Write about your favorite house
There are a lot of houses that are special to me — my two childhood homes, where I grew up in Evanston, Illinois top the list, followed closely by my grandparents’ houses in Marion, Ohio, Columbus, Ohio, and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina and my in-laws’ summer home in Sisters Lakes, Michigan. These places are important to me because of the memories I have of spending time there with people I love.
Likewise, I will always have a special place in my heart for the Alpha Phi sorority house I lived at when I was in college at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and the flat where I lived in Notting Hill when I studied a semester abroad in London, England, the spring semester of my junior year in college.
However, my favorite houses are the three homes that I have lived in with my husband Bob, since we got married in September 2000, especially the last two in which our children have lived with us.
From September 2000 – March 2003, Bob and I owned and lived in a one-bedroom condo on Central Street in my hometown of Evanston. It was only 6 blocks from Lake Michigan and located near the 11th hole of the golf course I played many days after school, when I was on the golf team in high school. Bob began living there after we closed on it in May, but I waited to join him until after our wedding day, four months later. It was a great place to start our life together as a married couple. It was a convenient location for both of our commutes to work and I loved living so close to my parents. We might have stayed in the area to build and raise our family, but the cost of living was high, so ultimately we chose to move to the southwest side of Chicago, near where Bob grew up and still has family, where the housing prices were half as much and the taxes also more affordable.
From March 2003 – July 2011, Bob and I owned and lived in a two-bedroom Georgian in our current Beverly neighborhood, here in Chicago. It was our first house and we put a lot of time, money and love into making it our home over the eight years we were there. Bob repainted almost every room in the time we lived there and we hired contractors to remodel the kitchen, basement, deck and garage. I was pregnant with all of our children while living there and have so many wonderful memories of our life and family in our first house. We also really enjoyed our neighbors and appreciated living on such block with such kind and friendly people.
It was bittersweet to move, but we always knew we wanted a bigger home and especially after Abby was born in September 2009, we realized eventually we would like our son and daughter, who are six years apart in age, to have their own bedrooms. We were determined to stay in our neighborhood and had looked at and dreamed about many houses over the years before we finally found “the one” — our “forever home,” as one of my friends refers to the place a person, couple or family settles and does not intend to move from again.
Our current home is everything I hoped and dreamed it would and could be. About 15 years and two owners ago, it was remodeled from a traditional Chicago bungalow. Thus our house has the best of both worlds, having features from both older and newly built homes. It still needs some work, but Bob and I have the rest of our lives to make any changes and updates we might want. In the meantime, there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t walk through our home and think about how much I love living where we do and how I look forward to spending the rest of my life here.
Our forever home, has a layout that we love. Our first floor has an open floor plan that is great for entertaining our family and friends when they visit. We have big eat-in kitchen, which overlooks our family room, a feature found in a lot of suburban homes, but not many in the city. Our master bedroom and bathroom are a wonderful place to start and end everyday. Our children both have spacious and comfortable bedrooms and we have an additional bedroom, which is wonderful for when guests visit. We have an office on our first floor that is also nice, as well as a full basement where the kids can play and we have plenty of space to store everything we have accumulated over the years, though we are also trying to purge some of that.
Our house, just like our family, is always a work in progress, but after years of dreaming about living in our “forever home,” it feels awesome to truly be living the dream.
Tell me about one or more of your favorite houses.
Kathy Benson is a bereaved and blessed mom, writer and group fitness instructor trying to live mindfully and find joy in the journey after dealing with secondary infertility and loss for five years. She lives in Chicago, Illinois with her husband and two living children.