We bought our house in October 2011, five months before our first son was born. I spent the first week painting all the trim and baseboards, painting almost every room, and making our little home just that: ours. “This house is perfect for three people and a dog!” we thought.
God probably laughed a little bit (or a lot) at that, and here we are, two extra babies later, still hanging out in our 1,000 sq. ft. of happiness. And crowdedness. And privacy-less-ness. Still, happiness.
Let me begin with this: I really struggle with wanting more. My dream would be to renovate a farmhouse that has more than enough bedrooms, a toy room, and a master suite, AND a room where I can write. But it’s just a house that I dream of, and I want my dreams to have more substance than just things to have. I’m learning to put aside what I wish for and enjoy the little piece of heaven we have right here.
Step one: Knock down a wall.
If you can. If you can’t, knock down half of a wall. If you can’t do that, find a different house. Just kidding! But it is the first thing we did once we had the keys. We knocked down part of a wall, and eventually took down cabinets that separated our kitchen from the dining room. I’m all about that airy space, seeing everything, letting natural light in. By the way, I’m no interior decorator, architect, nothing. But I do advocate community, and I like how our big open spaces allow that to happen.
Step two: Paint and then repaint.
You know, I thought I had a good eye for design when I was 21, but the fact is, I didn’t. For example, we painted our dining room bright yellow. I wasn’t totally keen on it in the beginning, but I eventually grew to abhor it. It made everything else look yellow too. So, after removing paneling, re-drywalling, re-paneling (which is more like shiplap) and then repainting white, I feel like we’ve finally got it. I’m all for trying something, even if it ends up sucking. It’s more fun. Maybe more work? But hey, I got to spend even more time with my cutie of a husband because of it.
Step three: Get over it.
My list of “things to do” to improve our house is getting pretty long. But we also have three boys to take care of, a business to run, and a life to live. Having a beautiful house is not the prize. Sometimes I wish it was, because I love to decorate and then redecorate. But I have to choose to get over it at the end of the day, because the goal isn’t to have perfection. The goal is to live in it and love it where it’s at, serving Jesus through it. He’s the prize, after all.
Have a small house with a lot of people? How do you manage? Tell me about it!