Our house isn’t Pottery Barn. More like Poverty Barn, if the rating scale is based on staged décor with layered dishware and giant lanterns on the outdoor dining table at all times. It’s an old stucco farmhouse on a dirt road that a family long before our time trucked in and planted on top of a giant hole, which was the biggest favor they could have done for us because it equals one awesome basement that will save. your. children. during the winter.
Our house on a hole is pretty alright for being in the middle of nowhere, and it’s finally started to feel like home since I hung a few family photos and the baseboards turned scummy. The Mennonites who resided here before us had this place pristine. The baseboards literally gleamed and, I’m pretty positive, winked at me when I first came in; now they’re just normal ole baseboards. Mennonites don’t watch HGTV or wear makeup, so more time for cleaning, obviously.
A few things I love about our home:
The farm table my dad built out of reclaimed wood from an old barn.
This huge old corn seed sign my mother in law went on a wild goose chase to buy for my Christmas gift after I became a corn farmer’s wife. It’s all her son’s fault, after all.
Claire’s nursery, the most peaceful place in the world, that my aunt and cousin secretly planned, then decorated while I was in labor.
Trevor’s bedroom, bright, fun, and full of sentimental, vintage pieces that we love. Like the Texas Tech cross-stitch Matt’s mom’s friend made in 1987, and the quilt I made for his big boy bed that I like to call “future vintage.”
All of my Craigslist furniture. So…all my furniture. I was an addict for a while, but you can’t be a Craigsjunkie when you live two hours from the nearest List, so I’m healed now.
And we have a big metal barn, which is a lot like a pottery barn, I’ll bet, except it holds farm equipment and feed and hay and other stuff Pottery Barn would crop right out of their photos. Including this kid…they’d crop him out, too.
There’s a lot to love about our house, and a lot to hate, on which I won’t elaborate because women in Africa walk miles for water to haul to their shanties and boil on a hotplate. Which is what the editors of the Pottery Barn catalogs would feel like they were doing if they drove out here for a visit, so, sorry editors, invitation revoked. Africa is closer, anyway. I’m grateful for the good qualities of this house, and I’m not going to degrade it with comparison to anyone else’s because it works hard to keep us out of the wind, has indoor plumbing, and runs an HVAC unit that will bring you to tears. What more could I ask for if I was being grateful?
However, I’ve spent this week sans kids here in the farmhouse, and there’s a slight problem. This dumb house is too quiet! No one’s playing the tambourine or building a fort out of the couch cushions or begging to finger paint. There aren’t any sippies in the dishwasher, no rubber duckies in the bathtub, no Goldfish ground into the rug. I haven’t tripped over any miniature sandals in the hallway, and all the little laundry is folded and put away for once.
Basically, our house is more like Pottery Barn than ever this week…all the kid caps and bags are hanging on hooks sadly, not monogrammed, but we do our best to keep up with non-labeled personal belongings, storage baskets are tucked into shelves, beds are made with duvets and quilts and layers of pillows and matching sheets, and the table is set neatly with four plates per person on stylish placemats among soft votive lighting. Just kidding about that last part.
If Pottery Barn houses are really this quiet and orderly, I think I’ll pass. Sure, they have cute embroidered backpacks on special hooks in the foyer, but those kid names are made up. They aren’t real kids who spill juice boxes and popsicles all over their play clothes. They have imaginary parents who fluff their white sectionals and arrange the coffee table knickknacks every afternoon before the dinner party, not real ones who use their sleeve to wipe spit up off the recliner and call it good. They don’t have corn signs and handmade furniture and letter magnets on the fridge, or stick horses and stuffed animals and random blocks under the couch. It’s a sad sad life in those Pottery Barn homes. Cue the tiny violin.
For now, I’m learning to be content with our stucco house, when it’s boisterous and busy and little feet patter down the hall at the break of dawn. I’m happy with the Tupperware scattered on the kitchen floor and the high chair in the corner and the heart-shaped sunglasses by the back door. Our family can have shiny glassware and matching armchairs and designer rugs when we’re all grown up and fruit-snack free. I’ll let you know when that happens. Until then, we’ll love the barn we’ve got.