The Shack

Several posts ago, I mentioned our “house” being one of the reasons I had an emotional meltdown upon finding out about baby #2. Let me further explain…

A couple of years ago, my sister Jenna moved back (to be with me) after following her med school hubby all over the country… wait, no… all over the world. When they moved into their house, we all laughed at the little shack behind their house, joking, “Oh look! It even has a house for Clark and me! It’s perfect!” We joked because it looked like this

DSC00140Well, a couple months later, I found I was pregnant. And standards changed.

I had always wanted to stay at home once we had kids, but the fact that I was the sole provider for the household (Clark was just starting his job after graduating) at the time put a kink in those plans. $0 income is hard to work with.

The next time we went to Jenna and Matt’s, we took a tour inside what has now been dubbed “The Shack,” to find this…



This is the living room. It’s hard to tell in the pictures, but the floor looked like a mountain. They had put all the furniture in the middle of the floor to help it settle some. You needed a walking stick to hike up and down through all the rooms.




The kitchen floor was absolutely disgusting (like mouse droppings disgusting), and, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to survive without a dishwasher.


One of the biggest issues was that the shower was about 6 feet tall. Clark is 6′ 3”. Hmm..

DSC00149Everything was just dingy. One might even say, unliveable? Pshh.

Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of the bedroom before we started the renovations. But picture a big cream square room with a saloon door entrance. Classy.

There was one window unit in the living room that did a pretty decent job heating/cooling that room. Unfortunately, there were three other rooms in the house.

All in all, we decided it was perfect. And by perfect, I mean God (and his angels, Jenna and Matt) placed it in our laps at the exact time we had no other options.

So we strapped on our work belts, grabbed some paint brushes and hammers, and got busy making our diamond in the rough all shiny.

This was our to-do list (not everything happened by move in):

– re-floor the kitchen and bathroom (with vinyl wood strips — the sticky kind — from Lowe’s)

– tear out a kitchen cabinet to put in a dishwasher 🙂

– tear out the bathroom vanity

– install a new fridge

– tear out part of the wall in the living room that was cracking and put in new sheetrock

– install a window a/c in the bedroom

– power wash the exterior

– install a new side door

-build an island for the kitchen

– fix the front door so that you could actually open it

– paint EVERYTHING. ev. ry. thang.

It was quite the process, and quite a team effort. Several of Clark’s friends pitched in and my dad (Jim the Tool-Man himself) was a lifesaver. Fastest painter alive. Fortunately, we had months to work on it while we were still in our apartment. It took me about a month to pick paint colors alone, which I’m still not entirely pleased with (I swear the paint changes colors once you paint the whole room).

Drumroll… I proudly reveal THE AFTER.

Firstly, the kitchen (including the island Clark made; don’t you love it?)
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The living room.

DSC01710 DSC01709 DSC01708 DSC01707The bathroom.

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And, the bedroom.

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And yes, those are Clark’s shoeboxes with the picture of the shoe printed out and taped to the front. Make fun of him, please.

And the exterior (haven’t done much to it…)


Maybe I should have cleaned up/staged it a little better for the pics. But honestly, these pics are my house at its best, so let’s not pretend it ever looks any better.

And there are some things you just get over. For example, Charlee napping well is more important than taking down the ugly mini-blinds.

Here’s some more pics of our life in The Shack:


The main house (or maybe OURS is the main house… it’s hard to say, really) and then that’s us — way back there on the right.


Our pet owl that frequents the front yard.


The joys of living in “the country” … except that we live on the hill.

Surprisingly, it’s my favorite place we’ve ever lived. That might have to do with the fact that I live 50 yards from my sister, or because it’s the home I brought my baby girl home to, or because our sweat is mixed in with just about every bit of paint on those walls… but some of that is because I truly do love this little house. And even though we don’t really own it, I will always consider it our first home.

Clark might not feel the same way, after showering with his knees bent and neck cocked to the side for a year and a half.