Updated: Sep 5
We had a ridiculous detour in our small town that lasted the entire summer. Every day I drove miles out of my way to get to town. One day as I was driving, I noticed a for sale sign on a little white farmhouse. The grass was not mowed, and the paint was chipping off. It looked to be in need of repair. I talked to my husband that night and on a whim, we decided to contact the realtor to check it out. My husband and I are the parents of six kids. Three of whom we adopted a few years ago. At about the same time, we moved our family of eight to a home that was a better fit. That first fall in the new house, my husband injured his back. It took 2 years, surgery, and many medical procedures before he was able to get around without pain. Buying a second house was not an option financially but there was this nudge to go look.
So completely out of character, my husband and I contacted the realtor.
When we made our way through the many doors it took to get to the main living space of the house, my mind was flooded with ideas, a bathroom here, a laundry room there. It was so exciting to plan it all out in my head. Visualizing what this little farmhouse had been and could be.
We wandered through the kitchen into the dining room and then my friends, that was when we fell in love. This house was begging for love, we had no financial ability but all the love to give. We could see through the florals and animal decor, beyond the dated paneling and sloped floors. Past the blue carpet with duct tape trim and wallpaper mural. We saw good bones... we saw a house with a story.
That night we went home with a tiny dream and no way to bring it to life, so we prayed on it and left it in God's hands. A willing investor, overwhelmed county worker, a stranger with an extremely low offer, and an awesome realtor later or as we see it God's hand... we had a little farmhouse and a lot of work!
We diligently went to work, the first step: unloading the house. This house was full to the brim with someone's possessions, their life's work and abundance tucked away in all this farmhouse's nooks.
It is a strange thing boxing up someone's life, seeing what was treasured to them, evidence of their trials and triumphs. I gained such respect for them and hoped through the process that they would have been pleased with our work.
Here they are as I imagine... Judging by the clothing left behind, he was a tall man, a very hard-working man, kind of a Macgyver type. He lived on a little and invested more in heavenly places. He was salt of the earth, with a mechanical brain. He could fix anything and liked to do things the old way. This house had little by way of modern conveniences but what it did have far outweighed them. It had simplicity.
She had an eye for beauty, her home decorated in florals, animal pictures, and figurines. I could see they brought her joy as most were hung at what I imagine was her eye level. She was a gardener and some of the most beautiful flowers lined her home and yard. I couldn't resist taking a few flowers to my own home. There was evidence everywhere of their faith. One that stood the test of their lives and brought them comfort during trials.
The upstairs bedrooms were frozen in time. As each of their children moved out a door was shut and left alone.
This house had a story long before they bought it, but that story is buried deep within the walls. It was built by people who could afford to do it well, that is rarely the case. Many times, when working on homes this old we have found all sorts of materials used for insulation and supports. Not this home, this home was through and through a labor of love. The craftsmanship of these old homes commemorates what was important to their builders, the piano window in the living room for instance. I can imagine a family gathering around to listen to music. Transom windows to bring in more light and window seats to grow plants or curl up on to read. The sprawling front porch a place to enjoy the cool of evenings or warm yourself in the morning sun. This home is a place to unplug, to rest, and to embrace the important things in life. Family, friends, and faith. I pray it stays that way, that the family that buys it will be able to connect also to the story within these walls. A simpler time...
Song "If These Walls Could Speak"
If these old walls could speak
Of things that they remembered well
Stories and faces dearly held
A couple in love
Livin' week to week
Rooms full of laughter
If these walls could speak
If these old halls
If hallowed halls could talk
These would have a tale to tell
Of sun goin' down and dinner bell
And children playing at hide and seek
From floor to rafter
If these halls could speak
If these old fashioned window panes were eyes
I guess they would have seen it all
Each little tear and sigh and footfall
And every dream that we came to seek
Or followed after
If these walls could speak
They would tell you that I owe you
More than I could ever pay
Here's someone who really loves you
Don't ever go away
That's what these walls would say
Main Floor Bedroom
Restoring and remodeling this home has been a labor of love for us. We wanted to embrace the story started here and give this home a helping hand to provide many more chapters to be written within its walls. We poured our creativity, experience, and strength into this home. Our family's story written here within these walls. Our chapters read of overwhelming days when projects took longer than they should, followed by celebration when they came to completion. These walls have witnessed our highs and lows, the heaviness of the burdens we bear, and the rejoicing when we hand them over in prayer. One thing I know for sure is that this place has been filled with love. A love that is and was inclusive of every soul that entered. A family learning how to be a family, clinging to a faithful God. Pressing through the cold of winter and heat of summer. Floods, power outages, laughter, and tears. This house is a true testament to what can be accomplished when a family works together. We give all thanks to God for this opportunity.