(Yep, that picture is actually a porta-potty. In our front yard. Fancy.)
As I mentioned in my first post, we got a lot of sideways looks when we shared our plans to move from our brand new home into a fixer-upper. Probably the most supportive people were my parents. You see, my parents are what most people call ‘resourceful.’ They seemed to be big fans of buying something dumpy out-dated and pouring love into it to make it a home. I don’t suppose it was any surprise to them that (after years of loudly stating that I would NEVER do the same thing to my family) I would eventually get bored living in my nice, new, beige box and start to itch for a challenge.
We did a lot of home renovation, so my childhood memories are all dusty around the edges and splattered in drywall mud and paint. From age 4ish through my teen years, we spent most of our free time as a family gutting and fixing up our homes. I hate to say we were “flippers,” because I feel like that insinuates a serial home flipping process. We actually only lived in two houses during my childhood, but both homes were very long, extended renovations (many years, and many phases. I actually believe I’ve spent more of my life in an unfinished home than in a finished one). Neither of my parents were full-time contractors or anything, so all house work had to be done in the evening hours or on weekends.
My dad loves to tell the story of the home he bought in Inavale for less than $10,000. I remember moving into it, right around Christmas time. As a kid, it seemed like such an adventure! When I look at that house through a mother’s eyes, though, I see what a disaster it was. As a kid, I didn’t see what the fuss was all about, but anytime we were out in public, someone would always comment about how our house “sure looked nice!” or about how my parents were “doing some great work!” It seemed normal to me- didn’t everyone spend their weekends tearing out walls and adding on additions?
My favorite memory from our most permanent home (the farmhouse 6 miles north of town) is helping my mom choose wallpaper (yes, WALLPAPER!) for the wall our staircase was on. I was finally getting old enough to have an opinion that mattered and I was elated when she actually picked my choice! It was at that moment that I decided I wanted to be an interior designer. 20 years and a winding road later, I wouldn’t say it’s a totally realized dream, but honestly, my reality is much better than my 11-year-old self had imagined.
Now that the dust has settled on our own fixer-upper decision (and we’ve firmly solidified ourselves in our social groups as “the crazy ones”), I find myself channeling my parents’ tenacity and patience frequently. We lived in unfinished houses for years. We survived bathroom remodels, kitchen demolitions (ask my mom about doing dishes in the bathtub), and many heated arguments about wall texture (it’s best if we don’t go there right now). What I’ve learned from it all is this:
With enough patience, hard work, and dedication, beautiful things happen.