When we first moved to the island 3 1/2 years ago, we bought what we thought was our dream house. It had a curved stairway that we both pictured Cerys walking down in her prom dress when she turns 16. It had a kitchen that went on forever and a million cabinets. The bedroom was huge and included a master bath that had a jetted tub surrounded by windows with a forest view. We owned 3 acres of mostly wooded land. It was heavenly.
When we moved from Virginia we left a split level home that had crooked walls and very low 70's ceilings. Everything was brittle and could fall apart in our hands. It was our first American home though so moving from our very small house in England, our 70's home was fantastic. But when we found this modern, large house on the second day after moving to the Seattle area, we were simply seduced. Especially since we never could have afforded this house in VA.
The cabinets are only the back portion of the entire kitchen. The strange thing is that we lived here a few months when I realized this house wasn't me at all. It was lovely and posh feeling, spacious but it felt soulless. Perhaps because we didn't really settle or perhaps it was because it didn't have enough sunshine for me. A year and some months after we moved into our dream home we sold it in pursuit of building an eco home. We planned to build it very original and probably make it a Deltec Home (which is actually round). Silly us for having too big of a dream. Or should I say, silly for thinking we had that much free time. We can barely get a floor sanded in our already built house now let alone build a house from the foundation up.
We didn't know this then. So we took a trip to Eugene, OR to see a Deltec home for sale. I wanted to get a feel for it and see what it was like in real life. Whenever I get unsettled (which used to be kind of often), I look at real estate in any other place than where I am living. Usually I hit California first on-line and after the sticker shock I move north. I look at places which have a Waldorf School which narrows down my choices quite quickly. I loved Eugene for it's school, restaurants, shopping and thrift shops. It was a little too far from large bodies of water though (aka Puget Sound) and Dave couldn't work there with his current company. Yet, this visit changed everything because we realized we didn't want to build a home. We wanted an old home with character and soul. My true dream house is a Victorian with a witches hat or maybe a widows walk. I loved the house from Charmed or the movie Practical Magic. That will be our next home near Port Townsend.
We traveled home to Washington and started our search for an older house and luckily found one before it even went on the market. The owner was just about to paint the outside, inside and get new carpets for the home. We said "stop, we'll do it instead." and agreed to buy the home with some money taken off since it wasn't going to be fixed up prior to selling. We visited Eugene in the beginning of February and I think we found our house within two months. It wasn't a Victorian but it was a 1927 home, with peekaboo views of the water, with a little under a half an acre and it needed some light work. It was as perfect as we could get at this point in our lives. Of course the size of the rooms in 1927 didn't account for a large television in the living room with an entertainment center, nor did they have as many clothes in their closets since Goodwill didn't exist and they must not have had too many kitchen gadgets since our kitchen is rather small, especially counter top space. It is comfortable though, easy to heat (except for the winter draft from single paned windows and no wall insulation) and I love every last bit of it. For the first time in 8 years, I retired our moving boxes. It was the first time I even felt settled since my childhood home.
Since we moved here in June of 2005, I have been searching for a hutch with doors to store our wine glasses and other glassware. We lost so much cabinet space by moving from our spacious house to our comfortable house. Up until last Saturday most of our glasses were still in the basement in moving boxes. Last weekend my nearly 2 year search for a perfect hutch came to a close when I found this.
It is the giant green thing in the back. Someone went with a faux shabby chic look to it which is odd because it is already old. Keiran described the paint job as dirty. Underneath the "dirty" green is actually a lovely aqua blue. We found this at a yard sale that was one of those awful ones where you see lots of people coming away empty handed. Not a good sign for a good sale. The person was actually only selling 4 pieces of furniture and some gardening items.
We walked onto their porch and I saw this hutch and wanted it bad. I had priced only a top part of a hutch, similar in style, for $349.00 at an antique store a month or so ago. It would probably have fit on the dresser to the right of the hutch, but too much money. The seller was asking $200.00 for the hutch. It was incredibly challenging to try to talk Dave into buying it, while our two children ran circles around us asking us question as well as all the people coming to the sale trying to fit on this small sun porch. I nearly threw myself on the hutch to discourage others from even glancing it's way. It was really stressful and we felt under a lot of pressure. Dave knocked $25.00 off the price and we bought her for $175.00 and dragged her home. Dave has a problem visualizing something like this until it is in our house. I on the other hand have visualized something like this hutch for 20 months and knew it was perfect. He's the logical one and I'm the emotional one. To him it was price and size, to me it was love at first hutch. We compromised (kind of) and bought the thing. He loves it now. We tend to balance each other out in the end for most decisions.
I used some of my Cath Kidston wall paper and I was delighted to discover that it is made just of paper and not plastic. It's like the vintage wall paper used to be made of. I cut it to size and lined the shelves with it. The pink dishes above are some Hazel Atlas pink rimmed dishes my father found in a dumpster next to his home. Their neighbor had passed away and the family was emptying most of the house contents into the dumpster. My father tried to save as much as he could. This is one of the highlights of things they found.
I love filling a home with new (but thrifted) furniture. I get so much satisfaction to find something sturdy and old at a yard sale rather than buying new.
It feels incredible to settle slowly into our home. This will be the family home that our children remember fondly when they are older. It was kind of fun to move around from house to house during the last 10 years, explore new areas and thrift stores, but I much prefer finding a real home to live in and to make ours. Our tenth anniversary is coming up on April 1st and we decided to buy each other fruit trees and fruit bushes as our gifts. To us a very romantic gesture that we have finally found home.