Allow the fires of transformation to burn away all that doesn’t serve you

Dear reader, we’re taking a break from the memoir-in-progress to assess the accomplishments of the past year. My husband and I closed on the 126-year-old Methodist church just shy of a year ago, and the changes have been immense. For the next couple days, I’m telling the story in before-and-after photos. Whenever possible I’ll try to use the same perspective in the “after” shot as I did long ago in the “before.” Today, we take a look at the guest bedroom.

second floor bedroom before
I’ve shared this perspective before, but to remind readers: This space on the second story had been a choir loft, a bedroom for the pastor at one time in its history, the pastor’s office, a Sunday School classroom and a meeting space.
guest room after demo
This shot, at a slightly different angle, shows the space after most of the demolition. You can see the choir loft railing (with the center chunk removed). That cross-hatch pattern of two-by-fours was also removed when we raised the sanctuary ceiling so we’d have more headroom on the balcony.
guest room framed in
Again, a slightly different angle, but this is the space once we had the bathroom framed in.
guest room sheetrocked
And here’s the space with drywall.
guest room floor done
And here’s that glorious pine floor, refinished with a couple of coats of clear polyurethane.
second story bedroom
And here’s how the guest room looks today. I have decided I am going to turn the rug the other way and put a love seat on the end of it, facing the bed, to better define the space.
lucy's door with knob
This is a close-up of the door to my granddaughter’s playhouse, a 5-by-8 space under the eaves just off the guest bedroom. We repurposed the door from the other side of the eaves, and Tyler found the perfect miniature ceramic doorknob for it.

Today’s headline is a quote from Health Ash Amara, author of the Warrior Goddess book series.

Tomorrow: The belfry, inside and out. See it here.

 

Piles of paper out, toilet paper in

Dear reader, we’re taking a break from the memoir-in-progress to assess the accomplishments of the past year. My husband and I closed on the 126-year-old Methodist church just shy of a year ago, and the changes have been immense. For the next few days, I’m telling the story in before-and-after photos. Whenever possible I’ll try to use the same perspective in the “after” shot as I did long ago in the “before.” We check out the guest bath today.

bathroom wall before
I’m not entirely sure what this room in the church was. It was filled with a decades worth of Sunday School lessons and choir music. But it also had a gas heater. Maybe the walls were erected after the heater was installed.
bathroom wall after
We tore the old wall down and built a new one to enclose the guest bath. From the beginning, we knew we would locate a bathroom here because it’s directly above the master bath which is directly above the old church kitchen in the basement, and it was easier to run plumbing here. To the right, you can see part of the doorway to the balcony.
inside bathroom before
This is the old storage room before.
inside bathroom after
This is the inside of the bathroom now. A bit of work is still required. We’re missing vanity drawers, we need another coat of paint and the tub needs a surround, but we’re getting there. Given what was in there to begin with, I suppose the space could use a little reading material, too. Once we opened up the choir loft, heating the space was no longer an issue.

Tomorrow: Guest bed. See the transformation here.

 

The only way to do great work is to love what you do

Dear reader, we’re taking a break from the memoir-in-progress to assess the accomplishments of the past year. My husband and I closed on the 126-year-old Methodist church just shy of a year ago, and the changes have been immense. For the next few days, I’m telling the story in before-and-after photos. Whenever possible I’ll try to use the same perspective in the “after” shot as I did long ago in the “before.” We’ve surveyed the main floor, and now we go upstairs. It’s not all that big, but I’m breaking it up into five rooms. First, we’ll take a look at my office.

office before
When we purchased the church, it looked like the second story was last used as a Sunday School room. I think the local Alcoholics Anonymous group also may have been meeting here. Nearly everything you see in this shot was removed, including the wall with shelving and the carpeting. The window you can see in this shot led to the fire escape, which we removed a few months ago.
office after
This corner is now my office. The eaves (where a pile of colorful boxes is) goes along the entire roof line and is great for storing luggage.

Tomorrow: Guest bath. See it here.

We aim to please

Dear reader, we’re taking a break from the memoir-in-progress to assess the accomplishments of the past year. My husband and I closed on the 126-year-old Methodist church just shy of a year ago, and the changes have been immense. For the next week or so, I’m going to tell the story in before-and-after photos. Whenever possible I’ll try to use the same perspective in the “after” shot as I did long ago in the “before.” Today, we have a look in the master bath.

bathrrom before
I’ve shared pictures of the shower corner of the master bath before. This perspective shows where the water closet was built. When we bought the church, this room was being used as an office. At one time in history, this area was a Sunday School.
bathroom after
I had to sit on the vanity and take a panoramic picture to get this perspective because we moved the wall to make the bedroom behind it larger (the panorama is why the floor looks wavy in the picture). That’s another pocket door on the water closet. The door on the right is one of the linen closets.

Tomorrow: The second floor. See it here.

Sweet dreams

Dear reader, we’re taking a break from the memoir-in-progress to assess the accomplishments of the past year. My husband and I closed on the 126-year-old Methodist church just shy of a year ago, and the changes have been immense. For the next week or so, I’m going to tell the story in before-and-after photos. Whenever possible I’ll try to use the same perspective in the “after” shot as I did long ago in the “before.” Today, we look at the master bedroom.

master bedroom south wall before
I’ve shown off pictures of the headboard side of the master bedroom before; that side didn’t exist when we purchased the church. Today, we look at the south side of the bedroom. When we purchased the church, there was an exterior stairway and doorway and a closet on this side of the room. Both were removed.
master bedroom south wall after
Removing the doorway revealed the window. A TV on an imported cabinet now sits where the closet used to be. The foot of the bed is just showing in the bottom right.
ceiling
Initially, I wanted to show off the wood slats of the original ceiling in the master bedroom, but there were too many holes.
tray ceiling after 2
So we repurposed the tin ceiling from the basement inside the tray ceiling. I love looking up at this ceiling when I’m in bed. Tyler says it’s a good think I like it because it was a lot of work.
closet side before
This is look mid-construction of the east side of the master bedroom. This is the pocket door leading to the closet.
closet side after
Here’s a look at the east side of the master bedroom now, complete with French doors.

Tomorrow: The master bath. See it here.

 

History never really says goodbye; history says, ‘See you later’

Dear reader, we’re taking a break from the memoir-in-progress to assess the accomplishments of the past year. My husband and I closed on the 126-year-old Methodist church just shy of a year ago, and the changes have been immense. For the next week or so, I’m going to tell the story in before-and-after photos. Whenever possible I’ll try to use the same perspective in the “after” shot as I did long ago in the “before.” Yesterday, we checked out the back door, and today we proceed down the hallway to the left of the kitchen that we’re calling The Hall of History.

hall of history in before and after

The Hall of History leads to the master suite and the back stairway to the second floor. We intend to hang historical images of the church and pictures of our ancestors here so we chose to keep this hallway as original as possible. The door to the hallway is original, we left some of the paint patina on the floor and all the light fixtures were found elsewhere in the church when we purchased it.

back steps before and after.jpg

Here’s a closer look at the back steps which were rebuilt and recarpeted (I finally removed the sticky-backed protective plastic covering for this “after” photo). We also had new hand railing fabricated. The walls on the stair landing are shiplap we simply painted after removing the paneling (no Sheetrock there). The door on the left leads to a closet beneath the belfry; this area used to be the original entrance to the church. The French doors on the right lead to the master bedroom.

hall of history out before and after

Here’s a look from the stairway back through the Hall of History into the great room. You can see the antique light fixtures a bit better here.

# # #

Today’s headline is a quote from modern Uruguayan journalist and novelist Eduardo Galeano. 

Tomorrow: The master bedroom. See it here.

 

Out of a closet, a doorway

Dear reader, we’re taking a break from the memoir-in-progress to assess the accomplishments of the past year. My husband and I closed on the 126-year-old Methodist church just shy of a year ago, and the changes have been immense. For the next week or so, I’m going to tell the story in before-and-after photos. Whenever possible I’ll try to use the same perspective in the “after” shot as I did long ago in the “before.” Yesterday, we looked at the kitchen and balcony, and today we take a peek into the mudroom (the alcove to the right of the kitchen).

mudroom before
When we purchased the church, there was a closet in the space that would someday become our back door and mudroom.
mudroom mid construction
About three months into the renovation, we’d pinpointed where we wanted a back door, but we hadn’t opened it up yet because it would have been a door to nowhere–the garage hadn’t yet been built.
mudroom after
Here’s how the mudroom looks today. The doorway to the left is a pocket door that leads to the powder room. the “rest room” sign was salvaged from the basement, which was the only operational bathroom in the church when we bought it. The door on the right leads to the garage.
inside powder room
Here’s a peek inside the powder room. The wall behind the mirror is reclaimed wood from the basement ceiling (we also used this wood on our master bedroom headboard).

Tomorrow: The Hall of History. See it in all its before-and-after glory here.

 

Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be

Dear reader, we’re taking a break from the memoir-in-progress to assess the accomplishments of the past year. My husband and I closed on the 126-year-old Methodist church just shy of a year ago, and the changes have been immense. For the next week and half or so, I’m going to tell the story in before-and-after photos. Whenever possible I’ll try to use the same perspective in the “after” shot as I did long ago in the “before.” Yesterday, we walked into the former sanctuary to see a fireplace where the altar used to be. Now we turn to the left to take in the kitchen.

overflow area
This is how what I called the “overflow area” looked when we purchased the church. The doorway on the left led to a hallway, and there was a open area and an office through the wide doorway. From day one, we envisioned the back of the kitchen in that overflow.
kitchen in demo
Here is how that area looked after demolition. You can see all the way through to our future master suite; upstairs, you can see the former choir loft. The doorway on the right side would lead to the mudroom and back door.
kitchen with header
First, Tyler installed a header to shore up this wide doorway.
kitchen with balcony
Then he built a balcony.
kitchen with swooping balcony
Tyler and You-Can-Call-Me-Al smoothed out the edges of the balcony floor.
Kitchen with drywall
The drywallers put up Sheetrock. You can see the doorway upstairs that leads to the second floor guest room with holes for stained glass windows flanking the door.
kitchen with railing
We had a railing installed on the balcony and kitchen cabinetry. All those boards in front of the kitchen are trim boards (that’s You-Can-Call-Me-Al sawing a piece of wood behind there).
kitchen with island
We installed the kitchen island and stained the great room floor.
kitchen after
Here’s how the kitchen and balcony look now, complete with back splash, paint and furniture.

# # #

Today’s headline is a quote from 20th century Lebanese-American poet Khalil Gibran.

Tomorrow: The mudroom. See it here.

 

 

The potential for greatness lives within each of us

Dear reader, we’re taking a break from the memoir-in-progress to assess the accomplishments of the past year. My husband and I closed on the 126-year-old Methodist church just shy of a year ago, and the changes have been immense. For the next week and half or so, I’m going to tell the story in before-and-after photos. Whenever possible I’ll try to use the same perspective in the “after” shot as I did long ago in the “before.” Yesterday, we took in the new front doors. Skipping through the entryway (which isn’t finished or even semi-finished yet), we walk into what used to be the sanctuary of the church.

great room before
This is how the sanctuary looked when we took ownership of the church. The congregation gotten rid of or distributed all the pews and the altar.
Great room before drywall
It took us two months to demolish the interior, and even then, we had the drywallers rip out the ceiling (seen here). They proceeded to drywall and paint the ceiling.
Great room after balcony
Tyler built the balcony off the choir loft.
great room after second drywall
The drywallers returned to install Sheetrock on the walls, and Tyler and You-Can-Call-Me-Al built the fireplace chase.
great room after floor refinishing
Here’s how the great room looked after You-Can-Call-Me-Al bricked the fireplace and after Tyler applied the second, and correct, stain to the floor.
great room after 11.11
Here’s the great room this morning. The back wall is not finished; we plan a bank of cabinets and shelving plus more seating.

Tomorrow: The kitchen. See it here.

There are so many doors to be opened, and I’m not afraid to look behind them

Dear reader, we’re taking a break from the memoir-in-progress to assess the progress we’ve made during the past year. My husband and I closed on the 126-year-old Methodist church just shy of a year ago, and the changes have been immense. For the next week and half or so, I’m going to tell the story in before-and-after photos. Whenever possible, I’ll try to use the same perspective in the “after” shot as I did long ago in the “before.” Yesterday, we drove up to see the church, and today we prepare to enter the front door.

front door
The front entryway of the church was added in the 1940s (for decades previous to that, parishioners entered through a doorway beneath the belfry). Glassed French doors were replaced at some point with the industrial red doors we found when we checked out the church a year ago.
front door after
The front doors today.

Today’s headline is a partial quote from actress Elizabeth Taylor. Her full quote is, “I feel very adventurous. There are so many doors to be opened, and I’m not afraid to look behind them.”

Tomorrow: The entryway is not yet finished, so we’re skipping to the sanctuary. Check it out here.