Monday, January 11, 2010

Five Years Later

Five years ago, on a surprisingly balmy January day, we moved into our little house. On that winter day, we paused to take a look at the house before we walked in for the first time as the new owners. The house wasn't winning any design awards, or even admiring glances. It's a 1966 raised ranch complete with original bathrooms, black and white tiles and 70s appliances. The exterior had not been updated. Worse yet, there wasn't a bush or tree to be found on the small, 1/4 acre lot. Heck, there was barely grass as it was January. But, it did have what we needed-a move-in ready, 4 bedroom house with an in-law suite potential in the a good location within our budget. We could have afforded a nicer home, but we'd have had to look further away from our work, family and friends. Besides, I am a product of HGTV and thought we were up for the challenge.

This is our first view of the house. Yes, that is the front of the house. No, I didn't love it either. But I could see the potential. My husband may have hated it on sight. I may or may not have begged to put in an offer and my husband agreed. The offer was accepted the next day. Ah, 2004/2005 boasted a quick moving real estate market!

I loved this house for so many reasons:

*It was very structurally sound. The original owners (also the contractor) sold it to us and kept the house in good shape.

*I liked that it was so symmetrical.

*It has two, yes two kitchens (one for beer making and for food making)!

* It had enough room for our hopefully expanding family.

* The house was less than 10 minutes from our jobs, family and friends.

* The house was in a good school district.

Fast forward 5 years and we've seen a lot of changes in both our family and in our home. Our daughter joined our family in 2007. My husband has seen two tours in the Middle East. My mother and sister have moved in and then moved out. We've seen my son start school, learn new sports and developing his personality. We've all grown older and, dare I say, happier. Life has been good.

We love our home more and more every year. Each passing day, new memories are made. Because we enjoy our home, we are trying to slowly update it and make it more homey. Since we plan to live here until retirement (30ish years), we are making it a house we love, not a house that will sell. And that is so much fun!

By 2007, We'd already changed out the exterior by adding siding, brickwork, and landscaping. You can really see the brickwork and vinyl siding in this picture. What you can't really see is the 8 bushes/trees we planted. We couldn't afford mature/larger plants, so we bought the smaller ones. Well, 5 years later, each of these bushes are 3-6 feet tall each. We've also added rose bushes and an apple tree to the front yard, and extensive gardens to the back and side yards. Gardening is something we do as a family. I love looking at the pictures and seeing how our leland cypress's have grown almost a foot a year!

We still have so much to do both in side and outside the house. Again, it'll be done slowly. We're in this house for the long hull, so what's the hurry?