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My husband and I have been married for 14 years. We have owned many homes, and done a few renovations here and there. Mostly small scale, and with my husband being a carpenter, it was all manageable (That is what I am saying…if you asked my husband he might interpret it all very differently haha).
We use to own a beautiful brand new home, but the yard was the size of 3 parking spots. Seeing as how we have EIGHT children, the yard size to child ratio was seriously lacking. So we did the only thing we could do…we bought a new house and moved. Since we live in one of the most expensive areas in our country (and in the world!) we had to choose an old house to be able to afford a larger piece of land. While many people can get away with buying an old house and renovating it bit-by-bit, we did not have that luxury.
The problem arises with two main issues. The first, is that we are foster parents. There are strict rules about who can share rooms and who can’t. Since half of our kids are still foster children, they can’t bunk with our other kids, which means we need LOTS of bedrooms. Several of our kids also have special needs…making sharing..lets just say, less than ideal. And since very few old houses exist with 7 or 8 bedrooms, we knew renovations were on the table.
Enter the money pit. (I wish had a better photo but I took it from our car, not realizing I would one day start a blog)
One of my favorite movies growing up was The Money Pit. Any movie with Tom Hanks or Shelley Long is sure to be a winner (did I just date myself?). Anyhow. We bought an adorable cape cod home thinking
we would just get new flooring, update the kitchen, and add some bedrooms in the basement. We would camp out in the big rec room above the garage while we renovated. It seemed like a good plan until we did some better-to-be-safe-than-sorry tests for asbestos before we moved in.
Of course they came back positive. It would set the tone for the rest of our renovation. Our plan to stay in the rec room was shot, and we suddenly needed to find somewhere to live for the 6-8 weeks while we renovated the house. Once again, however, we knew we would face the bedroom issue…we needed lots of bedrooms because we are foster parents. Many of my closest friends were also renovating at the same time, and they each had creative living solutions. Some of them lived with family, some house sat, some lived in a trailer, and one of them even lived in their shed! As much as any of these options would have made life easier (well..except for the shed…me and no bathrooms are a deal breaker), we had to find an actual house. I searched and searched on popular house rental sites and vacation sites. I e-mailed advertisement after advertisement and it was always the same…
“How many people will be living there?”
“Sorry I don’t think this home will suit you.”
Hmmm…won’t suit us? At this point I figured anything with bedrooms and a roof would suit us. I even tried to be tricky.
“How many people will be living there?”
“My husband and I and our kids”
Sometimes this got me to a second e-mail response, but they always ended up telling me their house was not suitable, when really they meant we were not suitable.
Eventually, 2 days before we had to move, with no where to go, a friend connected us to someone who was selling their house and wanted to still collect rent. It was a win-win situation. We gathered our things and moved into a nice big house 2 streets away from where we were living.
I won’t go into the long details of how that living situation worked out, but basically a family of 10 living in a home that is wanting to constantly do showings, just didn’t work out. With our 2 month rental agreement almost up, and our house no where near being complete, we found ourselves days away from having no where to live again. Yikes.
To find out what happened and why our house wasn’t finished 8 weeks later, read Big Family Renovations – Part 2.
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