The Hurt House 2.0 is what I am using to refer to our massive home deconstruction and rebuild project. It started in March 2023 and as I type this today is not yet complete and has been a labor of love. And holy cow, so crazy and fun and exhausting.
Over the years, as our family grew, our 1940 home with 3-bedrooms and 1.5-bathrooms quickly felt compartmentalized and not very functional– lots of walls, each room it’s own room, difficult to host any amount of people, etc. Our goal was to have a more functional home with more area for the kids to play and us to have family over, have two full-bathrooms, and keep our monthly mortgage approximately the same (or at least not double). Our oldest son was also on his second school district by the time he was in first grade, so ideally staying within the district (or going back to Somerset, WI) was preferred. Per our financial advisor’s recommendations and a host of other factors, we opted to remodel our current home rather than move. The footprint of the home was a a bit disjointed from various additions over the decades, so we worked with an architect to expand our kitchen/living room wall to make the main level more of a true rectangle. In addition, we wanted the main level more open, so many of the walls between rooms were removed, a stairway relocated, and entry areas more functional. We planned to make the upper level, a current 1/2 story, a full second level which allowed all bedrooms to be upstairs. No longer were kids on the main level and us in the upper level (that previous homeowners had made into a master suit). Yay!
Budget was a big factor for us, and we were very fortunate to find a general contractor who agreed to let us take on many projects along the way to save on cost. Demolition, more like deconstruction, was a task we took on rather than hire it out. In most cases, a project like this would have simply been demolished to the ground using a wrecking ball and obliterating most of the structure. In our case however, with wanting to reuse what we could, we literally took walls down board by board, took nails out of each of the boards, saved and salvaged appliances and material. This not only saved us money (although maybe not as much as what we had anticipated), but it also took longer. With the help from family we were able to get a large majority of it completed within two weeks, but then due to weather and restrictions with electrical lines and building materials being delivered, the remaining stage of removing the roof didn’t happen for another couple of months.
It was important to me to document our home well before we started the project, as well as taking photos and videos during deconstruction, so that the kids could watch it all in the years to come (and us, too!). Bobby and I love DIY shows, and going through the process for ourselves was exciting! Now as I finally begin to piece it all together though, I’m quickly learning all the things I could and should have done differently in order to create a bit better viewing experience, but at the time that was the least of my concerns or thoughts. Snapping a pic before a wall fell down was tricky enough most of the time, let alone getting a good camera angle. So bear with me and know clearly this was done by a novice and for the sole purpose to document it for our family. As the project got underway though, more family and friends were curious how it was going and what exactly we were doing, so I would share things with them and on social, which sparked more interest. The growing interest made me realize more people than I thought liked to follow along, and that making the documentation a bit more thorough would be intriguing for us and them (you!).
It’s already all starting to blur together, and it is less than 9 months since we broke ground. At this point, putting in the time and the effort to bring life to the journey feels more like a “need” than a “want.” It is also easy now to wish I had done more then; to take part of a day and journal the process of each day/week or to take a few more detailed videos. But in the moment, we were covered in insulation, capitalizing on all waking minutes to each day to get as much done as we could, only to rush home and get our kids to baseball, soccer, or other activity nearly every.night.of.the.week. Survival was the name of the game, and then trying to be a present and loving parent to kiddos who were being so patient through it all. That being said, whatever comes of this after-the-fact documenting will have to be good enough.
Interestingly, we are a third generation in Bobby’s family, to build/renovate a home. His grandparents (along with family help from his uncles) built a beautiful home in the mountains in Colorado. Bobby’s parents also expanded their home in Minnesota and nearly doubled its size as well when Bobby was in elementary school. Obviously going through it as a kid is different than as an adult with your own home, but it wasn’t his first experience in home renovations. He is also extremely skilled in various trades, as are many of his family members, which helped tip the scales in the direction to “go for it” rather than sell and move (which would equate to a smaller home on a smaller lot).
So perhaps you’ll continue to follow along! Whether it’s reading about it here, watching the YouTube videos (https://www.youtube.com/@BB_Build), or on social, my hope is you find it entertaining and maybe even helpful if you’re considering doing something similar!