We had been engaged for a couple of months at most. It was a Sunday afternoon and after church, we decided to drive around Oklahoma City to look at neighborhoods where we might want to live eventually. At the time, I was still in the Pickard house and the Golfer was living in an apartment in Edmond. We had no intention that day of buying a house, but that’s exactly what happened. (You might see a trend forming here.)
We ended up driving to a neighborhood where our friend happened to live. Driving down his street, we unexpectedly found an open house right across from our friend’s home. Like the Pickard house, that night we made an offer and a few days later it was ours.
This home needed some work, mind you, but the Golfer had done a little home flipping right out of college. He knew all about ripping things out and putting them back together again. Me? Not so much. Not at all actually. I come from a long line of “let’s hire somebody to do this” kind of people. The Golfer? Complete opposite. He comes from a long line of “I can do this myself and save a shitton of money” kind of people. Yes, we were the yin to each others home remodeling yang.
Both of us had full-time jobs. We were I was also busy planning a wedding, so remodeling the new house was like adding yet another full-time job. We had eight months to complete our remodel before the wedding. And if that wasn’t enough, we also decided to get a new puppy around the same time (who ended up getting Parvo, but that’s a WHOLE other story) because why not add a little more excitement and chaos to the mix?
Nights and weekends that weren’t being spent at wedding showers and parties were spent on 56th Street. There was much to do. The house was built in 1959 and hadn’t been updated since. We wore a clean path from our house to the Home Depot on May Ave. If our punch list felt like it was a mile long that’s because it was.
We completely gutted the kitchen. The only thing left standing was our Sub-Zero fridge. You heard me right. This old house in crazy need of a remodel came complete with one fancy damn refrigerator. If I told you I wasn’t excited being upgraded from the old poop brown Frigidaire, I’d be lying.
But after my mother saw the gut job on the kitchen, she became nervous. Later she confided that she was worried if the Golfer knew how to put it back together again. After all, the gut job had sent him to a doctor friend’s house for stitches and lost his thumbnail while working on the can lighting.
The kitchen wasn’t the only room needing to be remodeled. There wasn’t a corner of that house that we didn’t redo in some way. We painted and wallpapered and added cedar beams. There were new bathroom cabinets, a new front door, built-in bookshelves in our office area, and new lighting everywhere you looked. We put in glass front cabinets in the kitchen and cute window treatments throughout. I learned how to grout and attempted to tile (um…they were crooked and had to be redone.) I picked out colors and fabrics for secondhand furniture we had picked up here and there. We stretched our pennies to their absolute limit and proudly paid for the whole thing in cash.
There are moments I look back on that time in our lives and wonder how we did it. How in the world had we not fought, not even once, throughout the whole process? I guess there was just no room or time for getting frustrated or stressed (I saved it all up for two days before the wedding. That too is a WHOLE other story.) We were happy and excited to be starting our married lives together in this house. We would come home from our honeymoon to this house, celebrate the Golfer’s 30th birthday in this house, bring home our first baby to this house, and suffer the loss of the Golfer’s father in this house. We had purchased a three bedroom, two baths, 1700 square foot fixer-upper (before fixer-uppers were the cool thing to do and before HGTV even existed) and we approached the remodel like we would our marriage, excited and hopeful for what was and what would come next.
Turns out, fixer uppers would become our thing. Even if they really don’t need fixing up, we can’t help but put our own personal touches on each of our homes. As a friend and realtor called it, we Freemanize it.
We’re pretty damn good at Freemanizing the crap out of a house. It’s kinda what we do.
Next on the tour: Moving back to Norman and into the cutest house in town