Friday, June 3, 2011

“Our Home”

Our house today

            Twenty-seven summers ago, we purchased our house. Originally a three bedroom, one bath Ranch, we knew we’d spend a lifetime on remodeling and updating as the house was already eighteen years old when we bought it.
In our back yard- 1985 
First time painting
            David and I, only married five years when we entered the housing market, sweated out the interest rates on our loan since home loan rates changed almost daily. We closed at 14.75%, and celebrated that victory because rates topped out at almost 21% that summer. We heard over and over again how we wouldn’t stay very long in this small house, but both of us knew we’d never afford another home. My salary as a teacher in Texas topped out at $6,000 those first few years of our marriage, and I had school loans that ate up chunks of that income. Over the next few years, David ended up dealing with lay-offs and rounds of unemployment that finally led him to self-employment. It didn’t take us long to realize that our “starter home” would, in reality, be our final home.
Entry light custom designed

            Over the years, our home transformed to fit our needs more. As Paul started growing, we realized we’d need a second bath. The addition we designed added a family room, master bedroom and master bath. Slowly, our plain Ranch morphed into a home that reflects our tastes. We gutted our kitchen and enclosed the garage, often laboring long and hard as we did the work ourselves. We’ve all learned how to remove wallpaper, texture walls, and apply custom faux finishes to the walls. Knowing we’re not “upwardly mobile”—that this home is our one and only—led us to dare to apply black paint to walls and ceilings to Paul’s rooms and remove a wall to create a handicapped bathroom for my mother.
Back yard now!

            Outside, we’ve created a special getaway out back—pond, bird baths, hot tub, gardens and my beloved swings in a tree! We wove a fence for the front garden last year after returning from Ireland, using branches and limbs from bushes we had to remove. In future years, other projects will grow as our needs continue to change.

            Looking back, I’m happy we stayed in this one house. We have friends, community—roots as deep as the massive live oak out back!

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman 

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