Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Our new house

Many members of my extended family gathered casually in Danville this weekend.  We celebrated my grandmother's 95th birthday (she still lives in her own house!), baptized a baby and had a pretty good picture in the same old spot we always have.

Many of them asked to see pictures of my house and I promised that as soon as it was clean, I'd take some.  The reality is that my entire family is focused on creating conditions in which I don't yell at the kids, so it's not going to be clean in the foreseeable future.  So, here it is in all its unedited glory.

We bought a house five minutes from my parents' house after living with them for 2.5 years in an intergenerational experiment.  They drop in here and let me drop off my kids there when they miss them or when I need some childcare.  When we were looking, Jacob and I took turns touring houses, leaving the kids in the car because of the snow.  I went first for this house and when I got back in the car, I hissed, "I want this house!" It's a little weird and reminds me of the houses I saw and visited when I lived on Orcas. 

So, walk in this front door with me. There's a closet immediately in front of it.  Judith stole the shoe rack to make a home for her stuffed animals so all the shoes are just jumbled together on the floor.  The door to the closet is usually open.

If you turn to your immediate left, you'll see the gallery.  The previous owners were artists and one was an electrician so the lighting is excellent for highlighting all of our storage and the children's craft supplies and works in progress.

This is always what it looks like.  Someday when the kids are older and we're allowed to have nice things again, this will double as our dining room.
If you turn to the right upon entering the front door, you will encounter our breakfast nook.  On the wall behind it are collages of all our professional photography sessions. They are the first things I put on the walls of our new house and I LOVE the story they tell.  Every birth ceremony, every large family get-together. I don't have to fill all of our experiences making my kids pose for pictures because I know that periodically, a professional will do a much better job than I do.  Worth every penny.

As you enter the breakfast nook and turn to the left, you face our kitchen.  It is just the right size for me.  The girls like sneaking up quickly between the knife I'm wielding and the produce I'm cutting. Akiva has a special drawer full of serving utensils that he frequents.

On your left, you'll see our make-shift pantry and the door to the basement.
 If you turn to the right, you'll enter our living room, which includes the sliding door out to the back yard.
As you can see, it has a swinging woodstove and tons of natural light.  The whole house is full of light, which was part of why I loved it.  My quilting studio takes up a third of the room.  I try to create a little every day to maintain spiritual balance. I could not accomplish this if my workspace was away from where the kids spend their time.

 This couch was a gift from a friend when the company sent them a brand-new couch to replace this one when it had a totally hidden marker stain, which triggered its warrantee. Could it be more perfect for the space?  That's one of my quilts hanging on the wall.

There's the rest of my studio and the pass-through window to the kitchen.  Those old Advent speaker towers make excellent end-tables or supporting columns for blanket forts.
Head out the sliding doors onto our patio and you can see the shed, as well.  There's all sorts of cool lighting. The previous owners lived here for almost 20 years with no kids, just updating it all the time.  Extras like the shed and the built-in benches contribute to my excitement and ability to "settle in" right away.
Beyond the patio is the pool.  It turns out that Esther is a mermaid and some days we swim twice a day.  My friend Ginny swam with her one day for two hours and she still complained when it was time to come in.  Akiva is remarkably proficient in his little puddle jumper but spends about 50% of pool time throwing objects into the pool from the deck.  It's only been the towels twice.  Judith can pretty much take it or leave it.
Behind the pool is the RV pad. Let us know if you'll be coming through town and you can stop over here.  There's also a compost pit to the far left and Jacob's garden.

If we head back to the kitchen and continue through the house, you'll find the hallway to the private rooms. Our bathroom on the right.

The tub is a favorite play area.  It takes SO much water for even a shallow bath.  We have an on-demand water heater, though, which is awesome.
There is a shower tucked in behind the door, with a good shower head.  Crucial, in my book. That hand towel is never actually hanging from the towel rack.  Notice anything missing? There are no other towel racks in this bathroom.  I'm totally puzzled regarding where the previous owners dried out their towels.  We use an old laundry rack in our giant bedroom and the doorknobs of the kids' rooms.  So weird.  We'll make a trip to IKEA eventually to fix this.
Across the hall from the bathroom is our humongous bedroom.  We have no idea what to do with all this space. We put in new carpeting when we moved in since the previous folks had a menagerie of animals. We have yet to fire up this woodstove but it sounds cool at night when it rains.
That's a huge closet over there. Super awesome.
Beyond our room is the room that Esther and Judith share. For some reason, their oldschool closet makes me the happiest of any feature in the house.  The high shelf set on 2 by 4s screwed into the wall.  The hardware for the bar, the louvered doors.  This is a Chicagoland house.
Total Felix and Oscar going on with their beds.  Judith is totally spare.  You can barely find Esther in hers.
 At the end of the hall is Akiva's room. It's decorating theme is #thirdchild.
My beloved closeout LayZBoy. And another closet that never gets closed.
 The kitchen truly is the heart of the house so if you head back to it, we'll re-oxygenate and head down to the basement.  We carpeted these stairs because, seriously, my kids fall down the stairs like it's their job.
Someday, my children will all sit in their respective therapist's office and say, "The main thing I remember is that my mom was always telling me to go downstairs."
There is another bathroom with a shower down there.  The electrician also did his own plumbing so beware the gurgling toilet. All trash cans and toilet paper are up high because Akiva is not to be trusted.
We got these nifty machines with the house. 
 Sometimes, I like to think kind thoughts about the woman who must have lived here in the 70s and this little office that she created for herself.  That light fixture and the phone jack are so bold and so pathetic at the same time.  We've come a long way, babies.
A mud room houses all the mechanicals and a SECOND utility sink.
 It connects to the garage.

 Check it out!  Someone used to paint motorcycles so it's got a heater and an exhaust system.
It's super-deep.  That's how much crap we can pile up and still house Jacob's Honda Fit.  The Fit if go!

So, there you have it friends.  Come over any time.  One of those couches in the basement is a comfortable pull-out and there's a 70% chance I'll pick up the toys down there with a 40% chance that I'll vacuum in anticipation of your arrival.

Most nights I lay in bed before sleep and bathe in a feeling of gratitude for this sanctuary that is ours. We are lucky, indeed.

1 comment:

Mattie said...

It's a fine house with lots of storage room. We have an over-sized master bedroom in our house too; the previous owners installed a shower and cabinets with a sink in the area where you placed the chairs. We find it odd at first, but then we realized it was incredibly convenient.