The unexpected challenges of living in an unfinished cottage were real and we had to learn how to deal with them creatively!
UNEXPECTED CHALLENGE OF HEAVY RAIN AND FOUNDATION
The first week we moved into our unfinished fixer upper cottage, it rained like crazy. We had been working on our foundation a lot and were always worried about water getting underneath it. In fact, we had to drain water from our foundation numerous times in the past to keep it dry.
Since it was pouring outside, we had the sump pump placed in a trench right outside our back door. Nate placed the hose connected to it way out in the yard to drain as far away from the house as possible. We were hoping this would prevent even more water from running under the foundation.
TEMPORARY FIX TO PREVENT WATER UNDER FOUNDATION
This was like a temporary bandaid though for our small budget. Nate drilled holes all throughout the sides and bottom of the bucket and placed the sump pump in it. When the water would come through the holes, the sump pump would drain it all out and into our yard way back in yonder. He also wrapped a screen mesh type material around the outside of the bucket to filter out any rocks and debris.
What we really needed to have done though was to have the yard graded and a swale put in to steer the water completely away from the house and foundation. More to come on that in our upcoming blogs and videos. We had many other unexpected challenges while living in this unfinished cottage.
STEERING WATER AWAY FROM FOUNDATION
As the rain was coming down pretty hard, I set up a little table with my coffee to tackle some paperwork and mail. But, Nate was working on a bit of a wetter project! Gosh, just looking at the condition of the house the week we moved in was pretty crazy. We sure are brave!
I look out the back door and saw Nate completely soaked with mud all over his feet! He was using a shovel to remove rocks and mud out of the trench so that it could drain properly.
Basically, in his words, he was draining the swamp! I wasn’t sure if he even really knew what he was doing. He convinced me that he did and continued to work and I decided to run off to make him a lunch. Poor guy out in the rain and mud. It was pretty funny to see the mud stuck to the bottom of his plastic slippers preventing him from walking around very good. Poor baby!
LEAKING CEILING CHALLENGE
Not only did the heavy rain water make us concerned about our foundation, Nate also noticed a few leaks from our ceiling. Good thing we didn’t actually get the drywall up yet! Otherwise, we wouldn’t have known about it and it would’ve just been leaking on the new insulation and drywall.
CHALLENGES WITH USED APPLIANCES
Nate spent all this time cleaning out the fridge that was left with the house so we could use it temporarily until we found the right fridge that we wanted to buy for the house. When we finally got it all set up and ready to use, we found some disgusting cockroaches living in it! Gross!! So, we placed it along with other appliances on our curb for any brave soul out there who was willing to haul it off and use at their own discretion.
EXPLORING HISTORIC NEIGHBORHOOD
Now that we were getting settled into our new neighborhood, I decided to take a walk to explore the area.
Before we moved here, we loved coming to the historic downtown and arts district and the park that was nearby. There are great cafes, restaurants, local shops, businesses, and even a daily farmer’s market!
The park also hosted many festivals and events we loved to attend.
We didn’t realize that there was an actual neighborhood right behind this cute little quaint Hallmark like historical downtown area filled with beautiful historical homes. Yes, we in fact bought our own tiny historic home in a heritage district, which comes with a lot of perks and also responsibilities.
We have learned so much about preservation efforts since buying this home and it has been fascinating and almost quite like an obsession to us!
TIME PERIOD RENOVATIONS
That is why we have decided to remodel our home as close to the time period it was built in 1934 as much as possible, while maintaining many modern amenities – especially AC for those HOT Texas summers!
We also started to really enjoy sitting out on our front porch. After all, historic homes lend themselves to the front porch lifestyle and culture. We may not have a large or wrap around porch like some of our neighbors, but our tiny little porch is just enough room for two chairs.
CHALLENGE OF DOING LAUNDRY
Another part of getting settled in was to figure out how we would do laundry while we were living in an unfinished fixer upper with no washer and dryer yet.
Well, we found ourselves every weekend at the local laundromat getting the job done. It was a nice and clean facility.
And the best part was when we were waiting for our clothes to dry, we would treat ourselves to Korean food at the Asian food court next door!
CHALLENGE OF ORGANIZING EACH ROOM
Speaking of food. This is our kitchen area and another task was to figure out how to organize it. I pulled out all of our kitchen items to figure it out and we also bought some huge totes from Costco to organize things into as well.
Here is my work from home office set up in the bedroom. And well, the rest of the bedroom still needed a lot of work!
And here’s the bathroom, which is also still a work in progress. I even set up some plants on a floating shelf under the window like I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Gotta celebrate the small achievements along the way!
Despite these unexpected challenges living in this unfinished cottage, we were still happy with our decision to live simply and sacrifice comforts to be financially free sooner than later!
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
CHECK OUT OUR VIDEOS
Thanks for joining us on this journey! We hope that you will find inspiration watching us learn as we go while we’re attempting to renovate and rebuild this old small historic home mostly on our own. Stay tuned for more progress updates ahead!
You can also watch a video about this here.
To see more adventures of our tiny fixer upper journey, click on the links below.
📦 GETTING SETTLED IN UNFINISHED FIXER UPPER 🏚
Brittany Lynn Gibson says
Oh no! I am so sorry to hear that happened to you! Water issues scare me more than anything! I am SOOOOO glad you were able to have this happen before the drywall though. Positive vibes sent your way!
Thank you 💕 And, I know! You have to catch those water issues early! Thankfully with a small house it makes it a bit easier to monitor things 😂🥰
Great post! I love how you’re both diving in and sacrificing TOGETHER to reach your financial goals. No doubt it will create a tight bond throughout your marriage! That water drainage gives me flashbacks of my husband and I in a small house about 15 years ago. We tried french drains, grading, and even landscaping with a willow tree and some tall grasses in the marshy areas. The landscape plants actually did a better job of sucking up the water than the french drains and grading!
Thanks so much! 🥰 There have definitely been some crazy challenges, but it has been worth it. Oh.. we also looked into french drains, but ended up putting in a swale. You know, we really need to tackle some landscape projects soon too. That may really help! I’m envisioning a cottage garden now 🌻🌸
Water is any homeowner’s enemy! But I love how resourceful and resilient you are!
Thank you! 🥰 As first time homeowners, we are starting to realize that!
Brad MacAonghais says
I love the ingenuity for protecting the foundation from water damage. So clever and the neighborhood really does look lovely
Haha, thank you! 😂 As newbies with a tight budget, we had to get creative until we figured out better solutions! And yes, our neighborhood is so lovely! 💕
You never cease to amaze me. You two are going to have a beautiful home when you’re through.
Thank you, Julie! 🥰 We cannot believe how far we’ve come and how much farther we need to go! One thing at a time, enjoying the process along the way, learning to be patient through the challenges, and gaining incredible skills along the way! A beautiful handmade home is on the horizon! 💕