Last week I PLANNED to slow down - and we did, slightly. But our somewhat short list of somewhat urgent projects ended up taking longer than planned and a lot of late nights were involved. This week we really can slow down and start really enjoying this great new home. And I've got lots more great photos to post - sometime - after I get Silas to the doctor for an ear infection, take care of a conference call and treat myself to reading at least one section of the entries for our Power of Moms writing contest tonight after Family Home Evening. I'm still WAY behind on tons of stuff but I'll just chip away at things and do what I can. And remember my new mantra: Slow down, enjoy, chip away, leave some things undone - and go to bed on time!
Before I forget my first impressions, here are some of my favorite things about this house with some starter photos.
1. New wake-up view. I miss my glowing red mountain view that I used to wake up to every morning. But I really love the view of the beautiful steeple of the Baptist church across the street that is now framed perfectly by the beautiful old windows in my bedroom when I wake up. The church reminds me to pray and it reminds me of New England and it makes me happy. And I love the patterns of squares cast by the classic street lamp in front of my house onto the walls of our bedroom as we fall asleep at night. We did finally get bedroom curtains, but I have to keep them open partially so I can still enjoy that steeple and those squares I've grown quite attached to.
2. I've always had this dream of a beautiful staircase to decorate for Christmas and thanks to this house and my mom's extra garlands, my dream has come true.
3. I love the stained glass windows on the stairs.
4. A home for some old "friends." Much of the antique furniture I begged my parents to buy and even helped earn the money to buy back when I was a kid and was obsessed with old stuff and history has found its perfect home in this house. Last Saturday, my parents met us at their old house in SLC and helped Jared and I load up a UHaul trailer with furniture that was being stored in that house (the house is rented out now). It's heavenly to have dressers and my big old wardrobe so we have places to put things. But more than anything, it's wonderful to have these pieces of furniture I've always loved right here in my home - they're like old friends. Several pieces we found back when we lived in England my junior year of high school. Who would have guessed they'd find their perfect home here in Odgen?
I found this wardrobe at an antique warehouse in London and begged to get it since my room in SLC was closet-less and it was 150 pounds (like $225 at the time). My dad agreed to get this piece plus a ton of other great stuff including the really nice 300 year old drop leaf table in the photo under this one, a little old pew from an English Sunday School that became our family's "repenting bench" (I'll explain it sometime - but anyone who's read my parents books or heard their speeches about helping kids resolve their own conflicts will understand) and a cool English letterbox that we used as our mailbox for years in SLC.
Here's the dresser I saved up for when I was 14. My dad helped me pick it out at an antique fair the day my brother Eli ended up being born. It makes a great 2nd vanity in the huge master bath that only had one tiny vanity installed (except that those 100 year old drawers don't slide all that well...).
6. I love this one original door knob and the details on the old original window hardware - people used to put so much effort and time into these things! And I love that there are one or two original doors and the beautiful original carving on the main staircase. A lot of stuff was totally trashed in this house thanks to many years of being divided into 4 low-income apartments - but I'm so grateful they were able to save and restore some essential details. I sure wish we had mantles but someday we'll find some that will work well here.
7. I love that the church across the street plays songs on the bells in it's clock tower on Sunday mornings - it's just such a cool sound.
8. I love that we live in such a down-to-earth place. This place feels "real." Our development in the Cliffs was so beautiful and well-kept that it felt like a resort - like a place you visit but don't really live. I did so love it there. But somehow, this house and neighborhood feels more like a real home.
9. The people here seem really down-to-earth as well. No pretenses. Just nice people from lots of backgrounds who care about this neighborhood and about making the community great. We miss our old friends a lot. But we're so happy to have already found some great people we feel comfortable with right off the bat. The kids have found some really nice friends right here in the neighborhood. And there's some good people-watching right outside our front windows - there's a slow but pretty steady parade of all types of people waking by - a guy twirling a baton, a girl lugging a huge cello, some shuffling teenagers with their pants falling down, a mom with kids in a stroller...
10. It's sort of nice to have cold weather. Never thought I'd say this one since I've never really been a fan of the cold. But there's nothing like the warmth of being inside by the fire on a cold winter's day. And I'm realizing that I always felt pressure to be outside enjoying the weather on the near-constant nice days in St George. I felt guilty not to be out on bike rides with the kids or hiking when it was nice. I always feel like I have to make the most of everything. So here, it's actually quite relaxing to feel like there's no reason to be outside and I can just focus on everything that has to be done inside - no guilt.
11. There's a gas fireplace in the dining room and one in the living room - really nice ones. And we can have instant coziness with the flip of a switch in the areas where we spend the most time as a family. Perfect!
12. I'm getting tons of exercise going up and down all these stairs. This house is going to keep me in great shape! Not to mention all the box lifting and furniture moving. Plus all the stress involved in moving and the months of not really eating much because there just wasn't time between being a single mom and juggling 100 other things. I got on the scale for the first time in ages yesterday and voila! I've lost 12 pounds. That's a nice silver lining. I had noticed my pants were seeming pretty baggy.
13. I love that we have a back staircase going from the kitchen up to the laundry room on the second floor. I don't know why but I always thought that having a back staircase would be so cool. And it does make it so nice and easy to run up or downstairs without having to go far for a staircase.
14. I love the paint colors. It's uncanny how perfectly all our stuff - our bedding, our rugs, our furniture - matches perfectly with the colors that were already on the walls of this house. The paint colors are one of the reasons this house just felt like our house already the first time we walked in. I LOVE color and the colors here are amazingly similar to the ones I painstakingly chose for our house in St George. But they look so different in this setting and it's fun to see my favorite wall colors in a new setting.
15. The front doors are beautiful and I love how much light they let into the front entryway. I love that we have a front entryway - a nice big grand one - always wanted one of those. Plus I love that we have a nice big front porch.
16. The kids have their own floor - the 3rd floor has a nice big playroom at the top of the stairs, a bathroom and 3 bedrooms, each painted the perfect colors for the bedding and artwork we already had for the kids. The kids are so excited about their fun attic area and we're excited they have a place to spread out their stuff and do their own thing.
To keep this real, there are plenty of hard things - here are a few:
- All those flights of steep stairs can get old.
- Having our neighbors' houses just a few feet away on either side isn't my favorite thing - I'm not sure why they built houses SO close together 100 years ago - surely there wasn't really a shortage of space back then???
- The water heater isn't working great so we've had some challenging shower situations.
- The beautiful old windows aren't exactly insulated so they radiate some pretty serious cold at times.
- The kitchen seems to have missed out on some insulation and/or some needed heat vents and it's pretty darn cold in there.
- The basement leaks a little.
- There's no garage and while I'm OK with cold in some ways, heading out into the backyard to a freezing car covered with snow isn't totally fun.
- The storage space is still a little scimpy even with all the dressers and other storage furniture we were able to add and the shelving and hooks we've put into the few closets.
- Despite Jared and I putting in many hours a day working on stuff for 3 weeks, there are still tons of things that need to be fixed - some small and some quite huge (baseboard and casing that is missing, an old clawfoot bathtub that needs to be refinished, backyard fencing in serious disrepair, back yard landscaping non-existent, exterior brick needs refurbishing badly, paint touch-up, more curtains to be found and installed, woodwork throughout the house needs a finish coat...)
But you know what? This is really feeling like home and we know we're supposed to be here. And we'll just keep chipping away at things. Life is good.
More photos coming soon!