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Sweat Equity

| 3/2/2016 10:23:00 AM

Transitional TraditionsIn winter months, when Wisconsin’s cold weather keeps us mostly indoors, our family has largely kept ourselves busy with home remodeling projects. When we moved into our home in mid-2013, we were excited beyond measure for this property’s “potential.” That’s a kind way of saying, we purchased a serious “Fixer-Upper.”

Not only was the home a base-model manufactured house, but the previous owner had been unable to properly care for it the last few years due to old age and disability. Because the house looked unkempt and incredibly dirty, we were able to purchase it for more than $30,000 below average price for a three bedroom home with seven acres of land.

You see, from the beginning, our entire vision of a cozy home was borne out of a belief that we could clean it, fix it and upgrade it over the next few years in order to really make it our own. That’s part of the beauty of sweat equity: you build not only a lovely home, but the self confidence to continue on this journey of skill-building and craftsmanship. Also, once you buy a lot of the tools you need, you will most certainly use them again, so the cost per project tends to go down each time (depending on what you are doing).

That vision has been countless hours of hard work and tenacity because for awhile, it seemed as though the task list only grew with each chore completed.

In the first few summers, our attention was turned to “taming” our outdoor property. The grass was overgrown or missing. The trees had been planted too close together and were now 15 years old and over crowded. There were dead bushes and trees all over. The fenceline along the road was one long matted mass of wild grapes, thornapple trees and sumac bushes. The lawn itself was undefined, with prairie flowers and random field stones sort of defining a border. After two summers of weed-wacking, chainsawing and pruning, I finally felt able to focus on a family garden. (I’ve written a lot about that already here).

Each winter brought us a new challenge inside the home. We began our first winter (2013-14) working on our kitchen. We removed a small wall, a row of upper cabinets and washed every square inch of the room. Next, we mudded the walls (our entire house was paneled with drywall and “finished” with small wooden strips to cover each drywall seam) and removed the flimsy baseboard. After that was completed, the next step was to paint. We wanted a farmhouse feel and chose a cheery New England blue for the walls. The walls had previously been covered in tiny floral print or poorly painted a teal blue by the previous owner.

3/4/2016 2:05:45 PM

Dear Becky and Andy, I LOVE the pictures of your home...GREAT JOB! I wouldn't mind living there, especially with the Roman Bath and Wood stove. My grandma and mother both have one and we all love them! SO COZY! I also found a deeper spiritual truth that I believe you wanted us to all find: "Be persistent, believe in yourself no matter what and don't give up!" I thank you for this, ESPECIALLY the title that reeled me in for a read: "Sweat Equity". The Bible says in Psalm 126:5 "He who sows in tears will reap with shouts of joy." Y'all are my cheerleaders saying "Your efforts in your writing career will soon pay off, Liberty, keep going!" Thanks for everything, Becky and Andy! Praying for your family, Liberty V Justice (Successful Sassy Southerner) No period in my "V" because my victories never end and yours don't have to either!

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