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Over eight years ago we bought our Faithful House. I wrote about this on my blog … about how this house taught me about weary bones and being brought back from the brink of the edge. How I felt, driving aimlessly around our town looking for a home we could afford to purchase, that this home would hold something so essential, so completely life giving to our family that I could trust God. That what I had dreamed of, what I had heard in the whispers of my soul – I hadn’t made up. I hadn’t heard wrong.

This house was our Faithful House. God is faithful. These walls, this foundation, this fertile ground we grew up and out of – it bore so much fruit in our lives. Memories and being woven together as a family and sleepovers and friendships and the gift of hosting. We’ve shared this home with so many people, whom we love, this house knit us back together after the storm of life ravaged our hearts. This home held us together through life crises and helped me flip decades from 20’s to 30’s. This house was a dream maker, a hospice for our souls. And we have loved her so much.

In April of 2020 we made a list of the Must-Haves and Nice-to-Haves for a new home in my journal. We very much wanted to buy an existing home that we could do some (not a ton of structural) work to. We wanted the same amount of yard, or more, and more room inside the home. The kids each got to give us their input and then we kind of laughed at each other and were like, what now?

I’ll tell you: months of looking. Seeing every home we thought might fit the bill, our rock star Realtor was always available. We started looking at land to build, because, as it turns out, we were very serious about moving. But we started to feel weary in the search. It’s definitely a sellers market, so homes we would look at inevitably had multiple offers within days. We were ready, but we just couldn’t justify any of them as the place we wanted to fight for.

I had to wrestle all kinds of demons about what it meant to find the house we wanted, if I was “allowed” to have a home like this or if we “deserved” it.

But now it’s time to move. So we sold this faithful house. In a whirlwind 29 hours from listing to signatures. The house we bought is another blank slate that we can’t wait to pour into.

Since I can remember, I’ve never pictured my life beyond the age of 36. That was just the number for me. My mom’s life changed dramatically for her at age 36 – and I think it just stuck with me. If I can make it to 36, I’ll have lived. We’ll be closing on our new home days away from my 37th birthday. God. He writes the most beautiful stories.

He let me do it all. He let me write life lists and cross off items as if I was the author of it. He let me have my babies, and He let me heal from the pain of my past. He let me have a beautiful marriage and a man who never saw anything but beauty in my mess. He let me go, and watched with wrapt interest in my love for this world as I came running back to Him, enamored with what I saw. What I had learned. He held me as I wept over loss and healed my broken pieces with compassion and understanding. He never told me I did it wrong, He never told me not to. He waited for me to walk – and then He went with me. EVERYWHERE. God. He writes the most beautiful stories.

This new home is the home my children with leave from. They’ll leave as adults, carrying their wounds, accomplishments, their tender hearts and their future hopes and dreams.

They’ll leave my nest and return to me a beautiful creature in flight.

Thats what this new home is.

It’s next.

Let’s talk about (this) House, baby.

This house, happy sigh. You might know the feeling of finally belonging somewhere? I’ve never felt that in a home. A house was always something to trade-in, trade-up. It was dispensable. Something to help you get along in life, definitely a place to rest and live, but never get too comfortable. The future was always nearer than our present – always looming with change.

Carpet squares be gone!

I have, um, moved a few times in my life. Just a few. And this last move? At a meager 28 years old (technically with more moves than my years under my belt) this last move felt like the first right move.

Our very first home as a married couple was also the right move, but a lifetime ago. My first experience of living on my own – my first bit of adulthood freedom. It was glorious – she’ll always hold a special place in my heart. But that house held the memories of the phone call that told me he was gone. It held our first year of marriage secrets, fights and fits, it held job losses and change and positive tests. That house couldn’t hold us for very long, so she let us go.

And little did we know after that little house, we were on a wild journey. It took 6 years of thinking, fretting and planning to realize we were starting – but away we went. A huge curve ball in our lifestyle, a new dream to freedom. We became a debt free family.

This is still something we live every day – we just don’t talk about it as much. We reached our goal – and there’s a shift in thinking when these zeros on a page that dictate your every move all of a sudden add up to zero. It doesn’t loom over you anymore, you no longer think about it night and day. The graphs and spreadsheets look less angry and you start to notice the color of the sky … which happens to not be grey and black and stormy.

So… this house. We’re making it our home. The work has started and I am by no means, whatsoever, a decorator or professional – I have friends who are and they’re amazing and probably scoff at half the things I do, but thats ok. I’m not looking for professional. I’ve made bad design choices, I’m sure. But I make my own choices. I just like it that way.

My Pinterest boards are full of inspiration (trendy or not) and bold ideas. I’ve always stayed safe, maybe even boring, when redoing houses before. Always thinking of resale. Tan, beige, matchy matchy. But not here.

Upstairs pattern wall: Triangles

I want bold prints and patterns. Bling, lux and maybe a little so-ugly-I-can’t-believe-she-did-that.

I don’t want more, infact I want less. I don’t want “right now” – we want “forever”.

Grout for shower floor tomorrow, I'm guessing. Eeeeeeee!!!!

So we save our pennies, we get opinions, we wait. Then we go.

Chimnayyyyy!

And I suppose if it takes us the rest of our live’s to make every nook and crannie of this house a completely lovable, lived in, wildly open, always cooking, harvesting home … well, then I’m going to love every single bit of it.

Secret room!!

And I hope they fall into the cracks of comfort, the unforgettable and knowing pattern of this house. The creaks and secret hideaways. I hope they’re making a map of this house with their footprints and crumbs because this house is making a world for us to live in.

A world where we all finally fit.

[More on this house? Let’s discuss the porch and making signs. How about subfloors or tearing down walls and obsessing over Pinterest. Take that one step farther. And we can discuss the basement briefly, too.]

{How to} DIY a painted wooden sign, for free.

See how I did that? I got all those fancy keywords into the title so I can get right to business with you here.

How to make a sign

Our porch couch is very dirty, because it’s a couch … on a porch. Say it with me: dirt happens.

You’ll need:

How to make a sign

Wood (we’ll talk about this)
Paint
Brush (or your finger, let’s be honest)
Fine sand paper
Pencil

This started a few days ago when I saw a few scrap pieces of wood in the garage and like almost everything I find in this house – whoever left these treasures behind feels like they’ve been spying on me and my heart for a while. Like while they were preparing to sell this house, how ever long it took them, I was quietly praying for this exact home.

Originally I wanted to make a sign that read “be a leader” – this is something my brother says to each of his kids every single morning as he drops them off for school. It’s something I’ve started saying to my own kids while I drop them off, or at the breakfast table as we’re preparing for the day.

I love the phrase because of where I first heard it and the conversation that followed with my brother about raising leaders in our kids. That’s why I wanted it on a sign. The constant reminder to be a leader. Take the lead, demonstrate leadership. Don’t do what everyone else is doing, just because they’re doing it. It’s ok to be forge the path. It goes hand in hand with being kind. To lead you need to be “other-minded” as what you accomplish affects many other people. Be the face of change. Be a leader.

But I started brainstorming other ideas as well (and second guessing myself) and posed the question on facebook – the feedback was mostly for “Something great here” and Donielle made a parallel line to this phrase that I hadn’t even thought of, she said: I think it fits not only you and your home, but the feeling of a porch. 🙂.

I loved how she embodied our porch and our hopes and wrapped it up for me to see. That in this house, from this porch, we believe in Something Great Here. In greatness. That we have it in us and to share.

So, I gathered my supplies and painted the sign. Justlikethat. It’s not hard, you guys. It’s ok if your handwriting isn’t Pottery Barn or that you don’t have a stencil to guide you. Character wasn’t discovered in a dictionary or etiquette guide, it surely wasn’t found between the binding of a magazine. Let’s just do this.

How to make a sign

I penciled out the phrase so I could visualize the size of the letters needed to fill my board.

Then I sanded it down lightly – I wanted to leave some of the dirt and sharp edges because I wanted the sign to be weathered, even if I had just painted it:

How to make a sign

That’s all!

If you don’t have weather barn wood hanging out in your garage you can find something free and similar in a wood pallet on the side of the road. Often you can find it behind warehouses or rural back yards at a garage sale. Just ask. Do you have any scrap wood you’re throwing away? I just need one plank.

The paint I had on hand – it’s a sampler from Menards. But your neighbor probably has 4 or 5 cans of paint in their basement. All you need is 1/2 a cup. Be spontaneous in your color choice. I almost painted it the same green as the snack bar.

The brush I used was a 2 inch edging brush, I’m pretty sure. But I just used the tip. Your finger might work too. If you DO have a need to use a stencil: you can spray paint.

After it dries and before I hang it I’ll probably run the sand paper over it one more time. To make it look like the phrase is IN the wood … and I just had to bring it out.

There you go! Now make a sign, and no matter what it says, it should speak to you.

How to make a sign

lets hang out

snacks

I’m ready for you.

Porch revealed.

I spent a few days turning this:

Valentines Loot

into this:

20120523-DSC_3558

And I was totally inspired by this via Pinterest.

This was a very simple project and cheap too (who’s surprised?) I had to invest in a power sander ($50) and I bought the primer and paint ($40), as well as the mini fridge ($50) off craigslist. So my investment into this project rang up at roughly $140. According to Pottery Barn I just saved over $600 bucks.

Hells yeah.

Here’s how it went down.

Power tools are so sexy.

I took the drawers (there were 3) out, and the cupboard doors off. Sanded and then I sanded some more. I also sanded. I spent some time sanding then I sanded, while that was happening I was sanding the dresser. Then I sanded.

So, I sanded it down. Then I started taking it apart. Everything below the two top drawers had to come out and be rebuilt or scrapped:

What kind of saw do I need to cut through metal? (nails) I have a straight saw. Good?

I got lucky and was able to shimmy it apart (I started with a straight saw, fuck yeah.) and dropped the bottom down to … the new bottom.

Untitled

(That small piece still attached to the backing where the “bottom” first lived? I shimmied him out too. What with 9 nails holding that thing in? This sucker was not going anywhere without a little fight. I won.)

It was time to prime the snack bar so of course I prepped the area handed each of my kids and the neighbor kid a brush and said – go get em.

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Fun for everyone!

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Once that dried I applied 2 coats of Tequila Lime that same night.

Opinions please. #nofilter

But in the morning I realized how awesome an idea it was to paint while it was dark outside:

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So I applied a third, and final, coat.

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Let it dry and then got to work.

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Here?

Let’s pick up the fridge! And then … maybe over there?

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Nope. Over there:

Porch revealed.

Aside from the supplies already mentioned the only thing I bought to complete this room were the yellow scoop chairs for $5 each while thrifting.

Porch revealed.

Everything else we already owned.

Porch revealed.

Porch revealed.

Porch revealed.

Porch revealed.

mini fridge

bug off

So in conclusion: you’re invited.

20120523-DSC_3558

{Video} Answering questions about the house

You should know:

There was only one other person who knew we were possibly buying this house until yesterday. This has been happening (again, possibly) for the past week-ish. And since we weren’t sure, there were multiple offers on the house etc … we just decided not to tell anyone. Then I couldn’t hold it in any more, I needed someone to know! I wanted to shout. I was so excited!

It’s been a stressful week. For more than the reasons of this house, I’ve had a few other upsets going on and indecision is a hard one for me to swallow.

You should also know – buying this house doesn’t change our current plans of possibly moving out of state, we could very well still pick up and move for the summer, 6 mo or a year. We also plan to be avid travelers. As I’ll explain in the video, the house was on sale. For sale, yes. ON SALE, also correct.

So if we pick up and move or decide to travel for a month – instead of putting our stuff in storage or paying rent to “keep a place in case” we’ll be paying less than all of that by owning this little house. This little house I love.

If I still didn’t answer your “WHA???” moments, let me know.

Otherwise, let the dreaming continue …

(Also, it’s numbers are 116 … Imma take that as a sign.)