A Room For Living

As we prepare to move (only 10 more days!) I've been writing a series about the renovations we've done on our house over the years. This is the fourth post in the series. Here are the rest:

The reality of leaving our home of six years, and saying goodbye to all that we've invested, is starting to hit me. 

We've poured a lot of our lives into this house but the truth is a house is just a house. Home is where your heart is. So for me wherever Damien and the kids are is home. But still, it's not easy saying goodbye to this house. You'll forgive my melancholy mood.

The living room was the first room we started to renovate when we bought our house. We removed the carpets the same day we signed the papers with our mortgage company.

Friends helped us that first hot July night as we ripped up staples, peeling back the carpet to reveal the wood beneath. That was the easiest part of the whole renovation. 

We tackled this room first because it was the easiest project to start of the most lived-in areas (living, kitchen and dining room).

Although we started right away we didn't get the job completely finished till last month when we replaced the radiators. No wait, we're still not completely done. We have a small piece of trim to install along the top of the wide baseboard. Houses, they're never done.

Over the years we Damien painted both rooms celery sprig green, replaced the fixtures, and built (from scratch) window trim to match the original trim throughout the rest of the house. The window trim took the longest and required (of course) the purchase of expensive tools and hard-to-find wood.


My Dad came one fall and helped us install energy efficient windows.

Our living room is truly where we live. I spend a lot of time in our kitchen and we eat in the dining room but all the other activity of life - learning, playing, hosting friends, computer stuff, movie watching, birthdays, packing and unpacking from adventures, and even guests sleeping on the futon - has happened mostly in our living room.

My kids never want to far from the action and have always played and crafted in this room. If you stop by in the middle of the day it's sure to be in a state of creative chaos.

A living room is for living in (and sometimes even scootering in).

The worst of the chaos, coming home from trips

The room is looking forlorn this days (not quite so much as when we first bought it). The walls are bare. The nail holes, where art once hung, are patched and ready for touch up paint. Boxes are piled around the perimeter. Furniture we don't truly love or need is already sold or given away. 

There are so many memories attached to this room. The big moments and the small. Saying goodbye to these memories and this room that we created over the years gives me a little lump in my throat.

Although I commented earlier that I'm not feeling sad (yet), writing this makes me think maybe I am.

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An Interview with Our Family ~ And Walking Through Fear »
  • Kika

    Kika on May 10, 2011, 3:33 p.m.

    All those memories. I think it is fine to greive some, letting go of the past, but not forgetting that you also have a wonderful life ahead replete with new family experiences and memories. You have been blessed with a wonderful home and community to grow your family in. I can only imagine what's in store...


  • Cindy

    Cindy on May 10, 2011, 4:47 p.m.

    It was odd when we moved.... I didn't feel sad until I walked out the door, then it all hit me.. We had lived in our home, which we built, for 22 years. I literally went through a grieving, though it did involve leaving my folks and kids. You are moving with your kids to your folks (temporarily) and you will be BLESSED!

    I feel like you are moving away from us!!! I'm sad to see you go, even though I'm here in Costa Rica! But I know that you are making the best move for your family.

    We love you, Damien and Renee and kids!

    Abrazos, Cindy


  • Penny

    Penny on May 10, 2011, 6:43 p.m.

    In 1994 we built a house on my parent's land. I brought two babies home there, and left it behind when the youngest was 1. I cried my eyes out for days during the moving process, and still occasionally dream about it. Yet I can honestly say that moving from that house was the best thing I ever did in order to make my family vision come true, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. You will leave part of your past self there, but the best is yet to come... really!

    Sending you best wishes for a smooth transition, and lots of hugs...


  • kyndale

    kyndale on May 10, 2011, 9:46 p.m.

    Moving always makes me sad. I'm a really attached person to my homes. You've done an amazing job with your renovations. I'm really impressed. One positive thing about it is that when you find a home in Canada, you'll have so much experience if it needs work. You're like an expert. Hugs, Kyndale


  • Rana

    Rana on May 11, 2011, 2:45 a.m.

    Awww! Renee your going to make me cry. It's always so hard to leave our cozy, familiar spaces behind. You have so many wonderful memories here and your kids I think will always look back on living in that home with smiles, laughter and definitely a lot of love.


  • Francesca

    Francesca on May 11, 2011, 4:56 a.m.

    Those celery green walls have seen a lot of your family life - you'll be glad to have at least the photos! I have photos of every single house I've lived in, and looking at them always makes me feel melancholy. I'm super impressed that you dug out so many of them, through the years, for this post: you're really super organized Renee - I wish you could come to these orange, purple and peach walls here, and teach me some of your organizational skills! :)


  • Claudia

    Claudia on May 11, 2011, 12:18 p.m.

    Oh Renee, your posts make me want to cry! In your words I relive our final days before we moved nearly 3 years ago, and I can taste the bittersweet tears still. I remember with absolute clarity the letting go, the fear and the excitement of the unknown, the trepidation as I became aware of what HOME meant, albeit too late.

    I'm so excited for your family and sense that it will work out well for you. I remind myself daily that following dreams can only make us stronger, even if it seems unclear in the moment.

    Allow yourself today's tears, today's sadness, so tomorrow's newness can shine through.

    Wishing the very best for you and your family.


  • Shelley R.

    Shelley R. on May 11, 2011, 1:05 p.m.

    I treasure the photographic chronicles of renovations accomplished on a house because those projects are what make the walls, rooms, entrances, a home. The memories will always be there and the photographs become the visual launching site if some details become fuzzy. At least that's what I've experienced, and how I treasure them! I chuckled at the picture of scootering... when our son was a toddler, my husband tried to teach him ollies in our dining room!

    May these last few days only build on the treasured moments in this house as you prepare to make a home in the next...


  • Pamela

    Pamela on May 11, 2011, 2:02 p.m.

    I sat in my family room last night, thinking about this post. Our family room is very small, but so much living is done there! I have two favorite spots: the rocking chair and the couch. The rocking chair sees many cuddles, quiet moments, and cups of coffee. It also has the perfect perch to see everywhere: down the hall to the bedrooms, the kitchen, the dining room, and of course, the family room. The couch is where family cuddles happen. We read books together, and watch movies (usually piled on top of each other in a jumble). It dawns on me now that I could take or leave the room, I just want my chair and my couch. Well, really, it's the people that cuddle on them that I want!

    Thanks for giving me something lovely to ponder.


  • Nola

    Nola on May 11, 2011, 3:24 p.m.

    I have felt the same way. Its okay to feel that way. I have moved several times and a few times since I had children.

    I think that we need to really allow ourselves to feel those emotions and also realize that they do pass and we go on towards other things.

    I hope that you are able to realize more of your dreams as you move. I find it interesting you are moving to Quebec. I can see the Ontario side of Quebec from where I am.


  • Anonymous

    Anonymous on May 11, 2011, 6:58 p.m.

    We recently just moved halfway across the country, away from the home where we lived when our two daughters were born. The home that we remodeled ourselves, painted, had first birthdays, etc. While I've never felt too attached to houses, this one was a little harder than any other move. The good news is that you get to take yourself, your family and all the things that made your house so great with you to your next house. I found that once we started living in our new house we moved right along. We have had one birthday here, made friends, had family sleep on the couch, etc. And that is what matters. Take hope in that you have a close family and will get to keep enjoying each other.


  • Lori

    Lori on May 14, 2011, 11:52 a.m.

    It was when I walked around my empty house after the movers finished that I allowed myself to cry about leaving our last home. I took a final walk through and studied all the rooms and tried to save the memories in my mind forever. It's making me cry now! That was 3 years ago, and a move we didn't want to make. I have been able to see for a long while, however, that this move was for the best, in so many ways. Our home now is part of our family just as our last one was. I get attached to homes because they are part of family life. My kids were a certain age there, and when I remember them at that age I think of that house. I have what I need from it though...my family, memories, and lots of photos! I wish you all the best in the coming days and years in your new home. I enjoy your writing very much.


  • Katie @ Making This Home

    Katie @ Making This Home on May 14, 2011, 5:32 p.m.

    I love this. I like how you share where this part of your house is (still not finished) and where you started. You know, I think it's like life. It is a constant thing - full of so many little journeys. And as they change, there's so much excitement about what's to come mingled with the sadness and memories of what you leave behind.


  • Jennifer Brotherton

    Jennifer Brotherton on May 14, 2011, 9:21 p.m.

    I understand that feeling. It's normal. When we thought about renovating our bathroom and putting in a shower only and getting rid of this huge garden tub we have...I couldn't do it. Three of my girls were born in that tub! It's a special tub. LOL! But in the end, it's just a tub. You will find the peace and heal from the trauma of leaving behind a "thing". It is hard though.


  • Nicola @ Which Nicola?

    Nicola @ Which Nicola? on May 16, 2011, 4:35 a.m.

    You have done so much! It is okay to be sad. It will come in weird moments. But you have worked for this for reasons so important to all of you. You will make a new home, somewhere else. When you do sell, leave a before and after photo book out for potential buyers to see. Hugs, Nicola


  • Leslie

    Leslie on May 19, 2011, 2:07 a.m.

    Living rooms really are for living! Thanks for being so bold to share your creative chaos - I love it and I love that you posted those pictures showing all the 'action!' So many memories, I can imagine it must be hard to say to goodbye to a place that has held so many wonderful times for your family. Blessings on your move,


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