We finally have the last of our things here with us. It’s been quite a chore even now to keep eliminating the extras, as this home is quite a bit smaller than our last home, or even the camp house where we lived for a year after that. We gave a large portion of our furniture and other items to our older kids and friends, and donated lots to the camp yard sale. Our home did not seem cluttered or overdone then, but now, in this house, even our pictures are far too much.
Anyway, it had me reminiscing a little about that last home we owned. I looked up the real estate pictures and I contemplated the story behind this house.
As I’ve mentioned before, we have lived in many places. Before this house, we lived on a hobby farm. We loved it there. So much so, we tried to hold on to it even when we were in dire straits financially.
In fairness, we had looked into selling at one point, but the listing price we were given by a local real estate agent made it impractical. We prayed. We tried many different ideas to fix our problems, but God’s timing is perfect. As we approached the end of our financial rope, we found another agent to look at it. My Love had a number in his mind that would meet our needs. The agent who came to give us an evaluation wrote a number down. It was the very price My Love was thinking of. Our home sold in 4 weeks for just under our asking price, but the buyer also bought several pieces of farm equipment and other things we wouldn’t need in the city. Praise God! We needed that extra little bit. The buyer requested a one month closing date…yikes!
We needed to move fast. We looked at several homes, but one house stood out. It has an interesting backstory. Six months prior to all of this, we had gone to an open house, just for fun, while our kids were at a camp reunion. (We lived forty-five minutes away, so we stayed in the city rather than go back and forth.) We toured it; while we were not looking to move at that point, we agreed it would have made a perfect home for us–were it not for the fact that it was far out of our budget. Well, when it came time to buy, this house was still on the market, listed significantly lower than the previous time we viewed it. Not only that–it was empty! We were not looking to buy a big, beautiful house. We were looking for something much more modest. But God in His abundant grace gave us exceedingly more than we could have expected. He knew our hearts were changing; He wanted us to have this home for His glory. We opened our home to many missionaries and traveling preachers, young people, friends and family. It was perfect for this.
You may be wondering how on earth we could end up with such a large home when we struggled to pay our bills. Well, God used the sale of the farm to relieve us of a great deal of debt, and leave us with a small downpayment. My Love had a high paying job, so securing a mortgage was no problem. Moving to the city was a wonderful experience. It opened up a world of independence for our two middle children, who both have low vision. We were close to our church and camp and were able to be more plugged in to serving God in our church and community. This home was open to all. Many had a key, many knew the garage door code. In fact, I’m sure the new owners may have been a little concerned when they looked at the pile of keys we turned over.
We lived on a quiet crescent in a lovely neighbourhood. We would sometimes sit on the old church pew on our porch. My techie boy and his then-girlfriend would also sit there as they waited for someone to come home. The entry was quite spacious…very nice when there are lots of you to get through the door. We updated the light fixture in there, as we did in most of the house. This is where we gathered, as a family, that first day. We thanked God for providing such a wonderful home, and we gave it to Him that day to use as He would see fit.
The living room had lots of seating for all of us and some extras, too. Our son-in-love says he always enjoyed how we’d all sit together and talk. I believe he called it the day’s debriefing. The pictures on the wall are of the farm and one of My Love’s favourite places–the marsh where he went duck hunting since he was a boy. I love picking up old furniture and giving it a new life. One of my favourite pieces is the round table. I found it at Value Village for $9.99, painted it white and distressed it. Many visitors asked if I got it at HomeSense. The wing chair was a roadside rescue. I just made a slip cover for it. It was my first attempt, and it definitely has its issues, but it doesn’t have to be perfect to be pretty.
The dining room table often had many extras around it. I think we fit 14 around it without too much trouble (using all of the four extra leaves). We had bought the table in Indiana when we had lived there. It was something I had always dreamed about…a lovely big table for lots of people. I made the drapes, with fabric from the clearance section, for a pop of colour. Many of my decorative pieces are from HomeSense, the frames are from Michaels. I love being surrounded by family photos. The old berry trug was a yard sale find.
We had given the kitchen a facelift. We couldn’t really afford to redo the whole thing, but new hardware, granite counters and slate backsplash made the ’80’s cabinets feel new. I made cheater roman shades for the windows (like these, only I used plastic rings instead of ribbon). We bought the appliances early on, and I reaaalllly like my range (GE Profile convection oven, with oven drawer–yes!– and–yay!–self-cleaning), so I did not include it or the fridge in the listing. We are finally reunited. Bliss.
I often told people that I am not a good hostess. I may remember to ask you the first time, after that you’re on your own, so you had better make yourself at home. Our kids friends all knew that they could help themselves.
The bookcase held our homeschool materials, as we mostly worked at the kitchen table.
One of the things we were really taken with was the open kitchen, eating area and family room. We installed the hardwood flooring in the family room. Oh, how I loved to listen to my kids play and sing in there! The noel on the mantel is from an idea on Pinterest. The previous owners left the sofa and chair, as well as a few other pieces here and there. It sure did help–the rooms would have been empty for awhile, otherwise! The sliding doors lead to a wonderful screened-in porch where we spent many mornings and evenings enjoying our coffee together.
The powder room and laundry room complete our tour of the main floor.
Heading upstairs, we had a perfect little nook for the computer (good for keeping an eye on screen time) and the kids’ bathroom. We put in a new tub, toilet, slate-look porcelain floor, mirror (swoon) and countertop, sink and faucet. I painted the cabinet and updated the hardware because I really liked the storage and it would have broken our budget to replace it.
Then we have the four upstairs bedrooms. All of them got fresh paint, except for my df girl’s aqua room. She liked the colour at the time, so it was low on the priority list. Her tastes run more muted now. We also replaced all of the sea foam green carpeting à la ’80’s.
I don’t know why we still don’t have a headboard thirty years later. I’m going to work on that, I think…The master bath also got a new tub, toilet, light fixture, countertop, sink, faucet and backsplash. The beautiful (the picture does not do it justice) tumbled travertine-look porcelain flooring in there was new, too. Again, we kept the cabinet, just updated the hardware.
Onto the finished basement. This was an amazing extra space. We had a guest room down there (which was our Northern boy’s for a short time before he got married, and our Alberta girl’s when she and her husband were transitioning back to the city from Northern Ontario). It doubled as my sewing room and boasted a huuuuge closet. Our techie boy’s multipurpose room, as well as our tv area were down there. The kids had many movie nights and I never knew who would come up in the morning. I also had a craft area, which you can’t see, under the stairs. There was a heated storage area as well as a cold room.
Last of all the backyard. It was quite large for a city lot. We had beautiful sunset views, especially since we were up on a hill and didn’t have a house directly behind us. In the summer and fall, with the trees full, we hardly noticed we were in the city.
Well that’s it. I do miss this home. Not so much for the house itself (well…maybe sometimes) but mostly for the wonderful times we had there.
As I unpack, I’ll see if I have any pictures of the farm. That’s another interesting page from our story!