Lauren Kelp (the editor-in-chief of a top entertaining & lifestyle website) quite literally happened upon her latest project. While on a weekend drive, she and her husband discovered a 700 square foot house about an hour outside of their home in Chicago. It needed lots of work, but they were ready. We could wax poetic about the renovations, done with love, but we think Lauren can tell this tale best. Read on to learn about the #TinyKelpHouse:
Have you ever heard about the “third place” theory? It is a community building theory that says you need another places besides home (“first place”) and the office (“second place”) to help deepen their social life. These third places are the anchors of your community life and help foster a more creative interaction with your surroundings and community. Okay, okay, I know what you are thinking, “enough with the sociology lesson already, Lauren” but when my husband and I learned about this concept a few years ago something clicked.
We were living in downtown Chicago in a huge high rise, running between work and home, missing trains, and getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of city life. Sometimes we loved the energy of the city, but some times we dreamed of running away and starting a farm in the middle of nowhere.
One weekend we were out for a drive in Michigan and stumbled across this 700 square foot gem right in the heart of New Buffalo. Only an hour outside of the city, New Buffalo is a tucked away spot for city-dwellers longing to escape, but still want the food, the creativity, and the culture of an urban environment –it was perfect. We had found our third place.
The house was tucked away from the road only accessible by a rickety slat path and the front yard was over grown and looked like something out of the Secret Garden. She was painted a ripe shade of Kindergarten yellow on the inside and had the most charming features we had ever seen.
Maybe it’s just us, but we love taking something that has history and updating it rather than starting with something brand new. To me, there is something magical about discovering the history of a house and making it your own. To all you potential home DIY-ers out there, think of it as a giant scavenger hunt. You knock down a wall and maybe you find it stuffed with old newspaper from when it was built…maybe you find ratty old wires, but hey, that’s how the DIY dice rolls.
Truthfully, we did about 90% of the #TinyKelpHouse renovations by ourselves. It was a solid mix of faking it until it looked right-ish and watching a lot (like, a lot a lot) of YouTube videos.
Within a day of getting the keys, we had knocked down the wall separate the kitchen and the living room, had decided to switch the bathroom and the bedroom, and had ripped out a chimney. It is amazing what a little drywall dust can do to a relationship. Monday – Friday we were a corporate Chicago couple, but come Friday night we were a tool belt totting, designer-wannabe, two-person demo crew in Southwest Michigan.
If I am being truthful, we totally got hooked. Now that the inside of the #TinyKelpHouse is complete, we have our sights set on turning the side yard into a lavender farm. So stay tuned for our crazy little adventure!