Our First Home | T E X A S

Our First Home | T E X A S

Wes' time in the Marine Corps is nearing an end and to be honest it's pretty scary. We had to really sit down and talk about whether or not he would stay in, or make the transition into civilian life. It wasn't an easy decision. We talked about it for what seemed like forever. The Marine Corps is so familiar and "safe" financially. We know he'll get a steady paycheck no matter what and we don't need to worry about paying rent (it comes out automatically for us without us even seeing it), expensive health care, or utilities. The Marine Corps is a family. Is it an easy life? No, not by any means. But, it's familiar...comfortable.

So when we decided that he would get out, it caused me a lot of anxiety. I'm a planner and not having a set plan is hard for me. I think the transition from military life to civilian life is probably one of the hardest things for families. We've had countless friends of ours get out of the military and that first year always seems to be the hardest, so knowing we will have four little ones AND no place to live was scary.

Wes has a few options as far as jobs and thankfully that's the one part we aren't too worried about. Turns out, a lot of places are looking for veterans with his experience! We talked about where we wanted to settle down and both of us felt called to Texas. We both have family there as well as friends and it just feels like home.

Last October we went to Texas to visit my grandma and look around for areas we liked. We knew we wanted to be in central Texas, just wasn't sure where exactly. We had absolutely NO intention to buy a house then. We knew we still had a while before we would be out there, but wanted to get an idea for which areas we liked.

Little did we know, we would find our dream home the first day. Our realtor from Magnolia Realty showed us around a few places, but we just weren't impressed. Then I decided to look up places on my phone and came across a house I just had to see. I showed Wes and he agreed, it was perfect for us. I brought it to our realtor's attention and she took us to see the model home.

We. Fell. In. Love. That was it, we wanted it.

It was open, spacious and had plenty of room for our family to grow. Only problem? It was out of our price range. Doesn't that always happen? We talked to a few loan companies and the only way we could have made it work was with help from family.

Thankfully, we are fortunate enough to have family who was willing to help us with the downpayment. It couldn't have worked out more perfectly. We signed paperwork and I got to pick finishes on the house since it was still under construction.

Before we knew it, we were in the process of buying a house. It was such new territory for us and we had no idea what we were doing. It was a long and stressful couple of months, but finally on December 31, 2018 we closed and that dream house was now OURS!

I knew that I wanted to add or change a few things to make it feel more like "us" and one of those things was a faux fireplace. The one thing I've hated about the housing on the different bases we have lived on, is the lack of a fireplace mantle. Saying I love to decorate for the holidays is an understatement. I've missed not being able to hang stockings on a mantle for Christmas (my favorite holiday). So when this house didn't come with one, we decided that was the first thing on our list.

Thankfully my parents flew out to see the house in January and I got to take advantage of my dad's construction experience. We got to start on our first project and I couldn't have been more excited! It took a few days but we are so happy with the end result! I can't wait to decorate it for all the different seasons!

I ordered the mantle from Wayfair and I chose the unfinished design so that I could customize it however I wanted. I knew I wanted the base of the mantle to match the "shiplap" looking chimney. But, I wanted the actual mantle to stand out. I decided to mix two different stains (classic grey and special walnut from Minwax) to get a unique color. I didn't have a specific formula, I just poured and mixed until I was happy with it.

After I had stained the mantle, we put it together and placed it on the wall where we liked it best. Once we knew exactly where it was going, we removed the section of baseboard so the mantle would be flush against the wall and secured it in place. Next we put up the trim, which we chose to match the design of the fireplace. Once the trim was up, my dad cut boards so they would be staggered. It took a while, but I LOVE how it turned out. The boards weren't matched up perfectly which I preferred because it adds so much more character to a brand new house.

Next came the tedious part. Painting. I don't mind painting at first, but once I'm about a quarter of the way in I start to really get bored. I finally managed to finish painting and then came the faux brick. This was probably the most challenging part of the whole project. We couldn't decide if we wanted to put real stone, or use a panel of faux brick. In the end, we decided to go with the sheet of faux red brick. It was the ugliest thing I had ever seen. It definitely needed some TLC. I used a mixture of white paint, Locktite, and grout to distress it and give it some character. I thought the whitewash would mellow out the red brick, but Wes didn't want it too whitewashed, so we compromised somewhere in the middle. Wes also had a great idea to add hidden shelves inside the fireplace for the internet router and Apple TV. We also put a hole in the chimney that leads down to the top of the mantle and under the fireplace to hide the TV cords. We put a TV mount on the chimney, because I just think it's so much easier to mount TV's away from where kids can reach them, plus I HATE seeing cords.

Another project we wanted to work on was the kitchen. We added cabinet hardware and pendant lights over the island. I'm so happy with how it turned out, it looks way more like home to me now! We got these handles from IKEA and these knobs from Lowes. They matched perfectly! We also got our pendants from IKEA but we chose to not include the glass cover that comes with them. We just liked the more open rustic look of them without the glass. We also got these really cool vintage looking lightbulbs that just added even more character.

Can we just look at how AMAZING this kitchen is?! I mean...come on. Look at all that space!

We are so excited to be homeowners and I can't wait to get decorating! This will be the first time since Wes and I have been married that we can finally put down roots. It's also the first time I'll be able to decorate and make our house feel like a home without worrying about the fact that we'll be gone as soon as we unpack and get settled.

The neighborhood itself is amazing and has so many trails and parks for the kids to run around in. It's safe, beautiful and a military/cop community. Not to mention it's so close to all the shopping and only 30 minutes from the Austin International Airport.

I'm also so excited to be living across the street from my grandma. It's actually a funny story...when we went out to visit her she came along to look at houses with us. When she saw that we were buying our house, she noticed the house across the street was available too. She had been looking for places to move since her house in Waco was on the market. So, she wandered off in her typical grandma fashion and took a look at the house across the street. She decided right there and then that that house was the one she wanted. I have to admit, this house was way more suitable for her than her last. I love that I can look out our window and see her house just yards away.

We are so incredibly blessed and I'm still in shock that we are actually homeowners!

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