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House Update: The Light at The End of The Tunnel

Dear Renovation Diary,
 
I’ve joked, I’ve teased and I’ve labeled our home such things as “The Ugly Split Level.” And the house seems to play along with my odd sense of humor. 
 
It seems in Minnesota, Split Level homes are a dime a dozen. They’re the suburban staple it seems – just like Milwaukee seems to favor the Rambler-style home. The layout is awkward, but especially ours with its three levels. The kitchen, garage and dinette are on the ground level. Our staircase to the upper level is definitely a focal point, and the main living space is open. The fact that I can be in the kitchen while the kids are playing in the loft, or coloring at the table, or eating a snack at the counter makes the home feel very family-oriented. It was a major selling point for us.
 
I owe a debt of gratitude to the house. 
 
It’s not “ugly,” it has character. It established our foundation in our neighborhood, the kids’ school district and their activities, and our friendships. The backyard supported many a neighborhood pick-up lacrosse game, many a summer bonfire, and many more a dinner al fresco on our patio.
 

It was the first address we resided that gave the kids their own rooms.
 
It taught us how to stand on our two feet, how to budget properly and responsibly, and how to be completely reliant on ourselves. With the exception of a phone call to a relative for advice, there was no landlord to swoop in and take over. Owning a home can be stressful and expensive, but a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment comes with it. The give-and-take relationship we’ve had with our house has been very rewarding.


The house has good bones. Built in 1992, the only updates we’ve had to do on the place were cosmetic. Personal taste is not a reflection of fault or flaw, just a fact. The kitchen is functional. The open floor plan promotes a sense of togetherness. The limited space for storage does keep our material possessions in check. And though we’ve recognized the need for a guest suite and a formal office, our first home has served us very, very well.
 
We purchased the home as a short sale in 2012 when the housing market in the Twin Cities was at its rock bottom. We managed to secure a low interest rate, and a home for much less than under “normal” circumstances. Over the course of our tenure as home owners, the market has rebounded exponentially and is the only reason why we are preparing to sell. The split level essentially served as a 5-year flip.
 

I’m happy to have added the house as a chapter to our story, and I’m proud our story is a part of this house.

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