(The above photo is from 1973. None of the structures are still standing except the mobile home, which was moved to its permanent location at the end of the red line.)
When my grandparents moved to the Family Farm in 1973, they decided to put a mobile home on the property until they could build. As my grandma told the story, she didn't even go look at the home at the sales lot. She heard there was one immediately available and she said, "That's fine. We're not living there for very long anyway."
A year later, they decided to add on to the mobile home (ergo it is no longer mobile) and add a basement to the addition.
At some point they decided that they just weren't going to build. Not for lack of money, but just because they decided they'd rather spend their money on something other than a mortgage. My grandma was always a bit wistful about having never built her dream home--and probably was never especially thrilled that she wasn't living in a stick-built house--but I know she was also happy that they were able to travel and give money to causes they supported.
When we first moved back here three years ago, it was still very much my grandma's house: Her decorations, her furniture, her home even if she was now living next door at my parents' house. The first year we lived here, we hardly unpacked at all because we figured we'd be building a house soon. We decided not to build, and settled in for an undetermined amount of time. Someday we'd build, but we were fine with not knowing when someday would happen.
Over the past several months, we've rethought the whole "building a house" scenario. It isn't that we wouldn't want to, but I think it's fair to say our priorities have shifted. Over the summer, we were spending $100 a week on treatments for Jules (special food/naturopath/homeopathic/vitamins). Next school year, we'll probably have two kids in private school. Next summer we're traveling to Scotland.
We could have these things.
Or we could have a mortgage.
I never could have imagined myself living in a mobile home long-term. It was partially because I was so determined to build the house we had designed, and it was partially out of pride. Living in a mobile home felt very...blah. I'm pretty sure I even said something to that effect when we first moved here: "I'm not living in a mobile home forever. It's just TEMPORARY."
Oh those stubborn words. They're so tasty, aren't they?
We made a decision a few weeks ago: we're not building.
This field will stay a field.
This view from my window will stay the view from my window.
We decided to choose what my grandparents chose, and no one is more surprised than I am. But once we made the decision, I was so happy.
We can't connect the dots looking forward, but looking back? Connected. I can so clearly see God's hand in the events of the last three years. There were some really awful moments, but He got us through it.
Now that we've decided to stay here long term, we're making some long term changes to the house. We already ripped out all the wallpaper and painted. We've changed out light fixtures, repainted cabinets, and reorganized the layout of the house to fit our needs.
We still have the following list of changes:
- New flooring in the kitchen/dining room
- Lights over the dining room table
- Deeper bathtub in the girls' bath
- House numbers on the shed
- Wainscoting in the dining room
- Wainscoting around the basement staircase
- Tile backsplash in the kitchen
And a few other projects like repainting the china cabinet and finding curtains for the office.
Fortunately, before the weather forced us to make all our projects indoor projects we were able to squeeze in an outdoor project.
Painting the house.
This is the house back in June. And, actually before we painted, Jason had a little project that he did this past summer.
It started with a request for a raised garden bed.
And then one raised garden bed became THREE raised garden beds.
And then he built a pergola for good measure. With a hammock. Holla!
So, yes, here's the house pre-paint. And the thing that bothered me the most about the house was that it felt so glaringly out of place. You'd pull in the driveway and it was, all, HERE'S THE HOUSE. I wanted to downplay that announcement.
Isn't that so much better? Granted, the railing was supposed to be painted gray, but there was a misunderstanding with that. But otherwise? I LOVE IT.
We don't have anything planted in the garden beds yet, and we don't have the house numbers on the shed yet, but in due time. I do know the house numbers will be yellow though. Because they'll match...
...the basement door! I wanted a yellow door because (1) I wanted a yellow door and (2) I knew no one can really see the door anyway. I practically had to climb a tree just to get this shot. Just knowing that the door is yellow, though, makes me smile.
My grandparents couldn't have imagined that their granddaughter would someday be living in the house they never intended to keep. But here we are.
Of course, we feel so blessed that my parents want us to live here. So blessed that even without owning a home, we do get to own part of the Family Farm land even if no one is building a house on that land. Not that owning land is the end-all to anything, but it feels good to know we aren't just borrowing space, but rather, we're owners in something that has belonged to my family for more than 70 years.
So here we are.