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Attic Remodel Tour: Phase One

April is a strange time for us this year.

From the moment the due date calculator online spit out April 26th, 2017, every commitment on our calendar submitted to that day and that month and that season. And that season is now. It’s Spring and it’s April and it’s nearing our day specifically, but our lives have completely changed. The parallel life of different, happier endings ghosts us around every corner. It’s Saturday: I should be packing a hospital bag. It’s nice outside: we should be installing a carseat and washing onesies. It’s Easter: I should be way too pregnant to hunt for Easter eggs. (Because yes, my mom still makes us hunt for eggs when we are 30. Thank you, mom. 💙)

Our big moment in April is here, getting closer with each day, but it feeling farther away than ever before. We’re walking through our lives on the wrong side of a cruelly indestructible, paper-thin veil – one that’s translucent enough for us to see our hopes and dreams unfolding differently just across the divide. It is real and it is hard.

A big part of that plan-your-whole-life-around-April thing was getting started with a remodel on our house. Or a build? Maybe it should be called a build. We aren’t really remodeling anything because there was nothing in our attic to begin with. We are talking about taking nothing other than a roof and some beams and making it into something – a livable space. And the reason for the build was, of course, April. The baby. Our son Afton.

We met with the builders the day before I was admitted to the hospital. We joked about how we would have to make sure not to have the baby early so they’d have time to finish. Wouldn’t that be complicated, we laughed. To have a baby before the remodel is done. But not to worry – we’ll have plenty of time – two full months to settle in, assuming the project will be done in early March.

Again with that paper-thin veil.

The day after we had sat at our kitchen counter joking about early deliveries, I was admitted to the hospital. And within a week, we had delivered our baby, held him as he died, and gone back home. One week, one lifetime. The building team was supposed to arrive on Tuesday, January 3rd, which was the day we came home from the hospital. Bjork had to call them from our hospital room: take the lumber back, call off the crew. Isn’t that the perfect picture of grief? a co-mingling of the sacred and the mundane? Meet your baby for the first time. Learn that your baby is not going to make it. Cry. Hold your baby, read to him, and change his diaper. Experience a holy love. Let him go. Cry. Realize that this is probably one of the lowest moments of your life. And then call a remodeling company and let them know that they need to come pick up the porta potty that has been left on your driveway. The mundane doesn’t go away just because your life has been turned upside down.

As you maybe guessed, since you’re reading a post titled “Attic Remodel Tour”, this thing is still happening.

In March, rather than finishing this project and preparing for baby, we resurrected the project and covered our house in plastic tarps and found ourselves with the porta potty in our driveway again. It’s so bittersweet: our 3D drawings of the space still include a bassinet drawn into the dormer. It’s an Afton-inspired space even though he won’t ever share it with us. The remodel is yet another way our should-have-been life is ghosting us.

But you guys, it’s also so, so good. It’s bringing joy, excitement, life, and CHANGE. We are not just the same people living in the same house – we have been forever marked by loss and by difference. And this change reflects our newness. It’s a gift. Part because of the symbolism, part because of the cute subway tile shower. 😍😍😍

Many of you have been following along since the day we moved into this little old house. Remember how I showed you a picture of the attic? Remember how I said: someday?

Friends, it’s April 18th, 2017. Someday is now.

An Update On Our Attic Remodel

Okay, so the beams are beautiful, right?

But that was about all this space had going for it. Even the brick chimney was virtually useless, since we have no fireplace and since the brick was out a 2 out of 10 on the coolness scale. Too much brick gunk, you know what I mean? There was no insulation (reminder: we live in arctic Minnesota) and the nails would freeze over every winter, putting literal frost on the INSIDE of this space. This attic was not compatible with real life. It was rough.

Step one: take out the brick chimney and get this space framed up. We were dividing one large space into four: a bedroom, a bathroom, a walk-in closet, and a “bonus room” aka cute area at the top of the stairs.

Then: insulation, to avoid the aforementioned frost-coming-in-through-roof situation. This was about the time we decided to vacate and head to Mom and Dad’s house with Sagey for a few days.

Then we came back home and the fun started.

WALLS. ROOMS. THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING.

Mostly recently, we picked our paint colors (light grey overload – same as what we have in the kitchen – and white to the max in the bathroom) and watched the tile go in, the trim get added, and the doors get installed.

Things are looking super awesome up here.

So that’s it for Tour #1! To those of you who reached out with lighting recommendations after my Instagram story: thank you very much. That was super helpful and I think we got most everything picked out. DO NOT LET ME CHANGE MY MIND ON ANYTHING.

When the next phase is complete (carpet, light fixtures, cabinetry) I will be back with another tour, and then? once we get all settled? There will def be a final reveal. It might be in November 2045 because hello, I’m slow at decorating, but it will come.

Thank you for touring with us! Let’s pretend this was real and you were actually in my house and now I’m giving you a chocolate chip cookie. 💛

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56 Comments

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    You’ve got me with tears in my eyes – I followed your story on Instagram, it’s still so heartbreaking. Again, I am deeply sorry for your loss.
    I was once again moved by your beautiful way of describing things – I hope this helps you too, to put certain things into order or perspective. I hope this change you talk about will also help you heal, in a way. I wish you all the best.

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Sweet Lindsay. You have been in my thoughts, heart and prayers the past few months. You and Bjork are two of the most incredible, compassionate and inspiring people. I tear up every time I think about your loss. Afton was so lucky to be loved by such incredible parents. Sending you strength in the following difficult days. Xoxo Cindy

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo
    jamie lee

    I’ve been praying for you and thinking about you since that dreaded day. It is good to see you healing and putting new pieces back together. I, like so many others, miscarried and on the baby’s due date, my husband and I made a trip to Disney World. I didn’t want to stay home and be so weepy about the situation so we went to the ‘happiest place in the world’. It was so good for me and my husband. It may not be the same for you but it is definitely something I’d recommend for that day – making happy plans!
    Your house is beautiful and I can’t wait for more updates! Hang in there!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      That is really helpful. Thank you Jamie. We are considering taking a trip out of town for a few days around that time so it’s helpful to hear that that was a good thing for you.

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Awww. This post made me very sad, but it’s great that you’re going through your attic remodel. We did the same thing with our basement because we don’t have an attic, a truly valuable space! Still, we have a little office space now, and a spot to store Christmas decor and my husbands insane amount of tools he doesn’t know how to use. So far, your attic looks so crips and clean. I love white! Refreshing. Hope you had a wonderful Easter. Love how your mom still does Easter eggs hunts.

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    It’s coming along great! And Afton is so lucky to have such loving parents. I’m sure he’s looking down on the two of you with a huge smile and so much love for all that you have given him in this short amount of time.
    And one last thing…you’re never too old to hunt for Easter Eggs 😉

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Jenn I

    The subway tile is super cute. 🙂 Also, I love the three built in shelves in the shower – there’s never enough shelves in a shower and then you end up with one of those yucky caddies. Nicely done.

    Just keep breathing. You are strong, you are brave, and you are loved.

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Morgen

    Love you for always keeping it real Lindsay.

    I remember seeing your IG post about losing Afton. I was celebrating NYE with friends in a ski cabin in upstate NY. We were up late playing Settlers of Catan (cause we’re cool like that). I saw your IG post and literally gasped “NO!”. All my friends were like “what happened?!??” and I had a hard time explaining to them that this lovely woman I’ve never met but feel like I’m bffs with lost her bb. I’ve cried for you (with you) so many times. I’ve been sending you and your fam all the good vibes I can muster. Just want you to know you’re super loved and appreciated and the internet is a better place with your voice in it.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Wow, that is one of the nicest comments I’ve ever gotten. Thank you Morgen. Your love and presence here is so appreciated.

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Jessica

    Lindsay, I continue to pray for healing and comfort for you and Bjork every day. I’m so happy that you have something good to look forward to. You guys deserve that. I can’t wait to see the finished attic space. Sending love.

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Debbie

    Hi Lindsay! This so reminds me of my journey. We lost our first baby 9 days before the due date (after waiting 9 years to start our family at age 27). We had the nursery all set up and ready to go. Then the worst happened. This was September. I left the nursery as it was not taking it down. Just closing the door. Then we ended up moving to a bigger brand new house in February. We set up the nursery in one of the new bedrooms. I know people thought we were weird or something. For me it represented hope and the future. Anyhow, yes we got pregnant again and I prayed every day, and our daughter was born in December. After her I had another baby – a boy. I feel like the same will happen for you and Bjork. I know it is hard but I hope you will have that happy ending one day soon. 💗

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Thank you for sharing your story Debbie, and I’m so sorry for the heartbreak that you’ve experienced. I know you will carry that baby with you always, just like we will with Afton. appreciate your kind words! ❤️

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Liv

    Lindsay, I’ve been following your blog since you lost Afton, silently reading and not saying anything, but knowing your pain too. It sounds so familiar, but unlike you I just hid my feelings and refused to talk about it. I remember when my due month came and went, it was hard seeing everyone walk around like it was just JULY, when to me it was the month we should be welcoming our baby. There are so many similarities in our reactions, like throwing ourselves into our work (oddly, it was the year I got my last promotion), however you have faced them and I have hidden. You have an amazing way with words and I truly appreciate you being real about it all and helping me heal a bit more. I am sorry for your loss, I really am. It’s a club none of us want to be in.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Thank you Liv. I’m so sorry for your loss. And whether you talk about it or not I think is so personal. For me, most days, I want to talk about it non-stop. And then there are the days that I feel like I just need to be doing other things, or at home, quiet. I really appreciate you sharing your experience here and bearing witness to Afton’s story with us. Take care Liv. ❤️

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Carrie

    Would you be willing to share the dimensions of your bathroom? We have the exact same layout in our house and I’d love to get a bathroom into our future master suite. We took our chimney down when we remodeled our kitchen 5 years ago too!

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    April is a month of rejuvenating. I’m glad to see the newness that is coming to your life. So sorry for the loss of Sweet Afton. It is never easy to say hello and goodbye to your baby at the same time.
    I have read your chronicles about this and I love how you write – so deep, so touching, so profound.
    May God continue to uphold you and Bjork and give you all the strength you need.
    This project looks exciting. So looking forward to the final reveal!

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Lo

    I am super pumped for this, it looks so fun. We are currently renovating our entire home and it’s so fun watching other people do theirs.

    Afton will always share the space with you, never think for a second he won’t.

    Lo
    http://www.themixtures.com

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I’ve been waiting for a post like this from you all, not only to see remodel progress but to hear how you’re doing; how you’re really doing! Then of course I just ache reading about that paper veil and the big day looming. You are SO strong, Lindsay. You are doing so great, holding it together unbelievably well; having the courage to share your story, so honestly, so eloquently. I just admire your strength … will continue to think and wish more joy and good things come your way in this new season. <3

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Nancy

    Lindsay,
    Your post definitely tugged my heartstrings! I have truly cried my eyes out over the sorrowful journey you and Bjork have been on over these last few months…but it is also very obvious that you two are strong souls who have each other to lean on…! That is SO important. …I completely agree with and feel the same as Morgen who posted earlier. <3

    "The attic" is really coming together and I am so excited to see it progress. Soon you won't be able to call it the attic anymore! Looks amazing so far!

    On a side note, I was able to get signed up for your photography workshop in July and am beyond excited!! I feel like I won the lottery today! Truly…(just ask my husband and work peeps – crying — even tears of joy — is not exactly cool in your 'cube.'! haha!) So, thank you for the opportunity and I am really looking forward to meeting you in person!!

    Keeping you and Bjork and Afton in my thoughts and prayers for sure…<3

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Been thinking (and praying) more and more about you guys this month. Change. Change is good. Thank you for sharing linz! I’m so glad to hear that JOY is part of this change. <3

  17. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Chris

    Hi
    The attic is looking good. I have always admired the way Americans go for insulation, we are so far behind in Australia.
    I also admire your bravery in talking about your baby and I really hope he will have a sibling someday. Go girl.