Hi, there. Let me re-introduce myself since it’s been awhile. I’m Niki, the storyteller of Storybook Homes. Thanks for joining me here at Two-Story Sister…… Although, now that I think about it… I guess I need to look at changing the name of this blog since Sister has been officially adopted by another family and I currently am writing to you from the shared office/living room space of our rental home. As you can imagine, leaving a beloved home that was personified into my third child over the last 9 years, was VERY difficult. As we made our final walk thru our empty home each room flooded me with random memories:
Wrestling Matches with Rory and the boys in our bedroom.
Back to School Pictures in front of the ever-changing mantel:
Boys anxiously waiting at the top of the stairs each Christmas morning for permission to come downstairs to see what Santa had brought.
Meals prepared in my dream kitchen:
All the birthday parties and sleepovers.
The Adventures of Super Fido.
And the birthplace of Thompson Bro Films and Colby’s Creations.
(Did you watch that video? I do realize that I watch it thru my mommy lense but every year my boys get older that video gets both more precious and hilarious to me.)
Not to mention all the memories of the renovations and weekend projects we conquered over the years- truly no room was left without our family’s mark.
(Dear New Homeowner, Underneath the carpet in the playroom you will find this blue and white checkerboard that my boys never fully appreciated.)
Yep, Sister was very good to us and we will miss her dearly.
But for now, we are happily settled into our small rental. Ironically, Rory purchased our current home with the intention of letting Storybook Homes flip her but the story I had planned for this home did not fit within a workable budget so I stepped aside and let Rory and Cole take full control of its renovation with the goal of adding it to Rory’s rental portfolio. It wasn’t until they were days away from putting a “for rent” sign in the yard that I had the idea that WE should move into the home while we renovate Carl Stuart.
Not going to lie, downsizing to 1/3rd the size of our previous living quarters has not been without its challenges BUT I think this phase of life will be soooo good for us. For one, it is showing us what is necessary and what we can live without…… and what we thought we could live without but now desperately wish we could dig out of one of the buried boxes in the storage building.
In the weeks leading up to the move, I thought about how I would set up our transition home.
One of my favorite blogs is “The Nesting Place” where the Nester lives by her tag line “it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful”. I have always admired the Nester’s mantra and remember being particularly inspired by how she applied this philosophy during the period of life she and her family lived in a rental home. She did not let the fact that she did not own her home stop her from creating an inviting space that she happily opened up to friends and family. I always told myself that if I ever moved into a rental I too would make sure to make the most of our space and take the time to decorate no matter how long we might live there.
Well, guess what? Turns out I am not the Nester. Since moving in I have not hung a single picture on the wall and because I sold all of our beds and bedding in our “Sister Estate Sale” our mattresses are sitting on the floor with what looks like prison-issued blankets and pillows.
But don’t worry! Although these pictures seem to imply I have taken a break from our storybook home and that I am “just getting by” during our transitional time in the rental, this could not be further from the truth. My home is still telling a story…. it’s just a different type of story than your used to on this blog spot.
You see, from the moment we moved in, my motivation shifted from “The Nesting Place” to “Little House on the Prairie.” If you grew up reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books or watched the TV series you know that the infamous “little house” was not known for its’ decor but rather for the love that filled the home. Despite the modest home, there was something enviable about the cozy little house Caroline Ingalls created and the simplistic life they led. I’d call Ma’s style “Utilitarian” or even “Tidy.” And that is what I am going for here on Duncan Street.
Now if I was being completely honest, this style was chosen out of necessity due to the small space restraints of our rental. However, by simply giving our living arrangement a story it has given purpose to our set-up and has allowed us to fully embrace and enjoy- TRULY enjoy, this phase of living.
My end goal for setting up house here on Duncan Street was to be neat and functional. I made sure each item we brought in served a purpose, or even two. The only fluff that made the Duncan house cut were the items of decor I was nervous might get damaged in storage.
Instead of running out and buying cute throw pillows and curtains for our new digs I shopped for plastic storage containers and command hooks to keep us organized.
We stack our chairs cafeteria style when not in use to give us access to our makeshift pantry.
The no dishwasher has afforded our boys the opportunity to learn the lost art of hand washing dishes. Aaaaand the NO Frills refrigerator has introduced them to ice trays and the joys of cracking the trays just right to free every last cube.
Speaking of chores… Just like the Ingalls sisters, our boys have assigned chores to help keep our home functioning and tidy. Now, the Thompson boys have had chores for YEARS, the difference in Little House chores and past chores is I am actually “letting” them do them. You see, in the past, I rarely made it past week 1 of my boys color-coded laminated chore charts before my OCD tendencies would set in and I would take over their chores so that everything was done just right. I know! I know! This is terrible parenting and one day I will have to answer to my future daughters-in-law. (This is also the reason I have never been able to find a house cleaner.) BUT! I am determined to let this Little House style of living train me to allow others to help out around the house. So, in addition to keeping our individual rooms clean, each member has a list of weekly rotating chores.
It’s been AMAZING! While it used to take ALL DAY every Saturday to give Sister a thorough bath, last weekend we had the entire Little House whipped in 2 hours! What freedom!!!
This loosing up of control has also trickled over to my boy’s bedroom decor. Colby is so proud of the cardboard box furniture he created….. and I have just let it goooo.
Seriously, I am going to emerge a whole new laid back person at the end of this transition period!
The biggest challenge to our Little House is that it only has 1 bathroom.
But this problem has been remedied by assigning each family member a set “PNT” (private naked time). The rules of PNT are that you can have the bathroom to yourself during your designated 10-15 min PNT but once that time is up, the family is free to walk on in to take care of business.
Overall, we are perfectly content in our Little House and hope that this story will teach us to appreciate a more simplistic life and not take for granted some of the conveniences our new home will provide. Now if only I could convince my boys to trade in Fortnite for a quiet game of jacks or marbles.
Carl Stuart Update- my hopes and fears…. mostly fears.
The Oliver Reveal! (family moves in this week!)
And Future Projects