By Bev Thompson
2013 was a doozy for our family. It was a season full of change and unknowns to say the least. Thinking there would be a potential move from Oxford, we sold our previous home quicker than we thought. Thankfully we had a friend with a vacant condo that we were able to rent until we figured out what was next. When I say condo, visions of spacious, luxury rooms overlooking the Square may come to mind. This was not our family’s experience. We were grateful for the space that was available at the right time, but our family of six was cramped! I told myself that it was temporary and I could do anything for a few months. But 6 months, 9 months, a year later we had not moved from Oxford like we thought, and our family needed a home to live in again. In desperation I began driving around Oxford wishing, hoping something would show itself.
One cold winter afternoon I happened to turn down a little dead end street, and there it was. With a for sale sign in the yard! Looking past the overgrown shrubs and uncared for exterior sat a cute home with a wrap-around porch and bright yellow doors. Could this be our answer as to how to get out of the condo? Turns out the house had been rented for years, left vacant for a while, and was definitely in need of some attention. Long story short, buying this house was not an easy process. There are still times now that I look back on that time and just know with all my heart that God provided a way for us.
Although we were definitely happy and hopeful to finally be home owners again, we would have to first make some major changes before we could move in. Probably a little in over our heads, the whole family got to work on demolition. The home had originally been built for a single woman, so it did not quite fit our family of six. We knew walls needed to come down in order to turn small, closed off rooms into a more open floor plan where our bigger family had room to move around and gather all together. There was also the bathroom that had bead-board surrounding the bathtub. You know water and wood don’t usually do well together, and as suspected once we had torn back to the studs there had been some water damage. Pulling up old linoleum floors and scraping the popcorn ceiling was all part of the fun. After much help from friends and family and a lot of paint later, we were finally able to move in.
It looked like we planned to stay in Oxford for a little longer after all. We were so thankful to have a place to call home again. This time we were on the opposite side of town than we had lived before. We quickly got used to the convenience of being so close to schools, church, and other activities. Although we were closer to town, it felt like we were out in the county. Our house, which also included a little more land than what we were used to, was on a county road shared by only five other homes. It was perfect! The longer we lived there the more we fell in love with not only our home and location, but also our neighbors. I know I am biased, but I don’t think anyone has better neighbors than we do. So as the years passed and our kids were getting older, we again started thinking about how to make our home fit our family even better. The “laundry room” was still in the kitchen, so that was enough for this mom of four to start to day dream of adding on. By this time, we definitely could not imagine living anywhere else. Remember I have already said how awesome our neighbors are.
So unknowingly at the height of the lumber craze, we embarked on our second remodel, plus a few new additions. This time we did not only work inside the existing home, but poured new foundation for what would become a carport, master bedroom and bath, mudroom, and yes, my laundry room. Since the laundry would no longer be done on the kitchen floor, a new kitchen configuration was also included in the new set of plans. Not one of our smartest decisions, but we decided we could just keep living in the house while the addition was being done. Not sure how our builders or us survived it, but we did! Last year we really got to enjoy the fruit of all the labor and stress that went into this renovation. I did not think we could love our house as much as we already did, but it just keeps getting better. We can say we know what it feels like to turn a house into a home. We hope to make many more memories in this home, and who knows what it might look like several years from now. But for now I’ll be back in my laundry room smiling.