My dad had been diagnosed with thrombocytopenia the previous October and was dying. That Friday night he really went downhill, and died three days later. I think I started obsessing about looking for a house that winter in order to distract me from the incredible sadness in watching him suffer and slip away.
He was too weak to see the house, but I showed him pictures from the real estate listing. I told him my concern was there was no bathroom upstairs. He said he'd get me a chamber pot. He was a very funny guy. His main concern was whether my brother-in-law had checked it out. He had, and liked it.
I got my love of old houses, and history, from my dad. His dream had always been to find an old colonial (18th century) to renovate. The only good grade I got in art was in seventh grade when I sketched a house he had seriously thought about buying in Chester, Massachusetts. Somewhere along the way I decided I preferred Victorians. Maybe it's the high ceilings and porches. They're more romantic than colonials.
When I was younger (and had so much more energy and good nights' sleep) I used to walk for an hour in the morning before work. I would walk all around the beautiful village of Rockville, which was a bustling, modern mill town in the late 19th century. I remember looking up at some of the grand houses, one street over from where I live now, and being in complete awe. Who lived in these houses? I don't remember being on the street where I now live, probably because I didn't want to climb the huge hill!
And now, eleven years later I have learned so very much. I had such dreams for my first house. I wanted to someday take off the asbestos siding, restore the railings on the porch, and build stairs off the back deck. In 2008 I started, one side a year, removing the shingles and repairing, scraping, priming and painting the clapboards underneath. It went very well. There was a bit of rot on the western side, which I replaced.
Last year I hired someone to repair the front porch. The railings really add a lot to the look. I haven't built stairs off the deck and am not sure I will. It might encroach on my garden and I'm not sure I could bear that.
Speaking of the garden, who knew back then that I would have done so much landscaping? I waited a year to buy any permanent plants and then indulged my love of roses. I didn't think about design or aesthetics; I just wanted pretty roses to bring inside the house. Now I am in the midst of some major rearranging of that original garden. I'm pretty satisfied with the front yard, however; just a few tweaks are needed.
It had been such a desire of my heart to own a home and have a little garden. God blessed me beyond my expectations and I am truly grateful. I have no plans to go live anywhere else. Sure, sometimes I dream about a bigger, fancier house, or a yard with no hills and more area, but I'm truly satisfied with what I have in the end.
The only project inside I'd like to work on is a bathroom upstairs. That'll be quite expensive so I have to save up for that. I got a new kitchen in 2010 after my oven and dishwasher died. Right now I'm gradually repainting the rooms. When I moved in I wanted bright pastels for a cottage-y look but now I think that palette is really for a warmer part of the country, or a place on the water.
I do like the new look of the living room. My new couch arrived in April.
|Now there's room for my great-aunt's piecrust table.|
|Beautiful peonies from the garden.|