6 months at the firehouse

About 6 months ago, we popped a bottle of champagne and celebrated the fact that we bought the firehouse. It was ours. We were giddy, full of plans and ready to move past the “waiting to close” purgatory. Our sights were set on a list of projects so long it would make even a seasoned renovation pro think twice.

The past size months have simultaneously been a whirlwind and a strange bout of slow motion. We stand at the 6-month mark in a dizzy and weary state. In fact, when I asked Aaron his thoughts on this milestone, how he felt, he had just one word “tired.”



We honestly thought we’d be further along than we are now. Surely the studio will be done by April or maybe, maybe June. We’ll have the yard fenced ASAP – early spring for sure. The wine cellar and workshop will be easy to bang out before fall.

Nary a one is complete.



We both know it’s something that all DIY-ers face, but it doesn’t stop us from feeling a little frustrated at times. We certainly didn’t expect that after half a year the dining room and living room would look just as cluttered (maybe more so) as move in day – all awaiting the tipping point of the studio completion.



I think it looks worse in pictures, but maybe that’s because I just don’t look at it in person. I know it will get cleared out sooner rather than later.


Upstairs the “livable” areas and “haven’t been touched” areas remain much the same as when we moved in. I thought I was alone in my growing itch to get a bit more settled, but the recent delivery of the Ikea catalog had us both salivating at the thought of a few purchases that would make this feel a bit more like home.









The exterior has seen a fair amount of progress, which probably contributed to the slow going inside. We’ve fallen in love with the outdoor space and exterior projects keep creeping to the top of our 2014 mini-list.


So taking a step back, where are we at?
Physically – tired
Emotionally – depends on the day
Mentally – surprisingly good

As I thought about this post, I thought I would have to caveat it with a few “don’t cry for me” statements. But when I started writing, I realized I’m good with it. Sure, most of the space is a still a wreck but the areas where we have made progress (looking at you studio and yard) have come so far that it takes twice as long to edit the pictures because we marvel at the transformation. We’re creeping along, but we’ll get there.

I also wanted to give a shout out to you. Yep, you. Thanks for reading along, commenting and cheering us on (both virtually and in person). We’re so glad you’re here to share this ride with us. Just let us know when you’re ready to stop by and swing a hammer or grab a paintbrush. (Kidding.) (Kind of.)

  1. If I were nearer, I’d be there in a heartbeat to get up on a ladder and lend you my shoulders, arms, and eyes in service of helping you guys. As I’m not, take my ears (ok, my eyes, technically) and my brain. I’m with you. You’ll get there. And you probably won’t remember how. Eventually. xoxo

    1. Thanks, friend! Virtual cheer leading is a most certainly a form of assistance.

  2. You should be commended for the amount of work you have accomplished so far. That yard is wonderful and no small feat. The rest will get done. Keep the faith! We all go through moments of frustration where it seems that the to-do list doesn’t shrink….at least I do!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Jessica! 🙂

  3. Haaa, the six-month-mark…. That’s when you feel tired and face two options: take a break or keep going. We took a break because, you know, we didn’t buy a firehouse so all those little things that needed fixing could wait, they weren’t making our lives impossible. A year later some boxes are still waiting to be unpacked… Work will resume this fall though. Because it’s exhilarating to see what four hands (yours!) can do and your blog is like a kick in the butt! I’m with you too!

    1. You’re spot on, Julie. We’ve already scaled back our expectations for the year. At one point we thought we would tackle the entire kitchen reno in the winter. We’re pushing that off for at least a year. It means stuff will stay in boxes a bit longer, but it will definitely preserve our sanity.

  4. I love that we’re in the same boat. (That is, if your boat was a ship, and ours is a little canoe! All the same, my friend. All the same.)

    1. Definitely the same boat. We’re not converting a two family dwelling back to one. You guys are tackling enormous projects!!

  5. I know exactly how you’re feeling. The funny thing is a few years from now you’ll look back and think, “I can’t believe we did so much in such a little time.” The studio and exterior are looking fab-u-lous! (Oprah voice) Focus on those and drink lots of wine. 🙂

    1. Hahaha! Thanks for the Oprah reference. It made me chuckle. Rest assured that we’re consuming mass amounts of wine 😉

  6. I think you guys are doing a fantastic job. I don’t know how you do it – just our small re-do the floors, paint the rooms, get decluttered projects keep us frustrated. You’ve got a great thing going there!

    1. Thanks, Lisa! I’m so far behind on blog reading thanks to a fun trip (Jamaica) and a work trip over the last two weeks. I need to check in and see what you’re up to!

  7. Remember you are living in Giant Land of Mario Bros, everything is four times the normal size 🙂 I think the work you guys have done in Giant Land with two full time jobs, nonetheless, is remarkable. Your frustrations and hard work will all be worth it in the end. Keep on trucking!

    1. Buhahaha! I love that reference 😀

  8. I think you’re doing an AMAZING job. I know it seems like you should be farther along but, the reality is, this is just how DIY renos go. I’ve been living it for 4 years. While I’ve had a bumpier path than most (divorce & 3 years of emotional turmoil), it slowly happens. You’re making great progress and should be really proud of yourselves (which I’m sure you are). Keep on keeping on!!

    1. Thanks, Carrie! It definitely helps to know we’re not alone!

  9. I’m in the same boat, 4 months into our new house and there are still boxes everywhere, we don’t have an oven (decisions, decisions are so hard!), and no room can be moved into the checked off column. Oh well, it’s all a process, right?! I’m with you, creeping along is the best pace for now!

    1. Thanks Lyndsey! We should all get a renovation badge when this is done 🙂

  10. I found your web site while searching for fire poles. Coincidentally, my wife and I purchased an old fire house last year. Although maybe that doesn’t sound so strange to you! We begin renovating it into our new home this month. And your are so right, the “Does it have a pole?” question comes up in nearly every conversation we have with someone about our future home. Unfortunately ours does not, hence my web searching that led me to your site. I’ve enjoyed reading about your work and admire what you are getting done. And I worry at the same time, as I see that maybe my planned schedule is almost certainly very optimistic. I’ll enjoy following along on your project. Great pics, by the way, I guess that comes with the job for you guys.

    1. Awesome! It’s definitely an adventure. Where is your firehouse at? Has it been converted at all? We were lucky to nab one that had some updates done so we can live it while we work.

  11. We’re in Dayton, Ohio. Not that far from St. Louis, in fact. Some time I think I need to get a web site or blog going so friends and family can see what we’r up to, but for now here’s a link to my Picasa picture page.


  12. […] see us living like this!” It’s one thing to share on the interwebs, but leading people through the sheer chaos on our first floor was not something I was interested in. For weeks before the open house we sacrificed our Sundays to […]

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