Columnist

Laura Zoeller is a farm wife and mother who has been blessed with a wonderful – and funny - life.

Our 150-year old farmhouse has been in a state of construction or remodel for the entire duration of our marriage.

In the first few years we lived here, we had to put windows, insulation, new doors and other weather-inhibiting items into it that, often, are not even visible.

Then we had years of things like replacing the furnace, repairing the roof when snow and ice tore it off and replacing the floor in the kitchen where it had a safety issue. The old house had good bones, but lots of upgrades were needed long before we started looking at aesthetics.

When the girls needed their own space, we split the enormous master bedroom into two smaller bedrooms. We added closets, put in wooden ceilings, replaced drywall, remodeled the bathroom, added a laundry room and more.

We broke from indoor upgrades numerous times in order to get siding on three sides of the exterior, to close in the back porch for our mudroom, and to repair the front porch roof. And we were forced to break entirely from working on the house a few times to make needed repairs to both the barn and the garage.

We recently got back to work on our hallway. More a downstairs foyer and an upstairs foyer with the stairs in between, it really is the thing that ties the two floors together. Several years ago, my husband lined part of the walls with reclaimed barn wood from a neighboring farm. Other parts of the walls he began to line with stone. He added shelves, faux beams and a large, rustic shadow box that looks like it grew there.

It is lovely.

In the past couple weeks, we have had a friend here painting the trim, the doors and the stairs. It is incredible how much change can be made to a room simply with fresh paint.

I wanted to sand, stain and poly the floor, which is the original poplar wood. My husband gave several reasons why that wasn’t our best option. So, we talked about other types of flooring. We decided on the flooring, bought it and are now in the process of sanding the original floor in preparation for stain and poly.

Don’t ask.

And please understand, I’m not complaining. I know this is part of home ownership. In fact, I am proud of both our work to save the money for materials and the work that has been put in to make this house a beautiful home. Really, this is work my husband has done while I’ve mostly just tried to clean around all of the mess while not grumbling.

I’m not sure who has worked harder.

One of these days, the house will be finished. We’ll have maintenance and upkeep forever, but the building phase will be complete. That day is probably still a few years away, but I’m ready for it. Ready to just look back on the photos and think back on the memories.

They’ll show what an awfully long way we’ve come.

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