Just a short drive from our home is a new housing development. Recently I wandered through five of these new million & a half dollar houses. They had all the modern features you’d expect: stainless steel everything, outdoor kitchens, huge media rooms, a bar, heated garages, vaulted ceilings, open floor plan… & no yard.
A million here, a million there, pretty soon it’ll add up to real money.
These new houses were filled with high end furniture and staged to give an illusion of being lived in. After wandering these houses, it occurred to me that it isn’t what I wanted in life. New may seem nice. It’s fun to show off and pretend like you have your shit together, but who are you trying to impress?
Is this still the dream?
Needless to say, I came home to my place and felt partly defeated. My home is from the 70’s. We bought the house in 2007 and have done many changes to it. It has gone through many upgrades and renovations over the years. It has character. It’s not a cookie cutter design, it was custom made by a bricklayer- and it shows. Because it was custom made in the 70’s , I’ve run into many problems. Electrical and plumbing are high on that list.
I love doing home renovations. Walking through the new housing development, I got some ideas to update my home. Most of my knowledge comes from personal research (mostly on Pinterest) and my time spent working as a sales associate at Home Depot. During the slow times there, I’d wander to the different departments and ask questions. I learned that the staff at my local Home Depot are extremely knowledgeable in their given departments. I also learned, don’t ask for help on a weekend, it’s always busy. Go in mid-week during the day and you will be able to truly learn something of value. There are also plenty of great how-to books and seminars available.
Over the years, I learned the hard way that you need the right tools for the job. Never cut corners. I take pride in the work I have done around my home. The hardest part I have found is finishing my projects. I’ll get about 90% done, and stop. It’s the little finishes that I need to do: baseboards, or hiding wires, or adding that little bit of caulking.
Here’s the thing: I’m not building my home to impress anyone. I’m building it because I enjoy what I do. My home has a yard. A yard that my kids and dogs have made good use of. A yard that I enjoy looking at and hanging out in.
Our door is always open, unless it’s closed.
As much as a new house would be nice to own, I’d lose my little bit of tranquility. I’d be bored not having a project to work on. I’m not ready to do that. My home is a place that we welcome friends and future friends to visit. You’ll find unfinished walls, dog hair on the furniture, and smiles on our faces.
Just remember to bring the white wine and beer as we fire up the grill this summer and create memories that will last a lifetime. That makes my home worth more to me than a million bucks and I’m not ready to sell.