I’ve alternated for a long while between loving our house and feeling like it’s not quite mine. It has felt like a combo of my family’s and the previous owner’s.
I know this falls into the category of first world problems.
It’s a far grander house than I thought Jared and I would ever own. It never occurred to me that we would manage to own a 4-bedroom house, much less 4-sided brick in a neighborhood I have come to realize is convenient to everything in town and about as safe as you get in this town, too.
We’ve managed to build enough equity in three and a half short years that we were able to refinance this past August and get out of our FHA loan into a conventional with over 20% down, meaning no more PMI. That’s mostly thanks to the real estate market, but still. It’s a big deal to our financial security given where we were 8 short years ago.
I have a love/hate relationship with our decor that mostly has to do with my internal struggle within myself to define a style. Most of the furniture we have has been inherited, which is fantastic and we are wildly lucky. I think the only piece of furniture we paid full retail price for was our dining room set when we moved into the Essex Dr house in 2007. And there are things…like my Nannie’s living room couch… that I never would have guessed would have come straight to me from her house. I’m spoiled rotten and I know it. There are some things that are on loan from the boys…..like the coffee table in the formal room/office….that is technically Oliver’s, and Lollie gifted it to him when he was 2 or 3 years old, under explicit instruction that it was to be his. He got it because he liked to run his cars on it when he was at her house. I was plainly told I was to let him continue that in our house.
A hodge podge of inherited pieces do not make for a cohesive style. And what’s worse— we live in an English colonial type house yet Jared and I tend to both pick modern/industrial, minimalistic pieces when left to our own devices (see the light fixtures we’ve replaced throughout the house). So…. modern/industrial and early 20th century has been a tough combo to merge into a defined style.
My mama says I have to let go of the idea that I have to hold onto the family pieces forever. In fact, she says that because nobody but me and the dogs really like to sit on Nannie’s sofa, that it should go at some point in the future. I don’t like that idea AT ALL, though. My Nannie and GaGa bought that piece as one of the first pieces they had, in the 1940’s, and I intend to keep it forever. Even if it means I have to have a house with 2 living rooms to pull it off.
But, my good friend in real estate took Jared and me to see a couple of houses last week. I had in mind 4 bedrooms but maybe only 1 main living room, something ranch-style.
We circled back around to the ideal location we live in, our equity in this house, and the fact that we’re already settled in something we would struggle to purchase in today’s market.
My problem is the master bedroom….I never really wanted to buy a house without a master on the main level, yet the only 2 houses in town in our price range on the market when we were looking that had 4 bedrooms, both houses had all 4 bedrooms upstairs.
We bought the lesser of the evils…..the other house you had to enter from the basement or climb a bunch of stairs to the front door. We only have 3 steps from both the garage and the front door. And this house was in much, much, better shape the day we moved in.
This is It
My wonderful real estate friend gave me some great ideas for how to refinish the house we live in, starting with a master on the main level.
I am done looking around at real estate. She suggested I look at Houzz and Pinterest instead of Zillow. I’ve already re-done the coffee bar on the super-cheap. We got our first quote on granite countertops for the kitchen and bar. We’ve had our first visit from a builder regarding a remodel to give us a first floor master bedroom. Eventually I want to put iron railings up in the garage and at the front door to make the steps less treacherous. Our current master bedroom would become a combo office space for both me and Jared.
And then when I decided to reinvest in this house, I picked some cabinet pulls for the kitchen and bar that don’t go with modern minimalist either. My style is thereby known as boho eclectic, since there isn’t really a defined style.
The Reality: I’m Bored
I also realize all of the discord is internal… I just cannot reconcile that we are mostly financially stable in our current house and that the real estate market is such that we’d have to severely downsize in order to get into something cheaper. I honestly, really felt like we were overpaying for this house when we bought it and stretching ourselves farther than we should in taking on this house. I wanted something super cheap that we could pay off in 5-10 years, even if it meant shoving all the boys into one bedroom. But, the reality is that the Essex Dr house is nearly worth what we paid for this one now, probably. So, there is that. And while it was a good house, it was 4-sided vinyl with three bedrooms, 30 minutes away from everything we did.
All of this stems from boredom, I know. I never worried about home decor or design or even our housing issues at all when I worked outside the house. I know how lucky I am and I do NOT take it for granted. It’s way beyond time to take this bored, nervous energy and put it to good use cultivating a workable daily routine that includes cleaning the pretty house. And when it is all put together again, it’s time to convince the boys that I can paint their rooms a color they will love, yet will be originally ours. The current paint schemes go with the previous owner’s decor.
Jared and I have both been known to do silly stuff when we are bored, goodness knows. At least this round of boredom has seen improvements to the house instead of ridiculous camera gear purchases or something to that effect.