• Cara Van Leuven

One Year, One Renovation

Slightly over a year ago we collected the keys to the farmhouse and called it our own. Little did we know how many headaches it would cause -- at one point almost bringing Tom to tears out of frustration from the hemorrhaging of money and sheer exhaustion. Little did we know that once we got past Level 1 (the major renovation) and settled into Level 2 (detail work like trim and minor landscaping) would we love country living like we do.

Our family has expanded to include three ducklings. I’m hopeful for a couple goats and Penny mowing the grass for us soon. Fences will be built. Dead trees will be removed and prairie grass brush hogged. Shiloh couldn’t be happier -- I don’t know how he existed as a loft dog for the first year of his life.

To think of it, I’m not entirely sure how I adapted to loft life, but this much I know -- it saved me. When I originally moved to St. Louis from Albuquerque ten years ago I landed in South City, more or less in the hood. Well, straight up hood to be honest. It was hard to make friends other than a few great neighbors.

After the recession I lost my beloved bungalow and found myself in the last unrefurbished loft in the Washington Avenue loft district. Friends abounded -- more than I could count. I gained my footing and found a place where I truly felt I fit in. If it wasn’t for the bustle of downtown I don’t think I would feel comfortable in my own skin and wouldn’t be able to take comfort knowing there is always a family that has my back in the city. It makes country living easy.

Please enjoy the photos of before/during/after.