Turning A Little Into A Lot

My husband and I have lived in many different houses.  Many.

The first house we owned was 1700 square feet of crap when we bought it.  We got it through a HUD program.  The carpeting had been torn out down to the subflooring.  It stunk of meat that was left in the unplugged freezer and there were Austin Powers stickers all over the beautiful woodwork.  My husband and I were expecting our first child and we were not swimming in gold coins.  Not even copper ones.  We did what we could with what we had and eventually we made it a home (and made it smell good).

Our second home was 3000 square feet of space.  We thought we’d love space.  Turns out it’s just more toilets to clean and carpets to vacuum.  We got used to it, but it clearly wasn’t us.  Sometimes I miss the space, but I never miss the cleaning.

Eventually, after quite a few moves we ended up planting our family of five in our current house.  A tiny 1980′s ranch.  And when I say tiny, I mean it.  Our ceilings are 7’9″.  That’s right, they’re not even 8 ft. ceilings.  The main bathroom is smaller than most people’s closets.  Literally.  It takes me all of three seconds to clean the floor in there.  And there are 8 windows in the whole house.

And we love it here.

We don’t have loads of rooms to fill with furniture or walls of windows letting in southern light.  We don’t have vaulted ceilings or a mud room or built in anything.  We don’t have walnut floors or a grand entryway.  We don’t have a lot to work with when it comes to space, time or budget either.  Not much expendable income for redecorating, remodeling or furniture shopping.

So we try to take the little we have – little space, little house, little budget – and do a lot with it.  As re-decorating goes, this is definitely the slowest way to approach it.  I think the glaciers moved faster.  I wish I could just go out and buy new couches, paint, lighting, antiques and be done with it.  But that’s just not possible or in keeping with our personalities.

Slowly (and I mean molasses-in-January kind of slowly) we are making over this little beauty.  When we have time, we tackle a big project like knocking out a wall to open up the kitchen.

Ta Da!!

But usually it’s just me here, doing small projects to slowly turn this house into OUR house.  We want to lovingly and thoughtfully add our personality to this tiny little builder grade dwelling.  My list of to-do’s is much, much, much longer than my list of completed projects.  I’m pretty sure I’ll never be finished.  And my personal style is evolving and forming as I go.  Most of what I do either involves stuff I already own or things I found at Goodwill.

Yes, I want this:

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And this:

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And this:

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And ESPECIALLY this:

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But when it comes down to it, what I really want is what we have.  And I want to make it ours.  I want every inch of it to be dripping with love and marks of our family.  I want our history and character and passions to shine through.  I want people to walk in the door and know who we are and what we are about because our house tells our story.

It’s going to be a long story.  A good, long story.

It won’t be told quickly.  It won’t look like a catalog.  It probably won’t be anything you’d want your house to look like.  And that’s ok, because it isn’t your story.  It’s ours.

Little by little, deliberately, slowly, methodically…we will take this tiny house and tell our story with it.  Our “little into a lot” story.

Because, really, this is what I want:

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10 thoughts on “Turning A Little Into A Lot

  1. Love it Heidi! And yes when we lived in a “small” house (still huge by the worlds standards, small by US standards) life did seem much simpler and definitely easier to clean. I love everything you’re doing to your house. It’s so you and I love that. Have you seen the brick that’s not brick at all for the walls? I blog friend of mine who does interior decorating on the side did it and it’s amazing. Someday right?

  2. Awww… You make me get excited to own a place faster! :) but u’re fortunate to b in a country whr housing isnt that expensive compared to a ridiculously small place in sg… But love your spirit! Wish to c more of the kids bedrm!

  3. We’re very happy that you guys like living next door! We love having neighbors like you and feel blessed that God brought you all to the neighborhood!! As for turning a little into a lot, you have inspired me greatly and I see some changes and remodeling in our future as well! We may need to solicit some thoughts/advice on the subject!

  4. I so get this post and truthfully think a home requires you to invest of yourself and make your fingerprints on it and in it – otherwise it will just be a house – maybe perfectly decorated catalogue style but not with your personal blood, sweat, and tears. Okay that is a little poetically dramatic but you understand. I have loved watching your home transpire with the beauty of Heidi and the love of your husband and the joy of your Children all over it. Being content is such a good place to be – truly – are we not blessed beyond measure in the grand scheme of things? Oh and the bigger means more to clean has always been my philosophy too – I love the look and feel of other peoples beautiful big homes but I am always so glad I don’t have to clean them! My 2400 square feet is always sadly reminding me that I am not such a fan of cleaning… Those pesky bathrooms especially…

  5. PSS. When we moved into this house I wanted our style and fingerprints and personality to be on the house right away…I’ve learned it really is made over time. The beauty of an ‘old’ house…is the personality and life that is evident from the years of being there… well, 2 months down….years and years to go!!!

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