Unpacking and Rediscovering Home

I had forgotten how long it takes for a new city, a new street…a new house to feel like home. For some, it may happen as soon as the first box reveals something familiar to place on a shelf. For me...it takes a bit more. In fact, we lived in Lexington nearly a decade and it wasn't until our last couple of years that everything finally ‘clicked.’ Relationships flourished, our favorite dinner spots had been deemed, I knew what racks to hit at the shops for the best sales, my secret parking spot downtown was always open for me, school days and soccer schedules felt routine… things became…should I dare say, easy?

But change is good, right?

And my life is always FULL of change thanks to this daily bit of goodness. And because of that, home is one thing I’ve come to rely on for my ‘ease’ factor in life…when all else is in beautiful chaos and unpredictability.
But we said goodbye to Lexington nearly 6 months ago. Goodbye to those routines and parking spots and great sale finds, weekly outings with girlfriends I didn't want to say goodbye to and to our favorite take-out Chinese spot, Pete's Wok.
And we headed off for a new city, a new street, a new house.

Ezra's rooster painting..one of my favorite things. 

Our city is really quaint. Like Mayberry quaint. We have the ice cream shop and the tea shop and the independent grocery store and even a bonafide toy shop. (I’ll give you a tour someday soon.)
Our street is even more amazing. We have incredible neighbors who offer us tools for our endless projects (getting to that…), bake us bread, invite us for backyard barbecues, put our naughty escape-artist dogs back over the fence when they get out, chat with our kids and leave fresh cucumbers on the front porch while we’re out running errands. 

The orange cone...the city beautification team has come to our street this week.
Artwork~ AspenMark on Etsy

Our house is a blessing. Because to complain about anything that provides a roof over our head and shelter from storms and heat and cold would be ridiculously bratty.
When we bought this 1920’s house, it hadn't been cared for in many years. The care it did receive was surface level at best and that caretaker must have really had a penchant for dark caramel color. Because no wall or trim paint was given reprieve from its hue.
This singular element alone made me second guess the purchase. I have since found out there are many many more that should have caused me greater concern than poor design decisions.

But I digress.

Over the past 3 months, when not landing in a new city to speak or have meetings, or I’m not in the office with interns or hiking at the park with the boys, I am painting. Coat after coat after coat after coat. I really have no fondness for painting at all. So this, my dears, is a true labor of love and testament of my character.
12 weeks later and the painting is nearly done. Two to three coats of paint on every wall, window and door frame. Ceilings are next, I think I need a professional for that. Two rooms left…we’ll tackle those someday down the road when my hand releases from its cramping. 
But at least now I can breathe. Lightness is like air to my creativity and productivity. Necessary, not optional.  
And speaking of productivity....

We gutted our kitchen down to the studs. GUTTED. We had no clue what that would mean in actuality and some days I think the 1980’s IKEA kitchen with bing cherry colored walls and black, white  and mirrored tile back splash may have been better than the discovery of faulty wiring and plumbing issues. 

Its coming along slowly. The stove is a recent find, gifted to us by our Realtor as a welcoming gift to our new house. Can you believe that?! Seriously this is Mayberry, people.

Until last week we operated the new The Smith Homestead with no sink, stove or oven. We are still sans oven/stove until the gas line gets installed. Our meals are made on the grill most days. Or we eat simply with salads and cereal and toast with peanut butter. And of course there's the local pizza place that we frequent far more than we should.

We've never been microwave people…that poses a challenge with reheating my crock pot steel cut oats the following mornings. But we did finally invest in a little counter top convection oven a couple of weeks ago. That has revolutionized meal time while we lay flooring, smooth out drywall and install cabinets.
Of course, no renovation would be complete without delays. Our counter tops may never make their arrival….so we improvised and installed plywood. Not just any  plywood though…this gem came from the base of Ezra’s bed in Lexington….it made the trek because as we were moving we saw he had, at some point, crawled under his bed and with red marker wrote “I love Isabelle.” It made us smile…and still does.

Mayberry still doesn’t quite feel like home yet. Neither does the new Smith Homestead. Mike always turns the wrong way on our street coming home and I can’t remember the names of some of my neighbors even though they know mine (that drives me nuts.) We did find good Chinese though.
Slowly the boxes are getting unpacked and this little house of ours is getting the first touches of home. The most important of those being memories and relationships…which I have to keep reminding myself will take time to build. 

Even in the kitchen mess...a small spot of organization and beauty is a must. 

Our morning breakfasts at our long farm table, games of Sorry and Clue (our new summer favorites), Otto’s endless laps around the downstairs with Sherlock and Watson at his heels, early morning coffee and late night peppermint tea in our tiny corner bedroom…this is the good stuff. This is becoming home.