Wednesday, May 5, 2010

How it all began

So, how did we come about buying an almost 100 year old church you may ask? Well, it's kind of a funny story. I guess if you know Dustin and I you would know we are a little unconventional that way....maybe a lot unconventional. We're no strangers to fixing up homes, but we've never taken on anything like this project. We've always had a dream to renovate an old maybe the ones in the North End in Boise. But we've also fantasized about turning an old school, church, or (our most recent dream) an old barn into a home. I told you we were unconventional....(or some may just call it plain crazy).

When Dustin came home one day back in January of this year and said, "That old preschool on the corner is for sale, let's go check it out", I was mildly curious and agreed to go with him. Some house showings have welcoming candles and the scents of chocolate chip cookies or homemade bread. But when the realtor let us in, the first thing we experienced when we walked into the entryway was a wicked smell and a dead mouse. The realtor didn't even kick it out of the way, we just stepped right over it! Smells being quite important to me, I couldn't get over the stench that assaulted me as I walked in. I knew old homes smelled...well....old, but this was beyond the old house smell. More than being stinky, it was freezing, dirty, and had sagging/bumpy walls. It didn't have a real kitchen or bedrooms, and the bathrooms were meant for little people equipped with mini-me toilets and, it just wasn't going to work....way too much work. So, we left it at that.

Some time at the beginning of March, Dustin came home and for some odd reason the first thing I asked (all hopeful like) was, "Did you find us a place to live?" Keep in mind, we had a little less than a month to be out of our dream home; it was being sold and the new owners were anxious to move in as soon as it closed at the beginning of April. For some reason we weren't worried. Okay, maybe a little concerned about not having anywhere to go. But after all the things that we had tried thus far (unsuccessfully), we figured there must be a specific place we were supposed to be and we were just living on faith and leaving it in His hands.

So, after my "did you find us a place" question, he replied with a mischievous smile, "I think I might of.......remember the old preschool on the corner.....they lowered the price and....." Before he could even get it all out, I was rolling my eyes and giving a resounding "no way". I proceeded to give him a list on my fingers of all the reasons it just wouldn't work for our family. 1. It stinks 2. It's right on a busy corner (we've always lived tucked back somewhere) 3. We're going to get cancer from all the carcinogens released from the stop and go traffic at the stop sign. 4. There's no privacy. Everyone would know what we were doing all the time...I wouldn't even want to go out in the yard, ever! 5. There's no stinkin' garage! 6. There's no place for a garden...... or chickens....or fruit trees! (my criteria for the perfect property). By now, I'm getting really dramatic...7. Where would we put the kids?....there's not even real bedrooms with closets. Better yet, where would WE put a bedroom? There's not even a master bath...we'd have to go upstairs to take a shower!!

On and on with the list of reasons why we could never live there. Dustin, being the good, understanding husband that he is, just nods and quietly says, "Okay". He had worked so hard the last 6 months trying to find us a place....we were so done with house hunting. We just so desperately wanted to be settled somewhere, move on with our lives, and start over in the right place. So, after I burst his bubble we didn't say another word about it until....

Not to get too personal, but it was during a prayer of mine just a couple of days later...praying for guidance and direction on where we should go...that the old preschool on the corner came to my mind. All of a sudden I got really excited and there was a clarity that came to my mind and I just knew we were supposed to be there. I didn't know why, or definitely didn't know how, I just knew it would all work out.

Sure enough, it did. With some creative real estate strategies by my brilliant husband, we are the proud owners of a 1912 church-turned-school-turned-academy-turned-preschool, and now to be turned into our home sweet home. This will be tons of work, a lot of sweat, maybe a few tears, hopefully not TOO much money, but we know we're in the right place and by-golly, we're going to make the most of it.

So, here's some pictures I took before we even moved in.

This is part of the side yard with all the preschool play equipment. Lots of junk to clear out.
His and Her toilet stalls...not really. Even in the basement there are mini-me toilets and stalls...soon to be the laundry room.

Here's a picture of the old chapel that will become our living room.
It even came with our very own castle!

Who hasn't always dreamed of their very own stage in their living room?! We've heard this is where they performed many Christmas programs, etc. What do you think....a good place for future fireplace, our baby grand piano? Opinions please!

Here's the kitchen. Not sure how I was going to go from one extreme; many custom designed cupboards and drawers to fit every single kitchen appliance and trinket we owned, to this; exactly 7 cupboards and 3 drawers, no real pantry, no oven/stove.

I should have opened the blinds more in this picture....the windows and the light that comes into the kitchen are amazing!!'s best feature.

From daycare classroom to "Master Suite"....

Upstairs "Attic" bedroom for the kids...

Second bedroom that used to be an upstairs kitchenette.


  1. Love it! This is going to be one amazing journey. So glad you are doing this documenting.
    Lots of love!

  2. Hey Steph! I'm THRILLED you're doing a blog of this new adventure. I've seen the end results of yours and Dustin's marvelous projects before, and I know we're in for a treat with this one. I'm one of your most ardent admirers! Love, Aunt Sue

  3. Stephanie, it looks amazing! I vote on the grand piano on the stage for sure :) Your mom forwarded us the link to your blog and we look forward to seeing your results. The closet looked very organized. I love the windows! You'll have a showplace. Jackie McAferty