Saturday, January 9, 2010

Making my House a Home

Okay. I have a confession to make.

When we first moved back to Chicagoland at the end of July, I sounded a bit more optimistic about our "new" house here on the blog than I felt in real life.

Let's just say that downsizing from a big, brand new home that you built yourself into a MUCH smaller, older, more expensive (thanks to the difference in the housing markets between NC and Chicago) home sounds so charming and "can-do" in theory. Since we've moved A LOT before and fixed up several other older homes, I figured it would be a pretty easy transition. It really wasn't as easy as I expected in reality though.

Do you remember that Hubby picked out the house himself? An early 1980's english tudor split-level, to be exact. (SO NOT what I ever pictured myself living in!) All I saw were pictures on the internet until the day we closed on the house. So when I first walked through the house, I was doing pretty good thinking, "Well, this room is smaller, but it will work fine...I can fix this...We can re-do that....",

that is until I quickly reached the kitchen.

Let me tell you, friends, this kitchen is small. As in small. And awkwardly laid out. Not good for a family that cooks and bakes together every day (thanks to my Gluten-Free diet) and entertains frequently. So small that I may have gotten a bit teary when I first saw it. Small enough that visitors have actually said, "Whoa!" upon entering the room. THAT kind of small.

So, after wallowing in a small-kitchen-pity-party for awhile, I determined that no tiny kitchen was gonna stop me! This kitchen might be small and weird, but it's OUR kitchen. Time to make it work for our family!

Then, guess what happened? The more I started embracing my new house's good qualities, the more it felt like home. Things like built-in bookshelves, or an upstairs landing, or a beautifully finished basement with room for a craft studio (!) and playroom, or lots of windows looking out over a backyard just made for entertaining....these were things that I focused on.

Beautiful colors started going up on the walls, pictures were hung, family memories started being made. It felt less like a place we were visiting and more comfortable....more us. Before I knew it.....

....we were HOME.

Is this our "dream home"? Well, maybe not. Then again, maybe. Because whether a house is big and gorgeous, or small and in need of a makeover,

a house is just a house until you CHOOSE to MAKE IT A HOME.

And this girl is definitely having fun now DREAMing about ways to make this house a HOME!!!

{So today we're taking a step to make our house feel more like home by working on our "Kitchen Makeover"! I put together an inspiration board for the kitchen and we're going to visit some home improvement stores today to get an idea for pricing. I'll be sharing more of these steps with you next week!}


Brenda Nicholson said...

Thank you so much for this post. I wish it had been around 5 years ago when we moved from my dream home in Michigan to Chicagoland. My hubby picked out our house too. Hmmmm....
I am slowly learning to appreciate it for what it is and looking at the positive things too.

southerninspiration said...

Your girls and family will benefit so much for your positive attitude and enthusiasm. Can't wait to see what you will show us!


Dawn said...

I feel your pain. Four years ago, we moved from the "perfect" house into the small cottage that hubby grew up in. I was devastated!

Four years later, it is slooowly starting to feel like home.

I can't wait to see what you do with your new home! said...

awww... i look forward to seeing the transformation! i know it will be beautiful!!!

Jennylou's Projects said...

I'd be thrilled with the size and layout of your kitchen!

Like you, we're trying to embrace our home and it's flaws and make it work. :)

Melissa Miller said...

I can't wait to see it Stacey! :)

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Thank you for sharing from your heart, Stacey. I was actually thinking about that yesterday...I'd feel so much better about myself and my house if I am thankful for what I DO have and work on making the house I have NOW a special place for my family. :)

Nellie's Cozy place said...

Good for You!! It is always best to focus on the things you like rather than the things you dislike
whether it be a person, place or thing!! You're a smart cookie,
and glad you are feeling more like it's home. I am sure the kitchen will be delightful once it's done,
so you have a lot to look forward to in the New year. And Happy New year by the way,
Blessings, Nellie

Shell in your Pocket said... let your hubby pick it out...I think I would be flying there for a weekend before I signed the dotted must both have the same "taste" to trust him so...

good for you! I have a feeling you can make any house---a home!

sandy toe

Marge said...

It's really all about attitude, isn't it. I'm happy to hear you are loving your new home and making it yours. Anxious to see what you do next!!

The Whispering Creek House said...

I know how you feel..we had to give up our dream home before the economy went I was thankful for that because we could have lost it instead! but in the area where we live we had almost no selection to pick from in able to stay where we could keep our kids in the school we love..we moved into a mautufactured house with the barn of my dreams..but people gave us alot of guff about living in a very downsized manufactured hurt my pride.. I became ashamed..they had stolen my joy from this new adventure and my heart was broken..but when I looked at my poor stressed out husband who had just skirted a disatser..I made up my mind to make the best of a bad situation..named our place The Whispering Creek House and began to make it OUR home..and so it is..I find things that drive me crazy but its not forever.. we are planning to build someday when things get better we have something to look forward to..thanks for your really made me feel I could share!

Anonymous said...

This is an absolutely wonderful post. It really inspires me. I moved at the end of Sept. I still don't have my everyday decorative things up and out. First I only put out fall decor, then Christmas. Now it's so cold, I haven't wanted to work out in the garage hunting through boxes. But I'm getting inspired!

St. Michael's Wife said...

I can't wait to see the continuing updates on Casa Chicago! But, you've already done the hardest and most important part: You've renewed your mind and adjusted! Love, love, love it! Thanks for sharing!

Grins and blessings,

Cheryl said...

Hey neighbor! We live in Chicagoland too and can sympathize with you on the difference in the housing markets. We have lived in NC as well. We have moved a lot and whether the house is big or small, awkard rooms or not, it's home...and it's our home as long as we are all together. So glad you have embraced your new home and are now enjoying fixing up your new spaces.

Judy@cutest-little-things said...

I love that positive attitude! My kitchen is tiny so I can fully empathize!

I can't wait to see what you make of your new home! I know it'll be incredible!


Anonymous said...

WOW! I didn't know you're here in Illinois! I just found your blog from Shannon's blogroll list! OFf to read more! Love the kitchen progress