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Friday, December 17, 2010

Our Home's Story

Growing up in the Bronx as a young girl I loved to watch Christmas movies, especially Miracle on 34th street.  I always related to Natalie Wood's character.  She wanted Santa to get them a house.  A house like she saw so many times in Magazines and on Television.  When we moved to Pennsylvania, I never thought I'd find my home.  The Home that was in my head for so many years would one day become tangible.
First mistake was watching Gone with the Wind when I was about twelve or thirteen.  A big don't!  Because that was where my love for everything southern came from and my obsession with a house like Tara.

Even the name was amazing.  Crazy huh?  
Since Tara would probably never happen, I found my next love in Nashville, but mainly in Franklin, TNN and Amy Grant.

When I first saw her home was in a photo from a magazine.  Later I got to go and see her house in person, or atleast from the road.  She had 250 acres and horses and a winding road.  1409 Moran Rd in Franklin TNN.  I even took a stone from her front gate as a keepsake.  (Okay so I stole it!  Call the cops)
It sits in my rose garden today.  I went to TNN about ten times, and still counting.  My favorite place in the world to visit.  
So this house made me wish for a country life in a white and black shutter home with a spread of land in front and behind.  Alot to ask for from a city girl huh?  Dreams can happen!

Visiting Cape May, after my first year of marriage I saw this house.  This one still stands, it's off of beach avenue.  This one with it's wrap around porches reminded me of Tara.  It goes for around 4 million.  Hmmm, guess I should cross this one out!

After around two years of marriage we bought a white house in Pennsylvania.  This is a photo before it was finished.  Not painted white yet with black shutters.  We were there for 5 years.
During the fouth year there, one Sunday afternoon Rob and I were taking a drive looking at all the lovely homes up in New Hope area.  We saw this house that my husband was curious about and wrote down the number for the house.  We were just curious.  Well we left a message.
The next day this lady named Jane called and told me how much the house was.  1 million.  Okay thanks.  I said about to hang up or choke.  Which ever came first.  And then something strange happened.
She kept me on the phone for about a half an hour to 45 minutes asking me these random questions about what my dream house consisted of.  Don't ask me why but I humored her and continued with the conversation.  We hung up and that was that.
Rob met someone through work that was printing a photo of their parents home in New England somewhere.  He copied this photo for me and I kept it ever since.  I actually put it in a scrapbook.  If you look at it and know my house now, it is a bit funny to think that I kept this thinking of this as something I could never have but loved and when I look at it, it reminds me of my house.  A smaller version of it.

Now this is where it gets good.  The following year.  It was October.  I was cleaning out my closet when the phone rang.   Honest to  Gosh!  This is what I heard.  "Hi Lisa, do you remember me?  My name is Jane and I was a realtor you spoke to about a year ago.  Well I found your house."
She said that.  Verbatim.  I was in shock.  We were not looking to move.  We never even talked about moving.  I had not pursued the issue.  I had only told her what I thought was my dream house which was basically a combination of all my favorite homes in my mind.
She said, "Look, I know your not interested, but I tell you I have a feeling about this.  I am going to fax you a photo."
Well the fax was bad, dark and smudged.  As all faxes are!  But there was a tiny spec of something, something that made my heart jump.  I called her back and told her I could barely see it.  She then said, okay well I am so sure this is something that your going to love that I'm going to give you the address.  Tell your husband to drive by and then you call me.
Click.  After hanging up all I could think of were those words.  "TEll your husband?"  Tell him what?  Oh my stars.  What was I going to say?  What was he going to say?  Rob, a realtor lady that I talked to a year ago for 45 minutes called and found a house for us lets go?
Well I managed to tell him something.  Don't ask me what I said cause I can't remember.
We took a drive the following morning, it was a Saturday, and as we drove by the road, a road covered in pine trees, (that's why I named my house Pinerowe) we only caught a glimpse, but OMG what a glimpse.  We called and went to see it that afternoon.
This is what my house first looked like.  No front porch, flat front with a humongous pine tree smack in the middle of the front.  Rob had told me, "Okay so when we go in you don't react.  You act calm okay. The worst thing you can do is react and then the owners will know that we are easy.  (I have butterflies just thinking about that day.)  We went and drove down the long driveway.  I could hardly breathe.  I could just imagine Amy Grant, Scarlett and all the homes that I had ever dreamed of at that moment.  
When we got out of the house, we met Jane.  A lovely woman with a kind face and a sweet voice.  I can't remember her last name.  How awful of me.  
Everything was fine, I was calm and cool and walked around the back.  I walked around the back.  That's when I lost it!  This is what I saw around the back.
Crazy huh?  4Acres of land.  This house had 4 acres.  I had never even used that word before.  It wasn't in my vocabulary.  All I remember was I let out a high pitched squeek and then covered my mouth immediately.  Like the little rascals or something.  What the heck was wrong with me?  I remember this part in slow motion.  Rob turning to give me a dirty look as I stood there with my mouth covered in total awe.  Then as if on cue, my neighbor's horses began to gallop around waving there manes in the sun.  As if someone said "cue the horses".
We walked in and I fell in love.  Although Rob named it Graceland because all the rooms were dark paneled and shag white and orange rug.  (hideous! but hey, I had vision)
Two days and we made an offer.  In three weeks we were packing.  Packing without having our house sold.  Our house immediately went on the market.  And it sold in two weeks.  Crazy again.
Fate.
The million dollar house we saw, calling Jane, the conversation, all fate.
We moved in a few days before thanksgiving.  November 19.  
First noticeable change I made was to paint the door red.  Had to.  Always pictured it in my head.  This photo is not accurate.  It is a year later since you can see we had a front overhang built and steps and took out that pine that blocked the entire front.  (It probably would have been the size of Rockefeller Center's now, and we could have gotten our picture in the paper, oh well.)
A few years later we added the front porch.  I felt like it was meant to have one.
We are about to begin building our den and I decided to play around with Photoshop to see what it might look like.  
This is the idea we have of how it might look.  I can't wait.  

I know my photoshop skills need work.  But you get the idea.  The study/den will hopefully be a stone addition.  Unless the township says NO, not again, not you guys again.  No way!!!.  God Willing the Amish company will be doing it for us.  



9 comments:

Suzanne said...

OMG, Lee...what a beautiful story. I loved reading every word of it and started getting all excited at the year-later phone call. (Love the "cue the horses", too.) ;-)

I have a Tara. I REALLY, REALLY do! It's a huge dollhouse - unfinished. Want to help? It will be white w/ black shutters and has a grand porch and balcony. Maybe I'll paint the front door red! :)
hugs,
suzanne

AntiqueChase said...

THis is a great story... I love to hear "How I found my house" stories... I have a good one too that I hold dear in my heart.... I found you cause you decided to follow my blog... how fun! I'll follow you too!

Vikki said...

Oh my gosh! I loved reading this...I hope that one day my Tara will come to life too! In my head it looks much like what you have created :)
Thanks for the inspiration!

Helen's Decor said...

Hi Lee, I found you on Mary Carol's blog comments. The home I now have owned for almost 23 years jumped in my face! LOL! I do understand about that happening. I'm your newest follower and hope you will follow me, too. BTW, I have red doors and shutters! :)

Helen of Helen's Decor
www.helensdecor.com

Windlost said...

Your house is definitely my dream house!!!!! And all that land....heaven. You are greatly blessed!

xo Terri

classic • casual • home said...

So fun to hear your homes's story.

James Pereira said...

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Ral @ARTbyRT Seascapes and Island Life said...

Sweet story, thanks for sharing. I live in Hawaii though I've vacation in Franklin TN and loved it! Aloha Raliegh

Keeping It Cozy said...

What an absolutely amazing story! Your home is so beautiful... the porch just made it all come together perfectly.