10 years. This summer we celebrated 10 years of living in this house. Somewhere (on an old camera buried in a drawer) there is a photo I took when we walked through these rooms for the first time with our realtor. I snapped a shot of an upstairs bathroom and caught in the reflection in the mirror is the image of me holding my 10 month old daughter on my hip while my son runs from room to room behind me.
Now, here we are, with a 15 year old and an 11 year old and a house that slowly became a home. And I realized recently that I’ve never shown it all to you at once. You’ve seen bits and pieces, rooms here and there, but I thought it might be fun to take you on a tour and begin at the beginning.
The other night as my husband and I were shutting down the house in preparation for going to bed, I was going from room to room turning off lamps and I couldn’t help but think about how much this house has changed.
When we purchased this home, there were no TV shows where entire homes were overhauled in a matter of days or weeks with the results being dramatically revealed to the owners. There wasn’t even Instagram with the temptation to scroll past one beautiful room after another feeling more and more discouraged that while those spaces were so impeccably decorated and up-to-date, my own rooms were solidly stuck in 1992, the year the house was built and the money it took for us to buy the house and keep our mortgage low didn’t allow a lot of extra cash for updates.
And I’m SO very thankful for that! Because, I never once thought that our house would be entirely transformed to my liking in a short period of time.
I knew it was going to take time. I knew that we had a young family with young family needs and that those needs took precedence. I knew that we had determined to not go into debt as we tackled updating each room.
And that as my style was evolving, my confidence was building.
My kids love to watch videos we took of them when they were younger. And every time I see their sweet little faces on the screen I feel this stab of pain over how quickly time has passed and how bittersweet this whole growing up business is.
But I also feel a stab of pain when I see the ugly green carpet that used to run through our house. And another stab of pain at how long I actually lived with it.
But, I decorated around that green carpet. And it didn’t take away from my ability to enjoy my home. To celebrate as my daughter began taking those first wobbly steps on it. To watch as my kiddos rode their little scooters around in the loop that took them from the kitchen through the dining room into the front entry and back again. Around and around and around for hours on end, laughing as they chased each other and laughing harder as I did acrobatic like jumps to get out of their way.
Having that green carpet and that beat up wood floor in the kitchen and the cabinets with 20+ years worth of dings and scratches and the splintered deck for those first few years didn’t take anything away from how grateful I was for this house.
If anything, living with those things for the first few years as we saved up money to begin tackling one project at a time helped me to better appreciate it.
The other night we had some dear friends over for dinner and their precious 13 year old daughter was listening intently as we parents talked about our early years of marriage.
For all of us, those years were lean. Like really, really lean. We shared our stories and laughed our heads off and said we wouldn’t trade those times for anything in the world!
Those lean early years were foundational. None of us would’ve dreamed of being able to go on House Hunters as newlyweds and have ‘shoe closets’ and ‘man caves’ on our wish list. Frankly, I was just thrilled that my parents gave us their 30 year old refrigerator when we moved into our first apartment!
This tendency these days to want to have it all and to have it all so early in life makes me sad.
Because there is just so much beauty and so much to be learned in the waiting.
And we still have some waiting to do. There are more projects we’d like to tackle in this house.
But, some of these projects have to be delayed thanks to a couple of unexpected expenses this summer including the cost of my first ride in an ambulance.
But here’s the great thing about having to live all of those years with a house that needed updating….I don’t feel any sense of urgency over the projects still left to be completed.
Because I know how GREAT if feels to reap the rewards of patience and persistence and stewardship.
And I want my kids to know that they shouldn’t expect for everything to just come together in their homes or in their lives overnight.
Frankly, I kinda want them to struggle a little bit. I want them to have to wait, to dream without being able to immediately have that dream come true.
I want them to have to weigh their choices and experienced delayed gratification.
10 years used to not seem like a long time to transform a house into a home but in our speedy makeover culture, I think we’ve lost a little bit of the appreciation for a slower approach.
So, I’ll just be over here continuing to take my time.
I’ll look around and see things I’d still like to change and things that have already been done peacefully coexisting in the same space.
A house is so much like a person in that way, don’t you think?
I’m so grateful to all of you who come along for the ride with me and I’m so excited about what is ahead, both for me and my home.
Much love to you dear friends,
Larryn Griffith says
Thank you, Vanessa, for bringing us along on this tour through your home. It’s truly lovely as was your story and your message of patience. We change as we grow older, as well. Taking time to redo things can be more satisfying, reflecting our later, more mature preferences. All the best in the projects still ahead.
Vanessa, Your thoughts about your family and home and passage of time really spoke to me today . It is wonderful to take some time to reflect on this topic .
Kim DeBastos says
Your home is so lovely. It is evident that the style evolved in time.
Tillie Alvarez says
What a beautiful home you have. You so beautifully express the thoughts & dreams of so many of us.
It was all so worth waiting for!
Gail Bobel says
Just awesome.You should be proud of your accomplishments. It looks so fresh and welcoming. Could I ask if you have a source for you lamp on the sideboard with the glass vase and letter board? I have been looking for something exactly like it. Thanks:)
You are so right to teach your children those values, especially in this day of instant everything. The joy comes in the journey, not having it all at once.
MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) says
Thank you for giving us the lovely tour of your gorgeous home. I think that there will always be something left to do! It’s so nice to be able to do things as you have the time and the money. You always appreciate everything that much more! Enjoy your home! Blessings!
Leslie Watkins says
It’s absolutely beautiful. And sooooo true. I remember someone asking after we moved if I was finished with my house yet and I thought…that’s never been in my vocabulary or thought pattern. My home is always a work in progress. Tuning and refining and changing and creating it as we go. It’s the life in the home that causes it to breathe and change and be truly home. I can feel that breath in each gorgeous photo and your careful thought as your home has evolved. It’s simply divine.
It’s just so pretty! Thanks so much for sharing – sometimes when we wait to do a project we actually come up with a better/prettier plan than we would have if we had been able to do it earlier!
Thank you for this post! Your home is beautiful! I love what you wrote!
I love to read blogs but we are in our late fifties and changes to the home we built in 1993 take time. I often look at blogs and even though my home is beautiful, there are so many updates that are needed! I have to remind myself that there are other things in life besides decorating! Comparison can be depressing, so thank you!
laura janning says
happy 10 year anniversary in your beautiful home.ha, I would rather age gracefully , like my home. 🙂
I really like what you did in your home!
Shirley @Housepitality Design s says
Vanessa…I have so loved coming along with you on your journey to make your house a beautiful home for your family. I love that it evolved at your pace, making the right decisions, having much appreciation for the many “labor of loves” you endured…you should be so very proud of what you have accomplished…you have taken the road less traveled on your journey…appreciating every step along the way….wow, it is hard to think that it has been 10 years….congrats on all of your accomplishments! Here’s to another 10 years!
Carol Reddin says
Love your beautiful home! And even more, I appreciate that it was decorated over time and as you found bargains in the process. Love you, Mom
DJ Baggerly says
Thank you for sharing your home with us Vanessa. I can totally relate to what you are saying. We’ve been in our home since 1994, things take time. I believe a person needs to live in their home for a spell, see what the ” house says”. All in all when you walk into your home after a really hard day and you find peace, love and comfort, what a blessing. Your home is beautiful !
Shira E Abel says
Such a lovely home. And you’re right, the expectations of kids today is ridiculous compared to how we got everything when we were young. You appreciate things more when you have to work for them.
Diane Lawrence says
What a beautiful home, Vanessa! You are so creative!! And your message of learning wait, and work for what we truly want (without going in to debt) is very wise! Love you!
This is my first time on your blog. I love the pictures of your beautiful home, even more so because of what you wrote. My hubby and I can definitely identify with what you wrote about the lean years and being on a shoestring budget. We have always lived in small, humble places. Five years ago, we bought an extremely cheap,deserted house built in 1930. He has done all the work by himself, little by little. Our family of 6 is bursting at the seams in our living space now and we are hoping to be in by next month! We never dreamed it would take this long. It’s been hard, but so worth it to not go into debt. I am so excited, and it means so much more because we put years of planning and hard work into it.
At The Picket Fence says
Welcome Rachael! So glad you visited my blog and I appreciate your kind words! What an incredible achievement to be getting ready to move into your new home after all of the years of hard work, patience and determination. Blessings on you as you enter this new season of reaping the rewards of being so wise and I know that the upcoming holidays will be extra special for you this year! xoxo
Sharon Rexroad says
Vanessa – I loved this post when it first went up, but love it even more now that I’ve been in my new-to-me home for a year. I want to do “all the things” now and this is a reminder that at times, slow is the way to go. Your home, but more important, your heart is beautiful.