It has been just over a year since we moved to our mansion. Everyone who comes by comments on how much we have accomplished in that time. Reflecting on it, we really have accomplished a lot although most of what we have done is behind the walls and nobody sees it-unless you read about it here! Now we would like to start working on projects that will make the house feel more like home. This is a beautiful house and has wonderful architectural details but there is still something missing. I am not sure what that is.
I thought after being here for a year and celebrating all our birthdays and holidays here that it would feel like home. In a lot of ways it does but I think fitting ourselves into the history of the house takes some time. I walk up the steps or turn a doorknob or put linens away in the linen room (can’t really call it a closet!) I think abut all the people that have done this before. In a lot of ways I find it comforting to think how many other people have done these same things in this house. I especially appreciate that this house was the residence for the Oblate Fathers. I enjoy thinking about all the prayers and masses that were said in our house. It seems fitting that we should have found our way here.
One thing that seems to hold us back from feeling like this is home is due to its historical significance. We have had many visitors in the past year but it feels like most of our guests are really here to see the house, not us! Over time that will pass. For now, I feel like a tour guide more often than a hostess. It makes it feel like we are living in a museum rather than our family home. I know people are curious about the house and want to see it but it is my family’s home and should be treated that way. If we still lived in the suburbs, the people who visited would never ask to have a tour. I hate when people want to see the whole house, especially the private spaces. You would never go to someone’s house and ask to see their bedrooms and bathrooms. If you stop by, we will probably be happy to show you some of the house but please don’t ask to see where we sleep and brush our teeth. You probably wouldn’t want me to see those places in your house. I hope as time goes by we have more people here visiting us and not the house.
Looking back, here are just some of the things we have managed to accomplish in no particular order:
- Freshen up the kitchen
- Gut and restore the music room
- Remove the carpet from the main stairs and the back stairs
- Remove the scary bird wallpaper from the entry
- Horrible mural removed in the dining room
- Kids rooms painted
- Living room ceiling patched, as well as the plumbing above the ceiling
- New Furnace!
- Updates in master bathroom, youngest daughters bathroom and powder room
- 1980 pink paint gone from the stairwell and upstairs hallway
- Repaired leaking roofs, flat roofs sealed and new gutters
- Many yard improvements
- New third floor bathroom that you can use
- Hot tub instead of a chicken coop
Not to mention repairing the plumbing so we now have all but three fixtures that are in working order. When we arrived a year ago, there were only three fixtures that worked! We have really accomplished a lot.
Hopefully this summer will remain mostly contractor free. I have a few things on my to do list.
- Move oldest daughter to the “cowboy” room, oldest son to her room and make oldest son’s room the second floor guest room with an attached en suite.
- Apply a shinny sealer to the mosaic tiles in the sunroom and front porch and the terrazzo in the kitchen. The floors look so nice when they are wet and I am sure they have not been properly sealed in a long time.
- Ask and plead with my sister to recreate the painted ceiling canvas for the music room.
- Clean, organize and improve functionality of the laundry room.
- Organize the linen room and hall storage room on the second floor. Maybe look at repainting or stripping off the paint in those spaces. Much of it is peeling off and I suspect it is lead based. it needs to be removed or encased in new paint.
- Sand the main stairs and varnish them.
- Paint the bunny room on the third floor. Again this is a potential lead paint issue. Fixing up this room would give us three bedrooms on the third floor plus a futon in the chapel which would give everyone a place to sleep where there is air conditioning on those hot summer nights that don’t cool off.
Sounds like a fun summer!