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February 22, 2020 marked four years in this renovation zone. FOUR YEARS. 

And I think I have enough confidence to say that I THINK we’re finally getting close to finishing off the main living area of the first floor. 

Because, after four years of renovation, we should be pretty damn close by now, amiright? 

Every time this home-iversary comes, it seems to be at the best time. Looking back at allllllll that we’ve accomplished has this magical way of bringing some new motivation. I don’t know if it’s because it’s the end of February in Minnesota and we’ve been cooped up for the past four months and need a little excitement. Or, if it’s the fact that we’ve usually been going all-out on a project and need a little encouragement. Regardless of the reason, I love celebrating this special day with a recap of all that we’ve been up to. 

I’m not sure if it’s getting a little extra home-iversary motivation, but I wanted to compile one epic post, with all the before-and-afters. I’m really digging into the picture archives and my friends, it is so much fun. Also, who doesn’t love a good transformation? 

Before we dive into the actual pictures and projects, I want to revisit the floorplan. I shared this in the first home tour we posted and so much has changed since then that it’s worth sharing again. 

Here’s the original footprint of the home: 

And here’s what we have now, in 2020: 

And just in case you want to binge on all things related to the house, you can catch yourself up on the original house tour here, the year one tour here, the year two and half tour here, and the three year tour here.

The Exterior

Let’s start by stating the obvious: we now have a garage. Not just a foundation or the framed walls, but a real, live, working garage. It was quite the fight to get this baby up (a trip to the county and having to plead our case at a town hall meeting) but it’s finally finished and we couldn’t be happier. 

2016

2020

The other two big updates include building a deck on top of the crumbling concrete slab and rebuilding the retaining wall and front porch, which also included adding on a bit to prep for the some-day wraparound deck. 

rustic front porch with christmas decor

2018

2020

What else is on the list:

  • Tearing out the two ramps that were located at either entrance
  • Removing one entrance 
  • Moving the propane tank 
  • Adding a fenced garden 
  • Adding a fenced-in backyard for the pups 
  • Pouring gravel for a new driveway
  • Miscellaneous landscaping

2018-2019

2020

2016-2018

outdoor deck with outdoor furniture

2019

The Interior

When we originally bought this home four years ago, it was split into two spaces – the owner’s home and an attached mother-in-law suite. There were two entrances, one where only the renter could access and another that opened to a mudroom with an entrance to the suite and an entrance to the owner’s space. 

2016

2017

2018-2019

2020

What made us fall in love with the home was the potential to create a large open-concept layout by knocking down the divider wall and opening up the main living area. I remember it like it was yesterday – the day after getting the keys to our new home, we took a sledge hammer to that wall and enjoyed our first of many Demo Days!

2016

2017

entryway view with fall decor

2018

2019

2020

That first year, the renovation list included: 

  • Knocking down the main wall
  • Scraping off the popcorn ceiling
  • Removing the mudroom
  • Reconfiguring the mother-in-law apartment by adding in a laundry room with a closet, shortening the MIL master bath and moving the bedroom towards to the office
  • Adding a closet to the office, making it a ‘real’ bedroom 
  • Installing new windows in the laundry, two guest bedrooms and master bedroom
  • Remodeling the entryway
  • Painting the kitchen cabinets 
  • Reconfiguring the home’s HVAC system and installing a new furnace

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

2017 was another fun-filled year of pretty-ing up some of the living spaces. It was a little “lighter” on the project side because we tied the knot and as some of you know, planning a wedding is a full-time job in and of itself. 

2016

in entry towards living room

2018

2019

2020

What made the 2017 list:

  • Remodeling the guest bathroom
  • Finishing the laundry room 
  • Finishing the first guest bedroom 
  • Adding a half-wall in the entryway to create a divider between the living room and entryway 

2016

kitchen summer home tour

2017

2018-2019

2020

In 2018, we threw ourselves a big curve ball and decided to reconfigure the layout a little by adding in a second staircase, linen closet, home office and kitchen pantry. I also got the urge to repaint the kitchen cabinets, so that was an unexpected refresh as well! 

2016-2017

2018-2019

2020

What we tackled in 2018: 

  • Add a new staircase
  • Build a linen closet, home office and pantry
  • Prep an area for the master bathroom shower (on the other side of the pantry, there’s a space that as of now, will be the shower… but that could change when we dive into that project)
  • Repaint the kitchen cabinets
  • Install new windows on either side of the soon-to-be fireplace
  • Install a new window in the entryway

2016-2017

2018-2019

2020

Last, but not least, 2019. We kicked off the year with an impromptu remodel of the entryway. Much to my dismay, white just doesn’t work in our home. It photographs so beautifully, but in terms of function… Well, not so much when you live on a lake, have two black labs and are in the midst of a construction zone. So, we tore out the built-ins, built new ones and painted everything darker.

2016

2017-2019

2020

What else happened this last year: 

  • Installed shelves in the pantry
  • Finished the home office
  • Built the fireplace
  • Demo-ed the kitchen and started building the island 
  • Gave the master bathroom a budget-friendly refresh
  • Tore out the remainder of the carpet, with the exception of our master bedroom

2018-2019

2020

Four years. 

1,460 days. 

35,040 hours.

original bathroom

2016

2017-present

Exhausted? A little. 

Excited? Absolutely.

Ready to see what will come our way this next year? You know it.

2016-2017

2018-present

2016-2017

2018-present

As always, thank you so much for following along with us on this crazy renovation journey. Never in a million years would I have dreamed we’d be sharing this project with a kickass community of supporters. 

Cheers to this next year being the best one yet!

 

4 Comments

  1. Brie

    You guys are amazing! What awesome progress! 🙂

    Reply
  2. Lindsey Finch

    This is so awesome! I’ve been following your kitchen updates, but had not seen ALLL the updates that have happened. My little family is currently in the savings process and trying to decide where exactly to start with our list of renovations/updates!

    Reply
    • North Country Nest

      I am so happy you’re following along, Lindsey! And congrats on starting the process – good luck with the planning!! 🙂

      Reply

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