there’s the old saying, “home is where the heart is.” and i believe it. we create our comfort by the people and love around us, not by the objects or environment. but i must admit that a good place makes the living, the love and the happiness flow a lot easier. we’ve found our own slice of heaven with this new house and we didn’t even see it coming.
i grew up on an acre of wooded land in the northwest suburbs of chicago. my parents still live there, going strong after forty some odd years of calling the same place home. my mom says she’ll die in that house. i never really understood where she was coming from. there are so many amazing places you can live in this country, let alone this world! why be so dedicated to one place? and now after i’ve moved to a new place almost every year over the past fifteen of my life, and now after living in this gem for the past month, i’m beginning to glimpse her perspective. home may be where the heart is, but there’s nothing like it when your home captures your heart.
i was worried how we would all transition to this place. we were coming from a lovely neighborhood, where we knew everyone, where we could take carefree walks along the sidewalk and greet pearl the cat, bump in to almost two-year old jordan and her mom karen, knock on the mueller’s door and see if kai wanted to come out to play. it was idyllic suburban american life, in a way.
now we wake up in the morning and head for the woods that is our backyard. we climb over big rocks in our pajamas. we hunt for snail shells hiding under the leaves and dirt. we keep our eyes out for the roadrunners that make this place home, too. we chase the bright orange butterflies and stay hushed as we creep toward the turks cap to see the hummingbirds feed on the red flowers. it’s a different kind of life, equally idyllic. and we can’t get enough of it.
i can’t help but notice how happier we all are. the boys have embraced this place completely, from the moment their little toes crossed over the threshold of the front door. our first day here, we kept hearing, “new house! abie/ozzy happy!” they beg to come straight home after school. their content is expressed so clearly. they are in awe at the nature around them. and so are we.
life just flows easily here. we live in less space now, but the layout of this place fits our family to a “t.” the kitchen is in the heart of the house, making it easy to prepare food while the boys play and gallivant around. they are always within eyesight or earshot. they have their own “wing” in the house, at the end of a sunlit hallway, separated from the guts of the house by two solid wood doors. it feels so good to kiss them goodnight and know we won’t disturb them with a loud action film or a dinner party. and jordan and i have our little treehouse retreat, a master bedroom, bath and balcony on the second floor that is all ours. j and i pinch each other every time we look out one of our many windows. pure, unadulterated nature is all around us. this house has good bones and a great soul.
we thought moving into less space would be a challenge and we would eventually need to add on. maybe remodel a bit, too. but we were determined to downsize as much as possible for the time being. we probably got rid of a quarter of our “stuff.” we still have too much, and there’s more purging to do, but living already feels lighter. we love managing less things, things we never needed in the first place. and we have no intention of adding on or remodeling anytime soon. this place just feels right, just the way it is.
it’s been hard unpacking those last ten boxes. it kind of feels like losing those last 10 pounds. you know you’ve got to do it, but you just don’t have the motivation. we’re still organizing and living in a bit of chaos. but it really hasn’t mattered that much. we know we’ll get to it. right now we just want to enjoy. so i didn’t bother to clean up, pick up, or put away when i took these pictures this morning. it is what it is. and we love it.
pretty much sums it up
view from our street – tumbleweed trail
from the backyard looking up deck and walkway between house and garage (left)
back of house and upstairs balcony
through the kitchen
the gang painting with banana stems in the breakfast room
view from breakfast
hallway to boys’ getaway
our good friend richard built this screen our of white oak to match the floors. we LOVE it and we no longer worry about the boys free falling from the stairs.
view from our balcony
wall of masks
the boys morning ritual – taking off for the woods in their pj’s
ozzy creeping around the rocks
looking for snail shells
abie shows off his shell