Our story: It was all worth it.

I was born in February 1986, I was home schooled and raised on my family’s golf course and my grandparents’ (retired) dairy farm in northern Minnesota. I lived and breathed that golf course, I was a damn fine golfer and mowed so much grass to this day I refuse to mow even my own lawn.

I met a man from Oklahoma online during that time.

I owned a house before I bought my first car when I was 19 in 2005. I bought it on a cosign with him down in Oklahoma with the plans to renovate it and sell it for a profit and that story goes: I learned how NOT to do a renovation and to NEVER EVER EVER cosign for anyone.

I lost six years of my life splitting my time there renovating that house and my time here helping run the golf course. Minnesota had been hollering me back for years, it was WAY past time that I listened.

After he destroyed my credit score I came home pissed off, exhausted and broke in August 2010.

That year turned into a landmark year for my mom and I. In the next two months my family sold/lost almost everything (including the golf course) and my folks got divorced. (That was during the huge economic collapse in the US.)

Everything changed in that two months, every certainty, every belief, every plan I had ever had for the future – it all absolutely vanished. The golf school brochures went into a drawer to be eventually thrown away.

I was shell shocked.

diy home renovation refinishingadopted dog diesel

I grabbed my freedom by the horns and kind of went wild. 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!

Unfortunately this story has a real sad note though as in just a couple of years I also 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.

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 had 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 one of them would be a part of my story somehow! I was ready to really start working again. (Its a sickness I inherited from my Mom’s side of the family – we’re not happy unless we’re working toward something.)

furniture refinishing

Our Story

And so we filled one whole stall of my mom’s 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. I had never done anything like it before but I learned quick!

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. It helped me heal.

I had purpose again.

Since moving back I had been quietly on the lookout for a little place of my own. I hadn’t really told anyone about it but my mom and I had stopped and looked at a few small (very old) farm houses that were in my budget and one original little school house that totally took my breath away.

I had this image in my mind of an old place that I could restore. That could be totally mine. That I could make right and beautiful again.

The story of a newly single gal that almost singelhandely renovated her Grandparents' 100 year old farmhouse. How at 30 years old she built her dream home!

Our Story

Of course you already know it was right in front of me.

I was hollered home.

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 fifty years my grandparents lived there together.

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

With almost nothing hired out, after completely gutting the home, I managed to finish the electrical and plumbing in December 2014. (And passed inspection PHEW!!!)

My ex asked me to marry him during those long months while I was working alone here on the house. (Yeah total red flag, he happily did whatever he wanted while I worked (and paid) to finish our future home together.)

In the summer of 2015 we moved in and began what I believed would be a life filled with honesty and loyalty. I was wrong about him in every way and more than a little embarrassed that I almost let yet another leach destroy my credit score.

Throwing him out in 2017 was not an act of bravery but one of survival.

Someone asked me afterward, “Aren’t you lonely now?” And I realized that I was FAR less lonely, being home alone, than when he had ever been here.

It was YEARS past time for my home to be one for get togethers, bon fires, whiskey and wine and cards against humanity, guitar hero and mario cart! Being surrounded by people that understand these are the times that we work for, that make life worth living and that there is nothing more important.

Our Story

My home finally become all I dreamed it would be that he never allowed.

A place for get togethers, bon fires, whiskey and wine and cards against humanity, guitar hero and Mario cart! A home all of my family and friends would know they could stop by absolutely anytime.

A home for people that understand that these are the times that we work for, that make life worth living and that there is nothing more important. (How I allowed him to take it all from me, even for just a couple of years after I had worked so hard for it, remains an utter shame of my past.)

It felt as though my life, finally, clicked into the place it was supposed to be and so much of it is due to my Grandma’s house. Having this place to take care of because it takes such good care of me is the happy story of my life.

This house MOVED me on.

Our Story

I spent two years happily single here, my life encompassing all that I had wanted it to be.

I worked a lot, I partied hard, I howled at the moon, I spent all the time with my family that my ex had taken from me and I got a TON done here on my home.

I created my very own workshop, renovated my guest bedroom, remodeled my entryway/office/dining room and my laundry room, totally transformed my kitchen, tackled and insulated my garage and even finished all of the siding and yard clean up! Not to mention I also completely repainted and updated the living room!

I eliminated all of the compromises I had made in an attempt to pacify my ex and also fix the work here that he did wrong and clean up all the trash he left behind.

It was an insane amount of work but I did right, finally, by this home.

Those two years as a single gal I wasn’t just fixing this place, I really was fixing me too in the exact same way. I was absolutely happy, I had found acceptance that if giving up everything for a loveless marriage or being alone were my options than I could totally live with that.

I was done fixing, I was content and I was happy.

I guess it makes sense that it was then that I met someone.

Someone who didn’t want me to give up a damn thing.

His acceptance of me and all of my weirdness, my family, my work, my dreams, my job, my home and my blog is love I never knew was possible. He didn’t want me to change anything or have to give up anything, he just wanted to be a part of my life.

This little place of mine hollered my Lodi home too.

Life Changes, Happy Beginnings & the 2019 Fall Photo Gallery After being alone for two years after throwing my ex husband out, I actually met someone. Happy

Our Story

We started dating in September 2019 and then, in early 2020, after he moved in, he and I got right to work on making this place better for the two of us.

I had no idea what it was like before to have a partner that would not only put time in but also money into our home too. I had been completely alone with the men of my past taking full advantage of me and my income.

This was the first time I’d ever experienced what I’ve begun to think of as a real grown man.

I won’t deny that I was suspicious at first and had become (with no choice in the matter) so incredibly independent I barely knew how to accept anything like that.

But Lodi proved that he wanted to be here with me no matter what. And he really wanted to help too, not just because I was his girlfriend or a love interest, but because I was his friend.

It took a little getting used to lol!

We accomplished ALOT the first year we were together.

First we completed the next three projects I had on my list which was another revamp, redesign of the guest bedroom, a total completion of our main floor bathroom and finally we finished the main floor hall as well.

Moving on to the bigger projects:

Meanwhile over the summer / fall of 2020 we also moved the crappy old back door from the back hall into the workshop and replaced it with a solid steel door and new doggie door. In place of the old door we added a window and a wall to make the back hall into a small room for Lodi and his own hobbies.

Over the course of 2020 and well into 2021 we were also slowly hacking away at my once abandoned (and totally unfinished) basement. It took a long time to get the space down there just right to reveal it here on the blog but we LOVE our basement “speak easy” living room!

We also finished the bathroom down there too!

On the list for the basement is the kitchen and stairwell and, somehow, that will be the last of the unfinished spaces to “complete” this home that I started renovating back in 2014…

WOW

Over 2021 Lodi tackled our yard with a vengeance. I helped him put an addition on our garage and, in three separate concrete pours, pour a huge apron on the front of the entire building.

It was a lot of money and a ton of work but we haven’t regretted either for a minute.

Its been AWESOME to have the extra space out there!

Lodi helped me get our new lower deck installed too and to say that after that summer of 2021 we were totally exhausted is an understatement!

That winter I was really excited for less intense projects and got to work repainting and redesigning our master suite and master bathroom.

We really did tackle a lot in the less than two years after he moved in – crazy we didn’t also kill each other! (mostly kidding…)

In fact it cemented the truth: we both wanted this life of ours for the rest of our lives.

This was our story and we never wanted to end.

On June 11th 2022 we got married!

(Click here to see the whole photo gallery)

The story of a Minnesota gal who singelhandely gutted and renovated her Grandparents' 100 year old farmhouse and met the man of her dreams!

Our Story

Back in March of 2019 a devastating amount of snow followed by torrential rain was the beginning of the end of our old barn. Inevitable or not, we were still heart broken.

I knew it was only a matter of time before the barn would be too dangerous for even me to tip toe across the rafters and visit the hay mow again.

So, one very early morning in 2020, I crept up there for what did end up being the last time and captured all that was the ruin, and the beauty, of her.

It was two years later that things took a real turn for the worst with the barn. She wasn’t just dangerous anymore but downright frightening to even be near let alone walking inside of.

We made the decision to have her taken out.

In 2023 we were witness to the end of our barn’s story here.

In the end Mom and Lodi left the decision up to me and though I don’t feel I had any other choice I’m always gonna ache that loss. I may always look at that empty spot in the yard as a baffling thing that makes no sense to me.

We kept the silo and are playing with ideas and plans for it someday.

We had vowed that 2023 was going to be our cut back year and wow how the universe did laugh at us about that. We also had to completely replace the old septic system here on the farm too.

I did almost nothing besides watch it all happen but it all cost so much and the barn being gone was so hard – It put me in a funk for months.

So I didn’t do much around here in 2023…

But I did help my mom design and finally get her house built in 2023 and to see her finally get her dream home, and start that next chapter in her story, mended my heart a little.

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 restoration 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 inspires you to start your own adventure someday!

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