Philip and Cassondra met at church in 2009 and by the summer of 2011 they were married. One year later they bought a house together and ever since have been working to fix it up, chronicling their progress on their blog Grandpa Joe's House.
Named in honor of their friend's grandfather who lived in the house before they did, the couple has a to-do list for their home renovations that lasts all the way till 2016, making them three years away from their dream house. Grandpa Joe's House is one of the newest additions to the Bob Vila Nation community, so this week we interviewed Cassondra to see how she does it.
Did you always plan on sharing your journey with Grandpa Joe's House through a blog, or is it an idea that struck after you'd already begun remodeling?
As far as I can tell, the bloggers’ dream is to start a blog, build it up so it can support them, then quit their day job. I’m trying to do the same, except I quit my job first! (Kids, don’t try this at home.) At the time, the idea was it would only be for a few weeks, but that was a year ago now. Since then, I’ve read way too much Young House Love, so when we found our own fixer-upper, it seemed like an English Major (me) and a writer (Philip) had no choice but to start blogging about our own renovations.
How long did it take you two to come up with your to-do list that stretches all the way to 2016?
I know, it seems crazy, right? But anyone living in a ‘60s house could rattle off a list of 10-15 major projects that they want to get done. All we did is plunk ourselves down on the couch and plotted them out on a timeline. Even the crazy ideas. We've already been making updates as we've worked away at it, and discovered once again that “the best laid plans of mice and men often don’t take into account that your washer and dryer will fail two years before you expected them to” (it’s like Robert Burns was psychic!).
Do either of you have experience in remodeling or are you figuring it out as you go along?
We definitely don't have any experience, but one of the things I love is that the first time you try a project – for example, hanging a light fixture – it’s daunting, you don’t know what’s supposed to connects to what, and you call your dad near tears—and that’s just getting the ladder set up! But then you learn, and the next time you tackle the same job it's a 10-minute task that’s as easy as taking out the garbage (if the garbage could electrocute you). That said, we still have our fair share of frustrating tasks (right now we're very cluelessly renovating our bathroom), we know that each thing we learn is another skill added to our tool belt and it'll come easier next time.
What's your favorite thing about blogging and sharing your experiences online?
All due respect to this site’s namesake, but I have vivid childhood memories of feeling very small watching Bob Vila handcarve an armoire out of a single piece of wood in half an hour. My memories may have become exaggerated over time, but I still feel inadequate, partly because I sometimes forget what a Robertson head is. Since Philip and I have spent all our lives as professional desk jockeys, one of the things I love best about reading blogs by “normal people” (y’know, people whose first words were not “DeWalt Hammerdrill”) is that they give me confidence to tackle projects, and we hope to do the same for our audience.
Who are some of your favorite home bloggers or remodeling websites that often help you with your research?
I could go on and on, but my daily reads include Young House Love, Bower Power Blog, Making it Lovely, and iHeart Organizing.
How did you find out about Bob Vila Nation and what made you want to join?
I found out about Bob Vila Nation when Ugly Duckling House was featured. As a small time blogger and am always looking for ways to find communities of bloggers and networking opportunities, so Bob Vila Nation was right up my alley!