Warning: shallow post to follow…I struggle posting things like this realizing a large majority of the world’s population is going to bed tonight in a mud hut or without a home, but I thought it fun to share how God has provided for us. Okay, most of you wouldn’t even need that disclaimer, but I constantly live in tension. The end.
Our first home was a charming bungalow in the heart of downtown Columbia. We loved renovating, fixing it up and making it our own. Once we added two kiddos to our two bedroom and one bathroom set-up, things got a little tight. But we liked it tight. It was perfect for bonding and for helping them feeling safe with us right there.
When it was time to look for a new home I was beyond excited for a fresh start. Maybe something built more recently than the 1940’s and maybe even something with an extra potty! We began the house-hunt…and by “we” I mean my mother-in-law getting off work, driving an hour, bugging the real estate agent to look at all the houses I found that looked great online, but were not at all suitable.
Sooner than later, we loaded up the family for a weekend house-hunting blitz and found *my* idea of the perfect house. You know the one that was move-in-ready and would not require the lifting of a finger…the one with a jillion bedrooms and storage, glorious storage…the ones with granite counter tops…you know, the one at which my husband and father-in-law immediately shook their heads and walked out of. With no more than a flier, we left the house (which I’ve got a contract on in Heaven–wink wink) and headed to the next house. You know, the one with popcorn ceilings and no windows…the one that had more dog hair on the floor than the floor of the grooming room at Petsmart…the one on which my handyman husband and my disaster relief coordinator father-in-law shook hands with the real estate agent and said “we think this is the one!”
Waves of anxiety, frustration and disappointment washed over me as I realized that we were buying a house that required not just the lifting of a finger, but the lifting of a sledge-hammer to make it move-in-ready. I was a huge brat for about 2 weeks during the process of bargaining and negotiating. Like huge. I was not quiet in my whining. My sister-in-law even made me make a list of the top 10 reasons I was excited about moving to Oxford just so I could get over myself. Finally, I grabbed my journal, plopped down in a recliner at my in-laws’ house and went to the Lord with my angst.
He met me there and showed me that I had put my identity into an ideal house. This place that would represent me to my new world. New friends, coworkers, church people, etc. I didn’t realize that I was looking to this place to create my mini-kingdom of comfort and ease. This place that I had initially wanted to be spacious enough and accommodating to use for ministry, but (the Lord revealed) I had ended up tainting it with my desire to impress and show-off. Ouch.
I tearfully submitted this major issue in my heart, asked God to give me joy in receiving whatever He provided for us and closed my journal. The phone rang. It was Lee, our realtor, saying he couldn’t believe it, but the owners took our low-ball offer. I got a little choked up when I signed the contract, but otherwise, God provided peace and joy.
Things got a little hairy when it came time for closing and I was so glad for that moment of wrestling and submitting, because I could look back to that as confirmation of this being our home! On closing day we were scheduled to do a final walk-through. We drove by several times, but it seemed like the owners were still trying to vacate. So, we drove around for a while and finally saw them leave with all their stuff. Up the driveway we went, only to find an aquarium sitting beside a tree in the side yard. Joel said, “I’m sorry, but is there a snake in our yard?” I said, “No! I’m sure it’s just an old aquarium that they forgot…HOLY CRAP THAT’S A BOA CONSTRICTOR!!!” To which Joel replied, “Not the house-warming gift I had expected.” There were a several other issues with the house, but I’ll spare myself the blood-pressure problem and say that bottom line, we had to wait another 5 days to close, but could take possession that day. Well, after they came and got their snake. And 40 gallons of paint. And apparently the shower heads and the nice key pad lock on the front door. Okay, but anyway, no worries.
You would think we would start the demolition after the home was officially ours, but a Hurdle never hesitates when there is a project to be done. Demolition began. And still had not ended :)
Here are some pictures of this ever-evolving house and what we are doing to make it a home we absolutely love. Popcorn ceilings and all. Okay, I still hate the ceilings, but I love the house and love using it for ministry. The kind of ministry that has much purer motives. Thank you, Joel Hurdle for always being right. Seriously, always.
The wall are actually more grey than blue (at least that’s what I tell myself because I wanted grey and not blue) it’s uber soothing!!
Cave Living Room Before: Cave Living Room During:
Let there be light…
Let there be a whitewashed fireplace… (This was my project!! I’m not high change and I had almost talked myself into leaving the brick alone, but I’m so glad I went for it! One part water to one part paint, slosh it on with a paint brush, let sit for 2 minutes and then wipe–DON’T BLOT–off! Easy peasy but NOT the 30 minute project Pinterest suggests.)
Mad props to Hawk, Joel’s saving grace, who lived here for 6 weeks…and really to both of our families and all the other incredible people who answered my pitiful text messages for help! The new hardwood floors made a huge difference. Bye-bye years of dog hair.
I am NOT into decorating…it totally stresses me out because I feel like there is a right answer out there…regardless…we are still brainstorming window treatments, what color to paint the coffee table, where to find chairs, what art to put on the walls and whether the Chronicles of Narnia wardrobe totally overpowers the room…but this is the current reality and it’s definitely the heart of our home!
Office Turned Dining Room After:
Clearly I really wanted green cabinets…but played it safe and went with the classic white. Glad for it :)
Yes, we did live with no counter tops for about 2 months after moving in. Who knew counter tops were so crucial to the functioning of family life? Grateful for these bad boys!!!
Kitchen with Angelic Baby Girl Using It:
Pigtails’ Bedroom Before:
Pigtails’ Bedroom After:
D-Man’s Ole Miss Room After:
Hall Bath Before:
It really doesn’t look half bad. In fact, this bathroom wasn’t even on the demolition list. But what you can’t see in these photos is that almost every room in the house had been wallpapered and painted over…about 4 layers-worth of paint. Meaning all the dry wall ended up needing to come down.
All Gigi and I knew was that we got a frantic phone call that said, “I have 3% battery left on my phone, but I need you to go to the discount tile place and get enough tile for the bathroom. It has to match the leftover tile from the kitchen. Make it look good and do it cheap.”
No measurements. No nothing. The.essence.of.our.entire.summer. When.is.this.dern.reality.tv.show.gonna.air?!?
Our Bathroom Before:
No, I didn’t sneak into an RV and snap a shot. This was our fabulous sink area. This was also the point in the initial house tour when I said to Joel, “Surely not.” The master bath still looks about the same. That will be another project for another budget on another day. But a coat of paint and some father-in-law ingenuity (he gave us some old lighting and added bead-board to the mirror) makes this $10 re-do worth Pinning.
Our room is still in the works, as well as a garage we hope to finish out. Oh and the backyard! The glorious backyard. The selling feature of this crib. Can’t wait to show you! I look forward to sharing more of this house that is now our home. The one for which I am beyond grateful. Come visit!