I want to tell the story of how we got our house because I think it showcases that there are still good kind people in the world and highlights the continued impact a kind act can have on someone. And I don’t know about you, but my spirit can use any example of kindness it can get these days.
As I’ve mentioned, we live in San Diego, where the housing market is over-saturated, costs have been on the rise, and the market is extremely competitive for buyers. It’s not an environment supportive to young middle-class families looking to buy homes. Many of the competitors we encountered while searching for a home were flipping companies with limitless funds, with whom we had no competition. After one whole year of trips to see houses, endless emails to our realtor, and several denied or surpassed offers, we were feeling pretty hopeless about ever finding a home for our soon-to-be-arriving baby girl. I was also feeling sad about other people’s intentions…I wrote letters describing our family and what a home would mean to us for at least 5 different properties, and every time the owners chose one of those flipping investors mentioned above. It seemed that we couldn’t win against money, which made my heart heavy.
Then, a house was about to come on the market in a neighborhood we liked, and I happened to see the sign before it was listed. Our agent managed to get me in to see the house on a Friday, before the seller held an open house that Sunday, and I fell in love with the possibilities for the little 1968 3 bedroom, 2 bath with a lovely evening view off the back and a big tree in the backyard. Our agent insisted we put in an offer before the open house. Only one problem: my husband hadn’t seen the property and could only go off my opinion and pictures I took. Well, he took a leap of faith despite his hesitancy and after some negotiating, our offer was accepted!
I wont go into too much detail about how we remodeled the entire home, how I spent every day after work in or outside the home laying in the grass while workers put in floors and cabinets, how a conflict with a worker we hired meant we completed a lot of painting ourselves (with masks for the 8 months pregnant lady), and how we moved in barely a week before Lucy decided to make her arrival. These things made our home more of a labor of love, but the true meaning of our home was already made clear when we met the selling family on the day we closed escrow. On that day, we met two daughters of the previous owners. We learned that the owners were a much beloved couple with a large family that had used our house as a gathering place since they had bought it years ago. The children of the owners clearly loved the house and the memories made there, and one daughter explained that they knew they wanted to sell the house to a family. When they learned we were expecting a baby, she said, they felt even stronger about it going to us because their mother loved babies, they were her thing. I’ll never forget the sister telling me on that beautiful day that their only wish for the house is that it would bring another family just as much joy as it had theirs. I am sure they got better offers than ours, but the value of the house to them was not in money. I will forever be grateful for this.
I am still in the process of creating a living space we love, and I hope to share a few future projects here with you. In the meantime, these are some snapshots of little things that have made our house more of a home, both for use and for the previous owners. We have tried to honor the previous owners by keeping much of the yard the same, and the little knick-knacks around serve as a reminder of the love that was obviously built there. (Links for products at the end of this post)
A few weeks ago, a car was driving by our house and slowed to look at it. We must have had strange looks because the car stopped and a young woman explained she was the granddaughter of the previous owners, visiting from India, and just wanted to look at the house once more. We invited her inside, which she accepted, and the joy seeing her grandparents house again was visible on her face. I told her how much it meant to us that her mother and aunt decided to sell to us, and the appreciation we continue to have for the lives that must have been lived where we are just beginning ours. We may have both cried a lot that day.
Does your home have a story? What kind of story to you hope to write in yours?
Home info and links: Chairs: World Market; pillows: Target and Marshalls; faux taxidermy: White Faux Taxidermy; frames and other wall art: Target, World Market, Marshalls; Italy calendar: similar on Amazon; poster hanger: Urban Outfitters; table: World Market; chairs: similar on Amazon.
Lucy is wearing our favorite romper from Old Navy and these adorable shoes from Humble Hilo.