Outdoor Improvements on the Fixer Upper

October 6, 2019

A little glimpse at the progress happening on the exterior of my 1900s fixer upper.  

MACTAVISH HOUSE   |   Published October 6, 2019

I'm learning that when restoring a very old, run-down house, nothing is easy or fast. Unforeseen problems arise, projects take longer than expected, and it becomes obvious really fast you have to be very fluid and go with the flow in order to ever see anything to completion.

But, as I work along bringing my 1900s fixer upper back to life, I'm proud that I'm doing the hard work now so that I be satisfied with the way things turn out when they are done. Sure, my patience is wearing thin and there are days I don't accomplish much at all because I'm frustrated. At the end of the day, though, I don't want to look back at anything in this house and wish I would have done it better.

While I had grand plans for a living room and front entryway reveal followed by a beautiful and inspiring fall design of them both in addition to some DIY projects, things didn't exactly go as planned (obviously). I had this deep feeling of being pulled in two (or possibly five) different directions at once and not being able to move forward in any one way that satisfied me.

So, what have I decided to do? Step back, regroup, and focus almost entirely on the restoration and renovation of my grandparent's old home for the rest of the year. And along the way, actually rediscover that I DO enjoy doing what I'm doing. The thing is, I have gigantic plans for both the house and this blog, but in order for any of it to come together as I envision, I have to first devote myself to making this house look and feel like I imagine it can. It is the backdrop where everything else can fall into place and shine.

I'm checking in with you today to mainly share what has been finished outside through the summer. These pictures were taken a couple weeks ago on a rainy day prior to the siding being pressure washed, so please excuse the slight dreariness and dirt. I'd never work under these conditions for a final reveal, but I guess it all adds to this house being a work in progress.

After today there probably won't be any house updates until January after I've caught my breath, got some things done behind the scenes and am ready to go full force in the new year. Believe me.....I'm working hard and the house is improving little by little, but you're going to have to wait just a little bit until after the holidays to see the changes.

Although the siding installation took close to three months, it was finally completed near the end of August. There are still a few things to tweak and some adjustments I'll be making in the spring, but for now I am relishing in the feeling of turning the corner to come to the house and seeing it stand like a proud member of the neighborhood now.

A lot needs done here on the back patio with the concrete and restoring the front door, but I feel good about the progress that has been made as the outdoor working season comes to a close. It looks as though the window-wall that stood at the end of the porch in the before tour will not be returning and while I love how it opens the porch up, I did like having a little privacy from the neighbors. I'm not quite sure what I want to do to hide their property yet, though, that doesn't involved the cost of putting up a fence.

On the side of the house, I was finally able to get the porch painted that leads into what will eventually be the breakfast nook portion of the kitchen. I still have to put something around the bottom half to replace the lattice that had to be removed and a board needs to be put under that bottom step, but I love how crisp and clean it all looks now with all the white.

As you can see from this before picture I snapped, it was beyond in need of a paint job as it hadn't been done in years. I was actually finishing up scraping the old paint off the porch for the day when my siding was delivered back in June, so I postponed getting the paint on until the project was done. And then June became September!

Needless to say, I needed to rescrape more peeling paint before I got started, but I was blessed with two gorgeous fall days to get the job done. And might I say, the porch looks pretty smashing considering how bad it had become.

Inside, the living room floors have been sanded. While the original idea had been to get the living room completely finished before moving on, my new plan entails focusing on getting all of the demo and mess-making done before putting things back together. Sanding the dark tan paint from the floorboards made a lot of dust......my interior looks a little orange at the moment.....so I want to get the dining room floors done now while the house is already dirty.

The 100+ year old floors are beautiful, though, and I'm so excited to try the stain manufactured by Fusion Mineral Paint on them. With as much work as has gone on with these floors, I don't trust any other finish to touch them! The all in one Stain and Finishing Oil soaks down into the wood rather than sitting on top as most stains do, which I think will be nice for these old boards. I'm also planning on using it when refinishing the wood door out back, too.

Like I already mentioned, the focus now is on ripping out old paneling and sub-flooring, taking down the last of the ceiling tiles, and cleaning up the basement. I've had a dumpster sitting in the driveway (not by choice, might I add...it's where the trash company placed it and they have a heck of a time getting backed in to dump it when it is full) since about March of last year. And it is time for it to be filled up one last time and be gone by the end of the year before the snow moves in.

I'm crossing my fingers that by mid-November I can begin to make the house pretty room by room.

Well, that about sums up the condition of the fixer upper at the moment. Believe it or not, but I've pretty much planned out the entire 2020 blogging season filled with room reveals, DIY projects, decorating tutorials, recipes, and much much more......assuming of course that everything goes according to schedule! Which, with a fixer upper, it rarely does. But I'm really excited about sharing it all with you and finally seeing my blog come together in the way that I always dreamed it could.

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