The night before Thanksgiving when I was supposed to be cooking half of the entire Thanksgiving spread for 20+ people, we were sitting in the car instead, waiting while a mitigation crew ripped up our kitchen.

At 11:30pm we were allowed back into the house and I cooked in this:


The dishwasher had sprung a leak and water had gotten all up underneath the hardwood. Unfortunately, this was not the first time it had happened and mold was discovered underneath the kitchen and adjacent laundry room flooring. Just like that – laundry room: inoperable; kitchen: all but the same.

And then Thanksgiving morning came and as I walked through the little room that holds our water heater, I stepped into a nice. big. puddle. The water heater was down for the count. What are the odds? We just had to laugh…and clean up additional water damage and get Thanksgiving dinner out the door.

Sean and I had talked about the kind of travel we want to do with the kids while they’re small and decided to buy an RV in the Spring. A fantastic one came up while we thought we were still in the browsing stage, so last minute plans were made for Sean and his grandfather to fly out to Utah and drive the beast home. They made it through a gigantic snow and ice storm that was covering the Midwest and arrived just in time to take our family trip to Disney World. We didn’t have a lot going on or anything. But isn’t that how it usually works out when things decide to fall apart?

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We thought it would be fun to drive our brand new (to us) toy down to Florida so we loaded up quickly and took off. What we didn’t realize at the time was that we were moving in for the foreseeable future.


My uncle was working on the house while we were at Disney and he called to say that the kitchen needed to be gutted. We came home to this…



…and I promptly admitted defeat and did this…


We were (are) officially trailer-dwellers. Try not to judge us too harshly. ;)

The kitchen was a blank slate though and well, that got us thinking. Someone should really rip the paper from my hands the next time I say I just want to sketch something out because my sketches are really expensive.

We’ve talked about the danger of “while we’re at it”, right? Well we are headed down that rabbit hole again. While the kitchen is gutted and we have to get all new cabinets and flooring, what better time to tackle the other things we’ve always considered doing with the main living space? I mean, really – when will we have an opportunity this prime again, I ask you?


*You’ll note that this particular drawing is already even more pricey because it includes an opening to a finished garage.)

“It would be nice to have more room around the kitchen table” turned into “we should have an island instead of the previously existing peninsula”, and “what if we knock that wall back, and that one too?”. Then, the BIG ONE: “what if we vaulted the ceilings across the living room and the kitchen and went open concept?”. You see, the sketch just looked so pretty. I could picture it and I felt myself getting attached to the idea. It’s like giving a drug addict just a taste. Besides, I had been binge watching Fixer Upper on Netflix so I was INSPIRED. Ha.


Our Disney trip got us nearly half way into December. Then there was all the Christmas stuff and Uncle Duck had to wrap up some other jobs while we figured out what we were going to do about kitchen cabinets.  It all added up to it being January before any more work could be done on the house. We settled into camper life in the back yard and tried not to get our hearts too set on the ceiling vaulting until Uncle Duck could come back and tell us whether it would be an outrageous expenditure or not.

Finally, the day arrived when Uncle Duck was able to come look at the house and tell us whether or not we could do all the things! I said, “I really just need you to give me an idea of what we’re looking at so that we can see if we can afford it.” He didn’t even make it all the way into the attic when he said, “you can afford it” and got to work. Ah! Somebody cue the angel chorus!

So that’s where we’re at right now. Demolition is finished, new ceiling joists are in and most of the sheetrock is up.

Here’s before the walls and ceiling came out:


Along the way:



And where we’re at today:


It’s the end of February and we’re still living in the camper. That’s a post unto itself so more on that later, but I will say that it’s alright. Surprisingly, it’s working out pretty well actually. We are all very excited to be finished with the house though. It’s going to be an amazing space when it’s done! Can’t wait to show you all the after photos. :)


  • Mel


  1. ShannonLoveHairr on February 22, 2016 at 9:44 am

    Ooh I love before and after renovation pictures!  Yours is going to be amazing, I’m sure!  I do hope you keep your green wall.  I just LOVE it!!

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  3. MelMcLellan on March 21, 2016 at 1:05 am

    ShannonLoveHairr Thanks so much Shannon! :) Unfortunately, the green wall did not survive, and I was really sad about it because I loved it so much too! But I took my last round of baby photos in front of it and now I’m excited for the new things to come for that space. :)

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