In July 2015 I moved from Salt Lake City to Cache Valley to live with JB. As far as homes go, his 1970s rambler is fairly spacious at around 2200 sqft. There is 3 bedrooms up, 3 bedrooms down, 3 baths (one full size and the other two 3/4 size), and a kitchen/dining area divided by a central island. It’s a fairly plain Jane, daylight basement home with a half brick front facade and cream colored siding. It sits on a third acre corner lot in an urban setting.
His house is very different from my Salt Lake cottage home, which had vaulted ceilings and a multi-level layout. There has been a lot to for me to get used to. Watering our huge yard with hoses, for instance. I’ve lived with a sprinkler system since 2008. And sharing a closet. And no attic insulation… brrrr!
My first priority after I moved in was to combine and organize our two homes into one, a task which is still very much ongoing 15 months later. I did a lot of cleaning in the main living areas of the house. Over the next six months we made some improvements to the house and yard.
- Installed an EPA quality wood burning stove in the living room
- New carpet for the 14×16 living room area
- Painted walls in the living room, main floor office, master bedroom, and basement storage room
- Laid laminate flooring in the master bedroom
- Painted the bare cement floors in half of the basement
- Installed new front and back exterior doors
- Replaced four damaged interior doors in the basement
- Installed shelving in the basement cold storage areas
- Built and filled a wood shed in the back yard
- Dug up a 20×40 foot section of side yard and planted a vegetable garden
- Extended irrigation piping in the back yard
For many months I wandered Pinterest, Instagram, and lifestyle blogs, looking for inspiration to create this house into a beautiful home. One thing that became more evident was the disparity in what I wanted the house to be like and what it actually was and is, in comparison to the newer homes around us.
Over the last few years, new construction and renovated homes have very different interiors than the floor plan JB and I live in. If our home were older, with old house character and architectural details, it would help. Instead, it’s a rectangular box with a utilitarian floor plan, 7 foot ceilings, and high windows.
What’s a girl to do with that?
At last, I realized that it is time to accept what is and stop wishing for this house to magically transform itself into something it’s not. I’ve ceased thinking of demolition style renovating, which is far out of our financial ability right now. Maybe some day we will be able to make the changes that I have dreamed about. Until then I would rather be satisfied with what our home has to offer and love the place we are at right now. I am truly grateful for our home, who I share it with, and what it has to offer.
I realized that I cannot possibly be alone in this situation. In this world there must be a whole bunch of efficient 1970s ramblers, and just as many women who wish they lived in an open floor plan with a big kitchen, front porch, and a master suite. And it could be worse. We could be living in an apartment or condo and have no yard. Or in a house where we struggle to pay the mortgage. Or in a yurt.
Actually, I think that yurt living could actually be pretty fun in the right circumstances.
So I’ve been cleaning up my Instagram feed and deleting the accounts that post pictures that make me covet hardwood floors and huge master bathrooms.
On that note, I must admit this: The internet creates a dynamic for dependence on validation, and I’m not very comfortable with that as a driving force. Still, there are people creating content that I can learn from. I appreciate that they have a presence on line. My world is necessarily very small and very simple.