My Garden Retreat

My Garden Retreat
photo Gridley Graves for Country Living

Meet me at the top of the stairs


So now that I've shown you our completed upstairs...
Let me show you why it such a big deal.

For the last 4 years our entire house has been in stages.

stage1 (year 1):  The first part of our demolition...where we pull a little off here...
 and there to see what we THINK we will be dealing with. (LOL!)

This is also when the upstairs project was really underway.
We installed new windows, and all new electrical.

We steamed off layers...
and layers...
and layers...of wallpaper.
And used 4 five gallon buckets of drywall mud to smooth...
then sand...
then prime and paint all of the walls.
don't forget.... we turned a closet into a bathroom!

stage 2 (year 1 and 2): The actual destruction of our home from the inside out!
This is the stage when we realize we are over our heads.
But like any other 2 stubborn workaholics...
continued as planned.

Tearing out...discovering hidden gems like this door transom!

Reloacted walls...And left some out all together!

And of course...let us not forget...ripped out a 100 year old chimney...
brick by brick!
Tore off  and rebuilt a garage that my Grandfather had hauled in on a truck...and reconstructed the year
 I was born!

stage 3(year 3 and 4): The "putting it all together"stage.
This is where we can see that we have not lost our minds...
(At least....that's what we tell ourselves!)

we DID know what we were doing...(Well, it all looked good on paper!)

And NO...we would not do this again.... but are glad  we did at the same time.
Figure that one out and when you do...come tell me!

In the next few weeks...
I thought I would take you on a tour...
Room by room.
So that you can see...what it once was...
what had to be done...
and what it is or will be.

We are only just beginning to put things back...

And it is slow going.

Remember...we are doing it ALL BY OURSELVES.

We call in the pros only to check and inspect. The plumber and electrician are both good friends of ours.
So they do alot of hand holding and cheering from the sidelines.

So...if your interested in seeing how we took a 158 year old house...flipped it  around on the inside and are slowly bringing it back to life...come back soon! And often!

Just remember to...

Meet me at the top of the stairs!

At least upstairs...It's comfy and cozy!

There are places to sit...sleep...
and potty!


Yes...I know I have told you this already...
I am simply telling myself...again

I sometimes walk up here...just to see for myself.

The light at the end of the tunnel!

See ya soon! I am mudding drywall in my soon to be utility room this weekend!

I hope each of you have a Blessed Easter Weekend.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. WOW!!!!! That was a HUGE renovation! But look at what you have accomplished! I love the look of your top of the stairs space - just gorgeous!!That upholstered seat is beautiful. Good luck with the drywalling of your mud room. I can't wait to see more of your gorgeous home:) Wishing you a wonderful Easter weekend ~ Tina xx

  2. Hello Donna

    What a beautiful blog you have....!! i enjoy.i follow you..i hope you will follow me to..come to visit my blog !! enjoy your easter days..........hugs from Ria

  3. Good Morning! I just found your blog and have enjoyed reading all your posts! What a renovation!!! I'm sure with your taste and talents it will turn out beautiful just like the top of the stairs ~ looking forward to seeing more.

  4. DONNA! You were not kidding when you said you took it down to the studs, WOW, I'm amazed. I know it's going to be fabulous, because I'm in love with the upstairs. You must feel like a runner who sees the finish line in sight!! Can't wait to see what's coming. Come by for the giveaway if you haven't yet! Have a wonderful Easter Weekend, dear one.

  5. Hey Donna sweetie, I am overwhelmed just looking at all the work you two have been taking on. I am such a quitter, I would have moved out and told hubs to call me when everything was all done. lol
    Actually we did a kitchen remodel last year, but we didn't do the work. Hubs can do anything except build stuff. I think I have him talked into building a little coop for the new chicks though.
    You guys have done such an awesome job. I can't wait to see more.

  6. Hi Donna! Thanks for dropping by, it is always so nice to hear from you my sweet friend. I hope you and your family have an amazing Easter weekend.

    smiles and blessings,

  7. girl, were we separated at birth? the *OLD, old sweetwater cottage* is 137+ years old. we too must disassemble a brick fireplace and tear down to build up....and mainly by ourselves to save $$$$.

    we plan on starting on the *OLD, old cottage* (that's how we distinguish it from just the *old SWC* after the grands have gone home this summer.

    i'll visit often to see your progress.

    p.s. hung my *wish* on my dining room buffet. adore it!!!!

  8. Hi Sweetie
    Looks like one of my projects! Brings back memories...uhg!
    It is just beautiful, and such a great feeling when finally done, you did a remarkable job!
    Blessings to you this Easter Sunday

  9. Donna, so glad to hear you are at the tail end. It is definitely a sickness of some sorts that makes people like us do this sort of thing.

    My husband are at the tail end of our remodel. 4 years of turning a barn into a home, OY! We too almost done but just yesterday had mud coming through the water pipes so it looks like a new well is next on the list. It never ends does it?

    Can't wait to see they finished pictures and more information on the history of the house!

  10. Donna -'ve been a very very busy girl!!!!

    Thanks for the sweet comment...the photo of the table with the arch...can't believe you have that...great minds think alike!

    I hope all is well with you...I think of you often with happy thoughts and prayers....

    Happy days to you my friend!

    Denise :)

  11. Hey Donna
    I loved Texas!
    and I know what you mean about those boots and cowboy hat!!!
    Who knows maybe I can swing a fall trip!

  12. LOVE the "potty" door! may have just single-handedly cured me of wanting an old farmhouse. My husband thanks you. ;-)

    Looks great though. You guys are incredible to tackle all that!

    Big hugs,


Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment!
I love reading them~they truly make my day!
~Donna Reyné