaded glass windows. Be. Still. My. Heart. Here’s a before shot of the entry hall:

Benjamin Franklin was right. I’ve been sleeping like a baby lately.


New Beginings

There is something magical about a fresh start. New Year’s Day, Sundays, and mornings. Love them all.  There’s a reason why I get chills when Annie belts out “Tomorrow.”

Hope may be part of my infatuation with Before & After pictures. They remind me that it doesn’t matter where I am right now. I can always give myself a new beginning.



Multicolor Brick Project

We have a new project, and it’s going to be fun…

It is an older home built in 1946.  Even the exterior has character…

It needs a lot of work, but that’s what we love to do!

Flip flops and Garages

I grew up in California. In the Golden State people wear flip flops all year long, roses bloom in February, and car ports protect the Porsches.

Our youngest child with Craig in CA

Now I live in Minnesota. It gets cold in the winter. Very. Cold. I traded my flip flops for Sorels.

Our youngest child's winter uniform.

Midwest snow blows sideways. Car ports? Not so helpful.

Here in the tundra, a garage is a wonderful luxury. Some people would argue it is a necessity. These people grew up in California and like wearing flip flops.

In all the years we have remodeled homes for resale, only two houses did not have a garage. Our last rehab was one of those houses. We went back and forth deciding if we should build a garage. The house was quite small (960 sq ft) and the garage would need to be detached. We decided to list the house for a lower price and make a note in the MLS listing that we would custom build a garage for X amount of dollars.

21 showings later…

… no offers. It was obvious that we needed to build the garage. It seems not everyone who thinks a garage is a necessity is from California.

After getting a few bids, Craig found a company who will build the garage at a great price.  They’ll pour the cement this week, and we’ll have it up soon. You can see the Before picture of the exterior of this house here.

UPDATE:  We now have the house under contract with a buyer… before the garage’s concrete floor was even poured.  They definitely want a garage, so we’ll shovel the snow that came last week and get started on the custom garage.  And I’ll be dreaming of roses that bloom in February.

Before and After

The before and after pictures of a remodeling project are all about reminiscing… remembering where you started and comparing it to the end result.



Sometimes the before pictures can be more impressive than the afters.

It took many dumpsters to empty this house.

Look what was under the trash.

Our latest project had very few before pictures.  Why?  The day we purchased the house, we met with our subcontractors and left for vacation the next morning.  It wasn’t until we were a few states away that I realized I had forgotten to take before pictures.


It’s not like we haven’t been doing this for 13 years.

It is quite satisfying to look back at “what was” when you are walking through a completed project.  We weren’t going to have that emotional reward after months of effort.  Crud.

But, wait.  Craig said that he took a picture here and there as he was giving instructions to the subcontractors.  And even better… the appraiser came to our rescue and donated all the pictures he had taken of the property.  Thank you, Dennis!

Now, as that project is nearing a close, I am very grateful to be able to see how far we’ve come.  And I have learned my lesson.  Always take Before’s to fully appreciate the After’s.