Posted in Our Story

Living in a Dream Come True

We are in love with our neighborhood. You guys… I guess I should start saying y’all but I never was able to in the 9 years I spent in Louisiana. I don’t think I will this time either. No one notices because the military and local industry bring people from all over the world to Charleston. It’s been really nice to blend in. We haven’t had a single person comment, “You must not be from around here.”

Back to our neighborhood. You cannot access it without going through a separate neighborhood first. Homes that were built decades later surround our brick ranches from the early 1960s sitting on minimum 1/3 acre lots. It feels like you are entering a magical secret as you pass by houses that consume the land they were built on to reveal our neighborhood situated with nature in mind. Mature towering trees wrap you in their branches and tuck away homes with shutters and front porches that seem to smile. The houses relax on generous plots of green that invite you to open your window and put your hand out to catch the breeze. We even have our own soundtrack that varies with the creatures brought to life by the sun and moon. I would scout out houses before we scheduled a showing to get a feel for the area. I distinctly remember my first impression as my jaw dropped and I whispered to Annabeth, “We have to live here.”

We fell in love with the house instantly. The previous owners lived here for 24 years and the husband’s name was Thomas with middle initial J. The wife had his belongings marked “T.J.” Walking through the front door, you are greeted by a floor to ceiling brick fireplace with a cut out into the kitchen. They added on a stunning sun room plus an oversized screened-in porch that take full advantage of the landscape. The rooms were stuffed with antique furniture and the windows hidden behind lace curtains. The house sat on the market for a few days, which is unusual in this hot market. We see why people could not get past the half bath in the master, smaller closets, and clutter. Instead, we felt the joy and tears that the house remembered. We saw an entire half bath more than we had in Colorado along with almost double the square footage and an attached 1 1/2 car garage! More than that, I was brimming with emotion at the potential memories the house inspired from that very first moment.

We continue to be impressed with this house and the neighborhood. I have discovered a few treasures in my kitchen. The stove is a Jenn-Air with an automatic exhaust vent that separates the burners, which are interchangeable with a griddle, grill grates, and hot stones. It even has built-in grease catchers! I opened the cabinets to find a full spice cabinet, pull out drawers, and a massive lazy susan. T.J. has a garage that not only provides a bedroom for his Iroc but also has enough space to line the walls with cabinets, shelves, and tool boxes. Even filled to the brim, he still has more than enough room to work and walk around his car. Oh, there’s a 20’x24′ detached garage in the backyard too. We plan on converting that into a guest house.

There are 3 entrances to our neighborhood and each one drops you onto a major road that escorts you to a unique area. One takes you past the locally owned Sunrise Bistro, with a man selling boiled peanuts in the parking lot, straight into a shopping center. Another offers 3 options: a direct route across the Ashley River, one to the airport and outlet mall, and the other takes you straight into the historic downtown. Summerville is best known as the birthplace of sweet tea. Prior to the American Revolutionary War, citizens of Charleston and the surrounding plantations spent summers here to escape the harsh season. The last entrance crosses over the beginning of the Sawmill Branch Trail and into the heart of the city, just off the interstate leading into Charleston. The Sawmill Branch Trail is a 6.5 mile 10′ wide paved trail that follows the Sawmill Branch Canal.

Lastly, there are our neighbors. The guy a couple houses down gave us a general lay of the land. Most people are related to someone in the neighborhood. His wife’s parents live on the corner across from his cousin and he has a friendship gate into the backyard of his best friend’s house. He instructed us to keep an eye out for the several bars throughout the neighborhood, as most people have kids but still like to party on occasion. I’m pretty sure his best friend threw a Kentucky Derby party at his backyard bar- complete with a giant outdoor TV. We also have bunches of elderly people mostly living alone. I was with a friend when we saw a man who had fallen at his doorstep. He was significantly injured but she was able to help him into the house while I called dispatch to come check on him because he refused our offer to call an ambulance. We even love our trash service. You pile your yard debris on the curb and it is picked up weekly. Furniture and other bulk garbage are picked up monthly. The service is managed by the city and paid for with your property taxes.

We originally planned on being in the Charleston area for a couple years until we figured out where we’d like to be long term. Turns out, we can’t see ourselves anywhere other than Summerville, SC. Who knows if that will always be true but we love it here more and more each day. T.J. started his new job at Cummins Diesel as a service technician on Monday. It now takes him 5-10 minutes to get to his 7:30am-4pm Monday-Friday job. 2 weeks vacation and insurance benefits were available from the moment he started. He’s excited to be back in the blue collar and eager to pursue his new dream of becoming a technical trainer.

I’m off to paint the sun room a cheery blue while Annabeth follows Dad around tending to the yard and Cooper keeps an eye on those menacing squirrels. Come out for a visit some time. We’ve got a mason jar of sweet tea itching to meet you.

Annabeth in her princess, unicorn, fairy, mermaid, rainbow, grass and dirt bedroom.
Posted in Our Story

Our Little Piece of Heaven

We are officially home owners again! We closed on our house in Summerville, SC on April 12th. We spent 7 weeks in a condo living out of suitcases. The same things we’d brought with us on our road trip from Colorado. I expected it to be trying but I quickly grew to enjoy the simple purpose in each day. The complex was serene with abundant ponds, fountains, and greenery. Then came the landscape crew every morning at 7am blasting leaf blowers. Hmph… There goes our peaceful rental condo. We did enjoy trying a meal kit for the first time, taking Cooper for regular walks, and Dad coming home for lunch. I’m glad we chose to take in the experience rather than focusing on what we were missing; we flourished in the possibilities found within the emptiness.

Needless to say, we have counted the moments to Closing Day on the same hand that we scratch our head with doubt. We have been balancing between hopeful and hopeless so often here lately. Through it all, we were blessed with a good dose of humility. We found ourselves grateful to be in a condo stocked with dishes and towels. It even had a washer and dryer! I pray that we never forget being humbled by our circumstance. In that space, I remember thanking God for my family’s health. Just taking a minute to recognize something we take for granted that in a second could be taken away and turn comfort into chaos. This modern life shoves you onward, so focused on what you should be accomplishing. Take a full 60 seconds to smile at the memories and appreciate your current circumstance.

Annabeth woke up to rain and just had to take it all in!

It has been three weeks since we closed on this house. T.J. and I feel like we’ve won the lottery. We spend our days in the sun room and evenings in the screened-in porch surrounded by our little oasis while Dad tries his hand at grilling with charcoal. I am in a dream come true being able to decorate each room piece by piece. I’ve either 1) had no clue how or 2) not been able to afford or 3) been too cheap to buy anything full price. I still cringe if I pay full price. We have discovered a couple really neat re-purpose and antique markets. Annabeth loves going through the old books, purses, and toys. She’s started her own collection of treasures. I call them bribes because she earns them by staying next to me and only pointing to things that interest her. I’ve been taking my time digging deep to uncover my style.

We are so happy. T.J. is a breath of fresh air. Can you believe I just said that? He changes into shorts and sandals when he gets home from work. (I promise I’ll take a picture of that for you.) I guess he’s been inhaling too much salty sea air with those T-tops down. I’m sure there will be challenges ahead but in this moment, we are enjoying ourselves.

Reclaimed bowling lane coffee table