and lived happily ever after....
My house as it looked last year...
I was going to put up a new photo of my home taken with my new camera but I didn't get home till it was dark and I didn't want to miss out on the "How I Met My House Party" over at Our Suburban Cottage.
I'll edit this post with a new photo if the weather holds out tomorrow. So here is the story of how I met my house.
I grew up in Oklahoma but had been living in Atlanta for 10 years when I came back home after a sad break up with the guy I was going to marry. My Dad insisted I move home. When I say he insisted...I mean...he called and said..."I've rented a truck..we'll be there on Sunday". He didn't exactly give me a choice. He was moving me home. He was worried about me and wanted me home.
I was very unhappy being back in Oklahoma...it was not at all what I had planned. But as time went on...I started a new career, made lots of new friends and pretty much started over from scratch.
In 2002, my father was killed in a motorcycle accident. He'd had the bike only 3 weeks. Absolutely, the most devastating thing ever in my life. It was life changing for me. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of him and cry at the thought of him. He was the best father any girl could ever ever have. I miss him terribly. He was not only my father, he was my very very good friend.
He was the only man ever in my life that I have ever been able to count on. He was the very best of the best. He was always there to make everything ok and without him the world is a scary place. But...I feel he still watches out for me and part of how I know this is that I live in this house. I will tell you how at the end of this story.
In 2004, my sister decided to get married. My Mom and I were still reeling from my Dad's death. This was a shock to both my Mom and I - that my sister was suddenly getting married. We were not keen on the idea. We didn't want any other changes. We'd had too many changes. But we grew to accept it and it's turned out to be very much the right thing for her. She and her husband have been very happy together. So...my Mom knowing how unhappy I was, because I didn't want to live here to begin with, seeing as how I was here because of the failure of my romantic life and seeing that since the death of my father, I didn't care really about much of anything. I was severely depressed. Like not leaving the house all weekend, depressed. Coming straight home from work and going to bed, depressed. Like not thinking there is any reason to get out of bed each day, depressed. Not being able to think of any reason to go on, depressed. The only thing I cared about were my dogs.
You see, my father's death is why we have so many weenie dogs...for awhile there...it was like..."Oh...I'm feeling really bad...shall we get another weenie dog? Maybe that will help". And it would for a bit...we were trying to fill up the hole in our lives left by my father's sudden death...filling it up with weenie dogs. It helped...but really the hole was still there...we were just busy taking care of dogs.
So my Mom knowing how unhappy I was...and knowing that it was hard for me to see my sister getting married when I had been left by my fiance (who had married within a year of our breakup)...decided that she would help me get into a house that I truly wanted to be in. We searched Oklahoma City for months. I didn't like anything. (Often times she would go looking by herself because I just didn't care about anything any more and refused to come along.) We tried new houses, old houses, ranch style houses and condos. I knew I liked tudor revival style homes...and we looked in Crestwood and Lynnwood but I wasn't thrilled with the neighborhood. One of the men I worked with, Wade, kept telling me that I would like his neighborhood, Edgemere Park and that I should use his wife, Heather, who was a realtor.
Well, I was stupid and didn't want to bother her till I knew what I wanted for sure and what part of the city I wanted to live in but nothing was right. (in hindsight, I should have put Heather on the case immediately) Then one day, a realtor we'd run into suggested we look at a house in Edgemere Park. I told her I'd heard of the neighborhood but didn't know exactly where it was.
She drove us to it. When we came around the corner and there before us was this amazing city community park shaded by at least a hundred huge decades old trees with a meandering creek running through it, crossed by a historic bridge...I immediately felt like...I was where I was suppose to be. I said, "This is it. I don't feel like I'm in Oklahoma any more"! My mood was lifting... suddenly I had purpose...I had a reason to live.
We viewed that day a house for sale on 35th street. I wanted it badly but it had a leaky basement and it was kind of a dark house and had a precarious staircase down to the basement that I couldn't imagine fighting the dogs back as I went down to do laundry. But I knew I had found my future neighborhood.
The next week, I looked at several more houses in the neighborhood. One was on 33rd. It was a little bigger than we'd planned on. It had a lovely big kitchen, but we thought it a bit pricey, so we thought about it. Then the next week, my realtor, Heather, called. I'd finally told her to officially start looking for me. She said breathlessly. "There's a house on my street that just put a for sale sign up tonight. I think it's the one. I've called to see if you can see it tonight but they asked that we wait till tomorrow". She seemed pretty sure i was going to like it.
When I was looking for homes in my neighborhood - some of the homes have serpentine columns on the front porch separating the arches rather than brick columns. A house with a serpentine column had not been up for sale. I loved the look of them. When we'd be looking...we'd see a house we liked and say..."Oh...look it has a pole (serpentine column). I wish I could find one with a pole".
Even when I spoke about my search at work...one of the guys I worked with said, "I like the ones with poles on the porches. You should get one of those". I agreed, I wanted one of those...but there weren't very many of them and none for sale. I probably wouldn't be lucky enough to get one with a pole.
So Heather tells me to go by after work and do a drive by and see if I like it. I drive by...it's already getting to be dark. I go to the address she tells me and pull up in front of it. It's dark outside but I can tell - it's cute....it has potential...it needs landscaping...but above all else....it has a pole!!!
I call my Mom...she knew I was going to go by..."I'm sitting in front of it. It has a pole".
"It has a pole"? she says.
"Yes, it has a pole". I say.
She says, "this could be the one".
The criteria I had for my home was...it needed to be not very expensive, It needed to be quaint. I wanted it to be historic. It had to be nice and in good condition but not all fixed up because I wanted to fix it up. It had to have a good layout where the dogs would have a place to stay during the day while I was at work without being able to run all around the house all day. It also... had to have a view to the backyard as soon as you stepped into the living room. This last thing on my wish list...seemed pretty hard to come by in historic neighborhoods. I'd started to give up on it because I was so swayed by the historic charm...I'd do without the view of the backyard.
So the next day...I planned to meet my Mom and Heather at the house in the afternoon about 2. I was working and had to leave work to meet them there. I was a few minutes late. They were already in the house when I arrived. I steppped up on the porch. "Pretty", I thought..."not at it's full potential but I could make it perfect". I went through the front door which was a paned window door...original to the home. My Mom and Heather were standing in the living room with the biggest smiles on their faces. I walked in...it was kind of dark inside...the house had awnings on the front windows that kept sunlight out (those Mom and I removed right away).
The walls were painted a greyish olive green. It was very tasteful...but not my cup of tea. They were saying, "Well, well...this is it. This is the one". They'd already decided and I'd just stepped in the room. I turned to look straight through the living room and dining room and discovered...I could look straight through the house and see the backyard! During a renovation that took place about 10 years prior...the owners had knocked out a window and cut a larger opening and put in expensive glass sliders. There was a nice deck built on the back of the house there. It had everything on my wish list. I immediately noticed that all the light fixtures were not original except the one in the dining room. I liked that...I love shopping for light fixtures and it's been fun finding vintage ones to put up in every room.
The kitchen was on the back of the house with a breakfast nook...this is the room with the sliding doors (they eventually will be french doors). It was the perfect room for the dogs to hang out in while I'm away at work. It has become the doggy condo.
It had two bathrooms, practically unheard of in this neighborhood for a house this size. It's only 1,400 square feet. Two bedrooms and a library/office with built in shelves all around the room. Something I hadn't even dared to put on my list but needed badly. I have lots and lots of books that filled them quickly.
It had a sweet little backyard that was manageable. It was perfect and we put an offer on it that day right then. It was accepted within a couple of hours and it was a done deal.
It happened so fast...I was kind of in a daze...I went back to work and said that I had just put an offer on the house...and I wasn't even sure I liked it now...because it all happened so fast...but the guy at work who had said he liked the houses with poles said. "Of course you did the right thing. It has a pole! It has a pole"! I hugged my pole the day I got my keys and walked into it the first time.
Now this story has gone on quite long enough...but I am not quite finished. Here is why I think this house was always meant for me and that my Dad helped us find it.
After I moved in. I met my next door neighbor. An elderly man of 75 who had lived in his house for 35 plus years. We became friendly. He once had a dachshund and liked my weenies. He told me how he and his wife had spent a lot of time in my house back a long time ago when they first came to live in the neighborhood. He asked what I did for a living and I told him that I was a graphic designer who worked for a media group that owned radio stations. He said, that was such a coincidence because the woman who had lived there for so long had been an artist and had worked for a tv station. I asked what tv station. He said, "channel 13 or OETA". I couldn't believe it...my father had worked at that station with her. My Dad was a film editor when I was a child and worked with her for many years. I had heard him mention her many times. One of the reasons I became a graphic designer was that my father encouraged me to do it because he'd worked with several artists and designers during his time at the station. So he knew I could do art and make a living at it.
Now, my Dad loved old things. He and I would sometimes meet for lunch when I had my very first job in OKC and shop at our favorite antique store "Spiveys" when it was down on 23rd street. He knew I loved things from the 20's and 30's. He would have loved this house. He would have thought it perfect for me. I don't know that he ever saw this house back then, when he was working at the tv station. The tv station was not very far from here. And sometimes when I was a kid, I'd go to work with him and marvel as the tree shaded streets with all the old houses. I don't know that he ever saw this house back then, but I totally feel like somehow he led mother and I to it...and made sure I had just the perfect home to become happy again in.
Of course my Mom made it all happen...so she was the driving force who pushed to find it. Which is strange in itself because this is not really like her...Dad always pushed her when it came to big purchases. It was almost like she was possessed by him for us to find this house.
It has been the perfect home for me. I don't think I could ever leave it...feeling like both my parents picked it out for me. My Mom helped me find it, buy it, restore it and build my fabulous fireplace that's in it. I truly feel like my Dad led us both to it.
So, that is how I met my house...you've just peered down deep into my soul.
Here are photos of how the house appeared the day I bought it. You can go back through my blog to see pictures of how I've redone it. I haven't shown all the rooms as I've redone them yet. I am working my way through them. Several of the rooms each have one or two things to do to them before I show. I've just been working so much at my job as of late, I haven't been able to get them done so I can show you. But I'm going to soon. Without further ado...my house as it was the day I bought it.
kitchen - I changed this paint immediately before I moved in. I could not live with those campbell tomato soup red walls
same thing in the breakfast nook
hmmm...can't find a photo of the bathrooms...I'll have to search some more.
Here is the back bath but this is during the renovation...It had taupe/dark tan walls when I bought it. It also had a built in medicine cabinet with a mirrored front. I hated that and removed the doors and then hung a venetian mirror in front of it. I have since added molding around the shelving so it looks custom and finished the room. I will show it very soon. I am sewing a skirt to go around the sink this weekend.
My house has changed a lot since 2004. I swear...I'll get my act together and show you all the changes soon. Right now, all you can see redone in this blog is the living room and fireplace. Which you can check out by going through previous posts.
Now, I've got to read all about how everyone else met their houses!