"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end.
But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
When Winston Churchill said these words, World War II was raging and people were weary. Even though they were in for a long haul, Britain's prime minister gave its citizens hope by proclaiming "the end of the beginning." Like the Brits, I'm hoping we're almost at the end of the beginning...of remodeling the farmhouse. The longer we work on the place, the more we see that needs to be done. It's a never-ending to-do list requiring untold amounts of money we don't have. Let me show you what I mean.
This room, known in the family as "Grandfather's Room," has a long way to go to be useful again.
The parlor and hallway are almost as bad. And that's just downstairs! Upstairs, nothing has been done except to frame in a new bath. The only reason the tub is there is because it wouldn't make the turn into the doorway once the framing was in place.
But that's the forward view. Although I believe in looking to the future with a positive frame of mind, it is important to look back now and then. When progress on the farmhouse is slow and discouraging, taking a look at before and after pictures usually perks me up.
For instance, this is what the kitchen looked like a couple of years ago.
And the pantry started out looking like this:
And now it looks like this:
In the dining room, we started with board walls in a dingy green color.
It's been quite a transformation to this:
Perhaps the greatest change has been in the bath and laundry rooms. Going from this
and from this
Let me tell you, it was a great day when, once again, there was a working toilet in the house!!
On the outside, we've come a long way as well. All the windows have been replaced along with all but two exterior doors. The house has been scraped
and painted again.
Porch ceilings (all four of them!) have gone from dark green or red to white to sage green, complete with lights.
Chimneys have been repaired, bats evicted from the attic, and the roof is being painted a bright, shiny silver.
Then there are all the hidden things, like re-wiring the entire house, installing a septic system (there wasn't one) and a water treatment system (to get rid of the iron and soften the water), and new plumbing everywhere, including pipes upstairs for an additional bath some day. So, when I'm discouraged, I look back. There really is a lot to feel good about.
Looking forward, though, can be a bit daunting. So far, we've worked on only the kitchen, pantry, dining room, bath, and laundry room, all downstairs. Even there, a lot remains to be done: more painting in the dining room, electrical odds and ends, touch-ups on a number of things, trim around the porch ceilings, and a mountain of cleaning to get rid of all the construction dirt. And all this has to be done before the fun part begins, which is furnishing and decorating. Some days I wonder if it will ever be finished.
But all things considered, we have come a long way. We're closer than ever before to being able to use the heart of the house. There's a door in the dining room that leads into the hall and the rest of the house that hasn't been yet been touched by renovation.
When, at last, we've finished the rooms we started, we're shutting that door and calling it a day. Although it would be mighty sweet to finish the whole house, we'll have to tackle the rest of it a room at a time, as money allows. But for now, to borrow Churchill's words, we have, perhaps, almost come to the end of the beginning.