Four years ago today I closed on this big, beautiful old house.
Here’s what I wrote about about back on this day in April 2011:
“If you know me, you know that I’ve been actively, achingly LONGING to be a homeowner for at least half of the last decade. But my life wasn’t yet ready for that kind of commitment. I was too busy. I was doing things like surviving a summer in an Irish ghetto, losing my best friend, studying law, finding myself, summering in DC, putting my heart back together, and on a whim- taking a job in California to buy rockets. No really, rockets. And if you know anything about real estate in the LA Beach Cities, you understand why I was reluctant to eek out enough to buy a studio condo, especially in the face of my government salary and mountain of student loans . So I rented, and adventured, and kept dreaming.In the year leading up to my move, I spent as many nights in hotels as my apartment and more time in airplanes than cars. I had a blast! But at the end of all the travel, like many weary road-warriors, I wanted to go home. And for me, that didn’t mean home to my fabulous California crew and our crowded apartment with its broken dishwasher and builder-beige walls. I wanted my HOME.
Flash forward past online real-estate stalking, in person disappointments, offers, inspections, and negotiations to today- the day I buy my first house.
Maybe signing a mortgage is “signing a life away” but I couldn’t be further away from that feeling. I feel like I am signing up for my life, committing to myself and my vision. The title company may call it a closing, but not me. Today is my opening day.
I will sign my name and take the key. I will start pouring myself into the space with music and paint, with sweat and furniture, and laughter and fabrics. I will fill my house with the things I love, things that represent who I am. This home will come to tell the story of my life in color and texture.”
Reading what I wrote back then, I feel a huge sense of pride and accomplishment. In these past four years of home-ownership, many many things about the house have changed. I ripped out all the old carpeting, removed every inch of battered wallpaper, updated bathroom fixtures, upgraded the kitchen appliances, painted virtually every interior surface, switched out light fixtures, put in new flooring, etc and so on. In doing so, I starting learning how to accept the help that I needed, and I learned how to open myself up to the life that I wanted. The house has been transformed into the vibrant, colorful, welcoming home that it is today. It has been the setting for elaborate Olympic parties, Thanksgiving dinners, Fondue Februaries and so many of my most cherished memories from this period of my life.
And while living here my life has been transformed as well. I bought the house as a 26 year old single gal, flash forward four years and I’m a married lady with a baby on the way. And with my helpful handy, husband the house has also continued it’s evolution. We gave the laundry room a face lift, reworked the entire upstairs floor-plan, and he’s almost done converting our leftover kitchen/bonus room into a proper fourth bedroom that we planned as a nursery. The house has come to reflect us a couple and a growing family. This house is where we got engaged, where we learned to cohabitate, where kicked off our wedding weekend surrounded by the most amazing collection of family and friends, where we learned Baby A would be joining us. It’s been a great run!
We’re on the verge of some major changes to our lives and our lifestyle and we’re really excited for all the wonderful things to come, but today on this fourth anniversary of home ownership, I want to take the time to feel grateful. I’m so grateful for that 26 year old version of myself that signed up for this adventure, for this house that has given me the opportunities and challenges that helped me build the life I wanted, and for my husband who has helped to make this house into our home.
And just for fun, some before and afters (with the before pics on top and the afters (or in-progress) directly below):