Flips are not for the faint of heart. They cost you a lot of money, a lot of time, a lot of energy, and a whole lot of flexibility. It's hard to believe but I've been signing up for this for 20 years now. As in I have willingly renovated 5 old houses. When I type that out it doesn't seem like that many over the course of time, but when you move out of one, your stuff into storage and your family's homes, and then you and your dogs become gypsies living all over the place during the major renovations, only months later to move your stuff back out of storage and into the new home that's still a construction zone - well, you get the point. And then you do it again a few years later, and then again, and then again. It's taxing and exhausting and yet I keep getting in line for the crazy train. Some might say I have a problem. I like to say I just like changing things up.
As I started thinking about why I love doing this so much, I was reminded that I've essentially been redesigning spaces since I was young. Apparently growing up I missed all the signs that design and decorating were my thing. In elementary school I convinced my parents to let me decorate my bedroom to my own very unique (and somewhat questionable) taste. I saved up those little green stamps you got at the grocery store and if you filled up the booklets with the stamps, you could order stuff from a mysterious catalog. Anyone else remember those? I was very serious about it. Once I filled up enough booklets, I traded them in to get a bedding set. My sister swears it's the same one from Home Alone but let's just say it was an odd choice - gray with pops of red, yellow, green, and blue, and with geometric shapes. We painted my walls gray and somehow when the entire house got carpeted, I made a compelling argument that my room should be different and my parents agreed to gray carpet in my room, and my room only. I'm still not sure how I worked that one, or why I thought an all gray room was a good idea.
Fast forward to college where I was always the one that made certain that my roommate and I had matching bedding and coordinating accessories for our rooms. When I rented my first house out of college, I was constantly fixing things up like the kitchen floor or landscaping the yard so it was no surprise that when I purchased my first house, House #1, I did exactly the same thing.
Immediately I got to work giving a facelift to the kitchen, completely remodeling the bathroom, and painting every room in the house, sometimes twice. I can specifically remember my mom and I renting a floor sander and refinishing the hardwood floors that were hidden under the linoleum in the kitchen. Let's just say I realized that certain aspects of renovations are best left to the professionals. I also worked in that yard for hours upon hours and the large Japanese Maple tree in the front yard was spectacular, so much so that my dad potted some of the seeds from it and gave me one of the tiny trees. I've taken care of that special tree dragging it from house to house over the years.
House #1 to House #5
When I pulled out old pictures of my first house (before digital was a thing) I found some striking similarities between my very first house and the one I now call home. For instance, the back yard. In my first house I loved the back patio that was just off of the screened-in porch and spent many hours enjoying those great outdoor spaces.
One of the biggest priorities of my new house was to enjoy the back yard through the addition of a screened in porch. It overlooks the large trees that tower above my house creating a little private oasis and on most days, and nights, you can find me hanging out there.
In my first home I removed paneling in the bonus room that covered this cool fireplace with an arched detail above. This cool find very well may have been the start of my renovation obsession and the joy that comes from uncovering something from the past and being able to turn something old into something new.
In my current home, we also uncovered an original fireplace behind drywall when we renovated the former bedroom turned family room. While the fireplace isn't safe to use anymore, I loved having the chance to expose the original brick which you can read all about on this blog post.
One of the coolest features in my first house was the huge walk-in attic. It had a door that concealed the steps to the attic which reminded me of my grandmother's house and all of the cool treasures she had tucked away in her attic.
In an effort to commit to my current home for many years to come (meaning I'm actually tired of moving), I went ahead during the renovation and installed stairs to my large attic. There's plenty of space to add a couple of bedrooms and we also went ahead and ran the plumbing upstairs during the renovations to be able to add a bathroom down the road too. To tuck this secret space away for the time being, I installed a door just like my first house, and my grandmother's, and it's this neat little hidden treasure just waiting for its turn to be transformed.
I find it nostalgic to find so many meaningful similarities between House #1 and my present one, My New New House which happens to be #5. House #1 led me to Hampton Heights and while I’d love to give this super meaningful explanation as to how I found this special little community, honestly I was just looking for my next house. Lucky for me I found home.
Now, 20 years later, I'm in House #5. Full circle you could say. My home sweet home. I still have a to-do list that's a mile long but all of the major items are complete so for now that's enough. This is by far my favorite house and my plans are to be here for a while. Of course I'll never say that I'll never move again but sine the renovation business is my day job, it's nice to have a somewhat finished space to come home to.
To celebrate this journey and solidify my intentions to stay put for a while, I put down some roots, literally, this past weekend. Do you remember the Japanese Maple tree I told you I loved from House #1 that my dad had potted the seeds from and gave me one of the small trees years ago? Well after dragging that tree around with me for years in a large pot, I finally planted it this weekend, right beside my screened porch. My hope is that as it grows I can be reminded of my renovation journey and that sometimes it takes a while to find your home sweet home.
P.S. To celebrate Year #4 of Heather Homes, 20 years of my renovation journey, and my birthday month, I'm offering 10% off one of my Design Consultations (both onsite and virtual). Simply enter the discount code AUGUSTPROMO at checkout and be sure to do so by the end of the month when the promotion ends. Thanks friends!!