Seeing my parents-in-law's house for the last time made me think of my very first home as an adult and the other places I've called home since then. After graduating from Drake University with a history and magazine journalism degree, I found a magazine editor position at Meredith Corporation (publisher of Better Homes and Gardens) in Des Moines. I was so excited to be on my own and move into my very own second-story apartment in a vintage brick building on Grand Ave., just five minutes from work. I fell in love with the big bay window and homey fireplace, but it was actually the little window boxes that sealed the deal. I remember my mom bought me a flat of portulaca for them and we had fun planting them up. At first, the apartment was home to just me and my cat, Caesar, but soon after, my husband moved in after transferring from another college to be closer to me. We got married shortly after that and then he finished his last year of college at Drake.
Even though I lived there for only a little more than a year, it was very hard to leave. But I had a wonderful new home waiting for me in the small ranch we decided to rent to prepare ourselves for the responsibilities of homeownership. We stayed there for a year and a half before buying our first home, known as a Beaverdale brick in the Des Moines area. Although it needed some work, we saw a lot of potential in the 1936 home's three fireplaces and a family room addition in back. Over the seven years we lived there, we did our best to make it our own. My father-in-law helped my husband build a wall of built-in bookshelves in the study and my mom-in-law made curtains for the living room and kitchen. It was a very cozy home and one that I will always remember fondly. To this day, it is still my favorite home I've lived in. I'm not sure one will ever compare to it.
Wishing for more yard space for gardening and an old home to renovate, it was eventually time to move on to our current home, an 1885 Victorian Italianate. It was challenging to make it feel like home at first, and many of my things just didn't go with it. It's hard to believe that we've been here eight years. Our kitchen remodel, requiring all new materials from walls to flooring, has been our biggest project to date. Since we moved in, the entire house has also been rewired to code and the upper flat roof replaced (it was leaking through to the attic when we moved in!). Several smaller renovation projects followed and we have many more projects on our list.
Each home we've lived in holds special memories and a special place in my heart. While I enjoy taking trips and seeing new places, there's just no place like home!