November 24, 2021
Friends-we are so excited to share that WE BOUGHT A HOUSE! Well, we’ve actually owned the house for a while now. And when I say “a while,” I mean 8 months. I know.
Oshiomogho and I were married in 2011. Pinterest wasn’t really a thing, I still thought Instagram was a picture editing app and HGTV was just starting to really explode. To set the scene: I was 21 years old and suddenly went from sharing a one bedroom apartment with my college roommate to being responsible for 8,000 square feet in the Virginia suburbs. I have always loved design so it was a bit of a dream come true, but there were two things in the way. One: Oshiomogho is incredibly practical. He had just been traded from the St. Louis Rams to Washington and signed a five year contract. We knew we wouldn’t be there forever, so a design overhaul just wasn’t going to fly. Two: Oshiomogho was already making investments at this point in time so he saw everything through a lens of “return on investment.” This meant we wouldn’t customize the house to us but rather, to “general buyer.” Armed with all of my tear-sheets and binders of inspiration saved during the years, I began designing little by little. I just want to remind you again that I was 21 years old and it was 2011. You can’t even begin to imagine the amount of gray in that house, you guys. And still, nearly every single piece of furniture we own is something I purchased in those first couple years.
At one point during our seven years in Virginia, we were going to do the whole thing. Move walls in the kitchen, tear out all the builder-grade niches, redesign the primary suite- all of it. We had meetings with designers! We payed the deposit! We had our final design meeting and squealed with joy! And then we had zero peace.
We knew we wouldn’t make back the return on our investment in that neighborhood. We knew we wouldn’t be in that house long term. We knew this deep desire to make our home look and feel like us would have to wait.
When I had a nine month pregnant belly, we made the changes we knew would sell when the time came. We painted the existing orange kitchen cabinets Simply White. We swapped the cheap bead-board backsplash for an inexpensive subway tile. We ripped out the thin plank orangy-cherry floors for dark, wide, hand scraped planks and changed a light or two. It felt so wonderful and light and pretty–but it still didn’t feel like us.
When we made the move to Texas in May of 2018, the plan was to sell our Virginia house, sell one of our properties in Maryland and buy our dream home here in Dallas. We had so much interest on our house before we even put it on the market that I was nervous to sign a six-month lease on our Dallas rental. Whelp, the real estate market did what it does best and we ended up not selling that house for an entire year. Want to have the longest year of your life? Find out you have an autoimmune disease, get pregnant, move with a two and three year old, have a devastating miscarriage and wait day after day to sell a house while paying rent AND paying your Virginia mortgage. I’m just going to be real- that season was so, so hard.
We didn’t want to buy furniture that catered to a temporary space and chose not to decorate just to decorate with pieces we wouldn’t bring to our forever home so in 10.5 years of marriage, we have never put down real roots in our home. I know there are families out there who move every year. Military wives who have packing and unpacking down to a science. People who go their whole lives without ever hanging a picture on the wall- I know you’re out there. But this feeling of constantly being in transition-in the holding our breath rather than in the exhale- weighed so heavily on me.
In March, we found ourselves living in my parents house while water damage was being repaired at our own house when O’s real estate agent sent him a house. She told him this would be the best flip opportunity yet and the second we saw this property, we just knew it was our home. When I tell you it was everything we had been looking for and dreaming of all these years, know that I had goosebumps at the accuracy. I won’t ever forget that moment-watching our babies step over nails and questionable staircases thinking, “this will be our home someday.” God is so good.
I’ll share more about the process soon along with the timeline, the plan and what we’ve been up to for the past 8 months with the keys to this place but for now, be sure to subscribe to the Atogwe Abode YouTube channel and watch our first video! I am so excited to share the entire process (along with some other fun surprises) there as we go from house to home.