This is the story of our house.
It’s not the biggest house you’ve ever been in. Or the smallest.
It doesn’t sit in an exotic location, but rather the suburbs of Kansas City.
But we think it’s a special house, and we knew it was ours at first sight.
Maybe second sight.
In the Spring of 2001 we were considering a move when a house went up for sale in a neighborhood that many of our friends – and even some of our family – lived in.
Those same friends and family went to our church and their kids went to our kids’ school.
We loved that.
The house had a lot of curb appeal.
We loved that too.
My good friend, Vicki, who lives in the neighborhood, went with me to check out the house during an open house on Mother’s Day afternoon. We met the owner, took a flyer, and toured the house.
When I got home I told Tom that the house was nice, but wasn’t for us. I even tossed the flyer.
But at some point we decided to go back and see the house together.
And it began to grow on us.
It wasn’t that the house wasn’t wonderful; it was. But it was different from the other houses we’d seen and it took us a while to see ourselves there.
Eventually we couldn’t see ourselves anywhere else.
The thing that made the house feel different to us – the thing we eventually came to love – was that it felt like an old home even though it wasn’t.
It felt like it had been there forever, even though it was only nine years old at the time.
And this is where I have to give a big thanks to the couple who had it built, the same couple we eventually bought the house from.
They had a lot of vision.
Vision that included pocket doors.
And transom windows.
And a brick front porch.
They built it with a lot of separate, distinct rooms, like a room off the living room with French doors and an arched window. They were using it as an office, but I saw it as our piano room.
They infused it with a lot of charm too.
Like the built-in wine rack above the fridge.
And lots of crown moulding.
And this new-but-old house with a lot of charm sat on a lot that had an old tree line that ran the length of it.
Pretty quickly this house started to feel like ours.
Tom and I have always loved old houses. We went through open houses in old parts of town before we were even married.
We watched This Old House on PBS as newlyweds.
But we’re practical people too. And not especially handy. So when we were ready to buy our first house, we built a house in a new neighborhood instead of buying an older home in an established neighborhood.
We regretted it almost immediately.
But we stayed and brought our babies home from the hospital to that house and it became our home, if not the home of our dreams.
Twelve years later we had a chance to have the best of both worlds: a house that felt old, but wasn’t.
And in a neighborhood full of friends and family.
A neighborhood that was right next door to the high school that our kids would someday be attending.
We loved the idea of cutting through the field between our house and the football field for Friday night games, and then having a bunch of kids cut back through the other way to hang out on our patio after games.
We were starting to develop our own vision.
And things worked out really well too. After a brief negotiation, we agreed on a price with the sellers. And our old house sold in six days.
This is where I should tell you that all three families – the sellers of our new house, the buyers of our old house, and us – were moving, at least in part, to be closer to our respective churches. That makes me think there might have been something else at work too.
Now – almost 13 years later – we’re entering another season of our life.
Those Friday nights with a patio full of high school kids are fast coming to a close. And occasionally we’ll think how it would be nice to have a house with a master bedroom on the main floor or a bigger pantry or a three car garage.
But this house feels like where we’re supposed to be.
So as we update the house and make changes to it, I try to make it a place that supports the way our family lives now.
And I try to keep in mind that vision of an older home that the original owners first had and that we loved.
And I love sharing it all here on this blog, because – for us – this house is a really big part of creating this life.