Back in 2009, Jay and I bought our first house in Omaha, Nebraska. Actually, just Jay bought it since we weren't married quiet yet, but you get the idea.
We were 25 and 23 years old, and had no idea what we were doing. Jay had been given an outside sales territory and asked me (his girlfriend at the time) if I'd move with him from Chicago to Omaha. I obliged and the rest is history.
I mean who could resist this guy anyway?
After 6 months of living in an apartment in downtown Omaha, we zoned in on a neighborhood called Dundee. It's known for it's older homes and it's most famous resident, Warren Buffet. We searched around the area and finally found this charming Cape Cod that had recently been updated by an interior decorator.
I loved it almost immediately.
I found the photos below on my old laptop, which was resurrected from the dead last weekend. I thought it might be fun to take a stroll down memory lane.
Now remember, this was almost six years ago. My taste has changed....dramatically!
I don't think that I knew that I loved old homes until we lived in Omaha. This house taught me that I loved features like arched doorways, original trim, and chunky crown molding.
This home also gave me a soft spot for built-ins. I remember when we were first touring the house, I saw all of the interesting things the prior homeowner had on display and I started to brainstorm how I wanted to style the shelves when I moved in.
To the right of the living room was an area that we always called "the side room" because we had no idea what it's real purpose was. At one point in the home's history we thought that it might have been a porch above the garage that had later been enclosed. We used it as a "library" of sorts.
Between the side room and the kitchen was the dining room. Although our kitchen had a little eat-in area, we used this room for meals instead. Maybe because it was roomier, or maybe because we were young and thought it was funny to sit on opposite ends of a formal dining room table and pretend like we actually knew what we were doing with our lives. Oh we didn't...we SO didn't!
Coming from our apartments in Chicago, we didn't have much in the way of furniture. As part of our offer on the house, we negotiated the dining room table and the bar credenza into the purchase price. I remember thinking that was about the coolest thing we'd ever done. In retrospect, I am not sure it was. Paying more in interest on a thousand dollars worth of furniture. Dumb. Oh the things you learn in your first home....
The kitchen was in the back of the house. I loved the quilted stainless steel back splash (remember this was 6 years ago!) which also wrapped the front of the refrigerator.
Looking back now, I wince at the cabinets, the tiled counter tops, and floors but back then this was everything I could have ever asked for!
Under-mounted farm sinks were like an urban legend and I couldn't believe I had one! I remember also being enamored with the pull out cutting board to the left of the sink. Now it makes me want to get sick thinking of all of the bacteria that lives in that drawer.
We had a little spot to sit, have coffee, and look out into the backyard - but honestly, we never used that area. As I recall, we didn't even buy that table until we were staging the house to sell.
Also on the first floor of the house was a full bathroom and two bedrooms.
Brace yourself, this bathroom is crazy! It's mid-century, meets deco, meets I don't even know what era. The future? Let's hope not.
You can't tell from the picture but the walls above the tile were wallpapered in this textured, rock-like material. Again, I loved it then. I had never seen anything like it and I thought it was so cool.
The first bedroom was huge. The previous owners used it as an office for four people, so there was an abundance of telephone and internet hookups that I tried to hide with cleverly positioned furniture. The very few guests that we had in Omaha, stayed here.
The other bedroom on the first floor was converted into Jay's office. I guess I never took a picture of it furnished, but since Jay worked out of the house, he spent a lot of time in there.
Oh yes, and then there was the staircase up to the master bedroom. You'll notice there are no doors, you'll also notice that the railings are actually bathroom towel bars. If you actually used the towel bar railings they detached from the wall. Very safe.
If you managed to get up the stairs without taking out a towel bar, you'd get to the landing that I always kind of thought looked like the bow of a cruise ship. What an odd material to use as a railing. Again, I thought it was quirky and awesome!
The first doorway is to the master bathroom. Remember, this was a Cape Cod so all of the ceilings were pitched pretty drastically. The previous owner chose to mirror the space above the sink, the ceiling and the opposite wall in the bathroom so that you could get a full look at yourself. All of yourself. It was disorienting and devastating all at the same time.
Between the mirrors, the pink tile, and the pink wallpaper etched in french script, this bathroom gives the downstairs bathroom a run for its money as the "weirdest bathroom of all time."
The huge walk-in closet sort of made up for it. Although, again, because of the pitched ceilings, usable space was in short supply.
At the end of the hallway was the actual master bedroom. Bless Jay's heart, at 6'4, he had to do a lot of ducking and strategic walking around this room to avoid hitting his head on the ceiling.
And then there was the basement. Admittedly, I didn't spend much time down there. It was dark, cold, and had a very strange smell that permeated the rest of the house. That's a whole different story.
One of the redeeming factors was that nice big back porch and yard off of the kitchen.
We spent a lot of time trying to make sense of the backyard jungle. Since we were urban dwellers for years before we moved to Omaha, our attempts at landscaping the backyard must have looked like a charade to our neighbors. At least we learned a lot.
Which was good because we decided to let this little creature move in with us.
We decided to keep the "Beware of Dog" sign in our kitchen as a reminder to ourselves to keep an eye on the cute, but mischievous puppy. It quickly became evident that she would do much more damage to the inside of our house than she ever would be capable of doing outside of the house.
When she wasn't getting into trouble inside all she wanted to do was look at the backyard...
Or explore in the backyard....
Or chew things in the backyard...
But after about a year and a half of living in our first house, we decided Omaha just wasn't for us. We missed our families and friends. We got new jobs, put the house on the market, and moved to Indiana. I found pictures of that house too!
We learned so many lessons in buying and selling our first place. Most of them were "what not to do...ever again" but they have proven to be some of the most valuable lessons we've picked up along the way.