A house is not a home without curtains and some paint

One of my least favorite parts about moving so much is how hard it is to make random houses (especially military housing) feel like home. It’s not so much that the houses we’ve lived in don’t fit my standards, it’s more that I can’t make the houses fit my standards. Yes we can paint, lay down laminate flooring, change out light fixtures and so on, but before moving again everything must be changed back to how it was before we took residence. It’s annoying and frustrating to deal with when we have more important things (finding a new house, new schools, organizing the moving truck, packing, etc) to worry about.

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Because of our multiple moves within this past year, it’s needless to say that Josh and I are completely burnt out with fixing up houses that don’t belong to us. We painted a substantial amount of our Cape May house which meant that we had to prime it all before we left. We were incredibly disappointed with the condition of our rental in Texas so once again, we painted nearly every room. Bathrooms, bedrooms, multiple living spaces, vaulted ceilings and all. We didn’t stop at painting either. We fixed doors, switched out light fixtures, changed shower heads, etc. Luckily, our landlord recognized that our contribution to her house was an upgrade so she didn’t make us change anything before we moved but moving back into Coast Guard housing meant a big house full of white walls and cheap fixtures all over again. While it is definitely still military housing, our current house in New York isn’t as bad as some that we’ve lived in. Usually, the walls are what I call “military white” – basically a flat, chalky white that gets dirty if you look at it. But these walls are a different color. Not a great color but they are at least closer to a cream and seem to wipe down better. I know painting isn’t hard labor but it is time consuming and, when you paint an entire house, costly. Josh and I agreed that this time around, we were just going to live with the white walls. But then last week I had a break down and couldn’t stand how cold our house feels. We downloaded this app (which is awesome) and sat together over coffee to pick out our paint colors. We decided to paint our bedroom first because we’re making a homemade headboard (I can’t wait to share this!)  and wanted to get painting out of the way before we began a new project. We headed to Home Depot, bought our supplies and came home to get started. Josh has developed a really good straight hand so he does the edging while I cut in with the roller. We have a very small room. Tiny actually and it still took us 4 hours. The next day, we agreed that we’re not painting another inch of this house. We’re beat. And over painting houses that don’t belong to us.

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I can’t give up on trying to make this place a home though. I’ve decided that I’m going to upgrade this house with things we can take with us and hopefully use again in our next house. Light fixtures, rugs, curtains, etc. Of course this is costly too but hopefully we can get some good use out of it all. But spending money on items like this isn’t anything new anyway. Another downfall to moving so frequently is how much layout changes effect our belongings. In the past year, we’ve moved from a 1300 sq ft townhome to a 2300 sq ft two story house to a 1900 sq ft apartment. Obviously, our furniture can’t possibly properly fill all of these spaces equally. This means that we currently have a nearly bare dining room but enough accessories and small furniture pieces in storage to fill another house. This goes for random things too. Shower curtains, curtain rods, storage containers, etc. Sometimes my small kitchen appliances fit in my kitchen and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes we have overhead lighting and sometimes we need extra lamps. It’s so frustrating.

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Ruby’s new light 

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She loves it. 

Over the past few years, decorating and homemaking have become a big hobby for me. Maybe that’s why this lifestyle drives me so crazy. I read several DIY blogs and constantly check out Pinterest, Apartment Therapy, and store catalogs for ideas, but you can only go so far living in a space that you’ll be in for a very short period of time. I can’t wait until the day when I can paint a room and know it will be that color for as long as I like, or remodel a bathroom or do whatever the hell I want to do because it is my house and I will live there for more than the length of my husband’s billet. But until then, you can find me wiping the little kid handprints from my white walls.

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