Home Is Where the Heart Is

Anyone who knows me or has read any of my past blog posts, knows that my favorite place to be is, home. It’s my safe space, where I can truly be myself, the place where I can wind down and recharge, and the place where the people I love the most in the world reside. When I was recently asked to collaborate with a company that makes customized maps, I thought this would be the perfect time to tell the story of our home and why I love ours so much. We’ve lived in our home for over twenty years now, so there are lots of memories (both good & bad). Our home is truly where my heart is and I don’t know that there is anywhere else in the world I would want to live.

Twenty-two years ago, Dave’s parents (my in-laws) bought a piece of land several miles from where they were living, that was located in what felt like the middle of nowhere. There are not many locations in eastern Massachusetts that are considered “country” but this plot of land was located in the country. There were cows down the street, horses next door, and hay fields nearby. The plot they purchased was located on 2 1/2 acres of land with conservation & wetlands surrounding it, and a small river on one side. They decided to build a ranch style home with an attached two car garage that had an in-law apartment above it for my husband, who at the time was around twenty years old. The apartment they built for Dave was the perfect size for a bachelor; it had a kitchen, living room, bedroom, and a bathroom. I meet Dave while their new home was under construction, and I remember driving there and thinking where the heck is this place? After about 8 months of construction and on Thanksgiving day 1999, Dave and his family moved in to the house on Pratt Street. We all quickly realized what country life was like! There was no cable tv (too far into the boonies), there was mud everywhere from construction and the swampy land, and the bugs (we’ve seen bugs here that we never knew existed).

Fast forward two years to 2001, Dave was still living in the in-law apartment, and I was living in an apartment about forty minutes away. In October of 2001, there was a little surprise…we found out we were expecting a baby. There were a lot of decisions we had to make, and one of them was where we were going to live. We decided to live in Dave’s in-law apartment to save money, so I transferred my job down to near where we would be living and started to create a home for us and our expectant bundle of joy. Once Nadalee arrived, we knew our little apartment was not big enough for three people. Money was tight for our little family since we were only twenty-three years old and on one income as we had decided I would stay home with the baby. We were not financially ready to invest in a home, but we needed more room. Dave’s parents agreed we could convert part of the garage, into a room, which we decided would be a living room (this way when we were ready to buy a home we could easily remove the walls to convert back into a garage). So, Dave built us a living room and we converted the living room we had upstairs into Nadalee’s bedroom. After a couple of years, Dave and I felt ready to take the plunge and buy a home of our own. We toured a few homes but nothing felt right and everything was too expensive. This was also right before the crash of 2008 when home prices were extremely high (looking back we are glad we did not purchase a home during this time). After a few weeks of house hunting, Dave’s parents approached us with an idea. Why not stay on Pratt Street, and expand our in-law apartment into a house?

After a lot of consideration and thinking, Dave and I agreed this seemed like the best option for us and our family. We could stay on the land we loved, Nadalee would be near her grandparents, and we would have additional space. And so, we began designing our home addition. We had lots of ideas but became limited in what we could do because of our town’s conservation laws. With the wetlands around us, and the zoning laws in Massachusetts, we were limited on how much we could expand, as well as how many bedrooms and bathrooms we could have. Nonetheless, we rolled with the punches and eventually Dave started building our addition. The addition couldn’t come soon enough, as we had another bundle of joy to add to our family, William. Our little apartment became really cramped when he arrived, and all the stuff that comes with a baby!

Dave spent the first couple of years of William’s life building and finishing our home. He would build our home on his days off and weekends. At night when the kids would go to bed, we would hang sheetrock, paint walls, or do anything else that needed to be done. After what seemed like forever, we had a bigger home for our growing family. On the first floor we have a bathroom, kitchen, pantry, library, and living room. On the second floor we have a laundry room, bathroom, three bedrooms, and an upstairs TV room.

Those first couple years building our home were tough, but we persevered, and I think that is why our home has such special meaning to us. We literally built our home home from the ground up with our blood, sweat, and tears. While it might not be perfect, big, or have the latest and greatest gadgets or appliances, it is perfect for us and filled with lots of love. We are so thankful to be able to call Pratt Street our home and the opportunity we were afforded by Dave’s parents in letting us add on their home.

When Grafo.Map approached me to collaborate with them, I was so excited! I loved the idea that I could customize a map to make it special for us and then hang it in our home. What better way to represent the history and love of our home than with a custom designed map! Grafo.Map has multiple design options that you can choose from to customize a map that will be special and unique to you and your family. You choose the location & color, material (framed art or hanging canvas), and the labels & markers. I choose the hanging canvas in the classic color scheme to coordinate with the colors of our home. My customized map arrived quickly, was ready to be hung in minutes, and the map was printed on a thick, heavy weight canvas.

Step One: Unbox your canvas print.
Step Two: Place the magnetic wooden bars on the top and bottom of your map.
Step Three: Your map is ready to be hung!

Create a personalized map for your home to showcase the special place you love. Or, don’t you think this would make the perfect Christmas gift for the person that has it all?! Right now, Grafo.Map is offering my friends 10% off your purchase when you use this link (use the code Heidi10 at checkout). Or, if you buy two maps, you get the third one free with code 1FREE.

I hope you enjoyed reading about the history of our home. I love that we now have a map to mark the spot where our hearts lie and look forward to displaying it in our home for years to come. Home is truly where the heart is!

I look forward to sharing more of my home with you and inspiring you to have a well loved home! Follow me on Facebook and Instagram.

Xoxo ~ Heidi

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  1. Thank you Janine! I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog and leaving this wonderful compliment! It’s people like you that keeps me continuing to open up and share more of my story!

  2. I love your story, Heidi????????????. The way you expanded your home doing the work yourselves reminds me so much of Patsy @blessedmommatobabygirls. I just love how your gorgeous home evolved over time and the memories you have as your family grew in such a special place! I’m such a sentimental person that I love hearing stories like yours????

  3. Loved reading about your home Heidi, what a sweet story. The map is perfect for your home, and story.
    Love it??

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