Tuesday, September 11, 2012


After many years in the Omaha area, my parents-in-law are moving back to Iowa next week to be closer to family and the family farm. This past weekend, we visited their house for the last time to load up a batch of yard equipment that my father-in-law will no longer need since they will be moving to a townhome. It was a bit sad to see the house so empty (the below photo is their basement). You see, to me a house is much more than just a place to live, and saying goodbye to it is like biding farewell to an old friend.

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!


  1. OMG Kimber, it is so enjoyable reading your blogs or should I say stories. This was delightful to read and always nice to see where you have lived. Thanks and enjoy the rest of your week. Hugs Mary A.

  2. I see why the little brick house is your favorite. It reminds me of the little Cape Cod house we owned in Ottumwa for 3 years. I've always said I'd love to live there again IF I could move the house here!

  3. What a fun post. It makes me want to go find pictures of the houses I've lived in and take a stroll down memory lane.

  4. Hi Kimber,
    I'm catching up on blog reading again! Love all the photos of your homes. I think you are one of those well-adjusted people who likes everywhere you live. Although it would be hard not to have favorites, it doesn't mean you don't love each and every home. Nice posting.

  5. Oh, what a nice walk down memory lane for you. I know what you mean about the sadness of an empty house. It sure is like telling a good friend goodbye. Growing up I only lived in one house (a nice doublewide mobile home-it looked like a real home though). So,many years later after my dad had passed away my mom needed to trade it in for one that was up to code. I will never forget the sadness of going into that empty house one more time, remembering all the memories and seeing my empty bedroom and seeing the empty part of the kitchen where I could always find my dad. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.
    But back to your house...the house you live in now is my favorite. I just love Victorians. Your so lucky to have one! Gina

  6. Thank you for sharing stories about your homes! I love old homes, but have never lived in one, except for a short year in an old house that had been broken up into apartments. There was some romance to the apartments - extremely high ceilings, cypress doors and woodwork, coal-burning (but non-functional) fireplace, but the remainder of the adaptation was all modern. Don't know if I'll ever have that old home experience now, but I can still dream about it!

  7. It's a reality not all of us stay's forever in our home that we use to live since birth. Time will come when we moved out to a new place especially for our school or work or even if we build a new family. Old homes will treasure our life forever.

    Joseph @ inter state removalist sydney

  8. I see why the little stone home is your preferred. It informs me of the little Cpe Cod home we possessed in Ottumwa for 3 decades. I've always said I'd really like to stay there again IF I could shift the home here!


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