Friday, January 6, 2012

A New Vision

I've yet to tell the story of how this house became a home.

It looked nothing like it does today when we bought it. It was in great shape, but their was certainly no grand vision presented in that first walk through. But, I saw her potential.

David had to return to work immediately after a week long vacation in Arkansas to retrieve Harbor, Gigi, our dog, and me. He left us every morning after 5:00 a.m. and we were on our own.

I spent two days painting while my mom, thankfully, kept up with Harbor.

We had nothing.
dishes, silverware, furniture, internet, computer, dining room table, lamps, chairs , couch, dressers, or a television to watch.
We were waiting on the movers, due to arrive in days.

Thankfully, waiting in Arkansas to close on the Detroit house gave me plenty of time to figure out fabric, paint, and a very loose furniture arrangement plan.

Remember, David made an offer on the house before I ever laid eyes on it in person. I was seriously in the dark for much of the decision making, but thankful I married a man who could handle such a big decision alone.
I was without him in Arkansas trying to prepare sub plans to cover the rest of the year.
In fact the first time I walked into the house, we were days from closing.

And then the movers arrived.
And David was busy tackling big clients and new projects at work.

So, I had to handle it all. All by myself.
The unloading instructions. The decision for where a million boxes were to be placed. The assertion and direction needed to direct a crew. The financial end of paying them.
Telling them to be careful when they scratched the hardwood floors.
Just the week before, I was in a classroom, teaching.

My mom chased Harbor and our dog, and I put on a very brave face.
 I recall feeling so overwhelmed.
At that point in time, I didn't even know our zip code by heart, let alone where the grocery store was.
I hadn't driven by myself alone in our neighborhood, not even once.
It was both a wildly freeing and petrifying experience.

And the house piled high with boxes.
And David kept working and mom kept chasing.
Everything to unpack and organize rested with me.

I didn't eat lunch. I didn't stop. I didn't take breaks. It was insanity.

And Harbor was a typical two year old, looking for something familiar.
We had left my career, our home, our state, our friends, our family.. all in one fell swoop.
The smell of cardboard boxes was a very real reminder that we had done something extraordinary.

Within two days, I had delved an organizational  plan and got to work.
I was determined to have it all done in a  matter of weeks.
 And I did.
But, I still stopped to read books and play. Harbor needed all of our attention.
To know that the entire world wasn't turned upside down- on the contrary, just our house.

And David worked 10 hour days and came home and painted the entire house night after night, sometimes getting only five hours of sleep an evening.
Remind me of that when I get irratated at him from time to time. : )

Thankfully, he had some help.

Good help is hard to come by when you don't know many people in a new state. : )

And within three days, things slowly came out of bubble wrap. Three stories and ten years worth of "stuff."
Aren't the first few days of decorating so very painful?

And with a dining room table, we quit eating on the floor.
My mom was sewing drapes from bolts of fabric I had prebought as fast as the fresh paint was drying.

And Harbor explored tent city, overflowing with mazes, nooks, crannies, and places for losing little race cars.

And David kept painting, giving me the chance to hang curtains and decide on paintings.

My mom was the real hero. A full time babysitter, for both Harbor and the dog.
I was a machine who bulldozed through four bedrooms, a living room, a sitting room, a kitchen, a dining room, a foyer, a craft room, a playroom, a laundry room, a basement.

Kids are so resilient.
In chaos, the familiarity of my mom's cooking, my laughter, David's strong hug, it was as though Harbor had no real idea that anything was out of place. He just kept on. He had us.

And you won't believe it {well, maybe you will..} but in only two weeks, we had the entire house painted, unpacked, and decorated.
In two weeks time, we welcomed house guests from Arkansas and entertained.
Everything was hung, sewn, cleaned, arranged, and ready.

Now, brace yourself, folks.
When we walked into the house together for the first time, this is what we saw.
Now you can see it, too.
The previous homeowners....

The dining room before:

and after:

The fireplace before:

And after:

The dining room before:

And after:

Hold on to your hat...

The living room before:

And after:

The living room into the dining room before:

And after:

The master bedroom before:

And after:

The master bedroom before:

And after:

The master sitting room before:

And after:

The master bedroom before:

And after:

So, if you feel the urge to sell your house because it doesn't look they way you dream...
grab some paint and simply realize that it may not be the bones of your house that need adjusting.
I'm sure your house in and of itself is already fabulous.
Just try a new vision. : )


  1. you know, you could be an interior decorator. IN fact, one day when I buy or build a new home, I'm hiring you. I decided that a long time ago. you're amazing!!! great job, mama!

  2. How amazing! When you look back and reflect on all this, you probably wonder "How did I do all of that?" You had a great team and God directing it all! It is gorgeous!

  3. Wow!!!!!
    I love how how you decorate and you really made the house a home!!!

  4. Oh goodness, Jessica, you have done an amazing job!!! I love our house, but we need to decorate!

  5. Wow! What a transformation! It's beautiful! I would be the same way! I would have to get it all unpacked and organized as quickly as possible. I just need it to feel like home sooner rather than later. We are looking at a move (not quite as far as yours) next year. I'm a little scared because we've been in our house 4 years this summer, we have lots more stuff than we did and we love this place! This is the longest I've been in a home since I moved out of my parents place in almost 10 years ago. I am looking forward to decorating somewhere new. There are things I want to replace here but I know it's not worth it since we will be moving in a year or so.

  6. Hi Jessica! I took part in a fun blog Q & A game and tagged you also! Hope you'll play along!

    don't forget to tag 11 friends with the questions you make for them and the person who tagged you so we can see your responses!

  7. Beautiful job! I have always loved your decorating.

  8. Jessica,
    LOVE your beautiful home. You have done a remarkable job. Toby and I are in the same boat, except without the move;) We've been in our house for eight years now (gasp!), and we are ready for some changes. I'll Mostly cosmetic, but 'a new vision' nonetheless. You inspire us all to forge ahead and make our homes what we want them to be!

  9. I sort of have a case of the jealousies over here and feel pathetic at the same time. I have been in my new house for 5 months (I did have a baby and hysterectomy) but girl you have run CIRCLES around me! Help me Lord!

  10. Love your post! That is exactly how we feel about our "new to us" home. We still have a long ways to go around here but we are having fun in the process.

  11. SO neat!

    That little song comes to mind from Wonder Pets..."What's gonna work? TEAMWORK!" :) Great job by all of you. Love the picture of you reading to H among all the boxes!

  12. Thank you so much Jessica for your kind words but really you are the real hero in all this for picking up you,Harbor,Bichon & even David & moving so far away from all your family & friends. I remember all the moves we made in the military & its allot of hardships when you have to move far from family & friends. Of course you can make new friends but it isn't always easy to do that. The older we get the less time we seem to have to invest in friendships even thru it is more important than ever too have good friends as we get older but we are also more busier with life as we get older. I just love how you have made every part of your house a home & every room has your personailty in it. Thats so neat how you were able to pull those photos from the ads that had the house for sale to compare your rooms to their's. I loved every moment being their with you & David & Harbor & even Bichon as you made the house come together. Really no one but us knows really how much work it took to make the final photos look like they did,ha!!! And little Harbor was such a good little boy during the project. Harbor & Gigi took many walks & somedays Bichon got to go with us. Those days seem so long ago but they really won't. I miss you & love you always Jessica, MOM

  13. It looks fabulous. You really are a talented decorator :)

  14. AH, we went through the same thing with our house. Wallpaper plastered RIGHT on top of sheetrock, no paint first! NIGHTMARE! But we survived. Your house is beautiful :)

  15. Unbelievable!! Beautiful is an understatement! It's amazing what you've done with the house.