An Homage to the Family Home

IMAG0916It enveloped us like a big hug, it gave us incredible memories….three fireplaces (now 4), large rooms, a built in bar, room for 5 kids to have their own “spot” for gifts at Christmas, parties galore, The Court of 3 Sisters, forts, the chicken coop, 13 orange trees, the gazebo, Christmas dinner….and the pool.

My parent’s bought our home in the San Fernando Valley back in 1966 (or was it 67?) and it has been in our family ever since.  We, my siblings and I..and our families, have some great memories of the old red barn house where we grew up. My parents owned it until 1990, at which time they decided to down-size, and my sister, Mariellen, and brother-in-law, Peter, purchased it from them and raised their family.

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When there were seven of us living there it was a hodge-podge of bedrooms.  My sisters and I shared a large room, with two walk-in closets and adjoining bathroom, my oldest brother was in a converted room that was originally the kitchen and my other brother was in a small bedroom off my parent’s bedroom…which is just odd!  I’m the only one who can stand in there…it’s got really low ceilings…and he had to walk through my parent’s bathroom and bedroom to get to the rest of the house.  Such is the life of a large family.  My parents just made it work.  Eventually the chicken coop out back was paneled and converted to a bedroom, which is when my oldest brother moved out there and my other brother got to move into the converted kitchen room.  I’m sure he couldn’t wait to move down there! They converted the den into a much larger kitchen and it was a comfortable place for all of us to grow up.

Our home was straight out of a Currier and Ives painting and it never seemed happier than at Christmastime.  When we were young Christmases were magical…with a little nook next to the fireplace for our nativity scene and each of us having a special place for our presents in the living room.  M&P continued the Christmas traditions through the ensuing years….adding even more yuletide decorations as time went on.

When M&P bought the home back in the early 90’s it needed, to say the least, a little work! With Peter’s frustrated architect mentality and Mariellen’s amazing decorating and space-planning skills they transformed it into quite a show-piece…even more warm and inviting than when the seven of us lived there….and it was pretty cozy back in the day!

M&P are downsizing themselves and they spent their last night there this past Sunday night. It’s bittersweet, but mostly sweet! We all have amazing memories in that home, but we would probably all agree that it was time, and our family home was ready, for a new adventure.  I’m so excited for my sister and brother-in-law and their new home adventure and the amazing places they’ll live. Even my niece and nephew, their children, think it’s time and a great move for them.

One of the main reasons I started this blog was to have a living diary of sorts that my grandchildren and generations to come would be able to come back and reference. So, for posterity reasons, here’s a snapshot of the family home….to be honest, this is the new & improved M&P home that shows it in all it’s glory (the original bones are still there though). They did a lot of work and it shows.  Here you go….

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the court of 3 sisters…my dad named it after the famous one in New Orleans. This is with the newer kitchen addition.

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view of the courtyard from the kitchen table
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the much applauded kitchen addition by sis & b.i.l…so cozy!

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dining room with sliding glass doors on right that open up to the backyard and pool
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As a kid I just assumed that most people had a full bar in their home
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the den…this was the kitchen when we were growing up
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the big living room with room for all of our Christmas “spots”
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behind the couch in l.r….I spent many a night sleeping in that comfortable window seat
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the piano at the end of the l.r. where we sang Christmas Carols…and my younger sister sang Ave Maria
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this room was the original kitchen

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one of the four bathrooms
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this was originally a den where we watched TV as kids, then became my dad’s office and then finally my b-i-l office
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this was originally my sister’s and my room, with attached bath and two walk in closets….then my niece’s room…looks so much less cluttered!
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updated bathroom…again, it didn’t look this good when the three of us were sharing it!
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seating area in my sis & b-i-l bedroom
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this pic and the other don’t show the grandness of the master bedroom
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my sister’s going to kill me that I didn’t at least close the drawers to take this pic…they were packing!
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that little door leads to my brother’s original bedroom..can you imagine walking through your parent’s bedroom to exit your bedroom?!
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that little bedroom became my sister’s office…complete with some awesome pull out gift-wrapping drawers
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view from kitchen towards backyard
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backyard…view from the gazebo
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backyard vignettes

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It’s empty now, but I know the new owner will create fun and amazing memories in our beloved home!

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my sister is going to miss this big ass walk-in closet! (although her new one is pretty awesome too!)

Thanks for joining me on this trip down memory lane, reliving some great moments in a great home that our parents had the vision to buy and M&P had the tenacity and perseverance to bring back to life.

…and the sails will have to be adjusted as we close this chapter in our family.

 You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

13 Comments

  1. I am completely teary eyed! Some of my fondest memories took place there too; truly the end of an era. Goodbye red barn house, and good luck Mariellen and Peter!

  2. a lovely tribute to a grand home!
    have to admit seeing all the rooms empty was surreal…but memories of good times in the Red Barn could fill a whole town and that is a blessing beyond measure.

  3. WTF! Why did I sell that house!!! It’s not yet 7 in the morning and I’m sobbing!!!
    Thanks for making that memory book for all of us…especially our Egan & Bergman families. I have thanked her for being a great home and for sheltering all the people I love so much.
    End of an era, maybe, but so much fun along the way.
    I’ll cherish this post.
    Love you ❤

  4. What a great place you grew up in! I’m sure the next family is going to create wonderful memories as well. I hope it went to a good family! Great things to come for your sister and brother-in-law’s new adventure in life! Keep up the fun blog! I love reading it.

  5. Thank you Jeanine. I found my way over to you via your sis. Two stunning tributes to a life in a house that clearly “built you”, with parents who understood the value of a real home. A home completely unlike so many of the sterile boxes crowding our over developed urban blight of today.

  6. Fantastic- so great to have those pictures both full and empty. Great old house- so many great memories. Now it’s time to make more!!
    Xxoo

  7. God, more tears! I didn’t like seeing the old girl empty. If those walls could talk…oh my! We experienced the same feelings when we left our Otis Ave house after 40 years. So many delicious memories. Thanks for sharing.

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