Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Our Home Journey… Dwelling One

Andrew got The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith for me for Christmas.  I have been wanting this book for a while… it is a "not your typical"home decor book.  The tagline is "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful" if that tells you anything about the book.  Anyways… I   h i g h l y recommend it!   

In the second chapter of the book Smith takes you on a journey of sorts through all the homes they have lived in… and there have been 13, most of which have been rentals.  As I was reading I  couldn't help but think through the 5, soon to be 6 homes we have lived in in our 6 years of marriage, all of which have been rentals. I pondered each space, the memories we made there, how we made them home and what we learned from living there…. and I just felt like I had to share.  Maybe it will give some encouragement to some other transient folk or those that aren't in their "dream home."

So without further ado...

Dwelling One

The Cookie Cutter Town Home

Yes… I drove by today took this picture and reminisced a bit.
I was graduating, Andrew was working, we were about to get married and we were searching for our first place to live.  At this point Andrew still had big business dreams that would probably take us out of town in a couple years and I was planning to just find teaching jobs wherever we went.  Renting was just the way to go.

We looked at some apartments first before realizing that renting a town home would be the best bang for our buck.  We searched and settled on this 1100 square foot town home that was nestled in a sea of town homes.  The house had 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, a large living area, a small kitchen with an eat in area, and a tiny finked outside area (we are talking tiny and you had to not mind looking at a chain link fence).   This place was great for where we were at, but looking back now, I realize we had more space than we needed, were paying more than we probably should have and were living an unnecessary distance from where we both worked.  This is probably why when you are newly married or new to a city it is good to rent for a while, until you know what you want and need.

But really, over all it was a great situation- the renting.  Our landlord was awesome replacing and fixing anything we needed.  In hindsight, I also realized that he was happy keeping "good renters" in the space.

At the time of our marriage and move in we were essentially two college kids without so much as a spoon let alone a sofa or a bed to our name.  So what do you do when you are inexperienced, young and just get a new place?  You feel the need to fill it. Immediately.  Now we did not go Pottery Barn crazy, but we did use our saving to buy new sofas, a new master bed set and a new daybed among other things.  We didn't buy all new, we did find a china cabinet and a kitchen table used and borrowed a few items.  In hindsight, we spent more than we had to on more than we needed.   

This home was special, it really was being our first place and all.  Looking back, we also learned a lot.

  We learned…

*You don't have to fill a house with stuff… especially not just to fill the space.  That daybed that we bought and sold with in two years was probably slept on less than ten times.
* Get creative with the set up.  We bought gigantic couches (Andrew is 6'3 and can lay on the big one with room spare) and then had no idea how they would fit, but after a little creative thought we came out with a great layout.
*Having two bathrooms and a dishwasher is amazing… actually this is something we may only know in hindsight after living places without, but still.
*But mostly we learned that making a home is not about the amount of stuff you have or if your space is "complete" it is about making Christ the center of your home and bringing people in- friends, neighbors, family...

What did you learn from your first place?



  1. I am currently reading this and LOVING it! Such wisdom!

  2. A lot about being content with what you have!

    1. I think we really learned that with our second home!

  3. I think being content with what you have is very hard. I feel like some days I see other peoples picture of their house and such and I get envy but then think its not about the stuff its about my little family and the memories we make in it :)

    1. Chelsea that is so true… I think we all fall victim to "the grass is greener on the other side" syndrome. Making a house a home is so much about making what you have work and making memories with your families!

  4. I LOVE this post! We did a very similar thing when we first got married. Chose the fancy duplex that we could afford, but definitely should have chosen less and saved more during that time instead.

    We also stretched when we bought our first home, but after 6 years and a few refinances later we're living much more within our means and choosing to make what we have work!

    1. Thanks Courtney! I guess these things are all about our learning and growing!:)

  5. I love your last sentence Stasia, that is the truth! We were renters for 14 years before we finally bought a place. We also moved a lot (at least once every two years) but I just thought of it as an adventure and change of scenery :) Thanks for sharing your story on the Art of Home-Making Mondays this week! Nice to see you there!