Water Damage, Demolition, and Where We Go From Here

Over the weekend, while Robert and I were in the living room folding laundry, we heard Olivia yell from the front of the house, “Mom! Dad! There’s water coming out of the walls!”

We ran to find the drywall in our stairway bubbling out with water pouring down the stairs.

I immediately felt my stomach drop as Robert ran to shut off the HVAC system that was leaking all the way up in the attic.

We just had 90% of our HVAC system replaced a few weeks ago and knew immediately it was the culprit. So we called our HVAC company and USAA homeowners insurance to see just how bad the damage would be, crossing our fingers that we caught it in time.

No such luck.

Our house is now partially ripped down to studs, but we’re so thankful Olivia noticed it or else it could have been much worse.

Yesterday, the water mitigation company showed up with fans and dehumidifiers, and we’ll have to navigate where to go from here.

Originally, back at the start of the New Year, we had our master bathroom renovation on our house goals list. We’ve been chipping away at a lot of home improvement projects that we’ll share more about here soon (like our backyard, a few components in our living room, and our dining room).

But then, as Murphy’s Law would have it, our old HVAC system failed, followed by foundation issues that could only be fixed to the tune of an accumulative $26,000 we financed. (Insert loud gulp.)

Thankfully, the damage is being covered by the HVAC company and our homeowner’s insurance. But a full bathroom renovation? Not so much.

Last summer, we did this quick bathroom refresh to tide us over until we felt prepared to do a real reno.

Now, we’re faced with the questions, do we just put the bathroom mostly back the way it was without paying out of pocket? Or do we go ahead and do the bathroom renovation we’ve been wanting to do even though that will be a heavier financial hit but cheaper now than if we waited until later?

So we’re going for it. We don’t really see a way around it.

It’s scary and overwhelming, and I’ve definitely shed a few tears amidst all of the unknowns. But we’re excited and thankful… oh so thankful for a mostly intact house, our family that is safe, and loved ones showing up with so much support when we’ve needed it most.

I am so grateful for all of you, for every comment on Instagram and Facebook, for every message in my inbox. In a time like this, I want to curl in a ball and hide to process everything, but I feel so unbelievably blessed by y’all.

It might be more quiet than usual here as we try to sort through our next steps, but we’ll be back. And we’ll be able to see those silver linings in hindsight one day soon.

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  1. I woke one morning & stepped into water in the bedroom! from one bathroom, down interior walls, into dining/living/kitchen. I TOTALLY understand your feelings. Mine was 3 months while I lived in a tiny guest bedroom upstairs. Hang in there it does get better. ann lee

  2. Oh my goodness!! What a bummer in the extreme! This is life, right! I think we all feel what you are going through cause life hits everyone like this-unexpected and sometimes -pricey$$. I think if anyone is equipped in all ways that matter to handle this, it is your family. You and your husband make such a fantastic tough team! No doubt this is gonna have its pain points but I am excited to see what amazing lemonade you all make. Hang in there girl, you guys got this.

  3. Ohhh, so sorry. This is surely a shock, and overwhelming. I will keep you in my best thoughts. Adversities can make us stronger. Hang in there.

  4. A very similar thing happened to us. We were watching TV in our living room and I kept hearing a drip. I actually ignored it because we were watching one of the Sharnado movies (LOL) and there was tons of sounds of water in the movie. All of a sudden, I look up at the ceiling and there it is – water dripping. Hubs ran upstairs and discovered the pipe that connects the toilet to the wall had come lose and water was all over the floor of the bathroom and already seeping into our bedroom. He immediately shut off the water to the toilet and we got to work. We worked for several hours using the wet vac to vacuum up the water and even pulled up part of the rug and set up several fans to dry everything up. We were lucky it was something we could stop from getting worse, but to this day, we tell people about the Sharknado fiasco at our home. I know it is so disheartening that this has happened to your beautiful home, but I am so glad it is covered by insurance and that the HVAC people are taking responsibility.

    1. Oh, no!! I am so sorry you went through that. These messages are telling me we will survive. Thank you.

  5. I feel really sorry for you and your family. Thankfully, Olivia is a smartie. As your readers above said, this all shall pass… I am waiting for a reveal of a new bathroom. God bless you!

  6. Thank you for posting this. It must have been heartwrenching to do. Challenges and catastrophes are crippling at the time. Some, perhaps many of us, have experienced them. The full can of paint overturned on a carpet, the sodering torch catching a wall on fire, a broken pipe flooding and destroying a new floor while you were out, the possibilities go on.
    When I read decorating and remodeling blogs it seems things go smoothly and turn out jaw dropping beautiful.
    It’s strangely comforting to read what you wrote. Suddenly, the reader is not alone in experiencing this type of happening.
    I am truly sorry this occurred. I feel your pain all over again. The way you’re dealing with it is admirable and like a guidebook on what to do when the unthinkable occurs. I know you’ll survive this and will come out stronger and your home even more beautiful.
    When it happens you put things into perspective and realize things destroyed are just things, not what really matters, beloved people, pets, etc.
    One who has been there,

    1. Awe, thank you, Marylin. You are very appreciated to send these encouraging words. It truly helps. Thank you. 🙂

  7. I’m going to give you some “tough love” here… and I say this having gone through the same thing last year. It’s water damage. It can all be fixed. We are coming out of a pandemic where people lost their entire family, their jobs, their homes, their lives. This here girl friend, champagne problems.
    Play your cards right and your insurance will help with your bathroom reno.
    I’m happy your family is safe and well.

  8. Oh my. “When it rains, it pours”, God sends us things at times we can handle it ,to save it from hitting us when we can’t. Best of luck and stay strong!

  9. So sorry to hear this news! There might be a silver lining here….just wait and see what unfolds as you deal with the initial cleanup! Keep your chin up!

  10. You will be glad in the future you decided to tackle this now. My suggestion is whatever timeline they give you double it and then you won’t be upset when the timeline gets extended. Good luck, it will be amazing and can’t wait to see pictures!

    1. Thank you, Marge. We have decided we will not expect this to go by fast. We try to reduce the possibility of disappointment. We will take note to your suggestion of timeline expectations for sure. Thank you. 🙂

  11. Oh, Lauren! I’m so sorry you’re going through this. We went through it last year, so I understand. Those dehumidifiers/air scrubbers are the worst. I kept thinking do we not have the technology to make these things more quiet! I’m so happy you were home (we were out of town). If anyone can handle this, you can! Definitely sending good vibes your way!

    1. Stacey, I am so sorry you had to deal with this, too. With all of the technology one would think these things could be less noisy. LOL. Thank you for the encouraging message. 🙂

  12. Similar thing happened to me on my birthday a few years ago. My washer got stuck on fill and failed to drain. Thankfully my son needed something from our workshop which was directly under the laundry room. He saw a beautiful waterfall coming thru the ceiling. Long story short, I got a new washer and dryer and refreshed the laundry with the tile I had always wanted and a great new paint color. You are doing the right thing to tackle the bathroom now. And, your house and your sanity will be better for the experience.

  13. Lauren, sometimes things just happen and it forces us to charge ahead and do things we did not think was the right time to do. Many times in my life unexpected thing happened and in the end it worked out for the best. I know your renovation will be beautiful as always!

  14. So sorry to hear your news! We are currently going through the same thing from a leaky dishwasher. It has been happening for awhile unfortunately. We didn’t see evidence because the water went between the vinyl plank flooring and the subfloor in the kitchen then finally migrated to the dining room. Boy howdy you can see evidence in the crawl space though. We are not yet sure whether the flooring and subflooring needs replaced or can be dried out. There are a lot of those fans and dehumidifiers roaring away. Thank goodness for insurance. I too cried a lot of tears but everyday is a new day with new opportunities and this too shall pass. Good luck to you and your devoted followers can’t wait to see the improvements. xoxo

  15. Oh Lauren……I’m sorry you and Robert are having to deal with this mess. I agree with the other ladies that you are displaying such grace.
    Thank God for Olivia alerting you both. Because He is our provider, I will be praying that God provide you wisdom, and the extra funds you need to complete the repairs and bathroom remodel.

  16. I live a completely different lifestyle than you but I have so enjoyed following and reading all your posts. I admire your tenacity and all your abilities. In our 48 years of adventurous marriage we have encountered similar disasters. It will take time to recover and heal emotionally but in the long run you will have some great conversations about these times. You and Robert are truly a ‘team’ and you will get thru this!

  17. Thank you for sharing! I think we have all been there just when you think you are moving ahead something happens that sets you back. It is hard not to emotionally get sucked down and think why me this doesn’t seem to happen to other people. But sharing your struggles as well your beautiful home, you have such a positive outlook to lift you up and you are an inspiration.

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