House Hunting and Renos are my Jam!

Nate Berkus Home Quote

I'm probably like a lot of y'all in that I love house hunting.  I could probably be in real estate--I love it that much.  When we had cable, LC and I were obsessed with House Hunters on HGTV.  We were always trying to guess which house would be picked.  We also loved "Love it or List It" and also tried to figure out if the family would stay or go at the end of each episode.  Even if I'm not in the market to buy, I still like to look at real estate.  I'm not picky either-I love to look at fixer-uppers, million dollar homes, beachfront houses, land...it doesn't matter.  Are you like that?  Do you love looking at real estate too?  

When we moved from Nashville to West TN, I was sad to leave the house we had just spent the previous year renovating.  The house that we thought was our "lifetime" house-and then we sold within 2 years of buying it.  Funny how God's plans are different sometimes than ours.  

During the time we searched for our house in West TN, we almost pulled the trigger and bought a lot to build a new construction house.  I mean we came really close.  I loved the builder, and I loved the house layout and design.  We had never built before, so that was appealing to both of us.  But, we knew that part of our desire to move back to West TN was to be able to get some land.  The lot we were going to build on was less than 1/2 an acre.

I'll never forget the day I had to make a decision on my own without Josh.  It was a BIG decision too.  He was gone on a weeklong fishing trip to Canada the week we had to put down the downpayment for the new construction home.  He was in such a remote part of Canada that there was no cell service and no way to get in touch with him.  There was a nagging feeling I had that we shouldn't build on that lot because I knew in my heart of hearts we wanted more land.  I remember telling my boss about my dilemma.  He knew me and Josh very well, and he said, "If my wife were questioning something and I were out of the country, I'd support her decision 100%." So, I made the call and let the builder know that we had decided against building, and we were going to continue our house hunting.

We found a house we really loved online, and so I called my uncle to have him show it to us.  From the pictures, Josh and I couldn't wait to actually get in the house to see it.  I remember when we walked in the front door and saw the fireplace, and Josh looked at me.  I knew then that this was going to be "our" house.

Fast forward a few weeks, and the owners decided to take the house off the market.  We were devastated.  I couldn't imagine us finding another house with this amount of land, already built and that we could renovate.  So, I went to "work" and started trying to piece together who these owners were so I could contact them directly and beg them to put it back on the market.

After analyzing pages of tax data, I discovered the name of the woman who built the house.  But, I couldn't find a contact number for her online.  So, I started googling her name to see if any identifying information came up.  I found out that she was listed as working at a hospital in a nearby city.  Josh called that hospital, asked for the department she worked for, and left a random message with a nurse in her department giving a little backstory on why he was calling.  Yes, we are "those people."  We are the people who don't just let a dream die or a "no" make us stop pursuing what we want.  We are tenacious until we get an answer.  I'm not sure if it's because we are first born in both of our families or what??!!  

Later that night, the current owner called us.  We explained why we wanted her house, and why we wanted to raise our family there.  She agreed to meet with us in person so we could talk about the house.  We hit it off with her and her husband, and remain friends with them to this day!

They sold us their house a few months later, and we have spent the last 3 years here.  We love it.  I think because we love knowing the history behind the details the owners put in the house.  We know why she added special elements to the fireplace and what each of them meant to her.  We know she lived in an RV while she built, and that it took her 4 years from start to finish.  We know that the stained glass window above the kitchen sink came from a dentist's office in St. Louis in the 1950s. We know that the Native American drawings in the front walk are an ode to her Native American heritage.   I mean those details are things I may not have added myself, but they provide a story, and they are elements that make our house unique.  Much like a good antique--houses always have a history and story behind them.  I think that's why I love older homes and antiques so much.  I love researching to uncover the story that makes them unique.

I thought I'd share some pics from the MLS listing to show you what the house looked like when we first saw it 3 years ago.  

BEFORE PICTURES

The house looks completely different now.  I mean the structure is the same, but we have revamped every square inch inside and out.  It's been a labor of love!  We have taken a house that had beautiful bones and character when we bought it, and made it our own.  We have poured a lot of sweat equity into this house, and I'm really proud of what we've accomplished.  Our house now has "our" story built into it.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be sharing some before and after pics, renovation and DIY tips, as well as share some news about a really fun project Josh and I are working on as we speak.  

XO,

Steph