Before: When we were optimistic

Front of our house

Front of our house

Back of our house

Back of our house

These pictures were taken when we were optimistic (by the appraiser) before we had moved in. 

You have to be optimistic if you're going to buy a fixer upper. You have to see past the poorly chosen paint colors and the stained living room carpet through to the house's bones. You must be willing to dedicate three of four weekends each month to scraping and sanding and leveling and spackling, commit to long evenings working in the yard by headlamp. You have to consent to sore muscles, to disagreements spurred by impatience, to scraped knuckles and to the inability to keep a manicure in tact for more than 24 hours. It's all part of the deal.

We, of course, knew all of this when we signed those papers at the title company. But instead of beat up hands and broken windows we saw potential. We saw the winter evenings inside by the fireplace, the home office, the someday-nursery. We saw games of corn hole and bocce ball next to citrus trees on cool fall evenings in the backyard. 

This optimism tricked us; we're now the owners of a 1962 fixer upper in Phoenix, Arizona. We don't yet have a functioning fireplace and there is no grass on which to play bocce ball. But we're working on it. Follow the progress (and the lack of progress!) here.