Finding Home: 1007’s Transformation

Posted by on Jul 29, 2013 in General, Life | 2 Comments

You’ve seen the pictures.  You may have already watched the video.  And while a picture is worth a thousand words (and a video ten thousand more), there’s still something to be said for a written word or two.  So here goes.

It was last July that I first truly discovered, and immediately fell in love with, the Goldenbelt neighborhood and downtown Durham in general.  It was last October that I fell in love with the bright yellow house next door to the one I was renting.


It didn’t matter to me that the inside looked a lot like this…


To me, this simply created a blank canvas that allowed for my vision to take over.  With a house in this kind of shape, there were no longer any rules.  No bathrooms at all?  Great.  I can decide exactly how many I want and where.  No laundry room or master closet?  Perfect.  I’ll create them.  Bright pink walls?  Who cares.  We’re knocking ’em down anyways.

While the first couple months of the project were a little overwhelming (it turns out TOO many choices can actually be paralyzing at times), the last stages were a lot overwhelming.  I learned the importance of a good contractor, the lack of real deadlines for subcontractors, how quickly small upgrades can add up into going a bit over budget… you get the idea.

But more importantly, I also learned a lot about the human spirit.  At the end it’s easy to reflect on how much progress was made with before and after photos, but along the way you simply take it one day, one project, one problem, and one decision at a time.  You rely on the community and family you surround yourself with (without whom I could NOT have done this), and then just keep powering through.  And then somehow you end up with something like this:



  1. Nancy Smith
    Jul 29, 2013

    Great job, Jan! I wish you much happiness in your new home. Quite the endeavor! Love, Aunt Nancy

  2. Aunt Peggy
    Jul 30, 2013

    Your new home is fabulous! It’s all yours and depicts your personality. A project. To be proud of! I have enjoyed watching the progress on Facebook. Now enjoy! Keep sending pictures and doggie antics!

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