While I've been wiped out with illness last December I slept a lot on the couch and watched several Hallmark Christmas movies. By the time I started recuperating I still needed lots of rest, so I've been watching an old favorite, HGTV. I used to watch it all the time as my husband and I remodeled our Texas house.
I haven't watched it much since moving to Virginia, though. However since my homeschool days have ended by graduating my youngest last summer, and since both my kids picked up their college classes this past autumn, I stumbled upon a new show on HGTV...Fixer Upper with Chuck and Joanna Gaines from Waco, Texas. Not only do they help me remember all the wonderful memories of Texas, they are just fun, down to earth, loving, and great at what they do!
Watching their show and reading Joannna's blog (in its entirety during my recuperation) awakened a renewed sense of peace, rest, and harmony with God's direction in my life, and who He created me to be. No, I'm not perfect in any single thing I do. However I still have this huge part of me that likes to create...and usually my desire to create has something to do with family, whether that is cooking, gardening, scrapbooking, quilting, sewing modern clothes to wear every day as well as sewing historical clothes to teach history to my kids...I also enjoy remodeling!
I've had fun taking cookie cutter homes and redefining them to be us, to fit us, to wrap us in comfort where we can be who we are. To that end I'm organizing my buried posts about the houses my husband and I have remodeled over the years. They began in a small way in San Antonio, Texas with our very first apartment where the managers awarded us with a spur of the moment prize for having such a cute garden on our balcony. Then we put our tiny allowable skills to work on another leased apartment. Eventually we moved to Wichita Falls, Texas where we lived in 3 different houses on Sheppard AFB and we again put our homey stamp on these chopped up houses meant for USAF bachelors in the 1940's and 50's. Somehow each year we won Yard of the Month and sometimes Yard of the Quarter. One neighbor who was moving brought some of her plants to me, knowing I'd give them a good home. Being base housing, we had more opportunity to get our hands dirty in the yard than we did inside.
Then in 2000 we moved back to San Antonio, Texas where we bought our first house. Now we were really busy! We closed on the house, then we rushed to our home so my husband could carry me to the threshhold then we flew to the airport to send him off to Korea for a year's tour...all within 6 hours. While he was gone I gave my 4 year old son and 7 year old daughter a corner of the yard to work in while I dug shallow holes in tough clay for baby bushes and trees. The kids went to my favorite nursery to dream...and make dreams happen as we brought plants home to create a cozy yard. I hauled sod to the back yard. I put container beds together for vegetable gardening.
Then I found HGTV. Well you know what that meant! I started painting, and painting and painting...for the first time in my life! My husband built a charming prairie style shed in the back yard, made a huge plasma tv built-in within a wall niche that had pull out drawers to store, converted our single back door to a double French door, significantly remodeled our kitchen and master bedroom, as well as building a retaining wall in our yard and building an incredible homeschool room with a fabulous wall unit!
All of that work added value to our house and was a great investment! However for all of that work to benefit our enjoyment and personal tastes, I also deeply considered the possibility of selling our house in the future. Would our vision appeal to a potential buyer? That played a huge part in our decisions, which was a good thing because one day we did need to put our house on the market, because my husband got a job in Virginia. We were so sad to move, but in a severely bottomed out market, our real estate agent was flabbergasted when we sold the house in 24 hours...full asking price!
Then we moved to Virginia and found a house with great bones...but needing lots of love. My husband avoided it for a long time because it looked hopeless, but I had a vision. Finally we bought the house (for under asking price because it needed a lot of work). Immediately, before all the boxes were unpacked, I started painting. We painted every wall. The most horrid walls were in the powder room. A friend came over for the tour and was grossed out when she saw that space. The red sponge painted walls on white to her she dubbed, "the blood spattered room."
I have done a few posts over the years of our do it yourself projects, but there are many more to share. We also have a lot of work left to do on our current house. I'd like to show everyone what upgrades do for a home on a real life budget, doing them step by step, and how a little elbow grease goes far in make a house more comfortable for the family.
Thus, I am formally announcing 2 other tabs at the top of my page:
Texas House and Garden Remodel
Virginia House and Garden Remodel
Stay tuned for lots of before and after pictures of our other projects and how they can not only bring more comfort to a home, but add value as well!