A Victorian Adventure

A Victorian Adventure by Ashlee Finck.
A Victorian Adventure by Ashlee Finck.

In The Beginning

Have you ever had one of those moments where you knew your life would change forever? If you’ve found the love of your life or have any children, I’m sure you’ll say “yes”. I’ve been lucky enough to have a few of those moments myself. The most recent was April 7, 2018, when I walked into a beautiful, old Victorian. The owner had called my husband, a handyman, to do some repair work so they could sell the house. We had already heard about this house from a regular customer of his, and we were very curious about the shape of the house. When he got the call, I decided to go along. To put it simply, the rest is history.

As soon as we walked through the door, I knew this was “home”. My heart jumped and pleaded with my brain to make this a real possibility. It was amazing! To be honest, there was a LOT of work to be done, but it didn’t seem relevant at that moment. All I could see was the big picture; I saw what this house COULD be, and knew we had to do it. After looking at my husband, I knew he was on the same page. One way or the other, this was going to be our house. Luckily for us, it all worked out and we are the proud owners of this amazing home.

The Initial Plan

We closed on May 18th and decided we’d move in on June 17th. With only a month to get it ready, we had to be selective on what to tackle. We agreed that this would be a life-long project, but certain things had to happen to make it livable. There had been some considerable water damage from a broken pipe, which would have to patched temporarily. Along with the ceilings, some of the hardwood floor was buckled from the water, so that would have to come up in a couple of spots. Nothing too major, and nothing we couldn’t accomplish in a month, right? My husband would start with these projects, and we’d go from there.

We have three little girls, and they were each getting their own room. I wanted to be sure they each felt special in their own space, so their rooms were going to be my priority. The two younger girls were getting the bigger rooms, and they were in pretty good shape. They’d need a good cleaning, and I knew I’d paint them. Again, not a huge task. My oldest daughter, however, had the room that looked like a demon had ripped through the walls. I didn’t know what the situation was, but I knew I’d find a way to make it pretty.

With our plans made, we moved forward. If only things had worked out like we thought they would…

Reality Sets In

The first weekend was spent in a pretty logical way: cleaning. There were quite a few things left in the house, and we needed to get them out. We were lucky enough to close just before our towns bulk pick-up day, so anything we could get to the curb would be disposed of. We started cleaning and clearing, which lead to musing about the next step. And the snowball started rolling.

I was cleaning one of the bedrooms, and a horrible sound came from downstairs. I rushed down the stairs, half expecting to see my husband trapped under whatever just fell from the sky. Instead, he’s happily pulling down the ENTIRE kitchen ceiling. Once he’d started dealing with the water damage, he realized the whole ceiling should be replaced. And with bulk pick-up on Monday, now was the time to do it. 30 giant contractor bags to the curb later, and that was taken care of. And thanks to the guys at the village for being amazing and actually taking all of that!

My oldest daughter’s demon fire room was the next obstacle to overcome. Once I got in there and really saw what was going on, it didn’t seem so bad. It was just a lot of layers of wallpaper that had to come down, which seemed simple enough. At final count, it ended up being eight layers on the walls and six layers on the ceiling. I had no real experience with wallpaper, so that was a whole new challenge for me. I’ll tell you more about how I did that in a later article. For now, just know it was done. What was once the roughest room is now the prettiest in the house!

Upon Reflection

As I look back over the last month, it occurs to me that we both might be a little mad. What seemed like a fairly simple path toward livability ended up being more like the yellow brick road. It twisted and bent and stretched on forever. It’s been a month of kids staying with grandmas, our dads spending hours helping us on evenings and days off, and great friends and neighbors doing whatever they can to help. We ended up setting some pretty lofty goals for this month, but we made it! We are moving in in two days, and it’s all worth it. I hope you’ll keep an eye on this column to see exactly how we did it, and how we will continue the renovations. There will be plenty of pictures!

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