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A few years after the hubby and I got married, we bought our dream house.
It was a fixer upper but we fell in love with it at first sight - much like each other.
The house was a classic Colonial style house...perfectly ordinary, except for one tiny — well, not so tiny — little detail:
The house was 100% pink.
I’m not talking about just a pink room. I mean everything.
Pink brick, pink paint, pink carpet, pink wallpaper, pink furniture, pink cabinets — there was so much pink, it hurt your eyes.
Now, but my hubby and I knew it was a diamond in the rough.
And even though we had very little money at the time, we knew with a few upgrades we could make this home a jewel.
We sunk all our savings into it, and worked tirelessly to remove the pink carpet, install new antique style wood floors, paint the kitchen, and so, so much more.
As newlyweds, we were already stretched way beyond our means, so we couldn’t afford to hire anyone to help us out. My husband and I did most of the house work with our own two hands.
We tore down eight walls in the main area to open it up...
We turned a previous trophy room into a library - because we’re both so passionate about books!
And we poured all of our creativity and heart into this home selecting paint colors, tile, hand scraped antique style wood floors, faucets, gorgeous cup bin pulls in polished nickel, and so much more.
We celebrated our triumphs, fought like crazy, and learned many life lessons from this project.
And by the time we finished, our home was a dream come true. It felt like we were one of those couples you watch on a design TV show!
We were ecstatic, words could not capture the excitement and joy that was running through us and our new home!
Now, I’ll be 100% honest with you. The house was amazing...but not perfect.
Frankly, we ran out of money — but we knew we would pick it up once we got on solid footing again and make our dream come true.
But then disaster struck
In 2010 Hurricane Ike came through.
I was one month away from having my first son baby R., and our house was devastated. Utterly, totally trashed.
Several trees from our yard and our neighbor’s yard crashed into our roof and destroyed much of our home. Rain poured into the open holes for days.
Literally, all this happened just slightly longer than 6 weeks after we had finally finished our renovation.
And like many Houstonians are doing to their own homes as we speak, we went back in and repaired all of it. (I’m going to give him credit this time, the hubby did most of it this time.)
Once it was all done, we moved back in and celebrated the joys of raising our newborn son. Everything was perfect until...
A few years after Ike, another flood came through.
We couldn’t believe this was happening again.
For a second time, we lost all the work we put into our home.
For a second time, we were displaced, virtually homeless, and had lost many of our belongings.
We were heartbroken,devastated, and in physical pain. Things looked bleak, and once we again, we had to go through all the struggle and emotion of starting over.
There were many days and nights full of tears and wondering how we would we get out of this situation. We felt lost.
Unlike the last hurricane, no one else in Houston was going through this so it was even more lonely and difficult to go through.
This time though, something changed.
The loss was so big and so devastating that we couldn’t just repair the damage with new floors and paint.
We pretty much had to rebuild it from the ground up.
And it took YEARS to get it back to a livable state.
But like with every disaster, the aftermath is a chance for rebirth. Instead of focusing on the loss, I decided to focus on what I could do with this opportunity.
Yes, in this pile of rubble I saw opportunity.
And the total destruction of our then-home allowed us to rebuild our new home in a way more in line with how we had always envisioned it.
I wanted it filled with family and friends all the time, gathered around a big kitchen, cooking and sharing not only our love for food, but also the highs and lows of life together.
I imagined a pantry that I could walk into and have everything organized (yes organized!) and fit in perfectly.
I imagined a laundry room that we could move around in and be inspired by housework - a big stretch I know!
And through this envisioning we were drawn to these dreams and built this!
We thought we were finally in the clear. But we were wrong.
After the repairs and renovations were done, we finally moved back in and started enjoying our new home. Especially, the kitchen, which looked like something right out of our dreams.
We had been there 3 weeks and loved every second of it!
But then ANOTHER storm came through. The Memorial Day Storm, remember that one?
Only this time, it didn’t wreck the city, but it did destroy OUR HOME.
We thought that we must be cursed.
Thankfully, this time we only lost our floors.
And once again, the disaster opened an opportunity for us to get even closer to our dream home.
Luckily, it took us just a few months to get everything squared away. Well, actually, it only took us a few weeks to pick the tile...then we had to wait months (but it felt like forever!) for our antique-style stone floors to come in. But they were certainly worth the wait.
The point of all this is, that no matter how bad it gets, there’s an opportunity for you to reinvent yourself and your environment. It’s always there.
If you or a loved one lost it all during Harvey, don’t give up! Do not give up.
This is a golden opportunity for you to make your home better, more beautiful, more in line with the dreams you have always had.
So hang tight, stay in there, and keep faith.
Oh, and you’re probably wondering, “Amitha, why didn’t you just sell your home?”
Well, the logical response is, “By now we should have!
But I love this home. The BEST memories of my life have been in this home.
This home is as much a part of our family as we are of it.
And I can’t let go yet.
I know your home probably means the same thing to you.
And having gone through this several times, I can tell you don’t give up.
But even if you had to abandon your home, know that you’ll be smarter for it and make a better decision next time.
We all need hope.
And after talking to many of you at Village Antiques, I wanted to share my experience with you today to show you that there is always hope.
I also know that many of you lost everything, so we’re doing something at Village Antiques we’ve never done before. To help YOU get back on your feet.
More on that later this summer.
In the meantime, one day at a time.
Rather than focus on your loss, think about what you can do differently.
I did the same, and it changed my life.
The best memories of my home came after
Tragedy 3 Opportunity 3
Leave a comment and share your story. We’re here for ya!
P.S. There is actually a 4th Tragedy, During the last storm before Harvey, the Tax Day Storm, my car got hit by lightning and was totaled.
I can’t make this stuff up. I don’t know why we attract natural disasters.
But my point is, I’ve lost it all. But I’ve never felt like I’ve “lost it all.”
It was that mindset, along with the secrets I’ll share with you over the next few blogs, that allowed me to keep going even when things got bad. Stay tuned.
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Amitha with Oprah Winfrey
I love the paint, it was so easy!
Just a quick note to say that I love your new paint line!! The colors are beautiful and it goes on so smooth and silky. The gray wax is fabulous. I'm getting some great new looks with your paint but most of all I'm having fun using them!! Hope all is well.
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