Just over a year ago I bought a house in the tiny town of Kanab, Utah. Friends think it’s a figure of speech when I say I live in a two traffic light town, but there really are only two traffic lights in this little spot of the southwest desert. To say that it’s a lot different than Seattle is a huge understatement. And while I miss a lot about living in a city, it was important to me to make this house a home, both for me and for my two squiggles, Charro and Biscuit, for however long I may live here. Home is a concept that I’ve carried with me since leaving Seattle, and more than a physical place, it’s a state of mind, and a comfort and peace that comes from within. And for now, this is my current home.
For anyone that saw my Seattle home, you know that I put a lot of love into that house, renovating it over many years, and it was such a labor of love. I had a deep connection to that house, perhaps because it was an old 1924 Craftsman that had such history; I felt the soul of that house, and I tried to do right by her. This house is much newer, built in 1995, but some of my projects have been similar, from simple things like paint, to bigger projects like a kitchen remodel and landscaping. There is no “done” in home renovation, there’s just taking breaks or stopping. The yard was the last big project, and it feels good to have it complete. There is a certain risk in putting money into a home here, in that it’s not the same real estate market as a place like Seattle or San Diego. The last owner made a bunch of improvements in the home, and I took the baton and continued to run with it. So without further ado, here she is!
In preparation for the yard, I had to address some drainage issues, which meant new gutters, and extending the downspouts underground and away from the house, so the river rock beds also serve as drainage. I also replaced the HVAC system to an electric unit, removing the propane tank and eliminating that expense each winter. The plants & grasses will all fill in with time, most of them getting at 2-3 times the current size. I plan to add some deck furniture in the Spring, string the pergola with some cafe style lights and add a couple of adirondack chairs and maybe a free-standing fire pit. For the west side yard (last photo), I am thinking of some raised garden beds to grow some vegetables and herbs.
In addition to painting all rooms, I’ve redone the flooring, added baseboards, replaced the windows & doors, remodeled the kitchen, added recessed lighting, and done a bit of a facelift in the bathroom. My list of what’s left is short, namely replacing the wood linen closet doors to match the kitchen cabinet doors, and some paint touch-ups.
Phew, it’s been a busy year. And now I get to just enjoy it. I wasn’t sure what my future held when I left Seattle three years ago, beyond my immediate travel plans. I had really downsized and got rid of a bunch of stuff, embracing a more minimalist mindset at the time. I was going to be living out of a backpack for the foreseeable future, afterall. So it was a bit strange in a way to buy and furnish a home, even a small home like my last one, since it felt like re-embracing a materialistic mindset. What I realized was a key driver in this nesting quest was my need to make this feel as much of a home as possible since I was no longer living in a demographic that felt like home. Sure, most of my work colleagues are of a similar progressive mindset as myself, but otherwise the demographic of this area of the country is not really my tribe. And when you’re a fish out of water, you build your own pond, so to speak.
Cheers from the southwest!