My Storyhardt Farm – my story about how I got here and love DIY!

I was born in February 1986, I was home schooled and I was raised on my family’s golf course and my grandparents’ (retired) dairy farm in northern Minnesota.

I bought a house in Oklahoma when I was 19 years old with the plans to renovate it and sell it for a profit with my boyfriend at the time and that story goes: I learned how NOT to do a renovation and it didn’t work out.

So, I came home alone with my tail tucked firmly between my legs, pissed off and broke in August of 2010. That year turned into a landmark year for my mom and I. In the next two months my family sold almost everything (including the golf course) and my folks got divorced.

Everything changed in that two months, every certainty, every belief, every plan I had ever had for the future – absolutely vanished. I was equally terrified and thrilled.

diy home renovation refinishing

So then I grabbed my freedom by the horns and engaged in total fun. Everything I had missed by being home schooled. Everything I had missed by being tied to someone from another state for six years.

What can I say? I missed EVERYTHING and I had a lot of catching up to do!

During that time I also finished and published my first novel. This story has a real sad note though –¬†over 2010-2013 I lost my three childhood dogs and my last two grandparents: my two Grandmas – I got back home just in time to experience a load of grief.

I went through several boyfriends (definitely the good, the bad and the ugly lol) my mother said one day when it was all over that she was glad my “high school and college years” were done.

I couldn’t have agreed more.

There was just so much sadness to get through from the golf course all the way to Oklahoma and the last time I held my grandmas’ hands or touched my three dogs.

By the time the summer of 2013 rolled around I was ready to start working toward something again.

adopted dog diesel

With the passing of my grandma Charlotte my mom, aunt and I began the clean out of the 100 year old house, barn and out buildings. There was A LOT of furniture, far more then any of us had ever anticipated. Nobody knew what to do with any of it and no one wanted to sell it either!

My aunt and mom took the few pieces they had room for (they kept everything my grandparents’ had ever made as they retired from farming to wood working) and then there was me, hand raised, grinning in shock at myself, I wanted it all.

I had no idea why but my heart just burst!

As long as I lived there would be no selling a single beautiful old piece, every single one of them would be a part of my story somehow!

furniture refinishing

And so we filled one whole stall in our garage and in August of 2013, almost exactly three years since I came home for good from Oklahoma, I embarked on my furniture refinishing adventure.

It saved me. It gave me hope. It filled my heart when I was down and my hands, having done nothing but hold cigarettes and glasses of alcohol for the last three years, learned again how to create, mold, nurture.

My body ached and creaked and my fingers tingled. I had purpose again and it was wonderfully hard work.

In April 2014 I began the adventure of the renovation of the 100 year old farm of my mom’s childhood, of my childhood, of all the years of my grandparents’ lives.

My mom, brother, dad, aunt and ex-husband helped me some but there was still tremendous struggle and many ups and downs. It was my absolute goal, where I went every day after my day job and where I spent every single weekend.

With almost nothing hired out, I finished the electrical and the plumbing in December 2014. My ex asked me to marry him during those long LONG months while I was working alone on the house. In the summer of 2015 we moved into that old house and began what I believed would be a life together filled with honesty and loyalty. I was wrong about him in every way possible.

I can only say in relief that I did not let him stay in my life any longer then I did. Throwing him out was not an act of bravery but one of survival.

I had someone ask me afterward, “Aren’t you lonely now?” And I realized that I was FAR less lonely, sitting at home alone, than when he had ever been there. I am ashamed to have fell for his lies but I am not ashamed I believed in love.

Grandma’s house can now become what I dreamed it would be on all those late nights alone when I was renovating it. A place all of my friends and family know they can come any time of the day or night.

With the divorce final on December 15th, 2017 – I started the long journey of eliminating all of the compromises I had made in an attempt to make my ex happy and also fix the work here that he did wrong and clean up all the trash he left behind.

It started with my new guest bedroom and library and then, one day, I came home and noticed how bare the front of the house looked.

Once upon a time my Grandparents’ made a sign with their last name on it. My ex had, of course, replaced it with one that had his last name on it.

Now, with both signs gone, my little farmhouse had a bare spot and needed a name so, like with most hard decisions in my life, I went looking to my grandmas for help. My Grandma Charlotte’s maiden name was Story and my Grandma Eleonora’s maiden name was Neuhardt – with the combining of the two I christened my home Storyhardt Farm.

I made my own sign and it felt as though my life, finally, clicked into the place it was supposed to be.

More than once, I felt as though I were a ruin – but it was worth it in every way. For the first time in my adult life I feet real joy and so much of it is due to this wonderful home of mine. Having this place to take care of because it takes such good care of me is the happy story of my life.

Using vinyl words and lettering to make a new sign for the front of my house. Storyhardt Farm est. 12/15/17 Welcome to Grandma's House. DIY Do it yourself, tips on how to apply vinyl lettering and paint to an old sign with rusty old hinges for a farmgirl and country girl look!

Yes, you can do anything you put your mind to, male or female. Houses, furniture, none of it cares how old you are or how strong you are or whether you know the difference between a reciprocating saw or a jig saw. These are old trades and there may be no more satisfying a thing then the creation of a home, a room, a bathroom vanity, a saved rocking chair that was destined for the dump, a saved dresser that went from a beast to a beauty.

This is the good stuff, the best of stuff, this is the stuff that gets under your finger nails and fills and nourishes your heart as well as your body. These labors transformed me just as deeply and completely as all of the transformations I have created along the way.

I hope this blog may inspire you to start your own adventure someday!

Today marks the two year anniversary of when I threw my ex out. I am happy. And I am happy to report that thoughts (or anger or any feelings at all really) of him are finally just a distant memory.

Time does heal all wounds I suppose or we finally just move on. This house MOVED me on.

Just like back in 2013 when it was time for me to work toward something again. This home always gives me that. Reclaiming all of this space as mine and finally being able to do right by it was (and is) an absolute joy. Fixing all he did wrong here took ALL of that two years but I finally did it!

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