Wednesday, April 21, 2010

How I Met My House


 I'm joining AnNicole over at Our Suburban Cottage for her How I Met My House party!

I met my house just over 3 years ago.  We had lived in a suburban neighborhood for 11 years and I was ready for a change.  My kids were no longer little and things like swim team, soccer games, and bike paths had given way to college and driver's licenses for one child, and the beginnings of high school for our youngest.

I was also going through a huge personal change in my life at that time.  I had lost my mother after she suffered a stroke due to botched gallbladder surgery.  She went in to the hospital a healthy 68 year old woman and just a few days post surgery ended up unable to speak and vastly different than the woman we had known all our lives.  Although she was 100% there mentally, she would never be the same and just a year and a half after her horrific ordeal she wasn't feeling well again.  So we took her to Johns Hopkins Hospital only to find out that she had cancer and just 13 days later she died!  Apparently they had found the cancer when they removed her gallbladder initially and never told her!




Needless to say I was devastated and I spent the next few years tending to my father who had been diagnosed with a terminal lung condition just a few months prior to my mom's stroke!  With the help of my sister who lives locally we did our best to keep my father company, spend time with him, and generally help him out when he needed it.  I have two other siblings who live farther away and they also pitched in when they could.

About a year after my mother passed my father became involved with a woman who did not have his best interests at heart and to make a long story short, things during the last few years left us on less than ideal terms.

I had been looking around for some property even before all of this took place, but with my own personal chaos I began really trying to find a place with a bit of breathing room!  I needed it both physically and mentally.




So how do you deal with the stress of losing your mother and not speaking to your father who you saw nearly everyday of your life?!  You sell a house by owner, and buy a fixer upper!  Well technically our home wasn't a true fixer upper, but it wasn't what we had envisioned either.

It's an 11 year old rambler, and was not laid out at all like our spacious suburban oasis that we were leaving behind.  But every time we drove past this house, it called my name.  Even our son, who was 15 at the time and had spent most of his life in the same house and neighborhood, was completely on board with the move and said "There is just something about this place, it feels like home," each time we visited the new house.

The house is located on a private lane with only 5 homes on it.  I would have never even found the place, and I grew up in the area, if it hadn't been for my sister who told me to drive down this way.  She lives just down river from it and said that it was a lovely area.  So I got in my car one afternoon and drove down here.

There wasn't a for sale sign in sight, but I came home that afternoon determined to move to that street!  I even called a gentlemen who owned some of the land to see if he wanted to sell a lot, but found out that most of the empty land couldn't be built on and the only lot available was in the restricted area and was unbuildable due to it's waterfront location.



I continued to scour real estate websites for the next year, always with that one location in mind and then one day it happened!  Right in front of me on the computer screen was a little rambler that I knew the instant I saw it, and it was for sale!  I made Mr. Tide jump in the car and off we went.  Getting him to agree to drive past the house was one thing, but to go for a tour was quite another.

You see Mr. Tide has a complete aversion to brick...ie. he hates it!  And the fact that it was a rambler with a low slung roof and not a whole lot of curb appeal was yet another hurdle.  For me it was that it was located along a side of our county and on a river that I swore I would never live on.  So between the two of us, this house was everything and everywhere we said we would never want to live!

But we made an appointment to look inside anyway.  The house was owned by an elderly couple who were no longer able to live on their own.  The husband was not in good physical shape and the wife was having some symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.  They had a caregiver and when we came in they told us how much they loved the place and spoke of the beautiful tundra swans which were gracefully floating on the creek behind the house.

Kitchen Before


We went home and talked it over and decided that we needed to take another look.  Could we overcome the fact that there wasn't an attic, that it felt dark and cramped, that there were only 3 bedrooms, and very little storage compared to our big 5 bedroom colonial we would be ditching for this place?  That the kitchen had mauve countertops and that there was no walk in pantry?!  This time we took my sister back with us, and once again the elderly couple told us about their love of the house, and they asked if we were the "nice young couple that was going to buy the house?"  I had to leave the room and I burst in to tears.   Seeing them have to leave their home, even if it wasn't their forever home, was just too much, and it made me think of my parents and everything that was going on in my own life.

We did spreadsheets and calculations as to how we could make it all work.  We would sell our house for sale by owner, or rent it if necessary, we would save up and do the renovations we dreamed of for the new house and life would be perfect!  We did end up doing all of that, and sometimes it seems like a dream to me, and I have to pinch myself to know that it's all true!

Living Room Before


And we are that young couple that bought their home and love it dearly.  We love the water it's on, the bricks it's made of, and the fact that we're 8 miles from the nearest place to buy milk.  The stress of renovating was nothing compared to the stress of losing both of my parents and the sadness I had felt for the last few years.  But the sun seems to shine brighter here, the grass is greener, and even the flowers seem to bloom more profusely in our little home nestled in an old tobacco field.

 Living Room After

Kitchen After


Meeting my house was my saving grace and each day that I wake up in my sun filled bedroom I am thankful for all that I have and all that I've been through.  I wouldn't wish the last 6 years on my worst enemy, but I'm a stronger woman because of it, so I have no regrets.  Do I wish some things had been different, sure I do, but maybe, just maybe if they had been different I wouldn't be here and I wouldn't appreciate all that I have!  I see beautiful homes all the time for my work, but I wouldn't trade my match made in heaven for all the money or storage in the world!

Be sure to head over to Our Suburban Cottage to find out how more people met and married their homes!

37 comments:

  1. Hi there. Wow, your transformations are amazing. What a gorgeous home you have.
    Kristine
    xx

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  2. Wow, I love your before and after pics. Your kitchen is gorgeous. Thanks for sharing.
    Jxx

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  3. Kat,
    Love the story about how you found your home. I am sorry to hear about your mother and the trouble with your father...I'm sure that was all very hard to handle. Take care!

    Blessings,
    Linda

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  4. Your home is beautiful. The story about your family is very similar to mine and what I went through right before I bought my house. I was a little shaken by that. I'm glad you were able to find a home that helps you find peace.

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  5. What a touching story. It sounds like you have found 'your' house and you are doing a wonderful job of making it your home. I love the after photos of the kitchen and lounge room. xx

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  6. Hi Kat~ thank you for sharing your story with us. I think many of us go through hard things as our parents age and our children grow up~ it becomes even more important to have that place where we feel most safe...home. Your home is truly beautiful and the love and work you put into it are clear~ so happy you have found your place of peace!

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  7. Hi Kat, I have to tell you, I got goosebumps reading your story. I'm so sorry to hear you had to go through so much heartache, but I really admire your strength. One of my first blog posts is so similar to your story of falling in love with a house, and then finding a way to make it yours. In the end, the owner swapped houses with us, so it was a win-win for both of us. I love your renovations, we're still in the process but there's light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks so much for sharing your story, and I hope you find peace in your special place. Kerri xx

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  8. I love the story behind your home and I am truly sorry for the loss of your mother and the speration from your father. God always works in miraclous ways and I believe your home was your new beginning at a time that you truly needed one. I hope that you have found the peace and comfort you needed in your home. Best wishes.

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  9. You done amazing work you should be very proud of yourself! I tend to throw my self into my housework...cleaning decorating, cooking, organizing, etc. when life gets stressful.
    Love
    Vanessa

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  10. Life sometimes just gives us lemons and you have certainly turned it into beautiful lemonade. Your home is stunning. Beautiful job of renovating. Love your kitchen. Hugs, Marty

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  11. Wow, Kat. What a sad story with an amazing outcome. I have to say it brought tears to my eyes. I'm glad you were the 'young' couple (loved that - it's all perspective, isn't it?) that bought the house and transformed it.

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  12. what an amazing story!! your transformationis beautiful!

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  13. I loved reading your meeting of your home. Life is not always what we would envision, but I've learned that by waiting for God's perfect timing He can bless and rearrange our lives and give us a new pathway that is not only fresh but gratifying. Your home is beautiful and your renovations are just perfect! Just joined as a follower, come for a visit when you can.
    Debra

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  14. What a great story. The kitchen looks amazing!

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  15. There is a lot of destiny in finding a house, somehow you need it, and it needs you! You have made it beautiful.
    What a touching story Kat, and I love the idea of growing (raising?) your own oysters!

    Tricia Rose
    http://cabinonthewater.blogspot.com

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  16. Kat, It is a familiar story, a man (father) getting hooked up with the wrong woman after his wife dies, and a sad one. I am sorry that this relationship has been such a stress. Happy that you found your home though! you have made it gorgeous.

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  17. I think there's alot of truth to the saying, "what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger"...sounds like you've proven that in your life. Good for you! Your house transformation is beautiful and I'm envious of the water nearby. Thanks for sharing!

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  18. I love the background story on your beautiful home! You are a wonderful, heartfelt writer and it is nice to know why people choose the home they live in, much the same way it is fun to hear why they pick their spouse!

    That kitchen make-over is incredible and I'd wrestle you for the light fixture over your dining table!

    I am happy you are content and settled into the home that was obviously meant to be yours. Thanks for sharing your story with us...

    Cheers,
    Linda
    xo

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  19. Kat, thanks so much for sharing your story. I love learning more about you. Your home is stunning and you can be very proud.

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  20. You have most certainly been through a lot. It sounds like your house is just the haven you need, and I love the fact it's nestled in with old tobacco fields. Something nostalgic about being in the country that's good for the soul.
    -Sarah Marie aka Miss Mud
    http://MyMississippiMudPie.blogspot.com

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  21. I just want to knock on your front door and come cook in your kitchen! Haha! I promise I will refrain from actually doing so...

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  22. This is my first visit to your blog and it made me cry! I think that's a very good start! All the very best to you and yours.

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  23. This is an amazing post. Thank you for it ~ Your new home is beautiful inside and out. I am so glad you found it (or maybe it found you). Ths was just such a joy to read. I am so very sorry for your losses. Some times its all just too much. Thank God for our little havens.

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  24. I love what you've done to your home. I know how hard this must have been to write. Your story of your mom hits so close to home right now that I can barely believe it. I hurt for what you went through.

    Sue

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  25. Oh Kat-

    Thank you for sharing this. It all works out when it is meant to.
    You have a lovely home.

    Laura

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  26. That was a wonderful story of how you met your house! It seemed like it was meant to be. I am glad that it helped you heal during a really bad time in your life.

    Your kitchen is beautiful!

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  27. Love your story and your home! I too am dying for some breathing room! I want a place in the country bad! Maybe we will get there someday! Thanks for sharing.

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  28. Oh my goodness - I'm so sorry for all that you lost over the past few years! That's quite a lot to handle. I'm so glad that you were able to find a place to plant new roots and "breathe". That is worth so much - and good for you for following those instincts!

    And can I just tell you how in love I am with your light fixtures? I'm going to scour your blog now to find out where those lights in your kitchen came from :).

    Thanks so much for sharing your very personal story and linking up to my party!

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  29. How wonderful to call your home a match made in heaven! I'm still looking for exactly that!

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  30. Oh my goodness. I had to stop reading after that first paragraph. How horrifying that your mother had to go through all of that! That just makes me sick. I'm so sorry for you and your family.

    Now, I'm going back to read about the house...

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  31. What an incredible story of how your finally got the house! You sure had to wait a long time. Again, I am so sorry for the loss of your Mom, but your Dad too. How upsetting for you and your family.

    Your renovations are awesome! I love that kitchen! I'll have to look around your blog to see more of your renovations.

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  32. Thank you for opening up and sharing just how much your home means to you. This was heartbreaking to read Kat, but now I can see your place surely had a way of helping you through some of the healing. Your home is even more than gorgeous, you can tell it's a very special place and I'm so glad you found it when you did. ~Lili

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  33. That's a lot of drama to go through and then sell your house and move on top of it. But your house is great ... beautiful before and after photos. Good for you!!!

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  34. What a transformation & a long journey, life is always full of twists & turns, we never know whats coming next!!! Your house is beautiful. I especially love your kitchen!!!

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  35. Oh I am having a great time discovering your blog,,,wonderful wedding video,,wonderful home redone beautifully!
    Back to looking!
    Marcie

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  36. Thanks so much for sharing your story. It has helped inspire me to keep looking for that special place. Love your blog. I too am experiencing some life things and reading these blogs helps me to forget some of my troubles for awhile.

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  37. Thanks so much everyone, and Neldipoo I hope you find that special place very soon!

    Kat :)

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