Working Together on the House Remodel

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Wondering what life is like for our family here at Missionary Acres? Right now, much of our focus is on our house remodel. Here’s a peek at what we’ve been doing. 

We’ve been in a temporary housing situation here at Missionary Acres since we arrived in July, living in a single wide trailer with a bunk room that’s been added on. Quarters are definitely tight with 11 of us here, and we’re praying fervently for the day that we can move into a slightly larger home down the road.

Unfortunately, progress is slow. Missionary Acres is desperately in need of more staff. There are currently six houses under construction here, and with only a couple of staff members not much is getting done on any of them.

Please pray with us that more volunteers would come down for short-term trips and that God would provide more full-time staff members.

In the meantime, even though Bryan has been busy helping on other projects, the kids and I have been learning new skills over at our someday house. It’s definitely been a new experience, but the kids are learning important skills and we’re able to spend time together while working.

Here’s a peek at some of the progress that’s been made in this space since we moved down to Missouri.

Girl’s Room – Almost Done

When we moved down, we unpacked all of our belongings from the moving truck and put them in the main area of the house. The good news was everything was inside and not out in the weather. The bad news was it’s really hard to get any work done on a space that’s full of stuff.

So we decided to start in a back bedroom and get it near completion. Then, we could move everything into this room and have it out of the way. It took months to accomplish – working in tiny chunks of time as we were able, but the girl’s room has had the sheetrock patched, been mudded, gotten outlet replacements and a fresh coat of paint. It’s now ready for carpet and window replacements in the future.

For now, it’s packed with everything so we can start on the rest of the house.

The girls decided to do a Paris theme in their room. It’s painted pink and grey, and has an Eiffel Tower light switch.

The main bathroom (closest to this bedroom) is also going to be a Paris theme. The girls are thrilled!

The Garage Conversion

The house we’re moving into is pretty small. When we arrived at the Acres, it was a two-bedroom home. In order for us to fit in it, we had to turn the garage into living space. This project is the part of the house where we’ve had the most help from workgroups, and we’re very thankful for each person who helped!

It’s now in the wiring and plumbing phase. This is to be followed by insulation and sheetrock. Then the mudding and painting and all the detail work can begin.

We’ve gone back and forth on the best way to use this space. Originally it was going to be the master suite, with a bedroom, bathroom, and office. But, we decided that what our family needs more than an office right now is a playroom. This way, the kids can have a space to keep the toys where Owen doesn’t go often since he eats things he shouldn’t. (He has Pica along with Angelman Syndrome.)

The kids are definitely missing their playroom and Lego Shack that we left behind in Washington, so we wanted to do something special for them.

But having the master bedroom next to a playroom didn’t really make sense. So we decided to have the boys’ room out here. There’s also a small bathroom and the play space.

The boys are going to have a blue and gray room, with an underwater themed bathroom. It’s been fun planning!

And the playroom is going to have a bright orange and gray combo. Our upstairs hallway back in Washington was a bold orange, and we’re going to use the same color to help remind us of where we came from.

While it’s not finished yet, here’s a few pictures of the garage in progress:

Kitchen

In order to save money, we opted to reuse the existing cupboards and not make many changes in the kitchen. Kitchen remodels can really add up, and it’s just not in the budget. Also, time is becoming a factor. The more changes we decide to make, the longer it’s going to take and the longer we’ll be in a tiny house.

So, for the kitchen, the kids helped Bryan take down a row of uppers that used to divide the living room from the kitchen. This really opened it up and created better sightlines.

Then, the kids and I knocked out the soffit that remained. Jeffrey and Ellie both really enjoyed this task. Here’s a quick video of them working:

The counter they’re standing on is eventually going to be replaced with a wider top. This way, bar stools can go on one side.

These past couple of weeks, the kids also helped scrape all of the old shelf liners from the kitchen cupboards and drawers, pull up the old linoleum in the kitchen, and take down the pantry shelves so we could deep clean that space. Mice have been a problem in this house before, and there are a lot of droppings that I’ve been cleaning and disinfecting as we find more.

Here’s Ellie taking the old handles off of the drawers:

 

The kitchen is going to have a rustic pineapple theme. We bought some new liner for the cupboards that’s pineapple (you can see it here). It’s going to be a brownish/yellow color.

Bathrooms

There are two bathrooms in the main part of the house. One is in the master bedroom and the other is the main bath. In these rooms, we’re going for minimum changes. My mom was down over the summer and helped deep clean them. We’re not replacing anything them except for the toilets and floor coverings.

And of course, they need the normal wiring tweaks and things that come with a remodel (changing outlets and fixtures and things). But, the goal is to keep changes to a minimum so we can get in as quickly as possible.

This week, the kids helped me scrape the linoleum from both bathrooms. It was a tough job, but the top layer is now done. We just picked up a heat gun (like this one) so we can hopefully get the adhesive up this next week.

Simon was a ton of help on this project. He enjoyed using the hammer to tap the putty knife under the floor and pry the floor up.

Other Tasks

The other major project in the main part of the house is to turn a little nook area into a bedroom for Owen. This requires building a wall and putting in a Dutch door for him. We’re looking forward to him having a safe place again that’s not his enclosed bed. Sometimes, he gets overwhelmed with all of the noise and chaos and just needs to be by himself for a bit. That has been a challenge in our temporary space.

Both of the bedrooms here have bathrooms, so it’s not safe for him to be in them alone (he’d turn on the water and flood things). But, his bed isn’t a large space so he doesn’t go there often. It’ll definitely be good for him to have a room that he can go to again.

Here’s the room that’s going to be Owen’s. He’ll have a brick red and gray room (since the one wall is brick.)

The living room space just needs sheetrock repaired.

And then that’s it. It’s a small house that we’re trying to remodel quickly. But it’s slow. Because when you have a lot of projects going on at once, it’s hard to get any work done on any of them.

However, we’re trying to work on it as much as possible with Bryan on the evenings and weekends. And the kids and I are going to keep going down to accomplish what we can.

Working together, we’ll eventually get it done.

And Someday We Pray…

And we’re praying that in a few years, we could build an addition on the front of the house. This way, we would have more living space for when the majority of our kids are in their teen years (and thus bigger).

And the addition would also give me a much-desired tornado shelter (because we’d dig a basement for the new part.) I had a terrible experience when I was a teacher, trying to evacuate my classroom of kids to the school next door because of a bomb threat, and the idea of having to round up all of our kids (especially Owen) and traipse to someone else’s home (where there is a basement) if a tornado comes through terrifies me.

I really wanted a house with a basement for that reason when we moved here and when I was told we had to have this house instead, it was a struggle. I’m trusting that God has a reason for the change, but it is hard to accept at times. So I am praying that in God’s timing, we’d be able to add a basement space to this house.

We’d love to do it now, while we’re already in construction mode, but with so many other projects here at the Acres, the time isn’t right. But perhaps someday soon a workgroup would come down for a longer stay and be able to help us get the addition put on. We’re also praying for funds for this addition. It’s estimated to cost about $20,000. While that’s not in our budget currently, we’re praying that God would bring the money in when the time is right.

 

 

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