In 2015 I had a unique opportunity to be part of the design process of a home restoration that turned into the rental home I’d be living in. It happened to be a home on a lovely street in the town I loved and next door to a new friend (now a dear friend)!
Within a few days of purchasing it, I met the woman who was raised in this house. She described it as “the house that built me” (she was referring to the Miranda Lambert song). Her family built it in the 1951 and her parents lived there until their passing in 2009.
Since then, there has only been one other owner: the owner before us for 6 years. I describe him as a dad that had the best of intentions. It was obvious he had started so many projects, because, well, there were so many unfinished projects! Between those and the neglected yard, we had our work cut out for us.
So when I heard about this home being the house that built her and her siblings, I had this huge desire to breath new life into it. It wouldn’t be the same as it was before, but I desired to make it a home and hopefully one day buy it.
We worked and worked on the house. We tackled seemingly small projects that took a long time, like removing wallpaper, painting all the walls and ceilings (plus the closets…OH, the closets!), and cleaning. We left the bigger projects to the professionals, like a mini-kitchen makeover, switching out all the outlets and adding light fixtures, and switching out a bathroom vanity and some plumbing.
All the contractors that came in would say, they don’t build them like this anymore. It’s a solid house with good bones and gushing with character. Oh, how I began to fall hard for this home!
I dreamed that this would be the home where I would plant my roots and prayed for the opportunity to live here one day.
After two months of working on the house, me and two other friends moved in and it called it home.
It wasn’t four months later when I met Mike. And then he started hanging around. I’ll never forget when I made him dinner for the first time in my kitchen. I was nervous as all get-out (not to mention I was not a very good cook). I pointed outside and told him about the “brick patio” and he said “I can help you with that”. Cue all the heart-eyes!
That was our first project together and here I am a little over two years later writing this post sitting on that very patio. It’s surely been a labor of love, restoring this beautiful home: redeeming all the lovely that’s innately there and then adding touches that are uniquely “us.”
As God would have it, Mike and I purchased this very home just 4 days before our wedding in September of 2017. Moving forward, we’re praying for hearts that would soak in the slow process of restoration, not the sprint. For two reasons: 1. We have a small budget and can’t tackle everything at once, 2. We believe things that matter take time.
Isn’t that how it works for us? Jesus enters into our mess, meets us right where we are, and redeems us. Not because we clean ourselves up quickly, but because he loves us and is with us. Restoration isn’t a sprint.
We give all our thanks and glory to God for the story he’s written us because friends, it’s no story we would have chosen: meeting our future spouse in our early 30s, living in a once dying city in southwest Ohio, working at a church, owning a 67-year-old house…but it is good. Because God.
We’ve had so many firsts in this home. And so many to look forward to in the future. While we see this as our “forever home,” we have open hands to what God has for us and we’re taking that day by day. And so the story continues…
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Feature photo captured by The Brauns.