My daughter and I were watching TV together the other night. She asked me a question about the show, and I started to tear up. She gave me that teenage-are-you-really-getting-emotional-about-HGTV-Mom?-look. It’s a smirk – and from time to time I have to bare my soul and explain my thought process for things I do that they don’t understand. The kids have their chuckle, and then it’s usually, “Oh, OK, Mom, I get it now.”
I have something to confess. I REALLY like Nicole Curtis (DIY’s Rehab Addict). It’s not that she’s a little blonde bad-ass who loves power tools and runs marathons. It’s not that she’s stubborn with her vision, or that she sports a midwestern accent, or that she lives in MinneSOta. Although I like all that, too.
It’s that Nicole Curtis looks at old homes that others have deemed as doomed and is willing to put in the work to make them pretty again.
She braves old basements and salvages what she finds, then pours new foundations. She is sure to comment that working with a shovel is a great core workout.
She opens up walls to expose old brick, cleaning it up with a wire brush, and patching holes in the mortar. She designs the rooms around the brick, using it as a focal point. It’s beautiful.
She pulls up linoleum and exposes hardwood flooring, meticulously refinishing and repairing the old wood. This is the true timeless beauty of the home.
She appreciates the splendor of old things, restoring them to let them shine in their craftsmanship, and adding both old and new to give a home the best of both.
This is why I like Nicole Curtis.
So, why did I go emo on the show in front of my daughter?
Because Nicole restored a home that was damaged by arson. Crime came to a street in Detroit – her home town – and burnt it to the ground. But the fire spread to the house next door as well. And when the damage was left to become a dump site, the whole street began boarding up old homes and abandoning them.
Damaged. Devalued. Decomposing.
Much like the American tendency to do in our own homes. When the fires of conflict torch a home, and the damage is done, many choose to just scrap it all and walk away. But it isn’t just the lone couple that suffers. There is lasting damage that breeds more destruction to those in close proximity.
But when there is reconciliation, when a couple decides to salvage their marriage, patiently doing the work to look at both the good and the bad in their relationship, and purpose to restore it, there is something amazing that happens. There is a quality and beauty there, and a mature character that something (or someone) new just can’t measure up to.
On the show, the community came out to see what Nicole was doing. They watched intently as the heavy equipment swept away the demolished home next door. They helped clean up the yard. They helped brush away the charred remains of the fire damage. They got behind her and caught her vision. And then, in the middle of the day, kids came out to play, a go cart was put into action, and…
There was joy and life again on a street that had once brought so many tears.
Whether we’ve been married three years, twelve years, or 25 years, our marriages could use a little TLC – sprucing up what’s in good condition, getting rid of excess, and a few new changes. In my world, that’s worth shedding a few tears for.
Every January I choose a word to be my theme for the year. My word for 2014 is RESTORE. Chief and I are doing some things in our home this year, physically and relationally, to renovate, update, and restore.
I look forward to the journey.
I think our teenagers are looking forward to it as well.
Victoria Newman - "A CHiP on My Shoulder" January 9th, 2014
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