A little over a decade ago, my then-boyfriend asked me to live with him in a town very close to where we both grew up. This was a town lovingly called “The Two-story Trailer Park” by locals because of the very small row houses. Our town is a co-op that was created as part of Roosevelt’s New Deal and most of the housing (my home included) was created only to be temporary housing for new families after the war. That was the ‘40s. The thing is, cheap manufacturing in the ‘40s seems to be more sturdy and higher quality than cheap housing manufacturing of today. We have hardwood floors, solid walls and foundation. The co-op maintains the roof, the gutters, and any repairs necessary to maintain the structure.
I wasn’t looking forward to living in the “Two-story Trailer Park” but it was all we could afford. We found that living there was actually cheaper than an apartment. We purchased a two-bedroom home that was around 750 square feet, smaller than my bachelorette apartment. No central air or heat (window A/C and baseboard heaters), tiny galley kitchen, dated bathroom, and closets that were probably small even by 1940’s standards. However it was an end unit that backed to woods so it felt pretty remote.
Over the years I have come to love our home. When we found out we were pregnant, we realized we would need to either move or put on an addition to accommodate an additional human being in the pad. We decided an addition would not only be cheaper, but it would be smarter as that the co-op will maintain the house, even the new part of it. We ended up doubling the size of the house, adding a master suite, a large living room, extended the kitchen five feet, and added a half bath/laundry room to the main floor. Though our home is still smaller than most (around 1,400 SF), it is now the perfect size.
We came home from Bonnaroo around 10pm on Monday night. Two of our neighbors shared the duty of dogsitting so we had a nice stack of mail on our dining table and three very happy and excited dogs there to greet us. The house surely smelled like dog (we washed them just before they left so it was a strong scent of clean yet wet pooch) but otherwise… coming home was amazing.
After almost a week away, I saw my home with fresh eyes. The Oriental rug I got cheap on Overstock didn’t look out of place but homey in the living room. The kitchen looked like something off a shelter blog. Our bedroom was a wonderful respite, and a great merging of our two personalities and décor tastes.
The next morning, we took our coffee out to the deck to enjoy the best part of our home. We really are blessed to live right on top of our Nation’s Capital yet live in a small town in the woods. My husband also felt inspired and decided to build a hay bale garden in our back yard. We had all our veggies in planters so he transplanted them so they could be happy and have plenty of space and nutrients.
I looked around at our yard, our trees, our plants and felt so at peace. I grabbed my camera and took a couple pictures. I know I usually write about fashion, but the longer I live here the more my home and my town are a part of me.
Our tomato and basil plants. We made DIY Topsy Turvy pots last year from paint buckets, but the tomatoes didn't do well. This year we decided to do them rightside up and they are performing far better. We kept them up high because with all the trees there are few places with lots of sunlight. This way they get sun 80% of the day.
(The cord hanging from the plant is my husband's jump rope.)
Our new hay bale garden. It's hay bales as a frame, the center is filled with compost, and soil on top. Again this is the only place in the back yard that gets a decent amount of sun. We have a couple types of peppers and I believe squash growing.
These pics were taken from my deck chair so you could see exactly what I see from my back deck. As you can see, I am a fan of old glass insulators and collect them at yard sales. They decorate my deck, my office at work, and our living room. The brown jars are from B&M baked beans; we put tealight candles in them for festive (and eco-friendly! Always great to recycle!) evening lighting.
Amazing that we live in such cramped quarters in this community, yet I can sit on my back deck and not see another soul and they cannot see me. I will hear the occasional Metro bus or lawn mower, but the main sounds in my yard are woodpeckers, birds chirping, and squirrels twittering as they scamper up trees. Ahhh, nature!
I really think one's home is a reflection of its inhabitants; I will occasionally be sharing parts of my home on this blog. Don't worry, this won't become a shelter blog or even a general lifestyle blog. However, when I am inspired or do feel as though my home is affecting my sartorial choices, I will be sharing little bits of it.