Before and Afters – my obsession with transformation.

I have to confess. I have an obsession with before and after pictures. It could be of someone’s weight loss or a thrift store table makeover. Seeing the transformation for me is addicting. I like to remember what was, and what could be, if we had a vision. And pinterest of course.

When we bought our house almost 6 months ago, we had a slight vision problem. We had so much vision it nearly brought us to a halt. So. Much. To. Change. Where do we start? How do we begin a project that has no end? We literally became paralyzed in our ability to change anything.

But then one day, we took a hammer and a crowbar and went at it. We knew that there were built ins not original to the house that had to come down. So we started where we knew what to do, and ahem oh boy. It was hard work. I was not prepared at all for hard work for this house. And for the bumps along the way. And the living in two places at once. Then living in the mess.

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Tearing out the “entertainment center”

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Finding a roof leak

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Walls are drywalled

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Opening up walls

Its like a giant metaphor for life, right?

You start out with dreams and a vision. And then reality takes ahold of you. And the list grows and the daily grind continues. But you have to keep going.

My advice for home renovations…

1. Create the MVP (Most Viable Product) for each room.

In the midst of the renovation, we had to make lists. So we created MVPs for each room. We walked in and said what can we do, what must we do, by when and for how much. What could be done for the greatest impact. And what was OK to leave undone. As someone who wanted it all done, yesterday, this was hard to do. I had to let go of the fact that our light switches were not going to be updated before my mom came to visit. Or that I would have a rug in the office before our New Years party. I just had to LET IT GO. No one was going to care, or say anything, or defriend me on facebook.  Pinterest is the WORST/BEST for this. There are so many ideas I want to do (and will do!) but it was time to let some of those projects go.

If we didn’t prioritize these lists of TO DOs within these rooms, it would have never been done. And there are some things so low on the lists, who knows when they’ll be done.

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Laying the last board of wood.

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Actually laying the last board…

2.The before pictures, KEPT US GOING.

Where you start, matters. 

When you see something everyday you don’t realize how much has changed. I remember a point where I just broke down. We were living in dust. I couldn’t walk in my own house without boots on. And we had been stalled by rain and a roof leak.

I sat down and I flipped open my phone and saw some  “before” pictures. I shared with my husband and we laughed at far we had come. And how close to being “done” (or as done as you can be) we really were. We could see the finish line, but only after remembering where we had started. Below is a taste of some of our somewhat afters for our master and office. And yes, that yellow is an “after” picture…

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After floor/paint Master Bedroom

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After Floor/Paint Office

3. Don’t try and do it all at once. And celebrate!

We did what we really wanted to do(and cut the list in half about 6 times) and what we needed to do. We wanted a house that was for hosting and for our community. We needed space to host. We needed space to have people gather. And we needed it badly.  Once our floors were done, we weren’t even close to being actually “done”, however, we sure did celebrate by having our friends over to enjoy what we had done so far.

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Chaos for finishing this room. Notice fireplace not done. But the floors look beautiful. And the lighting. #wins

4. If you are going to DIY, make sure you know what you are doing!

And if not, consult YouTube, friends or a professional. Weigh the costs/time/setbacks about hiring out work. And learn up what others did before you, so you don’t make the same mistakes. When laying the first room’s floor, we learned a lot. Then we watched many more videos on YouTube and learned even more about what we could do to speed it up.

Now, that we’ve completed what we set out to do, its hard to remember what it was like before we did all the change. I’ve had friends come in and thought the house has always been this way, because it just makes sense now. Friends have commented “I would have never had the vision (or the ___Fill in the blank__) to do what you guys did.”

The reality is that with a vision, room by room plan, remembering the change, budget and resources, and friends and family, we were able to make our house feel like a home.

When I think about changing or “renovating” our own organizations, I think there are so many similar points that we can learn from and probably have our own “before/after” pictures of a team, project, process, department, customer, skill, manager etc.

Also, if you’ve not done any DIY lately, you should. Just to remember what it feels like to create.

Some of my “after” pictures.

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Master – Repainted handles.

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Master – Junk Door as headboard

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Master – Junk Door as headboard

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Super Yellow office. And Cat.

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Grey/Green Hallway with outdoor lighting

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Living room. Sign by WhiteHouse Designs

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Living Room

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Living Room

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Living Room

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Bar & Buffet – Courtesy of Antique shops and goodwill.

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Close up of fireplace

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Coffee and Reading nook.