Friday, February 2, 2024

How is life in a sticks and brick house? Our Three-Months-After-Closing Report

Over nine years ago we bought the motor home that we have lived in since then. Full-time RVers call a stationary house a "sticks and bricks" home, to differentiate it from our RV that was our home for almost a decade. Now it's been several months since we signed the final closing papers where we officially became the owners of a house without wheels. After the closing costs were finished, we still had plenty of major purchases to furnish it. But because we purchased this house "as is" it had lots of things inside. Some of those things we wanted and needed, and some things we did not. For example, the kitchen was almost completely equipped, but we had to buy new flatware. We hadn't picked out forks and spoons since the bridal registry 43 years ago! But it had most of the things necessary to fix meals and bake cookies. 

We have a second kitchen in this house. It's in the basement and it is child-size. We have the wooden stove and cabinets that Denisa's father made for his three little girls over sixty years ago. It's been used by children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren over those years.  In this three-months-after-closing report we can verify that another generation is still happy to play with it.

Both of our grandchildren enjoy playing in the basement. It took us close to a month to get that messy full basement cleaned out and organized. The center of the basement has a play house equipped with furniture. All it needed was a little imagination--that includes Eli putting the finishing touches on his plastic dinner. The basement also includes a corner for Denisa's crafts, a corner for Mark's wood shop, a corner for exercise equipment, and lots of play space.

Upstairs, the third bedroom houses a twin bed, the piano, and Denisa's sewing machine. One of Carter's favorite activities at this sticks and bricks house is sewing doll clothes.

While we were sewing together, she said that she was so happy to learn how to sew. Then she told Gram, ". . . and when you're dead I can teach my granddaughter how to sew too." Well alrighty, that just warmed Gram's heart in a weird kind of way. We were still smiling when the first doll dress was finished and was modeled by Carter's American Girl doll.

We have a reading corner, and Eli likes to read here. We also are gathering a nice supply of stickers, trucks, and puzzles--more of his favorite activities. None of that would have fit in the motor home.

Another major purchase of this first month was a new mattress. We had to do lots of research since we hadn't bought one of those in a while. We also bought a new bed spread, and Mark added cool indirect lighting in the master bedroom, bathroom and entry way. The master bathroom was also a major project, cleaning and resealing the grout in a walk-in shower that is entirely too big for this little house. We estimate that we spent about 40 hours in that shower--not taking showers, but restoring it. We didn't remember to take pictures of those finished projects, but we did remember to take a living room picture. It includes a mish-mash of furnishings from many different sources: the big television set that our son donated when he got a bigger one, the love seat with two electric recliners and the television stand that came with the house, a glass-top end table that Denisa found and repainted the base, a brown recliner from Mark's Mother's house, the round stain glass duck that Denisa made many years ago that her sister had been storing, clocks and vases that were left in the house . . . The gas fireplace was broken and Mark had to order two different parts to fix it. It's bits and pieces from many sources that make up what we now call home.

A television set once hung in the spot over the fireplace. But it was at the wrong height and we were gifted the bigger television. So Mark took down the old television and all its hardware, spackled over all the holes that left, repainted the wall, and carefully hung that very heavy oak-framed stain glass duck. It was a major project, but it made our place feel more like home since that duck was part of our last home. We appreciate Denisa's sister and brother-in-law taking care of it for the last nine years, and then gifting it back to us now.

Another major project was restoring the wooden floors in much of the house. It took a lot of time on hands and knees, but they are now shiny and clean enough to work on puzzles.

The house also came with a solid wood dining room table. But it was badly damaged with water and heat and the remains of craft projects. We used a table cloth for most of that first month to cover all the damage.

But we had some pretty weather days, and we decided it was time to refinish it back to its past glory. Our deck made a great place to strip off all that old damaged finish and do some sanding.

We stained it to match the kitchen woodwork. Five layers of polyurethane later it is a beautiful piece of furniture once again.

We'll have to wait until next spring to spruce up the yard and the outside of the house. For now we are getting used to the idea of having to mow once again. It was a nice nine-year vacation from mowing. While our son mowed for us the first time, we finally bit the bullet and made another purchase--a new lawn mower. Even with all the things included in this "as is" house, we have made a record number of purchases this year. But we are continually surprised at the things we find in the house that we don't have to purchase--a crock pot, rakes and shovels, plates, end tables, Christmas decorations, griddle, outdoor furniture, fall wreath, mixer, place mats, salt and pepper shakers, toaster oven, exercise bicycle, towels, food processor, desk, wheel barrow, cheesecake pan, computer printer, lamps, fans, saws, rugs, plastic storage containers, food processor . . . It's been an interesting three months of finding treasures in this house.

It was a full month before we felt we had enough time to get some exercise and start exploring our new home town. We are really enjoying the trail system surrounding us. Even though we are in a Kansas City suburb, we can walk a half-mile from our front door and feel like we are out in the country.

That's a wrap-up on our three-months-after-closing report. It's much different than traveling around the country in a motor home, but we are beginning to feel quite at home in our new house. We like our sticks and brick house, but we want to add that we're not finished traveling!


  1. So glad you picked a spot code to us as well!! Welcome

  2. Well, we figured the two of you would be busy getting yourselves all settled in, but you've been REALLY busy! Just seeing the smiles on your and your grandchildren's faces makes it quite clear that your move to a sticks and bricks home was an excellent decision that's having a very positive impact on your family. Good for you! The alcove above the fireplace looks like it was made for your stained glass duck - what a beautiful work of art, Denisa!

  3. What do you mean now you will find time to exercise??? Gosh folks, you have been really busy and using those muscles. Floors are gorgeous as is the table.

  4. ❤️ Wonderful! Next time we come through your area we will definitely stop for a visit! Roger & Michele Mayes

  5. Hey there! Your blog is the only thing that pops up for Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge. Could you kindly email me at the website for the camp ground in Florida or contact info so I can get in touch with them. Ironic that they do not have any presence online. I want to take my daughter this summer as a surprise! Thank you, and very much enjoyed your article!