A few months after my husband and I got married in 2012, we realized what many newlyweds tend to realize, that we needed more space. The housing market was starting to bounce back so we jumped into the real estate fray, bound and determined to get something good while we could still afford it. We found ourselves a smooth-talking real estate agent who had helped a few friends find their places, and we started looking.
A few months in, the market was obviously taking off – and there were fewer and fewer houses available. We put a few bids down, but either something in the contract was fishy (one house had been leased out for two years) or we were out-bid. We lucked out when this house came up for sale, our agent told us. It had a great footprint, was well maintained, was located in our ideal neighborhood… So we went to take a look.
I’ll be honest here, my first reaction when we walked in the door was laughter. Slightly bitter laughter, even. Like, you-have-got-to-be-kidding-me laughter. This is why.
Who, I ask, who paints their admittedly gorgeous high ceilings sky blue with white puffy clouds? Did Michelangelo live here? Is this the Sistine Chapel? No.
And as we walked through the house, it got better. Old peeling linoleum, weird hole next to the fireplace, 80’s chic wallpaper in all the bathrooms, a jungle of a backyard, mismatched counter-tops, more blue sky ceilings in a bright, bright pink bedroom Ugh. No. Wasn’t going to happen.
It’s got great bones, they said.
Everything wrong with it is cosmetic, they said.
It’s in an awesome neighborhood, they said.
We went back to look at it a couple more times before I caved and said yes, OK, let’s do this. Fast forward a month or two and there we were out front, leaning against a U-haul waiting for the current residents to hand us the keys.
The family dallied, chatting, laughing, saying goodbye to their home of the past five years. They took a lot of pictures of the ceiling. I realized they loved that house, those ceilings, because they were pretty special. Their life took place under those ceilings and it wasn’t so much the style that was important but the memories created. The house was it’s own character in their story. They had to say goodbye.
Now those ceilings are a character in our story. We still have them, two years later. We’ve painted at least one wall in almost every room in the house, but that ceiling is still blue and more chipper than a summer’s day. We’ve deforested the backyard. Tiled the master bath. Welcomed our first child home under that ceiling.
Let me tell you, it grows on you. One day I too will be sad to say goodbye.