We can finally see the light at the end of the renovation tunnel. Granted, it’s still a tad dim, but there’s definitely a hopeful glimmer. Tile work has started in the bathrooms, interior painting is close to complete, floor refinishing began today, concrete for driveway & breezeway begins next week, followed by kitchen & bath cabinet installation. Newly crafted front & gallery doors will be installed after that. Woohoo! Sounds like we’re moving in before the end of the year!

A long, hot summer seemed even longer with reno work at a snail’s pace through August. I won’t bore you with all the work delays. Let’s just say there were many. As a friend said to me in early July, “It always costs twice as much and takes twice as long as you think.” Yep. Sure does.

Priming the Upstairs Den

The good news, however, is that everyone took great pride in their work and has done a quality job on their individual tasks. At the end of the day, this is what will really matter – not the sensation that we stood still and watched paint dry all summer.

You never know what you might encounter when you start tearing away at a 143 year old house. Luckily, we’ve encountered very few ugly surprises along the way. Just one giant scary one. The first and second story galleries looked like they would need some work… UNDERSTATEMENT. Forget what’s rotten in Denmark, the floors, ceilings and columns of these porches were nothing but rot.

Fortunately, we had applied for and were granted a Preservation & Community Enhancement Grant (P.A.C.E.) through the City of Madison’s Office of Historic Preservation. Our application focused on two projects visible from the street – three new period doors to be custom-made by Welch Millwork & Design (along with refurbishing the accompanying glass transoms), and the “shoring up” of the galleries’ structures by our trimwork team on site. The door and transom work has gone swimmingly, but the galleries had to be completely demolished and rebuilt with appropriate materials to look and function like the originals. Again I say, SCARY.

That said, it turned out to be best case scenario. The trim team had great vision & skill and fashioned gorgeous gallery replacements while seemingly dangling from the side of the building. I know these guys are used to hoisting and balancing, but it looked like Cirque du Soleil to me. I guess that’s why they do what they do, and I stay on the ground. Here is an assortment of photos from the build.

We really have made great progress this last year. “Slow and steady wins the race.” Ken & I should have t-shirts with that on them. We have “felt” every day of the process, but when we look at “before & after” photos of the project so far, the transformation is quite amazing. I cannot wait to see the REAL “after” photos. Enjoy these pics of the progress journey and stay tuned for The Grand Finale!

Living Room Transformation to Date

Dining Room Transformation to Date

Kitchen Transformation to Date

New Addition to Date. The old existing shed was demolished and a new one story brick addition was added to the rear of the house. It contains a rear entry “mudroom”, coat closet and powder room.

Master Bedroom, Bath & Closet Transformation to Date

Upstairs Den Transformation to Date

Guest Room, Bath & Laundry Transformation to Date

The New Garage & Breezeway Addition Transformation to Date. We were lucky to have a side yard that could accommodate a garage with a connecting breezeway. Ken did a great job with design concept, and the selected handmade brick blended beautifully with the house brick.

Just a few leftover bricks…
The view on Poplar Street this morning just before the floor refinishing team arrived. Garage carriage doors look great. Gutters are installed.

Thanks for taking a look at our 1876 Fixer Upper progress report!

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One thing that makes my journey unique is that all of my interests are driven by a joyful and genuine curiosity. I delight in finding less expensive ways to make something or creative ways to enjoy something longer. Finding and creating joy - and sharing it - is core to who I am.