Denise: We moved to The Boxmoor in 2004 from a literal shack in the woods of East Tennessee. Lest you think this is a rags to riches story, please check out the before photos below. It is a rags to more rags story. We are visionaries if nothing else.
We traded five rooms and a bath in the country for twelve rooms and four or five bathrooms in the historic district of the city. Whether it was four or five baths matters not since none of them worked. The 4500-square-foot ex-mansion needed a total renovation--stating the obvious! Before we bought it--just in the nick of time before it was to be donated to be used as a woman's shelter because nobody before us had been able to conjure up a vision for it--it had housed a private school.
For my own sanity, I mentally committed the project to a ten-year plan. Every wall, floor, ceiling, light fixture, heating unit (there are three!), and bathroom would need to be replaced. And let's not forget that all of the exit signs and fire alarms would have to be removed. Along the way we would also have to replace several roofs and renovate the carriage house in the back. Also along the way, we would end up spending a small fortune on tree removal and landscaping. We are now in our 12th year, and still not done. And after 12 years, some rooms are being redecorated because . . . well, because we just need a change.
Two years into the project, I awoke with the brainy idea to split the house down the middle and invite my daughter, Kelly, and her family to move in. Honestly, I think I was on the verge of a renovation breakdown. They were looking to move closer, and the idea just made sense--to me--and only me--probably because I was the one scraping and painting all those windows.
Nobody else was onboard at first.
One of the huge obstacles for my husband and me to overcome was the idea that we would have to give up some rooms that we had come to love--like the kitchen with the huge window that, at one time, overlooked the playground or the formal dining room with all the beautiful doors. If we took the back of the house where they were both located, we would lose the staircase and the upstairs. It was a conundrum. Then there was the problem of where to put another kitchen.
I went over and over it in my mind until the plan finally hit me. It would take some doing, but I was convinced that we could make it work. And somehow, God did a work in the rest of the hearts, and a plan was devised.
We all have been making memories at The Boxmoor now for ten years. It hardly seems possible. Ten Christmases, numerous birthdays, good times, hard times, the birth of a child, the death of a child, and so many everyday moments.
And not once have any of us ever regretted the decision to do life together, under one roof.
You can read about how we split the space and the cost here.