Mica Sue and Stephen live with kids Phoenix, Ocean, Anna, and Garrett and pets Holly and Mr. Kitters in a three bedroom house in east Tennessee. And it’s all a bit… chromatic. And full.
Stephen bought our home in 2006, but my kids and I didn’t move in until the summer of ’08. The house wasn’t set up for four kids, so every night the living room transformed into my boys’ bedroom when we unfurled their foam roll-up mattress beds.
Our neighborhood is a little grid of sidewalks and a library/park combo. Overall it’s a little mix of southern country and contemporary hipster family style. People walk dogs and babies. I’ve talked with some neighbors about having a cook out/meet and greet type thing or maybe a holiday party soiree. It’s the kind of area where considering that kind of idea wouldn’t be outlandish.
We’re a ramshackle mix of aging DIY hipster, old dirty hippie, and BMX. Our home is like a homemade rainbow bike land. There’re six of us. My husband has his two kids who come with their moms and I have my two kids who come with their dads. Most nights you can hear my 15 year old son learning how to play “Careless Whipsers” on his trumpet because he thinks it’s ironic.
Our home really isn’t big enough for six people, a dog, and a cat. We have three bedrooms, and two people per room. The kids’ closets look like Tetris where everything has been organized to optimize space. It always feels like we are trampling over each other, and we fight to keep chaos at bay. We are always weeding through our things to get rid of any superfluous stuff that can be passed on or donated or thrown out.
We deal with it by keeping happy. We try to have game nights and craft nights and foster this idea of us being a big crowded happy family. Sometimes this works, sometimes not so much, but we try to remind everyone how lucky we are to have what we have.
Our kitchen is a major hub for us because we all like to cook and bake. I really love our vintage dining room table that belonged to my grandmother, and it’s big enough for all six of us to sit down and eat, craft, or play a game. We have all these little items that make our home feel very personal.
Stephen bought our home right before the housing market crashed. This means he paid an inflated price for the house, and if we sold it now, we wouldn’t get anywhere near what he paid for it. We were pretty bummed about that for a while because we feel like we truly need more space. For us, we’re learning to embrace our home, and focusing on what we could do in it. We might not be able to sell our house, but we can make it fun, and since we do own it, we can pretty much do whatever we want.
We have so many plans. We want to wallpaper a wall, replace the top part of the kitchen cabinets with open air wire shelving, and DIY vinyl decals a la the Offbeat Home tutorial. Our grandest plan in terms of expense and time will be the addition of an extra bedroom. We debated about pulling the trigger on this plan, because it won’t really add to the value of our home and to make it happen we are refinancing that home. In our situation we decided that the extra room would up our quality of life enough to justify the cost of resetting our mortgage.
I hope readers embrace their homes and don’t let a lack of DIY skills stop them from trying new things. One afternoon we painted a living room wall plum. It’s a little messy, but we love it. Unless it has to do with actual trade labors like plumbing, wiring, etc., it doesn’t matter to us if it’s not perfect.
Services and vendors who make our life what it is
We go down the road to get our car serviced and maybe a handmade tire planter here at Fisher Tire. We like Aisle Nine Grocery [CLICK. THROUGH. You’ll be so happy to learn about this place. -Cat]. This is our version of fast food because we can pop in and grab pre-made deli sammies for dinner: Three Rivers Market.
My favourite apron that I wear whenever I cook or bake was made by Taylor Wilburn, who sells her aprons at Allegra.