A few weeks ago we decided to take a huge, unplanned step and buy a house. It sounds silly to say, but it was a decision we made on a whim.
We’ve been renting since we moved back to Santa Barbara from Santa Maria last year, which has been fine, but we always knew we would want to own again one day. We spent seven years remodeling our Santa Maria house from top to bottom, inside and out. Lately we’ve been itching for another project, and those are hard to come by when the house isn’t yours to do with as you please.
So when we saw a house for sale in a neighborhood we love and for a decent (Santa Barbara) price, we decided to take a leap and see if we could pull it off. After a few weeks of haggling over price and waiting for the seller to get back to us, we finally signed papers on it last week.
Now we are waiting not so patiently to get through escrow, and we’re spending every available moment we have thinking about all of the things we need and want to do to the house. You see, calling it a fixer-upper is a bit of an understatement. It needs a lot of work. And because we’re doing most of the work ourselves, on a limited budget, we plan to live in the house while we work on it. With our three children. And our dog and cat.
To say it is going to be an adventure is another understatement. I’m less worried about the renovation part, since we’ve been there and done that before. What I’m really worried about is how this decision will impact our kids.
We are going to need to spend a lot of time working on the house. We are going to be living in chaos for who knows how long. We are going to be pinching pennies like we never have before and stressing about money and design decisions. We are going to be not fun a lot of the time. And they don’t deserve that.
So we’re going to have to find a way to tear this house apart and put it back together without completely turning our kids’ lives upside down. It will be a delicate balance, but I’m determined to make it work.
— Meghan Gesswein is a stay-at-home wife and mom to three young boys. A New York transplant, she has lived in Santa Barbara for the last 14 years. She writes on her personal site, MeghanGWine, and is also documenting her family’s home remodel on From Demo to Dream. She is a staff writer and special events editor for the online magazine Curvy Girl Guide and is a proud supporter and vice president of Friends of Maddie, a nonprofit dedicated to assisting families with babies in the NICU. She is often sarcastic and her work should be read with a sense of humor. And a cocktail. You can follow her on Twitter: @MeghanGWine, friend her on Facebook or reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.