The Story

Ten years ago when my then fiance asked me to consider buying the home he grew up in, I wasn’t so sure. His family had bought it in the early ’60s, raised five kids in it, and my husband was very sentimental about the neighborhood. Problem was (and probably even more so the reason he wanted to buy it), it was the worst house on the block. Think weed-filled grass, utilitarian metal siding, original windows (but not in a good way), a chain-link fence (still my nemesis) and no curb appeal. And that was only the outside. His mom divorced his dad when Michael (my husband and the youngest of the five) was only 12. She then invited tenants to live in the house to help make ends meet. Michael never knew what he was coming home to. Who would be living where?–a rodeo cowgirl in the basement, a Chinese mother and daughter in the back bedroom and an alcoholic who ended up dying in what is now our six-year-old’s room (don’t tell her).

The truth is Michael needed to buy that house. He  needed to reverse the bad karma that had built up since his parents’ divorce. He needed to prove that it could be a great house again, plus as a financial adviser, he knew it was a good investment. With a little TLC, it could be family home again. If I would commit to it for five years, he said, we could sell it, take the profit (“everyone” wants in this school district), and find something that we both like. My dad visited and said, “That’s a sandwich you don’t want to take a bite out of.” Thankfully I didn’t listen. My dad lacks vision, but I don’t.

Ten years, several tens of thousands of dollars, some sweat equity, lots and lots of imagination and rethinking, and we’re still there. We’ve turned it back into a great family home. And this blog is about that journey . . . the projects that led us to where we are and the ones to come. You see, I’m not done yet . . . not even close.

After the outside renovation in 2009.

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