“We can have a garden with all the vegetables!” I proclaimed.
“And fruit trees!” Silas chimed in. “…and a puppy!”
It’s hard to believe a month ago we closed on our first house. This space we get to call our own has been such a gracious blessing from God. For weeks we’ve looked at each other saying, “can you believe this is our house?”
But friend, let me tell you something before I walk you through our new home. There’s three things we did that have allowed us to enjoy the home as a blessing – not a curse.
Because buying a home is a privledge, a gift, but it is not without its fair share of stressors. Whether it’s a leaky faucet or a storm that breaks your tree, I would tell you it’s almost guaranteed you’ll find things you weren’t accounting for after you get the keys.
These three things we did before buying our home really set us up for success, and I hope you can find something worthwhile to take away if you’re going house hunting soon!
1. Completed Our Emergency Fund
Silas and I went through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University as part of our premarital counseling. In the class, we learned Dave’s famous “7 Baby Steps” to handling your money God’s way for his glory (and our sanity!).
Dave warns people not to buy a house until after they have completed “Baby Step 3”. At that point you’ve paid off all consumer debt (yes, even student loans) and have saved up a dollar value equal to 3-6 months of your expenses in a separate checking account.
Then, once you’ve saved enough for a down payment (recommended 10% minimum for a first home, 20%+ for any home after that), financially you’re in the clear to make a wise choice on buying a home.
To some, this might seem excessive. But after signing all 97 papers the day we closed, I quickly realized how much of a blessing an emeregncy fund is.
Even after having an inspection, we didn’t know every repair we’d be completing right away. But with every unexpected situation that’s popped up in the past 30 days, we’ve been able to handle it all without stressing over the status of our bank account thanks to our emergency fund.
Making necessary updates or repairs right away can be extremely stressful when you’re piling it on top of making an adjustment to a new city (or state, or country!), moving, cleaning, and organizing your new home. If you spend every last penny on the downpayment, you’ll force yourself into consumer debt to cover these unexpected emergencies. That’s when the house becomes more of a burden, not a blessing.
2. We Were Married For (Almost) One Year
While this is certainly not necessary for everyone, I’m thankful for the year we rented before we bought our home. When I look back to where Silas and I were one year ago as freshly-tied newlyweds to now, there is such a huge difference.
Even if you’ve known each other for years, marriage changes everything. As each month passes, I realize how we’ve grown into better communication and a deeper understanding of each other’s needs.
I’m so glad we rented our first year of marriage, because we learned so much about how we interact as a married couple. We are nowhere near perfect, but we’ve come a long way in one year in the communication department. We’ve been learning how to reach a unified decision, how to blend our styles together, and what each other needs in a home to thrive.
Perhaps you think you can get by with just one bathroom. But after a couple of weeks you realize being on identical schedules makes your morning routines stressful when you’re rushing each other to hurry through that precious mirror-time.
If you’re renting, you can move to a better suited home. But if you’re living in a house you own, the moving process gets a bit more complicated (and expensive!).
Now, when we were looking for our first home we knew we couldn’t have a large list of must-haves with the kind of budget we were working on. Chances of your first home being your “forever home” aren’t very probable. But we were able to find unity in our prefrences and prioritities, and this made the decision on which house to buy (and which projects to focus on first) much smoother.
3. We Were Okay With Not Buying a House
It seems a little counter-intuitive, to be looking to buy a house but remain content if you didn’t do just that.
We searched through dozens of houses before we found this one, many of which we just couldn’t make work. But whenever we faced doubt that we would find a house that made sense, we reminded each other it was okay if we didn’t buy a house at all.
We were more concerned with God’s will than our own. We weren’t about to jump into the largest financial decision of our life if it didn’t seem like a wise choice.
Everything we own, we are simply stewarding for God’s glory. If he didn’t want us to have a house, we were willing to listen and walk away from this idea. I was confident that the Lord would continue to provide for us, house or no house.
Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
Because we held this dream loosely it was all the more exciting when our offer was accepted. If it wasn’t we wouldn’t have been crushed, because our hope was in Jesus not brick and mortar.
But since it was, we gave thanks and asked that we would serve people with this generous gift he’s given.
Our Home Tour!
Welcome to the first home of Silas & Emily Myrick. If you were here in person, we’d welcome you in with a glass of cherry pomegranete flavored water and apologize that dinner wasn’t quite ready yet.
We have many ideas on DIY rennovations and decorating that I’ll want to share with you in the future, so let’s get antiquated with this space we’ll be working with! Our style is a unique blend of industrial, historical, and farmhouse (but most likely not in the way you’d expect).
Here is what our home looked like two weeks after our closing date.
The kitchen is easily one of my favorite rooms of the house. It’s where I love to pour my heart into serving others. I love cooking for others, especially when my creative husband joins in and spices up the ordinary. We love gathering people around the table, and having a space for guests to gather while we cook (and not have to feel in the way or shout from another room) makes this space wonderful.
Completed so far:
- Changed out the LED “hospital light” for an updated industrial farmhouse style fixture that coordinates with the rest of the house’s light fixtures (edison bulbs for the win!)
The Dining Room
This is another one of our most favorite rooms in the house. Silas fell in love with this oval table from World Market, and it quickly grew on me as well. He was a bit shocked when he pulled the bench out of the box, though – but I couldn’t resist picturing little kids piled up on it one day, Lord-willing. In the corner is a vintage family heriloom passed on to us from my parents. It’s a glass display case that they received as a wedding gift, almost 28 years ago! We are currently using it to display our travel treasures.
The place I work, the place I dream of gathering women around to study the Bible!
If this room looks a stark difference between the rest, it’s because this is the only room of the house that’s allowed painted wood! In all seriousness, it’s been such a fun thing to have a space dedicated to my home office, and I’ve been having a lot of fun going over-the-top girly in this room! The rest of the house, we’ve adopted a principle to us not adding anything unless we both love it. And Silas, his old-school carpenter’s heart will just not allow himself to enjoy the beauty of white paint covering any sort of wood!
Some changes coming soon:
- I am planning on adding a consule table behind my work table, and a gallery wall on that
- We are going to be painting the front door, possibly the inside as well
- I would love to add more vintage chairs around the table, mismatched but all with a vintage, rustic vibe
The Living Room
I love this room because not only is it a cozy living room, but it doubles as a guest room! The leather sofa pulls out for a bed, and once we get those curtians hung up it will be it’s own little retreat!
Some changes coming soon:
- Adding curtains, we finally picked some out!
- Changing out the back door. I would like a solid door since it is right next to the window.
- Adding some lighter colored pillows to brighten up the space.
This is the “master” bathroom, with the laundry tucked neatly in the closet.
Some changes coming soon:
- We found out our faucet is leaking! So, we will need to invest in a nice one that will carry us through a bigger bathroom update.
- I want to try some DIY concrete countertops in here. (If it works out I’m really wanting to do that in the kitchen as well!)
- If the concrete countertops turn out to be a nightmare, we’ll have to update the vanity. And the lights above it!
This bathroom is completely functional, and I’m keeping it on reserves for guests! We are currently satisfied with how this bathroom is, but we have a few minor updates in mind later down the road.
The finished attic is the site of the future man cave. This is the equivilent to my office for Silas – a space he gets to go nuts with all things leather, antlers, and whatever-men-like (probably not terrariums and wood flowers). Although, he has corrected me a few times saying the look he’s going for is a “gentleman’s study.” This will be an interesting one to watch unfold…
Some changes coming soon:
- Whatever is going on in Silas’ mind!
Is there more?
You might’ve noticed I kept out photos of our bedroom. Since we are furnishing our home on a budget, we’ve intentionally chosen to focus on the rooms of the house we’re wanting to use to serve others, first. Our bedroom’s aesthetics are not our priority until all the rest is complete.
Stay tuned for some photos of another favorite place of our new house – the garden! We’ve been working hard building raised beds and planting a mini orchard, and I can’t wait to share it with you soon!