Our First 60 Days

It has been two months since Grant and I closed on the Pillar House. It has been sixty days since we moved into the 102-year-old farmhouse and began discovering just what sort of a project the ol’ girl would become. We bought the house knowing she would be a series of projects that would take place over the course of several years, but also knowing she would become exactly how we envisioned. It has been a whirlwind of discoveries, small victories, and additions to the to do list, and we have loved every second of this new adventure.

We initially moved in on Friday, February 12th with the assistance of some awesome friends. The move itself took little less than a ten minute drive from our first house. Even with a Uhaul truck and an enclosed trailer, we had to make two loads to get all our items to the new place. With having two weeks delayed possession of our first house and a number of projects necessary to make the Pillar House livable, our plan was to remain at our old home for two weeks as we completed what needed to be done at our new one. Plans change though. We were so excited about this new farmhouse that we decided to sleep on the couch that Friday night… and we have slept on that couch under the same roof every night since. (Yep, on the couch — I’ll get to that in a minute.)

Each day over the past two months has brought some sort of surprise to our lives. Some surprises have been more disappointing than others, like when we discovered the attic had an infestation of flies due to the large quantity of dead bats in it or finding out most of the electric throughout the house either does not work or simply is not connected to anything. Other surprises have been more joyful such as when we found old soda bottles circa 1950’s in our crawlspace, watched numerous varieties of flowers and plant life pop up around the yard, or pulled back a loose piece of paneling to expose some intricate wallpaper. My personal favorite surprise was walking out the backdoor one evening and looking up to a star-filled sky. It is the little things like that (or the amazing sunrises and sunsets we witness daily) that keep us grounded on the endgame.

Grant and I were marveling at the progress we’ve made in such little time. In all honesty, we need to slow down, but that is a hard thing to ask from either of us. Here is a glimpse into what we’ve done over the past 60 days:

  • Replaced the massive fuel oil furnace with a propane furnace a quarter of the original size
  • Installed a propane tank and hooked up house for propane usage
  • Installed a new air conditioner
  • Plumbed the main bathroom’s shower (We learned the first day that the house’s only shower did not work, so we spent those delayed two weeks at the Apple House to shower.)
  • Plumbed and rewired the mud room’s utility set-up in order to install our washer and dryer
  • Plumbed the kitchen sink (YEP! We discovered the kitchen sink had pipes running from the sink through the floor and pipes from the main line to the crawl space under the kitchen, but there were no pipes in between the two! What?! The first three weeks living at the Pillar House were spent with only one sink in the main bathroom throughout the entire house.)
  • Replaced all exterior door knobs and added deadbolts, also purchased four exterior doors and replaced two so far
  • Spider sprayed! Applied Home Defense to both the interior and exterior walls throughout the whole house.
  • Treated the property and house for termite prevention
  • Ordered new windows for the entire main floor of the house (except the kitchen’s window)
  • Removed all unnecessary and unused electrical wire and plumbing from the basement
  • Discovered a queen mattress would not fit up the staircase, so purchased a new mattress and bedspring in order to set up our bedroom
  • Deep cleaned the entire main floor and cleaned the HVAC ventilation system
  • Installed new sump pump
  • Hung window treatments throughout house (originally bed sheets nailed to the window trim, and now budget-friendly curtain rods and curtains)
  • Removed dead ash tree from center of driveway
  • Partially organized the garage
  • Retired some foundation beams in basement and replaced with new steel I-beams which are in the process of being gradually jacked-up into place to steady the main floor and square it more
  • Rerouted the main bathroom ventilation and rewired the room to include a vanity light
  • Began the hunt for a contractor to remove the third floor dormer, rebuild the roof without the dormer, and reroof the house

All of this is in addition to moving in, unpacking our belongings, and attempting to make the house as comfortable and cozy as possible while in this “transitional phase” of the house’s renovation. We expect to replace the roof within the next couple of months, and may begin foundational work in the living room before the end of the year.

The projects seem endless at this time, but Grant and I also see endless possibilities of what the Pillar House can become. We are so excited for our future in this house! And if we can complete ALL of those things mentioned above in just 60 days, what else can we do in the next 60 years?!

Take a peek at a few of the images we’ve remembered managed to capture over the last two months:

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