Tuesday, September 15, 2009
In 1997, we moved to Northfield, MN and started building our home. We based the design on a 1969 split level we owned in Iowa City. We liked everything but the split, so we took that out. Construction began immediately in the Fall while our little family of four - Mom, Dad, and three year old twin girls - lived in the smallest apartment imaginable. With Johnny C as General Contractor, everything was in good hands.
The little girls and I would visit the rapidly progressing home almost every day. They named it "Woody" for obvious reasons. Johnny C and I had built so many spec and custom homes over the years, we knew exactly what we wanted. Our budget drove a lot of those decisions as well.
In every possible corner, we stuck a closet or a cupboard. We fashioned a great laundry chute from the girls' bathroom. We arranged the best-ever mud room. We added a cozy wood fireplace that was easily accessed and visible from both the dining room and the living room. And of course we added our favorite - a large screened porch.
Several years later, we finished the basement into a family room and a large bedroom with bathroom. The twins intended to move down there someday but for many years it was the bunkhouse for all our visiting friends and family. In the family room, we were trying to imitate the wild Italian decor at Buca de Beppo.
Johnny C. built the best-ever shed/playhouse. It was a beautiful design with a small playhouse with it's one door and windows, and little porch, some shelves and tables, and the highlight: a "fireplace" made from brick painted paneling and a real mantel. We spray painted the firebox with chalkboard paint so the kids could "draw in" the fire. And about that time we welcomed daughter #3.
The landscaping was a labor of love. Our trees, lilac bushes, perennials, bushes, etc are just getting to the lush and lovely stage. This year's raised bed gardens were the perfect addition.
So now, we have to leave it all behind. It will be someone else's for a song. We'll lose not only 12 year's worth of equity, but all our hard work and plans. My Mom's flowers. My beloved lilacs. The campfire pit. Aunt Ruth's garden. The screened porch.
I'm hoping the Universe or God has a cozy place we can regroup and lick our wounds. Where we can be a safe little family and the kids suffer the least disruption. Where we can have a campfire in the yard. Where we can gather at the kitchen table with loved ones and laugh.