Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Week #2 Restoration: Skeletons in the Closet

We all have them, in some way, form or fashion. For all of us, we keep certain skeletons in our closet...a past lifestyle, a hidden sin, a haunting mistake, thinking....and sometimes knowing....that no one would look at us the same. This skeleton might be something that could cause a friend, loved one, a mate or an entire family to turn their backs on us forever. Sadly, it happens. In this real life, we are flawed. Sometimes we commit the wrong and sometimes we cannot overlook the wrong. Either way, in these situations we miss out. We miss out on authenticity and we miss out on healing. Nell is no different. She had skeletons...hidden imperfections and what we could consider more than just an imperfection. Wisely, we did elect to have an inspection on our new (old) home before our bid went through to contract. We did know about the old, potentially dangerous knob and tube electric wiring that was running through our home, that CONTINUED carrying electricity throughout. We also saw all of the cracked plaster walls, the smoke film that coated the walls, the signs of leaks that has formed stains on the ceilings. We saw the rotting wood that lay in several rooms that would have to be repaired. But, Nell has good bones and beautiful character. We were willing to look past her past, bring in life and give her hope and a future. Well, there was a few skeletons in her closets.....literally. No, not a real skeleton, although there was a dead possum in the basement that had to be removed. As we dug deep in our 2nd week of the renovation process, we discovered more than we bargained for at times. We were prepared for damage, but not for all of the damage that we did uncover. The extent of this damage could have....and being perfectly honest, probably would have been a deal breaker for us. There were extensive repairs that had to be made. And in our human eyes, we would have thought "This is too much, there is no way we could get through this." Do we ever feel like that in life? Do we ever feel so betrayed by someone's hidden truths, that we want to immediately bail? Are we ever confronted with certain things about others that we consider just plain "deal breakers"? Well, God is not that way. God accepts us exactly as we are. Is that not one of the most precious truths that He gives? He will welcome us in no matter what condition we find ourselves. Even better than that, He does not leave us that way! He restores us. He never considers the cost or the work it will take to heal our brokenness, He just does it. He comes in and makes things new. We feel sure God kept certain things hidden because He knew we would not pursue this extreme blessing that was in store. 

 Removing the old toilet.
 Rotten flooring that went all the way into the floor joists in our bathroom.
The bathroom was eventually taken down to the studs and floor joists only.
Some things are too traumatic to photograph!
Very old, very heavy, cast iron bathtub that was bashed in with a sledge hammer in order to be removed. It took 3 very strong men to shuffle this monster out of our home.

 Salvaging our cabinets, but not the tile backsplash.
 Removed all of the appliances...stove, vent hood, dishwasher and sink.
 Remnants of a life of neglect
 Here is the massive skeleton...which was truly in the closet. This is our kitchen wall....the same one you just saw with the salvaged cabinets and removed tile. There is a small, covered chimney behind the kitchen wall and within the foyer closet. Marcus and the crew found out that there had been an a leak for what seemed like a very long time. There was extensive water damage and mold within the space. The damage ran from the upstairs roof, through a storage closet and down into the kitchen wall, where my lovely cabinets were hanging.
 Here is my kitchen ceiling that also had to be completely removed to repair damage. You can see the old knob and tube electric still running through the ceiling. HAZARDOUS!
 Mold filled plaster, lathe and stud from the deconstructed wall.

 The upstairs storage area that was affected as well.

Nell was not the only blessing in this process. I am not sure if it was in deed, Teddy Roosevelt speaking of the Panama Canal, or if it originated in the movie "Field of Dreams", but someone said "If you build it, they will come." Well, I have never heard anyone say "If you restore it, they will come." But that is exactly what happened. God placed exactly the right people who have the perfect talents and professional skills, in our path a long time ago. These are people that we share life with. They are fellow church members. They are dear friends. and, we could very well consider them family. They are certainly brothers and sisters (although, mostly brothers). Without a word, they came out and began a long, arduous process of filling in the gaps, where Marcus and I had begun to discuss things like "Where do we start?" "How is this going to get done?" "Who can we hire for this job?" and my favorite "How are we going to get this done in time?"How humbling it is to be showered by true agape love. Love like this can only be an expression from God and how sweet that our very dear friends have shown us the Father's love in this way. We would have never asked for commitment that has been and IS STILL BEING SHOWN to us. People, that arguable have better things to do with their time, have sacrificed precious family time, putting in long, hard, hot hours to help restore our home. These acts of love are priceless! We are so very humbled and so very grateful! 
 Removing old linoleum and old tile.

 Cutting through galvanized pipe to remove the tub...and the galvanized piping.
 New electric run throughout the ENTIRE house 
by Marcus, Tim, David, Jason and only 3 days!
 Only minimal damage

 Tools and equipment in the soon-to-be classroom.
Crew members....dear friends...hard at work.

 There were some beautiful finds underneath the rubble from within the walls of Nell!!
 My very hardworking husband uncovered this gorgeous brick fireplace!
 Why would anyone want to cover up such a treasure?
These were found in a bag of old man's socks, stuffed behind a wall that had to be torn out.
They have a real beauty about them and I bet that have a story! 

So to summarize week #2: walls have been torn down, skeletons have been revealed and beauty has been uncovered! New walls will go up, repairs will be made and a new light is beginning to shine! Some things have been hard to take in and some things have taken our breath away, with grace we accept Nell's entire package. She is going to be so worth it!

"Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure--pressed down, shaken together, and running over--will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you." Luke 6:38  


  1. I LOVE reading your blog and seeing your pictures! I can't wait to see the finished product!

  2. Home maintenance is always a series of works in progress, not to mention trials and errors, which are prone to risk factors that may arise at any given moment, for any reason. You should always watch out for those, especially with regard to electric wiring. That can be pushed with proper installation, layout and logistics, but there is also a base level from where you can reduce risk. That is also in the type of sockets we use, the wiring material and the proper measure of voltage. Thanks for sharing the progress of your house! All the best!

    Kellie Taylor @ Aim Dynamics

  3. We thought we could tackle a bathroom remodel on our own. I will never forget the frustration of trying to replace that toilet. The bolts on the floor are there for a reason, and you better make 100% certain of the measurement or you will be at that home center three times like us trying to get one that fits exactly.

    Charlene @ Servpro Industries, Inc.