Why Bother Making a House a Home?

Why Bother Making a House a Home?

Recently, a friend of mine moved into a new apartment and asked if I’d come and help her arrange things in her new space. Of course I accepted her invitation for help. 

Her new apartment is small, but there is plenty of natural light, and a high ceiling, making the space appear larger. On a Saturday afternoon, we stood in the middle of her living room eyeing  her furniture that surrounded us. She told me she was ready to discard all the pieces that no longer were useful or had meaning to her. I smiled at her resolve and we got to work arranging, rearranging and shuffling items into a pile that would later go to the dump or thrift store. When we were finished, we stood back and surveyed our hard work. In a short amount of time we’d turned her new apartment into her home, a place that held meaningful and comforting items that were unique to her. 

     No place like home

I haven’t moved for several years, thirty-one to be exact, and thankfully, unlike my friend, I don’t foresee having to relocate any time soon. But when we first bought our house, I wasn’t sure I wanted to stay long enough to turn it into a home. For one thing, it was too small for our family of five, and I was sure my husband would find that having only one bathroom was too much of an inconvenience. But I was wrong. My husband had a vision for this ole house. As a builder, he sees things I do not and envisions potential where I don’t. 

So we stayed and the changes began. First, we started with small and inexpensive improvements such as chopping out the tansy that grew wild in the backyard, cutting down trees that grew too close to the house and tearing down an old chicken coop that only housed racoons, mice and other rodents. 

Though I longed for an addition to the living room, and a master bedroom with its own bathroom, our budget could not manage that. Instead, my husband added on a few feet to the eating area in the kitchen and built a nook with benches that opened up for storage. We replaced the metal cabinets with wood and the funky green linoleum with vinyl plank flooring. 

Eventually there was new siding, fresh paint, a new roof, new windows and a garage. We never added a second bathroom. We learned to live with one. But we did replace the pink tub and toilet. 

Our sons grew up and left home one by one and the house grew larger with each departure. Now with just my husband and I our house feels incredibly spacious and the one bathroom is no longer a bother. 

I am glad my husband envisioned what I could not. He knew if we stayed long enough, our house would turn into a home. 

Why bother making a house a home? It is worth the hard work and effort that it takes to make a house a home because our home is that unique place that holds meaning and comfort just for us. 

 

Why Bother Staying Put?

Why Bother Staying Put?

Thirty years ago, when we first moved into our present home, if one were to describe my level of satisfaction with it, the word content would not have been used in the description. Instead, I hung on my husband’s words when he assured me, “We will live here for five years and then sell it and move on.” But, we never sold, we never moved and instead, grew content with staying.

  We Stayed and Contentment Came 

We drove by the house more than once before buying it. It was a little old farmhouse on a large lot, and at the time, on the edge of town. We knew the people wanted to sell the house without a realtor and it took them days to finally show us the inside. I remember the feeling I had when we toured it for the first time: it was less than satisfying. The small kitchen had green linoleum and white metal cabinets. The living room, dark brown carpet. In the one bathroom sat a pink toilet and tub. There was one bedroom with a closet and I wondered where our sons would sleep. We ascended the squeaky wooden stairs to an open dormitory space where you could only stand upright if you stood in the middle of the room.  

I had always imagined the house I would like to live in and this was not it. Yet we were desperate for a home of our own. Deciding to relocate into town after living in the country where cars were swallowed whole by springtime mud, we recently sold our house. We were temporarily living with friends. My pregnant state did not make me a patient wife and my husband, anxious to see me happy again, assured me that although the house was small, it would not be our forever after home. We purchased the little house on the big lot. 

I remember the day we moved in. The snow fell wet and steady. Putting things away in the kitchen, the drawers squeeked every time I slid them open. Going to bed that night, I woke to car lights shining in the window. I told myself I could make this house our home until we sold it and moved on. But we never seemed to move on. 

Instead, that first spring, our fourth son was born and rather than grass, tansy and thistle grew in the large yard. The roof of the old chicken shed collapsed and my husband noted the garage with a dirt floor listed to one side. He made plans to build a new one.  

The following spring, the boys made a fort in the big tree by the barn, and played football in the yard that now had more grass than tansy. The new garage was complete and my husband added on to the kitchen, tore out the metal cabinets and pulled up the green linoleum. Each year, our little house on the big lot improved. 

Remembering that this was not our forever after house, one spring a realtor walked our property and we discussed selling and subdividing options with him. He told us we should stay. It was a great piece of property to raise a family on. Another year, we took a road trip, just to see if we could find something better somewhere else; a larger home in a climate where it didn’t snow so much. Instead, we came back and made more improvements on our little house on the big lot. 

Now, after so many years and so many improvements, this little old farm house on the large lot has become our forever after home. 

Why bother staying put? Sticking around somewhere long enough is worth it. You just might find your contentment was there all along.