new kids on the block

Not the boy band.....BETTER!  If you can imagine that.

One fateful afternoon about six months ago, I was talking to my friend Melanie after {Club Project}

I met Melanie six years ago when our boys were in the same preschool class.  She joined our Club Project group about a year ago and she has been a very welcome addition. She has helped me with so many things in my house they can't all be named, but two of the biggest are:

{The Stair Project}

{The Front Door Reveal}

There is nothing this girl can't do with a power tool.  She's used them all and must have the math mind of Albert Einstein.  She can figure out measurements and angles quicker than I can eat a cookie.  She can set a toilet, plumb the kitchen sink and build a custom cabinet before most of us wake up in the morning.  I'm sure you think I'm being dramatic.  I'm not.

She is also a Pilates instructor.

And an accomplished seamstress.


Back to our conversation...... We had just spent our Club Project day helping her, and everyone in the gang had left but me.  As the two of us were cleaning up, she casually mentioned that they were looking for a new home.  We talked about how much fun it would be for her to start new projects and gain a little more living space.  As I drove home and into my neighborhood that evening, I noticed that the home three doors down from me was looking a bit neglected.  I immediately called my neighbor who is surprisingly in-the-know about our whole street, and inquired as to the status of the home.  She told me that the family had moved out a few weeks before and the house was vacant.

Oh, the wheels started turning.....

I live in an old neighborhood (for Arizona) where all the homes are 30+ years, and it's a very rare day when someone decides to leave.  Our homes are all on acre lots and filled with mature trees, animals, and no Home Owners Association. (also rare for Arizona)  I put my honey on the task of finding out what was going on with the vacant home, and by the next morning we had a key!  I called Melanie and she agreed to come look at it, but really wasn't overly enthusiastic.  I think she was trying to be a good friend to me.

She came the next morning and we all went to see it together.

The house?  Struggling.

The yard?  Fantastic.

Melanie is a country girl that grew up on 200 acres in Washington state.  Her parents are dairy farmers and also had a 50 acre apple orchard while she lived at home.  She is a gal who can appreciate some wide open space and a little privacy.  She walked out the back door, took a look at the yard and said, "I have to have this house."

Sounds easy enough.

It wasn't.

There isn't enough time in the day or energy in my fingers to type all that has transpired since then, but suffice it to say, WE ARE NEIGHBORS NOW!

This is how the modest ranch house started out.

 This is how it is looking right now.

And here is the inspiration picture of  what they ultimately dream it will become.

Melanie and her husband, Ben, contracted it out themselves, and there hasn't been a day go by in the last six months where at least one of them hasn't been there all day.

The ups and downs have been like a roller coaster.   Like the time Andrew had to meet Ben over at the house at 11 pm during a torrential downpour to put plastic over all the windows so the new drywall wouldn't be destroyed.  Or the time they found an in-ground swimming pool buried in the back yard as they were excavating for the new addition.

But hold up.  I haven't even mentioned the most wonderful thing until now...... Melanie delivered a beautiful baby girl last month, which makes 4 children under the age of 10 for them. 

I could probably write a book about the renovating of the ranch house, and Ben and Melanie could certainly write a whole series.  The condensed version is that they gutted the 2200 square foot original structure, built a 1300 square foot addition and will certainly live happily ever after.

They deserve it.

You can visit the {blog} she started to keep their out of state family members up to date on all the progress.  You literally won't believe the transformation that has already taken place, and they are really just getting started.

Here is a picture of the cutest work crew around.  My kids and hers.

 Kitchen before:

 Kitchen progress:

Master bathroom before:  (not much bigger than a closet)

Master bathroom in progress:  (marble herringbone....I love!)

Ecstatic doesn't begin to express how I feel about having their sweet family on our street now.  Life will certainly be different and better for us, and we hope their family loves it here as much as we do.  The other neighbors might not be so fond of us running saws and air compressors at midnight.

We'll keep you posted.....


  1. I miss you two crazy funsters- and your great posts!!!! Hope all is well!


  2. can you find me a house like it? that's exactly what i want!

  3. can you find me a house like it? that's exactly what i want!

  4. Woah, woah woah! Sign me up too! We're looking right now and my number one requirement is NO EFFING HOA. Any other gems up for sale? Fixer upper since I plan on ripping it all out anyways ;)

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  6. My girlfriend and I are currently on our own home redecorating project. We decided to revamp our kitchen due the fact that it's ancient! We just bought a new single wall oven and some paint last Saturday. We can't wait to continue making improvements! Good luck on your home renovations!


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Mia & Jilly

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