Our house. Oh, our humble little abode. I love our house. I feel like I'm home when we pull up into the driveway. I knew it from the first time we saw it. It was our house.
But first, it belonged to a middle-aged Chinese couple. They were empty nesters with significantly different tastes than our own. When we looked at our house, I saw potential, and that is why we went for it. We've been in the house for 3 months now, and some of that potential has come to fruition. I'm not going to sit here and say I'm any sort of home decorating pro. I pin much better than I create. But we love our home. Here's what we've done, to date, to make it our own. (PS. Forgive me these are all terrible quality iPhone pictures, especially the ones from before the previous owners moved out. I love that we get so much natural light in our house, but it makes taking pictures of it tricky.)
The main living area was priority number one. We hired an inexpensive (and therefore imperfect) painter to paint the living room and mantle. He threw in the kitchen for free! We went from yellow and wood to gray and white. We replaced the blinds and painted the fireplace face. Though it doesn't show up in pictures, the wood grain pattern above the mantle shows up through the white paint, and I love the way it turned out.
I love our living room. It is long and open, despite being cut off slightly from the kitchen by a bearing wall. We found the big temple print at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, of all places (got to love Idaho). We had been wanting a big Bountiful picture, since we got married there, but I felt like Deseret Book didn't really ever sell it. We were so excited to find it, and I love that it hangs so prominently in our home. I also love having a mantle. It is so fun to decorate it according to seasons.
Changing the fireplace front made a huge difference. After the mantle was painted white I almost thought the gold would be good enough, but I'm so glad we decided to go black. We yanked the face out and taped the glass. Then I used Rustoleum High Heat spray paint. It is designed for grills so it can withstand high heat should we ever decide to get our wood-burning fireplace in working order. It made such a big difference in making it look more modern, and the finish of the paint matches the surrounding black metal on the fireplace perfectly.
Attached to the kitchen and next to the living room is our dining room. We extended the gray paint down the wall (that dining room wall is the same wall the temple picture is hanging on). The wall with the door was yellow, and other sections were mint green. These parts are what our painter painted white for us. It was so kind of him and it turned out exactly like I wanted it to. We got our table from Amazon. Eight years of a shaky, sticky hand-me-down table and metal folding chairs finally gave way to a real one. I really wanted one with 8 chairs for when we have guests, but that just wasn't going to happen at our price point. I love our table though. It fits our space perfectly.
We tore out the vertical blinds. Two weeks into living here and the kids had already taken out 4, so they weren't going to last long anyway. And they were old and yellow and ugly. I had seen using curtains on sliding glass doors but was hesitant. I really wanted horizontal striped curtains, but couldn't find any. We were at the TJ Maxx in Lewiston and ahhhhhh! there were horizontal striped curtains! It was a home decor miracle! I had thought I wanted navy stripes, but love the way the "greige" stripes look in our kitchen. The curtains were oversized, so I did a crude hemming job on them, but it is holding up against washes so that is all I care about. The Consider the Lilies print hangs on the dining room wall, and the window frames hold seasonal pictures (right now it is kids in fall leaves and pumpkin patches). And that light fixture . . . another Amazon find (Amazon is your best friend when you live in a place with limited shopping). We had everything done for a long time before Chris's parents came to town and his dad helped replace it. That old gold and glass light fixture haunted me. Changing it made all the difference. I'm so in love. I still can't believe how different it looks from when we saw it for the first time in May.
A few more pieces of our home. I realized I don't have a picture of the whole kitchen. I originally wanted to paint the cabinets, as the light wood isn't my favorite, but they are new nice cabinets and I have a feeling painting them would be disastrous. I would like to change the backsplash some day. On the left is the kitchen side of the bearing wall. The bottom is the opposite side of the living room from the pictures above. Next on my list for this area is figuring out how to change the light fixture you can see above the staircase. I wanted a fun-colored accent table under the pictures of the kids, but the kids come running down the hall at high speeds, and a table would just block their path and create safety hazards. Perhaps someday when they no longer run up and down the hall. But I hope that never happens.
Down the stairs we go to the basement. You'll find an outdated bathroom that I'm excited to make super cute someday. I'm thinking stripes on the walls. Who wants to do that for me? But that will be a project for another year. Our basement is a big L-shaped playroom. Right now we don't spend a ton of time down there. We are usually upstairs or outside, but I have a feeling that will change when the weather takes a turn the the worst. I love the space. It is bright and kid-oriented, and was so fun to set up. The side not pictured is pretty bare. Some day maybe we'll own a television again and we'll put it down there. Maybe even a couch to go with it? Then we'll be living the high life.
We'll go out to the garage from the basement, and walk around to get a view of the front door. Don't mind the wreck of a front yard. We yanked out a lot of dead and nasty plants, and now have a fabulous mess of dirt and rocks. Spring will bring landscaping lessons. Our front door was a honey wood that I didn't love. I wanted to paint it, but our exterior is off-white with pale blue trim. I didn't like the pale blue enough to match the door to it, but no other color seemed to be a good idea. Then my mom suggested navy, and moms are always right. I picked out a color that sure looked navy in the sample, but when I opened it, it was anything but. Royal. It was royal. I primed with a tinted primer that turned the door gray. I actually loved the gray, but it wouldn't have looked good on the house. I began the blue and was on the verge of freak-out. It was SO blue. Luckily, it dried darker and it was growing on me. I would stand in the front yard and just stare at the door, trying to decide if I wanted to keep it, if I needed to do more coats. One time Carly was being insanely indecisive and ended up getting in trouble because of her behavior over it. Later she told me, "It was just like how you can't decide about the front door." Touche, child. Touche. I did one last coat and it made the difference. I really like it. And now we can tell people, "We're the house with the blue door,"
The projects continue. We are currently in the midst of revamping the kids room, and I'm excited for that to come together. Our master bedroom and bathroom need to be done. It is our first master "suite", even though our bathroom is pretty small, and I want to get it just right. I'm trying to decide what I want . . . and, I guess, what Chris wants. The yard will probably take a few years to get perfect. And the second bedroom, the tiny one, hosts the blow-up mattress when guests come to town. Along the way there will be leaky pipes and broken lights. But that is home ownership; the American dream.
This house of ours isn't perfect, but it is perfect for us. The day before we closed on our house in July, a friend (coincidentally) shared this quote on Facebook:
"The poorest shack in which love prevails over a united family is of far greater value to God and future humanity than any other riches. In such a home God can work miracles, and will work miracles. Pure hearts in a pure home are always in whispering distance of Heaven." -David O McKay
Naturally, there were tears. What a sweet thought. We have a beautiful home, and we try to fill it with love. We pray we can fill it with the Spirit. We want it to be a safe place, a refuge from the storms of life we face and that our children will face some day. I love this home not because of the ways we've fixed it up, but because it plays host to art projects, ballet performances, giggling lunch times, and bedtimes stories. I see daily miracles here, and when we kneel in our living room to pray, I know we are in whispering distance of heaven.
It really is our home, sweet, home.