We moved into this house three years ago seeing it as a fixer upper to be flipped and sold as a profit six months later. Three years later we are still here. The housing market took a turn recently and we are still trying to work on the finishing touches that we had hoped to have as an afterthought thus far. The first time I saw this house ( we pulled up with our Realtor friend as we were randomly driving past and saw it’s for sale sign) I said a silent prayer, “God, I really want this house” and I’d never even seen the inside. I likely wouldn’t have prayed that if I had. Well, that’s not totally true. Matt and I were looking for something to make shine and sparkle with our decorating niche so walking through this place and seeing the fake wood paneling on all the walls, trashed kitchen and bathroom, scuffed beyond recognition hard wood floors and missing dining room ceiling we said, “Perfect! We’ll take it!”
We’ve had both of our kids living in construction (Oliver more than Chloe. Most of the major stuff was finished by the time she was born) and we work on projects when they are napping and when the weather is warmer so we can open windows and ventilate. This process has slowed our efforts down to a tortoise like pace in which we have lamenting moments of beating our bosoms wondering why the ‘eff’ we bought said property. The hard part is not comparing your life to others and most of our friends have purchased homes. Their situations have all been different than ours though (parents co-signing, not having kids in home so as to actually get construction done, having an already finished home, or having money to remodel with). For the most part it has been Matt and I doing the work ourselves and we have redone nearly every inch of this house whether it’s been a new wall being put up, tiling or just a coat of paint. I should look at our efforts and be proud and feel we have rocked it like a hurricane but I confess I have my moments of wishing I was out of here and done with all of this. Last summer I was at my end and decided we’re selling it and moving in with friends to save money for a real down payment. Then I realized I can handle no more tsunami like transition in my life so here we stay.
Recently I have been having moments where I find myself with that safe and glorious feeling inside my belly as I sit inside my house with kids napping, windows open on a sunny day, sitting in the living room with a book and fresh coffee and I feel taken care of in here. It’s our place! We made it what it is (interior, front yard and back garden) and we’ve worked damn hard on it. I told Matt when people walk by or come over I want them to see a home that is cared for and loved not a place where stuff is thrown together or put up just to get it done. I want to create beauty in this place that was so ugly, abandoned and taken advantage of. The former owners put up everything slap-dash just to get it done and trashed the place when they left. They didn’t fix things that broke and never put an ounce of creativity into the aesthetics of the interior. I won’t even go into how unkempt the front and back gardens were. To this day I still uncover trash (nails, metal bits and plastics of many variations) when I garden in the back yard.
So here we are three years later, still working on a home with two kids in tow and a husband who works full time and a budget that constricts us from hiring workers or paying top dollar for materials. Yet our home is a home, not just a house! It is cared for; we brush out her ugly tangles and wash her dirty face when we gain momentum to return to her face lift once again. She, in turn, keeps us dry, warm and secure or she just allows us to be ourselves inside her walls and relax with friends or relax alone. We’ve washed, waxed, sanded, pasted and painted her so she doesn’t look ugly anymore. Now she shines to the neighbors because we have taken away her shame and finally she is cared for.
One day left….