Saturday, April 24, 2010

How I Met My House

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.






living room...


dining room...


library/office



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


back bedroom



front bedroom



deck

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! 

33 comments:

pam@pixelimpress said...

nita, what a beautiful, beautiful story. yes, you and your house were just meant to be! and i love tudors. when hubby and i travel back to his hometown near cleveland, we always marvel at all the tudors. happy weekend!

and yes, i want stan's grass too!

Traci at ThreeDogsAtHome said...

Okay your story made me cry. What a beautiful tale. I love those times in life when everything is connected and the past and the present seem to meet as they did with your dad knowing the previous owner of your home. As always I am looking forward to new pictures of your home and your dogs.
Traci

Meadowsweet Cottage said...

Nita, some things are just meant to be--like you and your home.

Rebekah said...

Nita, thanks for dropping by my house post and leaving a comment!

I love all the built-ins in your house! One of the things that I wish I could change about our house is the woeful lack of storage space, attractive or otherwise. When you reno-ed the bath, did you keep the tile? I love old tile. Fortunately we haven't had many electrical or plumbing issues, as all that had been replaced by a previous owner. We were surprised to learn, though, that the front of our house has virtually NO crawl space underneath. And the original foundation is just piles of stones. How times have changed! :)

childfreechic said...

I *love* it! I think there is something so special about older homes, and do think "the pole" makes the front entrance. And is that a built-in hutch in your dining area? I also love those little features in older homes.

Jen Kershner said...

I loved reading your story. You are so brave to share such a difficult time. Your house is lovely and I'm so happy that it found you.

Stephanie Cameron said...

What a beautiful home!! I'm so glad that you found it!

Paulette Designs Inc. said...

I was just introduced to your blog after I saw your photo on my blog after joining...curious I went to see if I could find you and I did...then the wonderful story of how you found your house. I loved every moment of reading your soulful story and have to say my eyes got a little misty in emphathy having a similar experience moving back to Oklahoma after 25 years in California.
Funny thing is that I lived in Crestwood and visited the homes in Edgemere quite often...both neighborhoods have the cutest houses and mine was quite cute, too, very close to yours but no "pole"...he he Just think we would of practically been neighbors! I eventually had to move to a smaller Okla. town but remember fondly my stay in my wonderful 1928 home.
Thank you for sharing your story..I'll visit often to see what you've done next! xoxo, paulette

Lisa said...

What a great story of how you found your beautiful home - thank you for sharing! I think my Dad, who passed away when I was a child, guides me in many ways too. You are so blessed to have that amazing mom, and I'm happy you found this home for yourself at such a difficult time in your life. May you have many happy times there!

Married to Real Estate said...

Nita, I just came across your blog. Love the story about when you "met" your house. Those are such fond memories for me as well. You have truly made it a home and I am so pleased to find that you are writing. Miss talking to you. -Heather

Gypsy Heart said...

Such a beautiful, meaningful post! There's no doubt in my mind that your Dad was a driving force in this home purchase. :-) I'm so grateful your Mom was so encouraging too...such a blessing.

I can't wait to see other pics of your remodeling. Thanks so much for sharing!

Pat

Lindy said...

I wandered around and stumbled onto this post. I love the story and the house. Your house is great! I know you have to love it! Now I've got to go looking for all your updates!

Stacey said...

Nita, just clicked on your blog by way of many clicks...you know how that goes. Soon as I saw your house I knew that it had to be in OKC. I live in Edmond and just love to drive around looking at all the old homes. Yours is just amazing!

My dad lives near Austin and has been redoing a large American 4square home for the last five years. He's almost finished. When he's here we love to go on the home tours and he's always tempted to move here. I will definitely send him the link to yours.

Thanks for sharing!

Carol@SofasandSage.com said...

Nita, I'm totally moved. What a beautiful story and lovely home to match. You did, indeed, find that home with the help of your Dad; I'm a believer in that kind of thing. You are blessed!

Mojo said...

I just discovered your blog and love your story on how you met your home! I also have a Tudor revival, but in St. Louis. I'm so glad to see other people out there like me-I thought I was some sort of freak to have fallen in love with a home and having a 'story' on how I found it, etc. Best wishes to you and your blog-thanks for sharing part of your life with the rest of us!

Happy Homemaker UK | Laura said...

I love this post idea! I'm from Oklahoma too, and now live in an old home in England (circa 1898).
XOL

kristtie said...

What a wonderful post to share with us. Girl, ya got me all choke-up! Sniff. It was like watching a Hallmark! ;o)

Vicki V @ blestnest.blogspot.com said...

Thanks for sharing from your heart. Your home is beautiful and inspiring, but I think the way you live your life is, too. Especially the obvious love and devotion you have for your parents. I am working my way through your posts. They are jaw-dropping gorgeous.

Alaina said...

I am sorry about your dad.

I loved your house story, I definately believe your dad is watching, things happen for a reason and good things happen because of a push. My mom has been gone for 6 years and there are several times that something good has happened and I know she helped in some way. I have enjoyed looking at your house pictures and I love the fat dog.

Phoenixford said...

Oh, I love your story, and I love happy endings! I've just joined blogger and found your site. I'm going to enjoy following the progress of your lovely house. Congratulations on getting yourself out of your depression and sharing your soul with us! I wish you every happiness, love Sally xxx

Cara said...

oh... I see, sweetie. I'm very sorry.

Brambleberry Cottage said...

Great story, Nita. So your beautiful home is a labor of love for some very special reasons. It was quaint when you bought it, but you've been adding an element of glamour to that quaintness. ;)

Blessings,
Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage
http://thebrambleberrycottage.blogspot.com/

Amy @MaisonDecor said...

just read this story now. what an incredible story~totally a joint family project of mom and dad finding their girl the perfect home. And what an incredible job you are doing with it. It is your forever home!

Susan said...

I love your blog.
Your house is charming. All you need is a black page boy haircut and three more weenies; you could be Snow White and the 7 dwarves in the little cottage!
I know how it is to lose very dear ones at such a young age; it's so unnatural and it takes such a chunk of your heart...

Nita {ModVintageLife} said...

Susan -
I loved this comment. I would have emailed you but no email to send to. Yes, you are right I just need more weenies to be snow white and the seven dogs. How cute!

Linda Hartong said...

Wow, what a difference!!

Theresa said...

hi, lovely story, my dad too has passed away, and he was very special too, but your dad has found you your house, and is with you every little step of your making it yours, thank you for sharing your story, i love american houses, theresa from scotland

Jean said...

My husband of 22 years walked out the door one night and never came back. He left me and 7 children. I had been a stay at home mom all those years. Six of my children were still home, the youngest being 6. I didn't know how I was going to go on living. I cried for a solid year. I loved gardening and it became too much. I quit cold turkey. Seven years later I remarried and we built a home in a small town on a farm. My number 4 child (daughter) graduated from college and came back home for a bit. We were outside one day and she said "let's put in a garden, Mom". I told her I had been toying with the idea so she called up her siblings and had everyone come over the day after Mother's Day and my children dug, hoed and planted me a garden that is now called The Mother's Day Garden. It brought me back to life. My yard is now full of gardens with roses and all other flowers. Horrible, horrible things can happen to us. It's interesting to see what brings us back to life. Like your home.

Chrissy said...

I loved reading your story it did make me cry because I have lost two wonderful fathers in my lifetime.Your story offers hope to everyone that has suffered loss. Restoring your house is healing for your Soul.. I can tell you are a very special person because of the love you have for your little doggie's.. I love your blog and so glad I have found it.. Looking forward to seeing more of your work...

cikgu said...

i feel lumps in my throat and tears streaming outm while i am reading this...i hope ur life will be beautiful as ever...and for you to enjoy you home for ever....

love from a stranger

Carrie said...

I loved reading this story! I also love the style of your house. It reminds me of a little neighborhood in Lubbock TX where I went to school. These houses are such a treasure in an area where ranch style houses prevail. I live in a ranch style and am working so hard to give it charm like your house! Thank you for sharing this story about your dad.

Teresa said...

I just found your blog and absolutely LOVE your home. I, too, live in Oklahoma and those homes are to die for....in my opinion :). I really enjoyed the story about your Dad and hope you find comfort in your home.

Minha vida de campo said...

Sua casa é linda, é uma felicidade podermos ter uma bela casa para morar. Por muito tempo esse foi meu maior sonho. Até que compramos nossa casa, ela tinha passado por um furação e sobrou pouca coisa. Por isso conseguimos comprar. Foi um preço bem baixo e até hoje estamos arrumando a casa. Ainda falta muita coisa para se fazer ainda. Mas eu acho minha casa a mais linda do mundo.
Tenha uma ótima semana.

 
Blogging tips