As a college freshman, I decided to major in interior decorating. I loved designing random floor plans and decorating my dream home. I’d spend hours moving walls around in my head, picking out color schemes and placing furniture – hoping that one day, I’d make a living designing and creating living spaces.
Shortly after my freshman year started, I was sitting in my Design 101 class and found myself literally falling asleep while the professor droned on about the ergonomics of an office chair. Boring! I didn’t care about this! I wanted to jump right in and start putting rooms together – I didn’t necessarily care how or why – I just wanted to do it based on what I thought looked good. I quickly realized my “love” for interior design was more of a hobby – not something I wanted to pursue as a career. I changed my major to Marketing and kept any ideas in my back pocket for my own house that I’d decorate one day.
My husband and I are both Kansas City transplants. I hail from the great state of South Dakota; my husband is from Oklahoma, and for a long time, Kansas City didn’t feel like home to me. After college, I was ready to establish a life of my own, plant roots, be a grown-up. Our stark one-bedroom apartment filled with hand-me-down furniture wasn’t cutting it. Nothing felt like “ours.” In 2009, we bought a house together and for the first time, the Kansas City metro-area was starting to feel permanent.
We moved into a 4-bedroom house, a blank canvass for me to fill and decorate – and in some cases, redecorate. Now, let’s get real. A disclaimer, if you will: I am NOT a professional decorator. Not even close. My one semester of interior design education didn’t stick with me. I’m a wanna-be DIY-er who cons her husband into weekend projects and I may or may not have to re-do something 3 (or more) times before it looks borderline acceptable. I know I break the rules. I don’t have a distinct style when it comes to decorating my house but I know what I like (and what I don’t). I also know what I want my house to feel like when you walk through the door. I want it to feel like home.
Unless a drastic life change comes our way, we have no plans to leave the Kansas City area anytime soon so it’s important that we have a space where we feel comfortable and where we feel like we belong – even more so now that we have started a little family. Here are a few steps I’ve taken to ensure our house is comfy, cozy and a place we want to come home to at the end of the day:
Paint by Numbers
When we first moved in, we painted nearly every single room in the house – even though the previous owners just had it repainted before we moved in. My husband and I went room by room looking at paint swatches and deciding on colors together. I remember going to Home Depot and spending $400 on paint and supplies. We spent what seemed like nearly every free moment painting something. It was exhausting, but we were putting our stamp on the house and I loved it. I’ve since painted and repainted several rooms in the house. Take our dining room, for example: it’s a space we hardly use, but I’ve painted it 3 times in the last 5 years trying to make it just right and I’ve finally fallen in love with it. We might not eat dinner in this space, but it sure is pretty to look at …
Touches From Our Homeland
My husband, Justin, is a Sooner. Through and through. One thing he wanted more than anything in our home was an “OU room.” Like, a whole room dedicated to his beloved Sooners. He wanted crimson walls and a place to hang up posters, plaques and memorabilia. We compromised – he “decorated” one of our guest bedrooms in all its Sooner-glory, painted ONE wall crimson red and was happy as a clam. It was a piece of his childhood, a part of his soul, he would say, and it made him feel right at home. Justin is getting ready to welcome his second daughter and unfortunately for him, his “OU room” has been packed up in favor of pink walls and a big girl bed. Have no fear, though – I’m sure the “OU room” will be resurrected sooner rather than later. See what I did there? Sooner? Ha.
I’m a big believer in family pictures and actually hanging said family pictures up on the walls. In frames and everything. Justin would disagree with me here – he thinks we have too many pictures of ourselves hanging in our home. But it makes me happy. I love our family and when I walk past a cluster of our photos I’m reminded of only good things.
Please Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
This isn’t something I can take credit for, and technically, it happened outside of our house, but it’s made establishing our family’s home that much sweeter: our neighbors rock. We lucked out when we moved into our neighborhood, that’s for sure. We have a neighborhood block party every summer, the kids play in the yards and ride their bikes up and down the street like I did when I was growing up in South Dakota. It’s comforting knowing that my girls will have that component as part of their childhood.
It’s a constant work in progress, but I’m loving the home my husband and I have created for our family. Every once in awhile, I’ll want something we don’t have – a bigger kitchen or a remodeled bathroom – but then I listen to this song and I’m reminded that those things don’t make a house a home. It’s definitely not about the “stuff” or the way a room looks. It’s so much more than that. This is where we became husband and wife; it’s where we’ll make memories and raise our children. No amount of paint (or Sooner pride) can beat that!