Sunday 5 January 2014

There's Always Hope Part II

It has been five years since my sister walked through the door of the house she purchased without seeing inside.  If you missed Part I click here.

The lady who sold it to my sister was just as dumbfounded as everyone else at the condition it was in.  She turned to my sister and asked her if she still wanted to close the deal that day.  What were the options? There was no other place available in the village.  They wanted to stay in the community that had given them a place of friendship and peace after their son was killed.  The mortgage payment would be about half the cost of renting an apartment and they could keep their pets. The spacious yard gave ample room to grow their own vegetables, which would save them money on their grocery bills. With knots in her stomach, she said yes.  The vendor offered to absorb the cost of replacing the furnace and that, at least, didn't have to come out of the $10,000 reno budget.

My brother renovated the bathroom, while my sister's son pulled up and replaced the rotting kitchen floor. Although my brother in law's back injury didn't allow for him to do heavy work, he helped his cousin replace the electrical wiring. ~

The doors were replaced and as many windows as they could afford were installed by a professional.  The rest they would have to do themselves, with some help from family.  Loads of demolition materials beyond counting, were hauled to the dump.  My sister and I have no idea what kind on insulation filled the bathtub during that demolition and that we bagged and carried out of the house.  Sometimes, it's best not to think about the stuff you get into in these jobs!

The kitchen had an acoustic tile ceiling that was mouldy from a roof leak.  It came down and the good news is, there was a beadboad ceiling under it.  The bad news is, it was a heck of a mess! ~

Can it be salvaged?  You betcha!  All it took was a whole lot of scraping, her husband fitting a few missing boards in and my sister devoting her life to filling the cracks with silicone filler.

Five years later and she still hasn't got it done. ~

The kitchen also had wood on the walls.  Okay, they need a little patching. Or a lot of patching! ~

Ta Da! ~

The roof leak had done serious damage in the upstairs bedrooms as well.  Under the mouldy panelling and layers of wallpaper was the original plaster.  It's a very rough plaster so you have to embrace a rustic look for it to work.

Down came the panelling. ~

My sister set in with a bucket of plaster to fix the walls as much as she could.  ~

Only the window wall was beyond repair and I had a roll of textured wallpaper that we put on it to cover up the worst of the patches.

Here's that same room today. ~

My sis says to be sure to tell you that she bought that bedding on deep discount.  I think she's getting into this story. LOL

The original beams in the living room ceiling were exposed and stained in a dark grey. ~

Having lived with my parents for a few years, they had very little of their own furniture left.  Almost everything in the house came from auction sales and thrift shops. It all has to do double duty as well.  With only 800 sq. ft. of living space, storage is at a premium.

This corner cabinet cost $5 and looks great with a new paint job. My sister made all her own window coverings, using discounted remnant fabrics. ~

You may remember this buffet I painted and added a Modpodge transfer to the doors.  It still seems to be circulating around Pinterest.  It not only holds the TV but gives them extra storage. ~

Over the years, as funds have permitted, they've done upgrades to the house.

A narrow hall between the kitchen and living room was redesigned to hold a coat closet.  Their son is busy with his own home and family, but came to build it for them. In a house that didn't have even one closet, this is a huge deal!  ~

Their son also built a new front porch to give the house a little curb appeal. ~

I well remember my sister sitting crying because they would never be able to have a house again.  They would never qualify for a mortgage.  I remember how she worried, night and day, about where they would go when my mom's house was sold.  She was in her sixties and the future looked very bleak.  There didn't seem to be any hope.

They had a little luck and a lot of hard work and perseverance to turn that fate around.

At Thanksgiving, they had a comfortable and, not perfect but charming, home to host a family dinner in. ~

Saving that house became my sister's mission.  It returned the favour by helping her heal from the sorrows in her life and by giving her a place to call HOME.

It proved to her that there is always hope!

ps - As someone who has suffered and survived, she has really appreciated your heartfelt comments on the last post.


  1. It's a testament to their courage and strength...that's for sure. Many people would have just gone to an apartment. They should name it Healing House. It's beautiful and has "Home" written all over it. I personally feel this is one of the sweetest homes I've ever stepped foot in and I'm glad you did this post Maureen, because although we were living in the neighbourhood and were here, I didn't see the start of this project and am in awe of what they accomplished! There's no place like Home! Loved these two posts! xoxo wendy

  2. God bless them! What a difference some hard work can make! So wonderful to see family pitch in and help each other. Her creative and inexpensive decor is lovely! I am so happy with the ending of this story and the fact that the home helped her heal also. Thank you and her for sharing this story. YES there is always HOPE!

  3. Well done, all of you. it is amazing what can be accomplished when we are willing to share and help each other. Now they have a neat place to keep themselves and their pets happy and warm. Prayers do get answers.

  4. Maureen ... so happy that you shared this story with us and your sister and brother-in-law have a nice place to live and heal. So wonderful that families stick together to get each other through difficult times. Well done and it looks so warm and comfortable inside. You sister did a great job of making it pretty. I know you are happy to have been a part of this.
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

  5. Awwwww.... I LOVE this story! I HAVE to go read the first post now!


  6. Maureen this is one of my favourite posts ever! I love the pictures I love this home and it's story. I'm so happy your sister ended with a perfectly charming home. This post has really given me a kick in the pants I needed this week.

  7. What a sweet house! I'm so happy for your sister and brother-in-law for what they have accomplished with the help of family and friends, for having a beautiful and comfortable home to live in and enjoy with their pets, for the strength and courage to go on after all their heartache. Thank you for sharing their wonderful story and home with us, Maureen. Blessings. Pamela

  8. Thank you soooo much for sharing this story! I love the house, I live in a little old house too, nothing fancy, certainly not perfect. Your sister and I can call our houses charming!! I love that the whole family pulled together and that front porch is beyond adorable and the kitchen is so warm and inviting! The kitty looks so content in the window, bet it thinks it lives in the best house in town with the best parents ever! Great post and my best to your sister. I don't know why God chooses to give some people so many obstacles in life, I'm guessing it is because they are special!


  9. Oh I love a happy ending and this story sure had one! I'm so glad for your sister and her husband. I think the house turned out great and that front porch is just awesome! Nice job!

  10. the befores and afters are something to behold, a real testament to your sister and to your family.

  11. Your sister has created a really warm and cosy home, with the help and support of all of you and an extremely talented son. Who wouldn't want to spend time in a home that is so full of charm.
    I'm so glad her hard work and perseverance paid off and that now she can enjoy some peace.

  12. vision and hope are quite extraordinary

  13. That transformation is a miracle of love and hard work!! After all your sister and her husband have been through, it is wonderful to know they are living in such a beautiful little home of their own. Just goes to show, you can do a lot with a little imagination and a ton of hard work. Kudos to you all. What a beautiful home.

  14. What a beautiful and inspiring post...not only with the pictures of the incredible transformation of saving a house and turning it into a beautiful home but finding peace and hope after such a tradgic situation.

  15. Oh wow Maureen...I just read these 2 posts, and what a story! Blessings and warm wishes to you, your sister, and your family!!


  16. I enjoyed reading the great story about your sister's home and life. It is heartwarming to see how your family rallied around her to help fix the home is charming now. I like the phrase that you used about the renovation..."sometimes it is best not to think about what you are getting into" terms of the work AND the actual goo, mold, deteriorated stuff, etc. Thanks for sharing this story.