Always Real

Living In A Model Home

Whenever I go into a model home, I always imagine that I could live in a clean, pristine and perfectly accessorized house if I just tried hard enough, if I could just get these other people who live in my house to buy into my dream.   But the fact of the matter is, no one lives in a model home.  And that’s why the cabinets aren’t beat up.

The cabinets in our house are beat up.  There are stains on the carpet.  The wallpaper in the bathroom is starting to peel in one place.  The baseboards look like we host a roller derby in our home. There is place along the stairs where the paint is chipped.  A tile in the bathroom is cracked. The list is endless.

When we had this house built ten years ago, we had some very specific things in mind that we wanted.  AD wanted a place for our exercise equipment and I wanted a place to do my art and we both wanted a workspace in the garage.   So we built a house to suit our desires and moved in. For a year or so, we lived in a constant state of intoxication fueled by new carpet vapors and nick-free cabinetry.

So the other day as I was cleaning and lamenting the toll that life that has taken on our cabinets and baseboards, I started thinking about how our life in this house has changed; how my art studio is now an exercise room and the exercise room is now a nursery little boy’s room.  The workspace in the garage is now an overflow toy/sports equipment storage space.  And my den is now a playroom and my breakfast room is now a perpetual school room.

I used to live in house with an art studio, pristine carpets and perfect cabinets.  And now I don’t.

I used to have a big empty spot in my heart. And now I don’t.


30 thoughts on “Living In A Model Home

  1. I love a “lived-in” house. I grew up with 5 siblings and our house was always chaotic. I remember visiting my aunt’s house and my 2 cousins were not allowed to use the main floor living room, the sofas were covered in plastic and you couldn’t enter that room without removing your shoes.

    I much preferred our house with all the kids’ laughing and playing.

  2. Your timing is perfect! 3 generations live in my house and it shows. This morning was one of the rare days when the wear and tear on my house was bothering me. I will concentrate on playdo and drawing squiggly lines today.

  3. Thank you. You said what I have been thinking about my own house but have not been able to express so eloquently.

  4. Couldn’t agree more! A house is to look at and a HOME is to live in:) It’s hard when pretty-house-envy sets in everyonce in a while, but I wouldn’t trade all the sticky fingers and playdough ground into the carpet for anything. Except maybe a maid. Or a carpenter…

  5. Praise God for stains on the carpets and nicks in the baseboards! I try so hard to remind myself of these things and I appreciate your reminder too!

  6. I need to remember this… but I think a big day came recently because I just smiled at the little handprints on the glass doors… and the thought didn’t cross my mind to do anything about it. Score!

  7. The last line made a big smile grow on my face.

    (But between you and me, don’t you wish you could have BOTH? I love my children and if I have to have the mess to have them, then bring it on. But sometimes, there’s a part of me that wishes I could have it both ways. Maybe I read Betters Homes & Garden too much.)

    * * *
    Yes, exactly. And when I look around my neighborhood, I sometimes falsely imagine that the people who keep perfect lawns and seasonal color in their flower beds don’t have any nicks on the cabinets. But I know we all do. Sigh.

  8. Amen to a lived-in home! You should see my cabinets – horrible! I bet you’d feel better about yours though.

  9. My cabinets are lovely in spite of 3 teens! Ok, ok, we’ve only been here a month. And they’re not new cabinets–just repaired and restained. They look fine. As does the paint-for now.
    Lovely post.
    Although I wish I had room for exercise equipment myself!

  10. I know exactly how you feel. We waited for children for 9 years, convinced we would never be able to have them. We worked on our house constantly, and about a month before we found out that we were going to welcome a baby, we sat back and told each other how glad we were that we had our home just like we wanted it! “We don’t need one more thing in this house,” I remember saying. Now what used to be our dining room is a den/playroom for our sons. The rugs are beyond saving, and today I came home to find that our older son used my eyeliner to decorate the counter in my bathroom. But I wouldn’t go back to the way things were for anything.

  11. And I know, in the blink of an eye, my house will be clean and organized and free of Lego struictures. When my boy is grown and gone. I’ll take the clutter and nicks. Gladly.


  12. A house is not a home, therefore House Beautiful is not called Home Beautiful and Better Homes and Garden would be better with some people living in them

  13. Thank you for this! I have a mother-in-law who lives to make her house look like a picture in a magazine, and I can’t help but compare my own toddler-riddled home to hers. It’s hard not to let myself think that her way is “better” than mine, or that somehow I’m just lazy. Thank you for reminding me of what’s really important, and that normal people don’t live the way she does.

  14. I love this post, AM. It’s funny how God arranges circumstances to give us exactly what we want, even before that desire ever enters our heart.

  15. Take it from me – when the children (in our case four) have grown and left home, you treasure those bumps and dents. Proof that once it was a busy thriving little community living in this house/home.

  16. This was beautifully said, especially as I look at the Christmas tree decorated by my 4 and 3 year old who hung most of the ornaments low and all on the same branch….and the snow village I inherited from my mother with all the people missing and likely found in my son’s room, ….and the said snow village sitting on the pristine grand piano I inherited from my grandmother that isn’t so pristine anymore.
    …..And the nativity that has all the characters huddled around baby Jesus so that you can’t see the faces of the cast of characters, and you definitely can’t see baby Jesus.
    My home isn’t on the pages of Christmas with Southern Living, but….it should be.
    Thanks for your eloquent and heart-warming thoughts.

  17. As a former neat freak the messes my 2 & 4 year old darling daughters make remind me of what is important. As all to soon they will grow up and my house will be “pristine” but way too quiet. Then I will just have to wait for Grandbabies! :0)

  18. I’ve always thought model homes looked terribly cold and sterile.

    Though I still wish that the books that had to go live in boxes in the basement, once DD came along, had 3 or 4 bookshelves to call their own . .

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