A Home Tour: NW 56th Street

We had been engaged for a couple of months at most. It was a Sunday afternoon and after church we decided to drive around Oklahoma City to look at neighborhoods where we might want to live eventually. At the time, I was still in the Pickard house and the Golfer was living in an apartment in Edmond. We had no intention that day of buying a house, but that's exactly what happened. (You might see a trend forming here.)

We ended up driving to a neighborhood where our friend happened to lived. Driving down his street, we unexpectedly found an open house right across from our friend's home. Like the Pickard house, that night we made an offer and a few days later it was ours.

This home needed some work, mind you, but the Golfer had done a little home flipping right out of college. He knew all about ripping things out and putting them back together again. Me? Not so much. Not at all actually. I come from a long line of "let's hire somebody to do this" kind of people. The Golfer? Complete opposite. He comes from a long line of "I can do this myself and save a shitton of money" kind of people. Yes, we were the yin to each others home remodeling yang.

specially commissioned watercolor of our first home together

Both of us had full-time jobs. We were I was also busy planning a wedding, so remodeling the new house was like adding yet another full-time job. We had eight months to complete our remodel before the wedding. And if that wasn't enough, we also decided to get a new puppy around the same time (who ended up getting Parvo, but that's a WHOLE other story) because why not add a little more excitement and chaos to the mix?

Nights and weekends that weren't being spent at wedding showers and parties were spent on 56th Street. There was much to do. The house was built in 1959 and hadn't been updated since. We wore a clean path from our house to the Home Depot on May Ave. If our punch list felt like it was a mile long that's because it was.

We completely gutted the kitchen. The only thing left standing was our Sub-Zero fridge. You heard me right. This old house in crazy need of a remodel came complete with one fancy damn refrigerator. If I told you I wasn't excited being upgraded from the old poop brown Frigidaire, I'd be lying.

But after my mother saw the gut job on the kitchen, she became nervous. Later she confided that she was worried if the Golfer knew how to put it back together again. After all, the gut job had sent him to a doctor friend's house for stitches and lost his thumb nail while working on the can lighting.

The kitchen wasn't the only room needing to be remodeled. There wasn't a corner of that house that we didn't redo in some way. We painted and wallpapered and added cedar beams. There were new bathroom cabinets, a new front door, built-in bookshelves in our office area, and new lighting everywhere you looked. We put in glass front cabinets in the kitchen and cute window treatments throughout. I learned how to grout and attempted to tile (um...they were crooked and had to be redone.) I picked out colors and fabrics for second hand furniture we had picked up here and there. We stretched our pennies to their absolute limit and proudly paid for the whole thing in cash.

before: the kitchen

before: looking into the kitchen from den/family room

during: still standing in the den, looking into the what used to be the kitchen and eventually would be again (can you see why my mother would be concerned?)

during: kitchen starting to slowly look like a kitchen again

during: proud of my bathroom grout

during: Daisy was a great helper...until she got Parvo

There are moments I look back on that time in our lives and wonder how we did it. How in the world had we not fought, not even once, throughout the whole process? I guess there was just no room or time for getting frustrated or stressed (I saved it all up for two days before the wedding. That too is a WHOLE other story.) We were happy and excited to be starting our married lives together in this house. We would come home from our honeymoon to this house, celebrate the Golfer's 30th birthday in this house, bring home our first baby to this house, and suffer the loss of the Golfer's father in this house. We had purchased a three bedroom, two bath, 1700 square foot fixer upper (before fixer uppers were the cool thing to do and before HGTV even existed) and we approached the remodel like we would our marriage, excited and hopeful for what was and what would come next. 

Turns out, fixer uppers would become our thing. Even if they really don't need fixing up, we can't help but put our own personal touches on each of our homes. As a friend and relator called it, we Freemanize it.

We're pretty damn good at Freemanizing the crap out of a house. It's kinda what we do.

after: new front door, paint, and tile

after: living room with new cedar beams, french doors, and concrete floors

after: den/family room with new paint, cedar beams and mantel (and such a teeny tiny T.V.)

after: the kitchen put all back together again, complete with cute cafe curtains

Decorating our first tree together, Christmas 2000, a hand-me-down tree from the Golfer's mom. A little full...

Next on the tour: Moving back to Norman and into the cutest house in town

A Home Tour: The Pickard House

This Friday the Golfer and I will have been married for 16 years. For a big bulk of those years our lives were slightly unsettled due to my husband's career change which moved us to the west coast. In our married lives we have lived in six homes (two of those homes being condos, but we will call them homes just to make things easier.) Some of these homes have been good, a couple I loved, and a couple I hated. They are all a part of our story.

One of my best childhood friends, Kim, did a really cool thing over on her blog a while back. She spent a few posts sharing the homes that she and her husband had lived in and what their lives were like in each home. I loved reading these posts. Even though I knew the homes and the stories, I loved reading her perspective on how their lives and their marriage has progressed through each move. A few days ago I started reading the book Love the Home you Have by Melissa Michaels and she does something similar in her book talking about her homes and what she learned from each.

So now it's my turn.

But instead of starting with the Golfer and I's first home, I've decided to start with MY very first home. I loved my little house on Pickard Street and it is certainly part of my story that shouldn't be left out.

My very first home that was all mine was a fabulous blank canvas that I took great pride in decorating all by my 23 year old self. I was young but I knew what I wanted. The entire house was white, inside and out. Like I said, a blank canvas. (The pic above is an "after" photo.)

At the time I stumbled on the Pickard house, I was a recent college graduate living in a one-bedroom apartment across town. The Golfer and I were in a season of breaking up, getting back together again, then breaking up again. I had finally gotten a job teaching making a pitiful little salary. I found the Pickard house on a drive by. It was a Sunday Open House and by that evening the house was mine. (Technically, the house was my father's. I was a first year teacher and had no money. My dad graciously rented the house to me, all responsibilities for the house being mine.) Renting vs. owning aside, as far as I was concerned the house was mine to do with what I wished. And so I did.

My little Pickard house was simple. There were wood floors throughout, the living room and dining room I painted a buttercream yellow, my bedroom was a light mint green. I had a guest room and an office and one tiny bathroom. There were built-in china cabinets in the little dining room and after a while of living there, I got a wild hair to paint the inside of the cabinets a fun color. I had left over mint green paint from my bedroom, so I used that inside of taking the time and money to buy more paint. It wasn't the cutest, but my great grandmother's Desert Rose dishes really did pop against that green.

The decor was sparse and a little mismatched, most coming from local antique stores, garage sales and my mother's hand-me-downs. On the outside I put up black shutters, planted impatiens in the flower bed and put an adirondack bench on the front porch that I actually sat in from time to time. The kitchen was small and had no dishwasher. All that took was saying something to my grandfather about how I was going to have to learn to wash dishes and, wouldn't you know it, a few days later a dishwasher was delivered to my front door. Those grandfathers have a soft spot for us granddaughters don't they?

I was proud of that little home. I hosted a baby shower there for my step-sister (that baby, my nephew and godson, is graduating from high school this year) and a wedding shower for Kim. I decorated my first Christmas tree there and graded papers there. I didn't care that my refrigerator was the color of poop brown or that there was a huge hole in my lower kitchen cabinets after installing the dishwasher (both of which would totally drive me to drink today.) I earned my Master's degree in this house and got engaged in this house. I was only in my Pickard house for three years, but those are three years that I am grateful for. I lived alone, had to take care of things myself, which I now see was great practice for the life I have now.

I try not to drive by my Pickard house when I'm back home in Norman. It's too upsetting. The last time I saw it the yard was over grown and they had painted the outside a horrible tan color and my black shutter were a weird shade of blueish purple. And of course all I can think is, why did they do that to my house?

Because in my heart, the Pickard house will always be mine.

My first Christmas tree on Pickard Street.

Me and Kim and my mint green china cabinets.

Party hosting in my little kitchen, 1997.

Next on the tour... Our First Home: 56th Street