October 06, 2015

HOME: Permanent is More Than an Idea!

As you all know, we made the transition from being a nomadic expat family to settling down in the States. It has been quite a transition and I assume it will continue to be that way over the next few years. Lady Hiva and I spent the first few months living in a student apartment that reminded us we were thankful we are no longer students…with forest green carpet, yellow, maroon and dark lime green walls it was an interesting place to live. We looked and looked for a house to buy and after choosing some amazing neighborhoods and not having many homes to choose from, we finally looked all over Utah Valley. Lady did NOT want to live in Provo, so we looked elsewhere, we even put an offer in on a brand new house in Orem, looked at building a house in South Salt Lake Valley and West Utah Valley, but about that same time, Lady Hiva became enamored with Provo’s small town charm and great school systems. So in a 180 degree turn we started to ONLY look for homes in Provo.

Not only that, we wanted a place with a yard (too many homes with no yards over the years), it be a single family dwelling, a garage and 3+ bedrooms/ 2+ bathrooms. Lady did not want to do any remodeling. The house we finally purchased had all of those except it had some changes that needed to be done. After surviving the rat race of the mortgage process we were able to close on the house. That first day Madre, Kell and Beau-D met us and we set to demolishing the interior house.

The people had a dog so the carpets smelled; there was no question that those had to go. The kitchen was small and really basic, one thing led to another and soon the entire interior of the house was gutted. We took out the smelly carpet, careful not to gag as we smelled it; we took up the basketball floor color laminate in the kitchen and dining room; we painted all the walls (this was necessary because the main room was what I call “Moab Red” and later I found a gallon of paint downstairs and , sure enough it was called “Clay Red” and the Master bedroom was teal where the rest of the house was a tan/beige color; we tore out the kitchen.

 Over the next few weeks we worked many hours to put the house back together. We had endless hours of help from Madre, Kell and Beau-D—they were up until late at night with me every weekend and some week days. Lady Hiva’s one brother came down one day while I was on a work trip to help too. We are truly blessed to have amazing family and friends.

Us Practicing our "state road work"

Tau’aho has been great throughout the process. He now thinks screwdrivers are toys and would entertain himself without complaint for hours in a home with nowhere for him to sleep or sit. In fact, there was more than once we found a whole pile of toys inside the A/C vents! If we had lost a tool that was the first place we looked because he would put things down the vents and be off before we realized he had taken it.

All the toys I found in the A/C vent

Once in awhile friends would come to play

We replaced flooring, put wainscoting on the walls in the main areas, painted every inch of the house and had a custom kitchen built. Now you all know why blogs have been few and far between, I have literally spent nearly 20 hours a day working to finish the house (our poor neighbors). However, the end product is something that Lady Hiva and I can be proud of.

We hammered, cut, painted, rewired, drilled, built, measured, sewed and sweated every day and were satisfied with our accomplishments but would, at the same time, make a list for the next day.

One of the many trips to the dump

Our stuff finally arriving from Istanbul

Our house was still gutted so this is how they unpacked it...sigh

We had no kitchen sink for a few weeks so we washed in the bathroom

Keeping little helpers busy

Cooking around tools

Lady Hiva wanted shelves...so this was a morning project

Re-wired the dining room chandelier three feet over and put in Turkish lights
Hemming drapes

Tiling the back splash...another morning project

My little helper...

It really is an international home. We rewired the dining room chandelier to have it become handmade and unique Turkish lamps, our dishes are hand painted Polish Pottery, we have a table from Armenia, a barn door from one of Turkey’s villages, a European bread dough rising board we made a table, Turkish rugs, French pictures, a Buddha from Thailand, a ornate box from the Philippines, a clock from London, a statue from Cambodia, lace window coverings from Belgium and many, many more details we are happy to display.

We love to show it off, so here are some photos, before and after, and we would love to hear your comments.








  1. Love seeing the process, your progress(you hemming!), thanks for sharing your beautiful family and lovely HOME here!

  2. Dustin the house turned out very nice!! What I love the most is the pictures of Lucky Dragon working side by side with you;)

    1. Yes, it was fun to get him involved. THe projects would take a bit longer than normal, but he loved doing it

  3. You two are amazing. Wonderful work and beautiful result. Hope you enjoy it.

  4. dogs and carpets don't go together... the house we bought smelled like a dog once everything the previous owners had were gone... the carpet cleaners came back twice and even now we can still smell it somehow when i haven't vacuumed for a while... well congrats!!! do you have anymore putty by chance? just kidding! congrats guys!

  5. Now you've outdone yourselves, just when I thought you guys were already amazing, now you guys added home improvement to your repertoire of skills. The finishes look amazing, did you guys do the electrical and plumbing yourselves? What paint color did you use on your walls, its so subtle and lovely, also where did you get the floors they are nice!

    1. Thank you! THe gray is Ground Fog, the white trim is Ultra White and the bedrooms are Queens Anne's Lace.

    2. Thank you Dustin! Seriously your house needs to be in a magazine!

  6. You made that home beautiful!