Before I tell the tale of how we’ve touched nearly every inch of our home’s interior since we purchased it in the fall of 2014, it’s important to reflect for a moment.
To be honest, this house has been a bit of a money pit for more than a year. The stairs creak, the bedroom closets are too small, there’s a bizarre door-less closet in the living room, all the bathrooms were immediately gutted to bring them up to our standards, and the kitchen…oh, the kitchen! It wasn’t even remotely functional for our family, and now we’re kitchen-less and basically living out of our dining room until our dream kitchen is finished in a few weeks.
When I saw our home’s listing, I thought “This is it!” All our basic criteria were met: 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, two-car garage, and even a bonus screened-in porch. Yet after we left the first open house, we both thought, “Oh hell, no.” Too much to do. Too much money. But after a six-month home search and six failed offers, this house – with its perfect-on-paper statistics and fantastic neighborhood – pretty much begged us to take a second look. So we did.
I’m so glad we did, because we came to learn that our new old house was desperately loved for 40 years by the previous owners and their family. A few days after our closing, I received a touching message from the elderly former owner, sent to her by her oldest daughter. Now, I’m sharing it with you (with some identity-protecting changes) because it demonstrates that a home is more than the sum of its parts.
I want you each to know that I took some time this afternoon visiting each
room and each part of the outside of our home. I thanked our home
for being so dependable, wonderful, and warm. I did what I could to collect
the positive energy that is there and to take it with me. I said a special
prayer and thank you to Mom and Dad for giving us the most incredible and
loving childhood home and the home we have been able to return to. Thank
you, Mom and Dad, for making this home of ours last for ALL OF THESE YEARS.
Most people do not have the opportunity we have been blessed with to call
this our home for so many years.
I have every confidence, Mom and Dad, that your new home will also be our
new home because that’s where YOU will be.
Here’s to moving forward and to being grateful for all that we shared at that address.
For all the times I’ve tripped on a random threshold, for all the times I’ve sworn up and down “Why the hell isn’t there a sensible place to hang my coat?!?!” and cursed the kitchen cabinets for opening again immediately after I closed them, the truth is that this house has seriously good vibes. Although it may not have been physically maintained to my standards during its 40+ years of occupancy, it was well-loved. It hosted family traditions and celebrations. It welcomed tired parents home after a long day at work, offered children a refuge from the pressures of school, and opened a door to friends and neighbors.
The gallery wall in our stairway holds a print that I made using a photo of our new-to-us house and a lovely quote from “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien (one of my favorite stories). Every day this little piece of homemade art reminds me that this house is more than wood, nails, and plaster. It has been, and will continue to be, a friendly and cozy place for friends and family to gather.
That house was a perfect house, whether you liked food or sleep or story-telling or singing or reading or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all. Merely to be there was a cure for weariness.
I’m thankful the seller shared this personal message with me, and I hope that it serves to inspire and comfort you when you think about your own home! Soon I’ll share more of our gallery wall and tips for how to create your own watercolor art – no painting required!