Get to Know the Renovators

Grant was born on July 4th in Southern Indiana. He was the oldest of two boys and grew up on a farm. Here his mechanical mindset was allowed to roam free, taking apart tractors and reassembling them before he could hardly walk. He has always been a hard worker and helped his grandfather and dad around their farms as a kid. As he got older, he knew he had to follow a career that allowed him to use his hands and get dirty. After graduating high school, Grant moved to Pennsylvania and studied at Wyotech. He moved to Michigan after graduating to be closer to his parents who had since moved from Indiana for his dad’s work. Grant has worked in a number of jobs as a welder, machinist, and mechanic, and currently is working in a auto shop that specializes in full-body hotrod restorations.

Ashley was born on October 13th in Southwest Michigan (three years after Grant, as she likes to remind the “old man.”) She is an only child with an interest in a little bit of everything. Though it took her awhile to decide what path she wanted to follow in Life, Ashley ended up following a professional writing degree with a nonprofit business minor from Western Michigan University. She became active on campus through a number of volunteering opportunities while also working two part-time jobs and an unpaid internship. Her busyness followed her return to SWMI after graduation where she worked as an event coordinator in the wine industry for several years. Through a crazy turn of events, she now works in the nonprofit sector full-time and continues to dabble in the wine industry on the weekends where she can express her creativity and eye for detail.

Grant and Ashley met in November 2016 through their Bible study group. Ashley was in charge of communication with all newcomers, and Grant had inquired (begrudgingly as his mother forced him to do so) about the group’s meeting times. When he saw Ashley’s profile picture in her response to his inquiry, everything changed and he couldn’t wait to attend his first meeting. Grant patiently waited a few months for Ashley to become available, but the two became friends during that waiting period. By the end of May, Grant worked up the courage to ask Ashley on a date which ended up taking place that same day — hiking at a local State park. They were inseparable from that day forward.

Within a few months, Grant had proposed to Ashley. He took her to the North Pier (a familiar walking path for them along the beach of Lake Michigan) and got down on one knee in front of all those along the beach and water. It was the easiest “YES!” Ashley ever said. Grant’s romantic gesture was made even better when both sets of parents stepped out from behind the lighthouse and congratulated the newly engaged couple as well. The importance of family and connection is a core foundation of their relationship, and a huge reason the Pillar House initially caught their attention — they could visualize large family gatherings being hosted in the house.

The wedding took place on June 16, 2018. As any married couple will say, the day was magical. Surrounded by the most important people in their lives, they said their vows in the traditional manner — in the church where they originally met. The reception took place outdoors at Ashley’s godparents’ farm. Ashley coordinated the entire event herself and everything progressed smoothly and on-point throughout the day. There was not an element of the day either would change (even though the day ended being the hottest day of June!)

The couple lived in Ashley’s apartment at the start of their marriage. Apartment life was fun for awhile, but sooner or later they began looking for their first home. In October they moved into the Apple House and began their first-take at remodeling a home. Over the course of two years, the couple tore down walls, refloored, dug up the yard, painted, and completed an entire bathroom gut-job. It was a whirlwind of a start to homeownership and marriage. They got it done though! The first two years also welcomed two pups, Copper and Indy, new jobs, new vehicles, and new challenges.

When not busy with work, side jobs, and house renovations, Grant and Ashley make time for other types of adventures too. They particularly love taking road trips and crossing National Parks off a lofty bucket list. In 2018, they drove to Tennessee and the Smoky Mountain National Park to celebrate their honeymoon. In 2019, the road took them to the Finger Lakes of New York and Acadia National Park in Maine. Their home state of Michigan allows for great camping and hiking trails when they choose to stay closer.

However, the couple refers to themselves as homebodies and spends much of their time enjoying bonfires in the backyard with friends, drinks, and lots of laughs. They find the most joy in being content with the current surroundings and never taking the peace of Home for granted.

The couple maintains their individual independence during their free times. Grant enjoys anything dealing with cars or trucks, and makes an attempt to visit as many local car shows as possible each summer. He currently is working on restoring a 1981 Firebird with his dad and is tinkering with a motorcycle build. Ashley has become intrigued with the “plant mom” lifestyle, loves visiting local wineries, and finds comfort in the kitchen. She particularly loves baking macarons, but is always coming up with new recipes to make the most of what she finds in the fridge or freezer.

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