The quest for our first home together, or the home itself for that matter, weren’t at all what we expected when we started hunting for a house. It started shortly after we were married in 2008. We were renting a small apartment in Northridge. After one too many fights in the hallway, after more than a few contact highs from our generous next door neighbors, and after countless parties raging on until 3 and 4 in the morning, we knew it was time to move on. We had our down payment and a good idea of where we wanted to live. Three years, more than a dozen rejected offers, and tons of frustration with the process, we finally decided to expand out search to included Kristina’s childhood home of Simi Valley.
Within a week, we were in escrow on the gorgeous beater you see up there. Obvious landscaping issues aside, we knew that we were looking to put our own stamp on place, and that if we could find a decent blank slate, we could make something pretty special.
Before we even able to move into that blank slate, there was a lot of work that had to happen. The entire kitchen, living, and dining areas needed an overhaul. Walls needed to come down or be moved, windows needed moving, and plumbing needed moving. We had the front of the house down to the studs and in went, as you can see, the new kitchen cabinets, island, and fireplace. We had friends over to help with work and to pray for the property. With their help, we were able to start making this house into the home that we had always dreamed of for ourselves.
It wasn’t always easy being a new homeowner, especially a new homeowner of a house in which no room was left untouched. There were constantly issues that needed addressing. The more we uncovered, the more we found was wrong with the house.
Here you can see me taking apart the faucet to clear out rust and mineral debris that was knocked loose while we repiped the whole house. This particular task was performed at least three times.
Eventually, however, we got most of the old dust shaken off the house and it began to run far more smoothly. After three or four years, most of the work on those front three rooms was finished and we were ready to move on to phase two. Except that we had no money.
Phase two began with some pretty fun manual labor. Again, with the help of some great friends and family members, we started the arduous (and expensive) job of adding a massive front porch and back patio cover to the house. The porches were a vital part of what we wanted this house to be for us: a place where we could share time with the people we love most.
Once the porches were done (which included painting the outside of the house and redoing the entire roof), we were free to simply enjoy our home. It took about six years from beginning to end and it was, most certainly, a labor of love.
Of course, once we were finished, we decided that Ventura was the place for us and we put the house on the market. While the decision wasn’t really that easy (there were plenty of tears and tons of time praying and making sure this was the right move for us), we knew it was the right one. Below are the final pictures of the house that took all of our money and most of our time for six years. I’d say it was time and money well-spent.