Home Sweet Home

by laura.johnson

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Not only did we move to the the city we've always called home we have jumped in with both feet and purchased a home that hopefully our family can grow into over the years to come. Yes, after loving apartment life for 14 years we started to see the up side of homeownership.  A little bit more space to stretch our wings, a yard to call our own, a garage to park our stroller er I mean cars in, you can tell where my priorities lie. And dare we dream of the amenities that come with home life, maybe a dishwasher or heavens LAUNDRY!

But first let me back up a bit, as Andrea mentioned we actually moved back to Iowa last February.  It was a move that was a long time coming but that didn't make it any easier to leave the friends that had become our family for the last 4 years.

And then there was the small hurdle of employment. Cody was able to substitute teach the remainder of the year, but we were still up in the air about what the next school year would hold for us. In mid June Cody was offered a job at the school where he student taught 9 years ago. Hallelujah! From there the race to find a house was on… well more like on pause until we had 2 hot little pay stubs in our hands. But that didn't stop me from stalking Zillow like it was Dow Jones Industrial Average. I would watch houses that I could have loved come and go, taking note of the number of days on the market, final sale, price per square foot. All so that once we were ready to pull the trigger we would know a good deal when we saw it. 

We also spent the summer creating our list of 'MUST haves'. This is what we came up with:

  • Older home with character
  • 4 bedrooms (or could be turned into a 4 bedroom)
  • Over 1800 square feet
  • Decent elementary school
  • And maybe if we were lucky some ugly linoleum and wallpaper to remove. After all, I am a girl who loves a project!

We gave the list to our agent Jason Rude and set up showings all over town, knocking out 5-6 houses a day and quickly realizing the deception that goes into real estate photography. Jason sent us the listing for our house mid July, it was priced way outside our price range, so it hadn't shown up on any of our searches. But after seeing the house in person, he thought it would be perfect for us. Better yet, he predicted that come fall the price would drop substantially. 0000_613919820_largeOf course I thought it was too good to be true. A house this beautiful, this big, for us? But come September, the house price dropped drastically, even still it was still as the higher side of our budget so we put in a very comfortable offer, and the understandably seller turned us down. 

We spent 2 more weeks exhausting every other potential house on the market even looking at some that could be on the market soon. There were some real contenders houses we definitely could have loved, but most needed A LOT more work, and by the time the repairs were done the finished price would be comparable. So after a long Sunday afternoon walk we decided to offer them closer to their drastically reduced asking price. Best. Decision. Ever. Well… besides when we decided to get married, but totally best decision of our married lives! 

Ok ready for me to give you a tour?  These are the real estate photos so don't mind the other people's furniture and don't be fooled by the wide angle photography.  Don't get me wrong the space is big a beautiful but not quite how it is pictured here.

So please come into our foyer, the stairs to the right take you up to the second floor bedrooms, but first we'll head straight through to the kitchen.0012_1866815773_largeThey previous two owners did a lot of work updating the kitchen, for which we are forever grateful! There is no way we would have chosen this nice of appliances for ourselves, but we are totally loving cooking on the gas range with a griddle in the center! And no it is not a photography trick the fridge is in the most awkward spot possible, that may need to change asap!0002_1953359816_largeSo if we walk around the awkward fridge there is a door into the dining room. I love the deep blue color and large windows that overlook the back deck. Of course the beautiful farmhouse table didn't stay with the place, but we have big plans to make a gorgeous table. Of course that is in the 9-18 month plan so for now our tiny table looks a little bit silly in such a big room

0004_1509567507_largeLet us now convene in the sitting room. Ok, something about this front room feels so fancy and formal to me. I am sure once we fill it with our own furniture and art it will start to feel more like us, but for now it just feels fancy. 0006_1110221296_large The moment my friend Tonya saw this room she said, you've got to have an old fashioned ball in here! I think that might be more a statement on how little furniture we have to fill the space, but if we have any Downtown Abbey style parties I'll be sure to let y'all know!0007_1327186894_large For all of the furniture that didn't stay the upright piano in the corner is still here, and according to my musician friends it is a really nice piano, score!  Neither Cody nor I play, so a piano was nowhere on our radar, but I must say it is really nice to have. The other morning our church group gathered singing carols and hymns of praise and it was so nice to have a beautiful instrument to sing along with. Maybe one day I'll break out some sheet music and pluck my way through a song or two.

OK, on to the office or library if you are still feeling the fancy vibes. This room struck us as such an odd space, it seemed like a passage space between destinations. But since moving in it has been the room we hang out in the most! Maybe because it is also the warmest room downstairs, but we often curl up with Lydia and a box of crayons and spend hours playing in here. Just goes to show you'll never know how a house will fit you until you move in!0008_835629255_large Now to the sunroom. This was a BIG selling point. Look at those gorgeous windows! Cody calls this the toy room, I call it the Mommy room. We've put most of Lydia's toys in here along with a little loveseat so I can curl up in the sunshine, drink my coffee or chat with a friends as the kid's play. It really is more wonderful than you can imagine. 0010_741850613_large0014_346076776_largeAlright, let's go upstairs to the "residence" as we've come to call it. The house is roughly 4 times the size of any other place we've lived, so until we get used to the size, the bedrooms seem SO FAR AWAY right now. In reality we are just used to being 50 feet from every room in the house.

Just the left of the built-in cabinet is the upstairs laundry and a second bathroom that includes a massive whirlpool tub that we have deemed at Lydia's lap pool. However they didn't take photos of this bath because the dated wallpaper and tile would deter a lot of buyers, but I see it as a major plus. After all it is a small room to tackle and bathrooms are packed full of potential!0015_1839970860_largeThis has become Lydia's room, partly because of the cute girly colors but mostly because it is the warmest room upstairs. The previous owners had decorated the room with adorable decals that they left for us. I'm not sure they will stay. They are cute, but I'm not sure they are quite 'us'.

0016_1205926592_large This has been deemed Uncle Alan's room/ The Freezer. It is on the northwest side of the house and is by far the coldest of the rooms upstairs. We have long term plans of insulation and tighter windows that will help, but I wouldn't be surprised if this room is always a bit of the chilly side.0017_1483564885_large Ahh the master. We joke that this room is as big as our first studio apartment! Which isn't true but not far off. I have completely fallen in love with the color scheme I was unsure about the navy ceiling at first but after a few nights sleeping under it I have become a big believer! It creates such dark peaceful sleeping environment, plus with all of these large south facing windows we get plenty of light during the day.

On to the basement.0018_622764076_large There is a small amount of finished space in the basement with a beautiful mantel that I'm dying to decorate. And don't be fooled by the wet bar in the corner it is really a cover for our sump pump and radon mitigation. Behind here is a small work space, utility room, and storage. Best of all the basement has a side door entrance so Cody is really looking forward to having a guy's Bible study meet down here or host late night game nights with a fire roaring in the fireplace. For now is is housing all the boxes I don't feel like unpacking just yet.0021_623278959_largeBeautiful back deck with moveable benches. Perfect for hosting dinner parties al fresco or just enjoying a little bit of sun while Lydia plays.0020_649765076_large And finally our great back yard, complete with a swing and plenty of grass to run and play. As you can tell it is quite shady, I don't think there is any room for a garden back here, but never fear, I'm toying with a few ideas for a front yard garden. Anyone had luck planning a potager garden?  I think I'll need to call up my garden tutor again to help me with some planning. 

We have been in the house a little over a month and have loved so much about owning our own home. Getting up in the mornings and drinking coffee while Lydia plays in the sun room, raking leaves, watching the girl run laps around the living room, having space to invite loved ones over for an impromptu pizza party.  t is all so wonderful! We have been counting our many blessings the past few weeks and every day are amazed at how much the Lord has given us.

So how did you decide to purchase your home? Did you guys look forever or buy the first gem you looked at? I have a friend that for her last two home purchases she only looked at a total of four houses!  My mind just doesn't work like that!

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laura.johnson

  1. Oh, Laura! What a beautiful blessing of a home God has given you and Cody and Lydia! I'm so thankful that you have a place to make all your own! I can't wait to see how you personalize each space:)

    • Thanks Joy!  And how I wish we lived close so I could barrow your mighty wall paper steamer. There are a few rooms here that definatly need to be tackled!

  2. Ahh! So jealous! We peruse Iowa Realty from time to time dreaming of owning a home again. I can't wait to see what you do with the place!

    • Oh Brittney that is a dangerous game, if you are going to look at Iowa real estate you should also bring up the weather forecast to help balance out the picture. :) 

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