My First House

Feb 6, 2015

It's funny how I fondly remember our first house that we affectionately call "the old green house" in our family. When I look back at pictures I get a good laugh at my first attempts at decorating, but I'm not going to by too hard on myself because it was 1999. I don't think there was anything good going on then! I also remember disliking the same things then that I would change today. The difference is back then I was scared to DIY anything, and now I'll attack anything that doesn't look right with a drill or paint brush.

My husband and I moved back to Houston from Orlando about a year after he finished school. Our first thought was to move into the city since we were young and didn't have any kids, but we both found jobs in the suburbs near where our parents lived. We thought we'd rent an apartment for a year and then eventually buy a house, but I noticed a cute Victorian for sale five houses down from my parents.

I made an appointment to look at it and was horrified by the inside. All of the woodwork was golden oak. The walls were painted peach. The flooring was probably the worst. It had a psychedelic 70s tile in the entry and shag carpet that was probably 20 years old...and the owners had pets. I could see the potential, but knew it would cost a fortune to fix up. We looked around at other houses in our price range and were even more disappointed. We considered moving into an apartment, but I kept thinking about how great the Victorian could be so we ended up buying it.

In this picture we had already trimmed the oak tree so you could actually see the house, landscaped the yard, replaced the mailbox, and added a white picket fence to the side. I had eventually planned on replacing the front porch, removing the starburst from the garage window, and painting the house yellow. We never got that far before moving, but we definitely left it in better condition than when we bought it!

The front door was a scratched up mess from the previous owner's dogs. I can't tell you how many times I put scratch cover over it, as well as all the woodwork on the inside. Don't you love the lacy curtains? You would think an 80 year old lady lives here!

And, the railing in the entry! It separates the entry from the dining room and was seriously the single thing I hated most about this house. I used to walk by and kick it sometimes. I would have no problem taking a sledgehammer to it now. :)

FYI-You're going to see a lot of family pics in this post. I rarely took pictures of my house without people in it...for good reason.

It really wasn't all bad. I loved the woodwork around the doors and windows.

Don't judge the mom jeans!

The best part of the house was definitely the breakfast room. Those blue and green stained glass windows sold me. The beadboard was real wood and unlike anything I've ever seen. The cabinets also had beadboard fronts and were custom made. You don't see that in many homes these days. This was my spot to drink coffee and read home magazines. My mom would walk down the street and join me most weekends.

This is probably one of the only times you will see angled furniture in my house. It's such a pet peeve of mine. I think I only had it this way for a week or two before I moved the sofa back against the wall across from the windows.

Once my son came along and started solids I turned this back into a breakfast room. The dining room had new carpet, which was not a good place to feed a baby peas. It was a tight fit with this big World Market table, but I fell in love with it and decided I would make it work. A close friend of mine has this table in her kitchen now. It's holding up great 12 years later. You can see I replaced the metal blinds with 2" wood blinds and the vinyl floor was replaced with new tile.

I also decorated my first nursery in this house. I went with white furniture and yellow walls so it would be gender neutral if I had a girl next. I should have just decorated for a boy because that's all I ever ended up having!

Someone in our family gave us this hutch and I repainted it, added beadboard to the back, and replaced the knobs. I can't say I ever liked it, but it was free.

We did spend a lot of money on this house in places you don't see. We realized after the first big thunderstorm we had a massive drainage issue in the backyard. Water was almost coming in the back door because the yard slopes towards the house. Thanks, home inspector. We added French drains to solve that problem and put in an extended stone patio so we could finally enjoy the backyard. Don't be jealous of my plastic furniture. There wasn't much of a budget after paying for the repairs and patio.

This house holds so many good memories of our oldest son. We moved when he was 16 months old, but we got to experience so many of his firsts here.

He fell asleep before the first trick-or-treater, but it's the costume that counts.

My little big turkey at Thanksgiving.

First Christmas...with a broken tree. On Christmas Eve I woke up to my brother and husband dying laughing. My brother tripped and fell on the tree. My husband said it reminded him of when Will Ferrell jumped on the Christmas tree in the movie Elf. They drove around trying to find a tree lot open to replace it, but of course they were all closed on Christmas Eve. We just held the tree up while taking pictures next to it on Christmas Day. I obviously forgot about it in this picture, which I am now thankful for lol.

My oldest son's first birthday. He obviously thinned out when he started walking!

I can't believe he's 12 now!

If I could do anything different, I would go with my first instinct when walking through the house for the first time. I would put in wood floors and paint all of that scratched woodwork white. It goes without saying my décor choices would be completely different, but I can't say they are all that bad given the era and budget constraints. Whether it's home decor or clothing, go timeless. Your future self will thank you. There's a reason you only see two pictures of me in this post. Denim overalls is all I have to say about that!

This post was inspired by the real estate guide, Compass. It's a great resource if you are looking to rent, buy, or find an agent in the NYC or DC area. Check out their neighborhood guide for in-depth and current information here. I particularly enjoyed reading about Chelsea since I have family that recently moved there. Now, I can't wait to go visit!

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