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Heart & Home

There was a day not that long ago
that would be the first time that I would step inside this old cottage
that we would call home.

It didn't look like home or fit into what home looks like to anyone
It wasn't wearing pretty paint
 it didn't have a white picket fence surrounding the yard
or charming details in any way shape or form

It looked more like an abandoned, neglected, falling apart 
cottage in the middle of overgrown acreage.

Which... honestly
is pretty much what it was

 and that was all that you would see
 if that was as far as you looked. 

When I saw our home for the first time- 
there was something about it that spoke to me.

I heard a little voice inside my head that said that it had potential.  
That it was worth so much more than it seemed.
To give it a chance 
Even with overwhelming amount of work ahead
that it was worth it.

There were ceilings open to the attic, broken windows and dark interiors 
It was dreary, dark, cold and so uninviting.

But when I paused and looked again
 I saw creamy white paint 
and french doors instead of broken windows flanking the  8' long fireplace
and crystal chandeliers lighting the room

There was a warm fire burning in the fireplace
and hours of family time gathered around it talking
 about day to day and this and that.

I saw our family here.  
This house in some ways already felt like home the very
first time I opened the door

After years of tackling projects, seemingly endless renovations 
and repairs to make the house functional, comfortable and pretty
 when I walk through the door now

I see memories.

I see my husband and I standing on ladders in the kitchen putting up beadboard
and nailing each nail by hand before we got a nail gun
Oh those were the days.

There are moments here
happy moments, accomplishments and fun
and there are some like life changes that are bittersweet 
 There are a lot of blood, sweat and tears moments

But more of the crazy things 
the oops, the fun, all the laughs 
and the moments when we stopped and smiled 
and just enjoyed
  stand out so much more than the work does now.
(because I am not doing the work currently of course!)

I mostly remember the funny things that went along with each project

I see the ceiling in the bedroom that we built 
and remember the 'lift' idea that my dad designed and arrived with one day
He and my husband put it together
 to help get the sheetrock up on the peaked ceiling without breaking anyone's back
It was hilarious and so not conventional 
but it worked.

I see my youngest son swinging the hammer to help my husband build new walls
and fix things around the house when they broke.
Even now- he is right there every time there is a project going on or if something
needs to be fixed

I see my oldest son who was probably 9 at the time  
helping me repair the main water pipe line that broke while my husband was out of town. 
He had worked on the plumbing with my dad the week before
and he was so proud to know exactly what to do and what tools we needed to fix it
(Yes- it worked.)

I see my daughter helping me garden- choosing each plant carefully for it's color or size
and placing them in the window boxes 

I see my husband and I holding hands on the sofa talking about the day, 
 dreaming up dreams for the future and ideas for the next project 

I see my dad
who came up and helped so often the first couple years of working on the house
wearing his tool belt, his work jeans covered in dried caulk
with loads of sawdust in his hair
laughing about the 3rd time in a row wrong cut on the plywood
or the water heater mishap in the basement

I hear 'the band' playing loud metal music in the little cottage
and see parties filled with friends and family

 celebrating birthdays

and graduations

 family gatherings and reunions in the back yard

I hear laughter around the fireplace
on warm summer evenings 
and think about how we placed each and every rock on it one summer

I see my grandmother and grandfather here
and remember how much they enjoyed sitting in the yard
with their watch and timing my daughter
 as she ran all.the.way.around the house again and again
and again because she loved it.

There is the day that my rockers became a band 
for the first time when Santa left instruments for them

There is the perfect roadside 'Lema-nade' stand

 and the games of hide and seek with a sweet little girl
wearing a feather crown

I see laughter.
 first days of kindergarten
and first days of high school

The young boys who climbed trees and played pirates and tossed the football on the lawn
and a little girl with curls who loved finding ladybugs 

 have become young men and a sweet young lady while growing up in this house

I don't just see this house as a house where we live.
It truly is a home that is filled with so many things more than  renovation projects
antique furniture and pretty things on the side table.

 I see so many blessings, moments and years

I know so many of you feel the same about your homes
and how your family has grown inside their walls.

I know that this is so not my usual type of post
but it seemed like a perfect way to share a little more about why
my heart is at home.

Happy Weekend everyone

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  1. Beautiful - thanks for sharing. A house is just a house until you make it a home. I am so glad I have recently found your blog. You are such an inspiration. I am redoing my kitchen right now and I am adding two arches and open cabinets and I am wanting a chandelier or two too.

  2. Oh, Courtney! That was incredibly beautiful, and it filled my heart to the brim! What a lovely, wonderful journey. Thanks for sharing it and for letting us in.

  3. Oh such a beautiful post. I love your picturers of your family. So beautiful and such precious memories. Hugs, marty

  4. It may not be your typical post, but I love it.

  5. Oh, Courtney, what a beautiful heartfelt post. You drew me in with your precious memories and you and your family have created a beautiful home!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia :)

  6. Courtney, you have a beautiful house, you shared a beautiful story and - most importantly - you have a beautiful family!

  7. I LOVE this so very much, Courtney. My husband and I built our cottage ourselves, and are just now getting around to having the time to add some personality to it. The years, the moments, the laughter... all of it, as you've so beautifully shared, is what turns a house into a home.
    I love coming to visit you, since we share a love of French Country, and you have so many wonderful ideas. One day, I hope our little home will shine like yours!

  8. What beautiful memories.I love the picture of the 'Lema-nade' stand. Thanks for sharing them with us and I hope you have many more to come.

  9. What a beautiful post and a beautiful home! All of your hard work and love for it all shines through in every nook and cranny.
    Thank you so much for being a part of this tour!

  10. Thanks for sharing with us all. Hugs, Linda@Wetcreek Blog

  11. Beautiful m post. Why wasn't the house lived in after being built in 1940?

    1. It was built as a vacation cottage- so it was not lived in full time. Our neighbors said that the owners would come up every couple of years for awhile but then not for many years after that.

  12. This is what we all strive for a Home
    A special place for our families and memories and looks like that is just what you have

  13. What a lovely post! I enjoyed reading about your journey and seeing pictures of your family. They grow up so fast don't they? I've enjoyed this tour so much...have a perfect weekend!

  14. Courtney your home is filled with love.Love the for the home you saved and brought it back to life,love of the home you raised your beautiful family with all those wonderful memories.So glad I was able to read about the story of your lovely home.So thrilled to be a part of this tour with you!

  15. What a beautiful post......thanks for sharing your memories!!!

  16. You have described beautifully how the layering of a home can only happen with the love and memories of a family. You are rich in so many ways. Enjoy making more memories with those you love.

  17. Courtney your post is so touching & beautiful. I can't wait to go back to the top & read it again. THANK YOU so much for saying yes to the tour, for opening your home & your heart. I am sure you are right ~ we are kindred spirits in our feelings about our homes…and maybe much more. Happy to be getting to know you!

  18. I love this post! It shows how vision and hard work can transform a sad house into a charming home, worthy of showing to the world. But, it's the extra element of love and memories that makes your home so very special. I feel the same way about my home. Every inch holds a memory for me.

  19. Wonderful post and you do indeed have much to be proud of...those kids alone! Lovely cottage...thanks for sharing your lovely photos.

  20. Oh Courtney...what a beautiful, beautiful post ! Thank you for sharing and inspiring every day...xo

  21. As always, a beautiful post Courtney! It made me cry, as I feel the same about my home. Excuse me while I go retrieve the tissues!

  22. Thanks for sharing this with us all. Such fond memories you have!

  23. This was just beautiful! We know you love your home as we see how you lovingly decorate it. Bt to hear about all the memories and special times you all have spent there, makes it even more meaningful! Thank you for sharing!!

  24. I read every word of this post, and truly loved it. I must say, you have beautiful children. They look like the picture of you on the blog.

  25. It's hard to believe that YOU could be the mother of such grown up children.. You built way more than a house of walls and mortar and paint.. You fashioned a home w Love and many wonderful memories... You are Blessed to have such fine men to help w your vision.

  26. Such a beautiful post Courtney. You had a lovely vision, which you brought it to fruition. Your home is truly beautiful and the memories you created over the years a lovely treasure to keep forever. I'm just starting our on a new renovation journey and your story was a little reminder that you have to keep looking at the big picture. Hopefully one day I too will look back at those back breaking days of transforming and rebuilding and laugh at the trials and tribulations of DIY. Lovely to read more about your home and family on the Hearts at Home tour.

  27. Beautiful post, Courtney! Straight from the heart! Hugs, Leena

  28. Oh Courtney! This is hands-down my favorite of all of your posts EVER! Not only did I get to see photos of your beautiful home (which I always love!) but hearing from your heart just reminded me so much of how I feel about my own home and the memories we are creating here. I felt like we just got to know you even better and it makes me feel even more blessed to call you my friend!

  29. Hi Courtney!!!

    I can feel the joy and laughter with much love that your walls hold within your beautiful home!!!

    The memories over the years, watching your home evolve from a building that needed love, to a gorgeous
    home for you and your family. Sometimes looking back at memories and pictures of our family as it grew
    from two to three to four and then five, we have a tear in our eye because of all the love and sometimes cute
    memories that if we speak them now we hear, 'Oh, mom!!!!!' Because we are "Mom", we look at our children as
    young adults now, and steal a hug just before they go out or back to school and we reminisce all the other hugs
    that your arms held and our heart swell because we are so proud to be their "Mom!!!"

    Now, we look to the future with our family by our side and wonder what wonderful memories are going to be made
    in your place called. "Home."

    Enjoy the rest of the weekend Courtney!!!


  30. This was absolutely lovely. Thank you for sharing your heart and your home with us!

  31. blessed we are! Thank you for sharing the blessing of "LOVE"....... the foundation of a true home.

  32. Courtney, this is one of the sweetest posts ever. You definitely know what "home" is, and yours is obviously filled with HEART.
    Fantastic post! You have a beautiful family and a beautiful home.

  33. J'adore ce post!!!!!
    Bisous de Belgique...

  34. Boy this certainly hits at the heart of it!! Your post is absolutely beautiful. You ladies and especially you Courtney have made me see why I've been so dissatisfied with our downsized home. We've lived there almost ten years and we've done a lot of remodeling but it just doesn't seem to have a personality. I realize now what I've been hankering for . . .my own Tuscan home. So I am collecting inspirational photos of how I can do that. Your home is a perfect reflection of you and your family . . .beautiful!!

  35. This truly is a beautiful post, Courtney. It's nice to get to know the person that lives inside that lovely home.
    I'm blessed by your sweet spirit, and loving heart.

  36. What a beautiful tribute! So nice to know the personal side of making a house a home. You are a blessing to us all.

  37. What a beautiful touching post...and you were taking awesome photos the whole time! Love this glimpse into your soul, you have a way with conveying your feelings my friend. This was very wonderful:)

  38. Love all the pictures of your family. Your kids are adorable!

  39. Oh this is my favorite post of yours ever !!!
    Your before photo ( with that dark panelling ) looks like the home we just bought
    ( 2 months ago ) where the entire house has that - I have to admit I had the same
    visions - the same excitement - and last week it hit me very very hard just what
    a huge challenge we bought - I've been down in the dumps about it.
    This post lifted my spirits like I can't tell you - so thank you thank you thank you.
    You've restored hope in my soul - I needed that. Your home is simply gorgeous
    and the perfect setting for beautiful memories.

  40. Love, love, love your posts! Always an inspiration to me! Question.......can you give a source for your curtain rod in the kitchen? It looks like it is black iron with a bird on it! Would love to find out where you got it! Thank you and peaceful blessings from my home to yours! Nanny

    1. Hi Nanny~
      The drapery rod is from Lowes- and yep- it's a black rod with a little bird on each end. :)

  41. This was beautiful Courtney! Your children are so cute! Many memories make a home!:)

  42. Such a sweet post that I definitely can connect to. We raised our daughter in our home and my parents came over often. They have passed away but the memories are rich. This was a powerful post!