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The joke among my friends is that my neighbors think I’m the groundskeeper living in the pool house.

Two years ago last February my eight month pregnant wife and I closed on our 6,000 square foot all brick ranch home (timing has never been my strong suit). As Lauren directed the traffic of tables and couches and bed frames I wasted no time turning living space into a construction zone.

My wife Lauren laces up the tool belt and measures some boards for the new pool shed in the backyard

Honey, I’ll watch the kids, you build the roof

The house was vacant for 8 years.  We knew it was going to be a few steps backward before we could take one forward. What we didn’t expect to find was the apparent duct tape warriors that patched and jerry-rigged any repair or maintenance issue for what appears to be the last 30 years.

Lauren tends to describe our home as a “resurrection” rather than a remodel. Two kids and two years later we’ve made significant progress. But, it isn’t easy getting anything done between nap time and home selling season.

To put the size of our house in perspective…we purchase light bulbs in a 30 pack…frequently. 5 bedrooms including 2 guest suites, 6 bathrooms, 3 fireplaces, full office, full bar, dog washing station, rec-room for the kids, and an attached smokehouse (because everyone needs one of those) all on an over-sized and untamed acre lot smack in the middle of Omaha.

on the backside of our home is an attached all brick smokehouse complete with chimney and heavy metal door

Every home needs an attached smokehouse of course!

This isn’t a gripe session, I prefer to do that with hammer in hand and children out of earshot. We feel extremely privileged for the opportunity to live where we do. But, as many of you can surely attest, substantial home improvement projects can be a true marriage tester, especially a newly minted one welcoming a newborn.

standing next to a fire pit burning trash Brian is holding a recently pulled 6 ft poke weed full of big leaves

Hiding behind a 6 foot poke weed during the first summer of backyard renovation

Sometime early on during the dumpster and demo stage, a few people suggested I start a blog to document the home improvement. I shrugged it off for two reasons. One, I have zero experience writing anything but purchase agreements (and those are fill in the blank).  Two, writing about remodeling would take away time from the remodel itself.

The idea of a blog did intrigue me though. I’ve always been a fan of ‘This Old House’ and the ‘flip this house’ shows so maybe documenting the bumps and bruises of the improvements could be my own HGTV comedy of errors???

Since my iphone is 64 gigabyte full of two types of pictures, kids and home projects, all I really needed to do is scribble a few notes to explain the madness. What I’ve come to realize is writing helps me focus and plan on the projects. You could call it therapy for a significant ADHD issue.

If you care to join me and my family on this journey, this is my attempt to share some of the bumps and bruises, successes and start over stories on our (rather large) home improvement journey. And if you care to share some of your own rehab tips, tricks, before and after pics, maybe we can start the road to recovery together to cure our home improvement addictions.

Let the journey begin…

a before picture of our all brick ranch home

A gloomy day picture of our new home taken the day we moved in. February 2016

4 dumpster loads of leftover trash from the previous owners remains on the back patio just in front of the original chain link fence surrounding the pool and shed with collapsing roof taken the day we moved in February 2016

Maybe we just fill in the pool with the 4 dumpster loads of leftover trash from the previous owners. March 2016

With good perspective this sunny afternoon photo shows the halfway point of the backyard renovation including the new retaining wall along the house and the regrading of the dirt surrounding the pool in prep for the new pool deck as well as the half rebuilt plywood shed

Halfway through the backyard remodel. Summer 2017

Stepping just inside our front entry is the best view of our home through two of the largest windows you'll ever find overlooking the backyard and recently filled pool. Summer 2016 prior to the pool and yard renovation

I told you the house was big.  These are the two living room windows overlooking the backyard. Summer 2017

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