All images in this post are by the talented Jade Averill Photography
Have you heard the news on Instagram? After waiting over five years for the “right” time, our family has finally purchased land as the first step in the journey of building our own home. It’s been a long ride and today I’m finally feeling ready to share more about this part of our lives. I know many people are always curious about the homes of interior designers. I’m often asked to share photos of our home, but quite frankly, I never share this because I’ve never really had a true home of my own. A designer’s nightmare, right?! So today I’m going to share way too many details about our history of “homes” and just why this project means so much for us moving forward.
MY FIRST APARTMENT
I lived with my parents through college. I attended a local community college for three years before transferring to the university. Before moving, my husband and I were married. So as newlyweds, we drove off to our first “home” and rented an apartment while I completed my final year of school. Our small, very brown (brown carpet, brown paneling, brown cabinets!) apartment was our first home together. After about six months, we found ourselves very sick from black mold toxicity and all of our personal belongings and new home gifts from our wedding destroyed. So we started from square one. We were transferred to another apartment for our remaining few months of our lease. After those couple of months were over and I was done with school, we packed up so fast and left town!
POINT YOUR FINGER SOMEWHERE ON A MAP…
We weren’t sure where we wanted to go next. We stayed with my parents for about a month and then I landed a few interviews over on the west coast. For a few days, we dreamed of living on that side of the state. Nothing came of it though, and we sat staring at each other in the hotel room wondering where we were going to live. At the time, going back home to Spokane seemed like the worst possible choice. We wanted change and adventure. We started throwing out names of cities to live in, and I offered up Denver, as one of my best friends and her family lived there and I had visited a few times. Connor agreed, so we went home, packed a suitcase, and off we drove.
MOVING THERE, THEN HERE AGAIN
We made arrangements to live with my friend’s family for a few months so we could explore the city to see if it was right for us, get jobs and find housing. After about four months of living out of a suitcase and a storage unit, we purchased a townhouse and moved in. It was very nice and we felt pretty proud of it. It was in a little suburban neighborhood with nice shopping, good schools, and yet our mortgage was cheaper than any apartment we could have rented there. We lived there for about six months and then it happened…the homesickness kicked in.
We missed our families, the lakes, and holidays together. Despite having incredible jobs and a few friends, we were so lonely. I think it was on Easter, another holiday alone, that we took a bike ride and one of us brought up the conversation neither of us wanted to confess. We started asking ourselves, “what was so bad about Spokane?” And within a ten minute conversation, it was decided upon. We were moving back home. We called our parents right then and it was like a whirlwind of emotions. Excitement to return to Spokane, but total disappointment of leaving our jobs and city life. We moved back home within a month.
NEW PLANS TO BE MADE
We literally had no plan from there. We moved in with Connor’s parents. After a few months, it was time to get jobs and find our own place again. We started renting from my grandma at her vacant house. We thought it would be just a while before we would buy a house and renovate. Shortly after, we found out my childhood home was literally listed for free if someone spent the money to move it off the lot (yes, you CAN move houses!).
We started dreaming! How amazing would it be to buy some land and set my childhood home on it? After moving every few months, it felt like the perfect symbolism of growing roots and finding home. We started planning. We talked to the banks, we drove for hours looking at land every weekend, and I started on the floor plans for phasing out renovations and even a plan for an addition we could add on some day. I spent months working on all of the logistics and then…things changed.
AN OUT-OF-REACH DREAM
The banks were nervous about funding a house move. Connor decided he wanted to go back to school for nursing. I found out I was pregnant with our first child. All at once, the doors closed and this journey had come to an end. We switched gears and started house hunting instead. Nothing seemed to stand out and nothing came close to the dream we had almost created. I didn’t want to put a dime towards a home we weren’t excited about. So we decided to stay at the rental and make it home for a while. We would settle in for a few years.
I started nesting and we painted the house and set up a garden. There was only so much we could do with a rental so instead we invested in some new furniture pieces, curtains, etc. We ended up living there for about two years, which was the longest we had lived anywhere for the last 4-5 years. We had planned on staying longer, at least until Connor was done with school, but then another wrench got thrown in the plan.
My grandma needed to sell the house. At this point, we were knee deep in parenthood, school, and financially just looking to save every penny to prepare for buying a house. My parents decided to buy my grandma’s house in hopes that we could continue to rent from them, but the banks said that wasn’t an option. So then, it was decided that my parents would move to that house, and we would move to their house to rent. A little switcharoo! So in the middle of winter, we were literally swapping places.
We’ve been renting from my parents for the last year and a half and while we are once more close to reaching a two year mark of living in the same place, we also once more prepare for another move. At this point, things are looking up. We’ve been working hard and saving money to acquire that dream of living on acreage. However, with the real estate market being quite insane, it no longer makes sense for us to renovate. Our plans now point to a new construction home, which will hopefully begin after Connor completes school later this summer. My parents recently sold the other house and have moved back into the home we are renting from them, and Connor and I are back to determining our next temporary house while our true home gets built.
Nowhere in my adult life has ever felt like home. I’m turning 28 this year and at this point I’ve never felt the feeling of home since I was 18. We’ve managed to settle in to each place we’ve lived, but it’s never truly been “home.” When we were younger, the constant change felt adventurous. It felt like that was what we should be doing as young adults, newlyweds, etc.
But as we got older, and especially after having our daughter, each move was a heartbreak. It was pulling up her roots again and again, and that’s what made me ache. Although those houses were never my home, they were hers. It was all she knew as home in her life this far. The pain made me work harder and harder. I couldn’t stop and it made me sacrifice just about everything to get to the point of claiming a forever home for us. For her.
Last month, we took the first step toward that home I’ve dreamed of for our family. After a pretty short period of searching for land, we got our dream property. It checks all the boxes on our wish list and more! It feels so surreal that after so many years of waiting, the time has come. The timeline for our construction has yet to be determined, but one step has been taken. And that’s all that matters in this moment.
I can’t wait to share more about the property and our plans for design and construction. But tonight, I just felt the need to share this story. It’s probably way too in depth and most people will care only about the future posts of sharing plans for the home. But I know some of you have been listening to my story. You are curious about what has led up to this new chapter of our lives. And I wanted to share quite honestly that the process of getting to this point has not come easily.
LITTLE STEPS & BIG SACRIFICES
It has never been our ideal situation to live with our parents for periods of time, say “no” to occasions of going out with friends, and certainly not to keep using one of our cars that is literally destroyed from when it was stolen from us, totaled, and then returned. But we’ve happily, and sometimes not so happily, made these sacrifices because they never compared to what we were working toward for our family. I’m so thrilled to put this all behind us now. And I seriously can’t wait to share the process of this journey!
I’d also love to hear from you…
What would you like us to share on our journey? What would you like to learn about the planning, design, or construction process?