A few years ago James and I were basically living at my rental house. James was technically still living in his family house (where we live now), or at least keeping an eye on it after everyone else had moved away. During a particularly cold winter spell, when this house was vacant, the pipes burst, flooding the living room, and sending a cascade of water directly onto James' bed, soaking the mattress and the wall behind. At that point we decided it was ridiculous to spread ourselves across two houses. James took over the mortgage from his mother, and we began slowly making this house our own.
James grew up in this house, as did his mother before him. The property was built around 1900 and used to be a dairy farm. It's your basic old farmhouse. It was not built by master carpenters. There aren't many flourishes, but it does have a certain rustic, utilitarian charm (and a pretty adorable steep roof pitch on the main house, if you're into that sort of thing. More on the newer, less cute addition later). Some of the old character remains, and some was lost to history. The house has seen several children raised, at least two divorces, various tenants, and people coming and going over the years. When I moved in, the detritus of several families was everywhere; in boxes piled in rooms, in drawers, cupboards, floor to ceiling in the barn...
So, we literally had to clear a space to live in.
Our bedroom came first, and we didn't do anything too fancy: dozens of milk crates, boxes, etc., of clutter sorted through and moved, some wallpaper scraped off, a new coat of paint on the floor and walls.
I didn't take a lot of 'before' pictures during that time. Partly, I think, because it didn't feel like my space yet. It was other people's stuff, other people's decor. I know these people...entering a family house and changing everything around felt kind of awkward, kind of rude and judgey. In the beginning. Now, helping this little house come into its own has become priority, and the fires of my design dork passion will not be quelled.