In keeping with my house stalking history, it should come as no surprise that I still occasionally drive by the previous two homes we lived in before moving to our current house, since they’re all in the same area. I have been paying particular attention to our first house lately, because it holds so many special memories, as many first homes do. But mainly because it’s in foreclosure.
And it makes me sad.
In thinking about this post, I rummaged through old photos, only to find that I was a DIY/home blogger in the making. I not only took
bad photos of many of my projects (pre-digital camera), I had a bunch of them in a little photo album. So, keep that in mind, as most of these photos have been scanned in to share.
Here is a picture of our first house, shortly after we became the proud owners.
This must have been pre-kids, because there is a fun Mazda Miata parked in the garage at the time this photo was taken. It was also before we had landscaping done, and the house painted, but you get the idea.
Here it is as it stands now. At first glance, it doesn’t appear too terrible, but everything is completely overgrown.
I had taken some shots of the backyard and near the front walkway
during my stalking mission earlier this year, but I can’t find those photos anywhere. Suffice to say, upon closer observation, everything is overgrown and a hot mess. The window to the french doors in the back is shattered, and it’s vacant, although there is still some furniture inside. (I got the scoop from our old neighbor).
Update – I
stalked stopped by again, and got a couple more photos of the outside.
An outdoor shot from when we lived there – at one point we refinished the deck and our boys had a blast in this backyard.
Here it is now:
This is the first house that we bought and made our own. It’s the house where we brought our boys home from the hospital. It’s the house where we made some wonderful memories and it will always hold a special place in my heart.
I even took photos of some of the interior when we first bought it (17 years ago!). It’s hard to tell from these photos, but the walls are mauve. And a snazzy chandy in place as well.
I started out neutral in here:
I even took a photo of my dining room when I hosted my first Thanksgiving.
I went through a yellow phase, and if you choose the wrong shade of yellow, it will look like mustard in the afternoon sun. It wasn’t the first time I repainted a room due to poor color choices. Lessons learned. This was the second, softer shade of yellow.
I took photos of empty rooms when we had new carpet installed.
This is the house where I went through my hunter green and burgundy plaid couch phase, as well as my accent wall stage.
Pay no mind to the dust on that ceiling fan. Oh, how I would redo that fireplace if I still owned that house…
But, my style evolved, little by little. Yes, the furniture is large (it looked much smaller in the store). But, we still have it today – it’s had nine lives, thanks to the power of new slipcovers.
We covered ugly linoleum with new (laminate) flooring. What can I say, I was a fan of laminate at one point.
I even documented the process.
I was a fan of fruit in my decor, in the form of a wallpaper border and accessories.
I decorated a nursery for our first born, and had my first experience with the joys of painting stripes.
Don’t worry, the vertical blinds were eventually replaced.
Our third bedroom went through a couple of stages of its own. The guest room/stencil stage:
And the “big boy” bedroom stage, when our second son came along.
I painted my first exterior front door, and have the photo to prove it. 😉
So, I’m sure you can appreciate my sadness, when I see this home as it is now – unloved and unkempt. It feels lonely to me.
I have memories of my boys coming home from the hospital in this house.
And learning how to crawl.
Celebrating birthdays –
And riding big wheels.
Houses are part of our history, part of our family, so I suppose it’s natural to feel sad when you remember them as their former “selves”.
Is it crazy that a part of me wants to buy this house and breathe new life into it again?
But, we moved on to the next chapter, where I started my house documentation process all over again.
And we made our second home our own too.
Terrible photo, I know – my camera battery was dying, which I think is the reason the photos are horrible. But they’re all I have.
Thank goodness for digital photography, right?
I’ll have to do another post on this house too. 🙂
Do you still drive by your former houses? Have you seen one go into foreclosure? Is it weird that I still have dreams about our old houses? I’ve had dreams that I was inside of my old houses, even when the new homeowners lived there. Maybe I am a crazy stalker after all…
AndreaMay 15, 2014 at 12:14 pm
I wouldn't call you a stalker. I think curious is the right word and that's legal, right? You can see your taste evolving along the way. I love this! Our first house is just a few blocks from our house now and yes, I drive by often. It has already been sold again since we sold it. I sure wish I could peek inside.
Lisa @ Shine Your LightMay 15, 2014 at 12:15 pm
Oh Jenny I feel your pain on "your" house being in foreclosure. The house I grew up in is in foreclosure as well, and is looking very rough around the edges, it makes me sad. I want to buy it and make it shine again! I can't believe our similarities, both in that we were taking pictures of our home projects early on and the decor through the years!! I even had that same Laura Ashley cow jumping over the moon border (as well as crib bedding) in my babies' nursery! And the burgundy/forest green phase! Oh yes!!!!!! And someday we'll be laughing at our current homes and what we picked out, I'm sure!
Simply LKJMay 15, 2014 at 1:55 pm
I think I too would be sad. I had to laugh at some of the pictures because they so reminded me of our home back then…jewel toned sofas were all the rage! LOL And, don't get me started on wallpaper borders.
SheilaMay 15, 2014 at 2:15 pm
I know what you mean about being sad with the state your first home is in. Though we didn't just leave our first home four years ago to buy the house we have now, it pains me to drive by our last home and see that it's not being taken care of in the way that we would. The gardens that I worked so hard on are horribly overgrown and weedy and there is basically garbage (left over car parts, appliances and other stuff) just lying all over around the perimeter of the house and yard. You would think the Beverly Hillbillies live there. So sad that some people don't appreciate or value things the way others do. In your case, I think it's sad that a family lost their home and that's it's now in foreclosure. The good thing is that some day, hopefully soon, is that someone will stake claim to that house and make it beautiful again.
Melissa @ CharismaHomes.comMay 15, 2014 at 5:22 pm
I still drive by our first house whenever I'm in the area. We remodeled every square inch of it – mostly ourselves. When you pour your heart and soul into a place, I guess a small part of you remains behind when you leave it. I still miss my old kitchen, like an old friend that I no longer get to see! I designed the location and size of every drawer and cabinet, and the counter space…ah, the counter space. Thanks for sharing this…always good to know you're not alone in the house stalking arena.
Cindy The Victorian JourneyMay 15, 2014 at 5:46 pm
I recently moved to another state and my mom still lives in the previous state. She said she drove by the other day and it looks good. It is so good to know someone is taking good care of her. I so understand your driving by and reminiscing… I am your new follower come and see me sometime.. Cindy
marty (A Stroll Thru Life)May 15, 2014 at 6:40 pm
Yes, my last house went into foreclosure too after we sold it. So sad to see. Thank goodness someone bought it and brought it back to life. Yes, I definitley miss that house and so wish we still had it. It was my favorite home ever.
Cheryl LibuttiMay 19, 2014 at 11:01 pm
We drive by our old house occasionally (just on the other side of town) and it looks…sad. Not neglected, but not as carefully maintained as when we had it. I agree that you are strongly connected to the house you bring your babies home to. It was hard to leave our first house, after pouring heart, soul and money into redoing almost every room and surface, but our second house made it all worthwhile! Thanks for sharing your great trip down memory lane.
SuzzyJune 2, 2016 at 11:39 am
OH, Jenny! Thanks for this this morning. I had a good cry reading through this blog. We’re in the process of getting our home ready to sell. This home has seen mustard yellow walls, mustard yellow sponge paint, & the embarassing era of country decor. How we pour blood, sweat, and tears into these houses as we make them our homes. <3