What These Houses Taught Me About Decorating

What have the homes you have lived in taught you about decorating? If you think about it, it may be quite a lot.

Over the last few months I have been reading many decorating books, both old and new. From how-to’s to high-end coffee table style decorating books.

Cover of Ellen Degeneres Home book

There isn’t a decorating book I don’t like as every book offers inspiration, and insight into a person’s personal style which I love to see. Even books that are not my style, I still can glean a new way to look at something that gets my creative juices flowing.

This happened when I was reading the coffee table style decorating book, Ellen DeGeneres Home.

Ellen Degeneres Home book open on table to a page that says What this house taught me.

In the book, she showcases all the houses she has lived in and has a list of bulleted things that she has learned about decorating from living in each house. Each house taught her something about the decorating process that she could take with her to the next house in which she lived.

I loved this part of the book. It gave me the idea for this post.

What Each of the Houses I Lived in Taught Me About Decorating

I thought it would be fun to do the same thing to share the best things I learned in each of the 6 homes I have lived in, including my first college dorm room.

All were unique and I learned something from each that helped me to become confident in my choices when it came time to decorate a new home.

Looking for photos of all the houses I have lived in for this post was a trip down memory lane, so many happy and fond memories at each house.

House #1: Split-Level House

Split level Home built in 1959

The first house I lived in was a split level.

It was home sweet home in Willow Grove, PA from birth to the day I left for college.

split level home built in 1959

My parents lived in the house for 50 years until they moved into a retirement community.

The new owners made the garage into a room, but the house looks pretty much the way it did when I lived there, although my mom would have had a fall wreath on the door and colorful mums planted all around. :-)

Diane-in an old black and white photos at-around-12-years-old laying on a bed with hands under my chin.

When I was around 11 years old, my parents moved my two sisters and I to the master bedroom of this house since it was the largest bedroom where 3 twin beds would fit. There was green pattern wallpaper on the walls that was much too formal for 3 young girls.

This is when I embarked on my very first decorating project. I resourced it from the back of a cereal box. Until the room was made over, my sisters and I covered the walls with posters.

You can see one behind me on the wall in the above photo. It was one of six that was ordered from the back of a CapN Crunch cereal box.

Do you remember those days when there were order forms you cut out from the back of the box to buy toys and more? This was back in the late 1960’s.

Each poster had a different cereal character on it. They were very colorful and made the room feel more to our liking.

They were not up long as my mom and dad made over the room a few months after. But they were my first attempt at decorating a room.

Living In My Childhood Home Taught Me

  • A bedside table and light are essential for every bed for books, photos and reading at night. With 3 beds in the room, it was tight and store bought night tables were too large to fit.

My dad made 3 night tables using orange crates. He painted them white and put hip and modern pink and red raindrop wallpaper on the top of each one. My sisters and I loved them.

Seeing him make something so chic and perfect for the room fueled my passion for repurposing items to make furnishings and decorative accessories.

  • Dimmer switches make a big difference – As a kid, I loved when we ate dinner in the dining room because the light in the room was controlled by a dimmer switch. It made eating dinner feel special and elegant. My siblings and I always wanted it very dim and have candles on the table, even for weeknight meals.

I have installed dimmer wall switches in every home that Ed and I owned. In the kitchen, living room, dining room and bathrooms. Plug-in tabletop dimmer control switches for floor and table lamps.

Being able to dim the lights with the push of a button allows you to set the mood for entertaining, relaxing or taking a bath with low lighting.

  • Colorful posters can hide the unsightly. Decor doesn’t need an official pedigree to be wonderful.

House #2: College Dorm Room

An old grainy photo of one of my dorm rooms in college.
My second college dorm room that I decorated.

The next home I lived in wasn’t actually a house, but a college dorm room. I lived in 7 different dorm rooms over 4 years of college.

It was in college dorms that I finally had a little place to call my own, even though it was only one half of the room. It was mine to do what I wanted.

Living in a College Dorm Room Taught Me

  • Poster putty and double stick foam hooks are amazing products. No damage to walls or furniture.
  • Door draft dodgers placed along the bottom of a door keeps light from a brightly lit hallway from coming into a room at night.
  • Overhead lighting is harsh. Every room needs more than one light source. Lighting can be harsh or not enough if you rely on a ceiling light. I like soft, even lighting, and think floor and table lamps are essential to creating the right mood.
  • Large comfy pillows are needed when your bed also functions as a sofa during the day.

House #3: California Spanish Bungalow

Spanish influenced home

After Ed and I were married, we moved to the San Francisco Bay area and rented this Spanish style home in Oakland. Ed was a naval officer at the time. His ship was home ported at the Alameda Naval Base (which is no longer a base, but the land is now used for a weekly flea market). We thought we would live here for one year, but his ship needed repairs and that took us to Bremerton, Washington for 6 months.

We kept our furniture in this house, and lived in sub-standard Navy housing that was fully furnished in Bremerton.  I am not making the “sub-standard” part up. That was what it was called.

It was a bare bones, one story dwelling on a concrete slab connected to another, but bearable to live in temporarily. I don’t have a photo of this dwelling. It was ugly, but the views from the windows were stellar of Mount Rainier and the surrounding mountains.

Living in a Rental House Taught Me 

  • Light Can Make or Break a Room – We didn’t own this house, so we couldn’t paint any of the dark bedroom walls. It made me depressed. I know I need sunny and light to be happy in a home.
  • Large mirrors placed across from windows, makes the mirror look like a window and doubles the light in a room. The mirror trick helped the dark-walled rooms look brighter.

House #4: Brick Colonial

Brick home with balconies

If you know anything about military life, you know that you move a lot.  Once Ed’s time was up in California, we moved back across the country, but this time to the south.

He went on what is called a “shore tour” to get his Master’s degree and teach Naval Science at Duke University, University of North Carolina, and NC State. We bought this brick home in Durham, NC.

My oldest daughter was born when we lived here.  I remember painting every room and stenciling a tile design on the white backsplash in the kitchen. It was the first house in which I really started to hone in on my decorating skills and style.

What a Brick House Taught Me

  • White double French doors between two rooms and all exterior doors adds a lot of character to a room. When the walls are painted a deep color, the white pops against the dark and makes the space look inviting even with sparse furnishings.
  • The joy of removing wall to wall carpeting and finding hardwood underneath. Enough said. :-) If you have it, don’t hesitate to take a peek under it. You may be pleasantly surprised.
  • That you can’t paint over stained wood without using a primer first. Ed built a full wall bookcase in the living room and stained it a dark brown. After a week, I decided it would look better if it were painted white.

So I bought white paint and went to work. It looked amazing with the white French doors in the room. Boy was I surprised after a few days later when I came home from work to find a pink bookcase.

The wood stain bled through the white paint and created pink. I learned about stain blocking primer the next day.

  • That you can’t paint over oil-based paint with latex without using a primer first. If you have been reading my blog for a while, then you are probably familiar with the big antique armoire in my studioffice.

When we moved to this house, it was orange and I wanted it to be a neutral tan color so I painted it with latex paint. After a few days, I noticed the surface had bubbles in it and with each passing day they were getting bigger.

To my horror, I found that I could peel the dried paint off the armoire in huge sheets, like it was shrink wrap. I quickly learned that you need to use a primer first over oil-based paint, before using latex.

  • A stone fireplace can add a nice organic feel and warm up a room.
  • The only time I like to use the color red in decorating is at Christmas. This house had new red wall-to-wall carpeting in the living room and up the staircase and second floor hallway. It threw off everything I wanted to do in the house. I just could not live with it.

House #3: Brick Twin House

Twin home

After Ed got his Master’s Degree and left the Navy, he went to work for Merck Pharmaceuticals. We moved to Pennsylvania, close to where I grew up.

We bought the right side of this twin home as they are called in southeastern Pennsylvania. A twin home—much like a duplex—is two separate homes that share a center wall. It is basically two identical houses that are connected.

This house was narrow, but had the best architectural molding, trim, and built-ins of all the houses we lived in. We lived here for only one year.

Living in a Twin House Taught Me:

  • When putting a room together, I like to sit in every chair to make sure it is comfortable. If not, out it goes. We furnished this house with hand-me-downs from Ed’s parents. The sofa and upholstered chairs were stiff and formal Victorian style. When watching TV, we laid on the floor to be comfortable. I was happy when we could afford to buy a comfy sofa and chair for the room.
  • When using area rugs, make sure they are large enough to fill the primary use of the room. Rugs that are too small throw off the proportion and disrupt the visual flow of the room, plus they become a tripping hazard.
  • Stripped wood left natural looks amazing. When we bought this house the previous owner had stripped all the wood in the house and left it unstained. It looked beautiful, especially the built-in cabinets and two columns that separated the living and dining room. The wood was the perfect warm, almost white-washed wood color.

I have tried stripping many wood pieces of furniture to get the same look, but have never quite been able to achieve it. I am still trying.

  • Simple, fabric DIY window valances hung on windows adds some pretty color/pattern pops and can make a room look “decorated” when there is little to no budget to buy furnishings.

House #4: Craftsman Style House

Craftsman style home

This was the smallest house I lived in. We bought this Craftsman style house in Freehold, New Jersey. Our second daughter was born 2 months after we moved here.

This is the house where I wrote my book, Instant Decorating. I was 32 years old. We did a massive amount of painting to this house. I wish you could see, but I had stenciled the porch floor in a blue and pink checkerboard pattern. It was one of the projects in my book.

Craftsmand style bungalow: home sweet house

It had a nice backyard and garage, two screened in porches, and deck. We lived here for 4 years.

Living in a Craftsman Style House Taught Me:

  • When you bring in something new, let things that don’t make you smile anymore go. This house was small, so I had to constantly edit. Having to do this taught me to not only to be content with less, but everything in the house we had to absolutely need or love.
  • Let the decorating evolve. A house doesn’t have to be showroom perfect ever. Take your time to get each detail right. It not only saves you money, but the long term outcome will be better.
  • Paint can do wonders for a room. When you paint an entire room, it changes it dramatically, but sometimes just painting one wall can really add a nice dynamic to an other wise plain space.
  • Always have enough room to move through your home so that there is a flow from room to room. Leaving some spaces empty will make a small house or room appear larger.

House #5: Center Hall Colonial

Center hall colonial: home sweet house

This is the house I lived in for 22 years. I started my blog back in 2009 while living in this house. I have six years of posts on my blog showing everything we did to the house. It was the most spacious house we lived in with tons of natural light.

A Center Hall Colonial House Taught Me

  • Don’t be afraid to place furniture in the center of a room. The living room in this house was a long and narrow open concept space. It wasn’t until I moved the sofa to the middle of the room that the room came to life. The sofa (we had 3 during the time we lived here) stayed in that place for 20 years. Ed added an electrical outlet to the middle of the floor so that we could plug in two lamps that were on a table behind the sofa.
  • It is more important on how you want a room to feel over the decor. Should it be formal, casual, fun friendly, minimal and quiet, warm and cozy? Having an idea ahead of time can really help you in putting it all together. Think about how to you want to feel in your space rather than how you want it to look.
  • Any kind of art or collection of objects can make a great impression when grouped together. Framing your kids art can make a nice statement, hanging a collection of teacup saucers on a wall adds personality to a room. The more unique the display, the more personality it can add to your home.
  • Adding white trim molding around doors and windows gives a room character. Even the most basic is worth adding.
  • Candlelight makes any room feel relaxing. When eating dinner, entertaining in the living room, taking a bath, and sitting out on a porch. Candlelight turns normal into cozy and relaxing.

House #6: My Current House on Lake Murray

Lake side of 1970 era home that got a new coat of paint

I enjoyed every one of the houses I lived in, but the setting for this house is a dream come true for me. As the saying goes…

“It’s not the houses you have lived in, but the life you lived in them that matters.”

We have DIY’ed and decorated to make the house our own since the day we moved in back in 2015.

Living in a Lake House is Teaching Me

  • Life is all about the view. I set up every room to take the maximum advantage of the view out the sliding doors that are in every room.
  • Go for comfort over trends or style – Some may feel differently, but all that matters is what is right for you. Comfort and function before style.
  • Chalkboard walls make a great, fun statement in a home. You can draw on chalkboard walls, do fancy lettering, use to make lists or write notes. When company comes, let them draw and doodle on it, too.
  • Make maximum use out of every space – We needed a place to put the vacuum and odds and ends that we use frequently, but wanted behind closed doors. Creating an under staircase closet created the space needed and made the staircase look better.
  • Having the right power tool makes any home decorating project easier.
  • DIY’ing can be exhausting, but is worth the effort when finished and you stand back and realize what you accomplished with your own two hands.

Each of the houses I have lived in, became a loving home, each had a story to tell. Some with quirks that make them interesting and unique. Others, simply a roof over our heads for a short time.

After living in each house, my decorating education grew from that first CapN Crunch poster collection when I was 11 when my passion for decorating was sparked.

How many homes have you lived in? What have been your decorating takeaways from each?

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  1. Dianne Whitehead says:

    When you mentioned that you lived in a Craftsman style home, Diane, it reminded me that I wanted to ask you if sometime you could write a post and include pictures of the various styles of houses. I like to decorate inside the homes I’ve lived in, but I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I don’t know what people mean when they say a house is Craftsman style, Victorian, Ranch, Cottage, etc. I would love a crash course with visuals.

  2. Dianne Whitehead says:

    I have lived in 13 homes, childhood homes, dorms, rental properties, a house my husband and I built ourselves, and homes we’ve bought. It would be too lengthy to write what I learned from each place, but here are three things I learned: inexpensive does not have to mean cheap; have the confidence to go bold and unique if that is your style, and find a way to get rid of furniture that was given to you that didn’t suit your style without hurting the feelings of the giver.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Dianne – That is a lot of homes to have lived in. :-) I couldn’t agree with you the on the 3 things you listed!!! When Ed and I were first married, his mom was giving us everything they no longer wanted. I had to tell her thank you, but no thanks for most of it. She was a little offended, but I surely didn’t want to be the caretaker of stuff that wasn’t my style or that couldn’t be easily changed to make it my style.

  3. Jody Evans says:

    Loved this journey of viewing your past homes. I am too in love with my past homes and hope to decorate my study with a collage of photos of previous homes. I will have about 15 since I grew up a military brat and kept on moving throughout my adult life.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Jody – That is a lot of homes – 15. I am sure you know just what it takes to make a house a home after living in so many. I bet you wish you could take the best parts of each house to make one perfect home.

  4. ibrahim demir says:

    I am new follower and i really love this page. Thanks a lot !!!

  5. Heidi L. McCuddin says:

    I really enjoyed reading about the different houses you’ve lived in and how our style evolved. I haven’t lived in as many houses as you have. Only one childhood home and two as an adult, but style does evolve! Color choices change, too. As I’ve gotten older, I lean toward simple, clean lines and minimal knick-knacks. Also, looking at ways to remodel our home to make it easier to age gracefully and stay in it longer.

  6. Leilani Warden says:

    I enjoy your blog but this post is my absolute favorite! Being able to track our changing design tastes and trials and wins bring back so many memories from each place. I’ve done something similar and I’ve tried to understand how and why my style evolved. Your style evolution is a great journey. Also, what a cute pic of you in your childhood room! Thanks for sharing all of this.

    Fellow Lake Murray resident,

  7. I love this post Diane! What a great recap of your beautiful homes. I just learned a few great tips reading thru all of this. Thanks for sharing and taking us along on your blogging journey, so fun!
    Did you get the pics I emailed after we finished the small dresser project? I hope they made it to you. Thanks again for all the great advice, a good project turned great with the help of Diane!

  8. Valarie Sanford says:

    You always take me with you on the neatest adventures Diane, thank you!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Valerie – So happy to hear you enjoyed my post. Thank you XOXO for reading.

  9. Taffy White-Pritulsky says:

    My Husband is also Navy! our first two duty stations were Alameda and Bremerton as well, 25 years later we are in NC, I just found your blog and looking forward to trying some of your projects this summer!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Taffy – Small world. :-) I really enjoyed all the moving around and getting to see the country. Alameda, Bremerton and even NC. What years were you in Ca, Washington? We were there in 1983/1984. Where in NC do you live? We were in Durham – 1984 – 1988.

      Even though the place where we lived in Brememrton wasn’t much, the area was beautiful and we did a lot of site-seeing. Thanks for reading my blog.

  10. This was a fun post to read. The house we are currently living in, is our first, and will be our only house. We have lived here for close to 37 years. I’ve learned patience with house. I thought this was house was big enough for three growing boys, but it seemed to shrink as they got older. We have added on a master bedroom, remodeled our kitchen, and two bathrooms, and have done extensive landscaping in 37 years….and continue to do that. Decisions we made 18 years ago regarding the kitchen and bathrooms, were surprising good decisions. Could they be updated…sure. But why? We like it just the way it is! My home has not only taught me patience, but It’s taught me a lot about contentment. Stay safe! ;)

  11. Kim-Pacific Northwest says:

    What a fun topic.
    I guess I have lived my life kind of backwards. I was only 20 years old when my husband and I purchased a brand-new very high end home in a very high end neighborhood. Everything was custom. I had a housekeeper and gardener. Life was grand but marriage was abusive.
    I divorced and found myself as a single mom with no money. Moved to a two bedroom bungalow in the worst neighborhood- what a change!! We have very fond memories of living there. It had a great covered front porch that I fixed up as my daughter’s play room because her bedroom was too small to play in.
    I eventually remarried and after over 30 years together we live in a very modest ranch style home in a nice neighborhood. I have the home just the way we want it for our lifestyle and it is very comfortable. We love our 1/2 acre yard and gardens.
    I have learned that you can make any house into a very nice home for your family as long as you are in a happy, healthy relationship. I will never live the lifestyle I did as a very young woman but I have never been happier than I am now.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kim –

      Sorry to hear about your home life when you were 20. It sounds like you have made the most of what happened and found that being happy and having loving relationships is the best thing life can offer. A comfy loving home no matter what the size is all that is needed.

  12. This post is so interesting and gave me some food for thought. Thanks so much for sharing.

  13. What a great post. I love how far back you went it’s funny that your parents gave up the master bedroom to you girls. I come from a family of 3 girls too but I can’t imagine my mom agreeing to that. Really enjoyed hearing about each home.

  14. Linda L Weeks says:

    Well you and Ed have done pretty well for yourselves! Beautiful homes, one and all! These photos remind me of growing up in Aberdeen, MD, we had several homes that are the spitting image of your neighborhoods! My husband and I did pretty well for ourselves too, and I’m very proud of it! The things that please me the most are the ideas that were mine in decorating… still doing the ‘farmy’ look. Meh. Always enjoy your postings!
    Thank you for sharing your homes with us!

  15. We are about the same age. I have lived in 3 apartments and one house. I grew up in one house all my life and that home is now a rental for us. We built our one house in 1993 and still live here. My husband was a navy brat so he moved A Lot growing up, but as I said my family never moved.
    I would love to move now, but my husband wants to stay. Our home plans were some I found in Country Living magazine. It is a farmhouse style reproduced from a home in North Carolina. Funny thing, it is now what so many are seeking. Wrap around porch, screened in porch, 7 acres with a pond and guest log cabin. It was my dream then, and it seems to be the farmhouse style that is popular again today. We love it here, but the stairs will be a problem soon as we age. I have redecorted many times, and still change things frequently. Always a work in progress.

  16. The NJ & PA home photos were a trip down memory lane. Growing up there, those home epitomized the area’s architecture. It was a sweet reminder of gentler times.

    I’ve lived in four homes in my lifetime and I realized quickly why it was so important that my dad was handy. We rarely had a craftsman in the house; Dad did it all. My husband has inherited 87% of that gene.

    What I’ve learned about my decorating skills, it that I tackle the easier projects first. Paint cures 75% of all wrongs plus I love doing it. Small changes (e.g., new hardware, light & fan fixtures, etc.) have a huge impact. I’ll reno a bathroom or kitchen before I tackle a living room/den. We’ve been in our latest home five years and the dark (no windows) living room has received no attention. It’s the Mt Everest of my decorating challenges.

  17. Carol Heartfelt Whimsies says:

    I really enjoyed this post! As an Air Force Brat and then an adult who remodeled and sold homes repeatedly, I’ve lived in soooo many places. I enjoyed them all for all different reasons!

  18. Great post about places lived and lessons learned. I’m thinking of all the houses I’ve lived, and all the memories. Your posts are always cheery and inspirational, thanks!

  19. Thank you so much for today’s blog. Loved all the houses you lived in. Of course the Lake house is the best for me. But most of all i loved how you spoke so dearly of each house. I am 69 and also have lived in many houses and many countries, I’ve had 9 different addresses since I got married!! And 5 more from the time I was born until I married. It is difficult to fit your furniture in so many different places and as you said you have to get rid or buy as you go along, and well as you have kids and live longer you accumulate more keepsakes too.
    It was a delightful blog that also gave us a beautiful insight into your life.
    Thank you.

  20. Carole Kriebel says:

    Hi Diane,

    This is such a fun post! I have that decorating book you wrote! I loved seeing all your homes and the tips you gathered along the way. I did chuckle about your parents giving up the master bedroom to you three girls. Our son who lives in a tiny house in Brighton, England did the same thing for their daughter. She now has space for her friends to gather as there is no “family type” space in most homes. It is all a matter of creativity and a bit of energy, isn’t it?

    Thanks again for this post.


    PS: John stained a raft of orange crates for our sons to use a shelves…early modular! Yes, we have stored them all these years, but now they are headed for a new home. Hooray-one more item clearing out. ?

  21. I truly love your current house, it’s my inspiration for our future. My son is at USC and I have fallen in love with the area….I look forward to every post. I’m currently south of Boston in a small coastal town and it’s beautiful here too, but your house tugs at my heart!! Have a great day.

  22. That was so much fun reading about and seeing all of the places you’ve lived. I lost count…my husband was in the Army in the early part of our marriage, and we moved so many times. Some were to apartments while we waited for military housing, and it seemed like we moved every year for awhile. We have had two houses in Michigan so far. My current house has been home for 20 years, and we have renovated it top to bottom. Although, I still find more to do or want to redo things since it has been so long here and I am an interior designer! My husband knows that when I am sitting looking intently at something, it will end up being another project for him-haha. That was a great idea for a post, and I’ll bet it was a fun one to write. Thanks!

  23. Thank you for sharing your journey! Lots of good advice here. Your home in SE PA looks so familiar to me since I had lived in Lansdale for 20+ years. Such spacious twins!

  24. I loved this post! You have always inspired me with your ‘can do’ attitude as well as your talent!

  25. This was so fun and interesting ! Thank you for for sharing that with us, it was so nice to get a peek at the homes you lived in throughout your life, as well as what was going on at the time! : ). And, as always, the tips were amazing!

  26. Diane – Adored reading this post!! So fun to see where your journey has taken you so far!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Cindy – Thanks XO I know you have a few homes in your journey, too. At least 3, right?

  27. Diane, I’ve lived in 5 different houses when I was growing and went to 7 different schools. My mom loved to move. Once I got married and we bought our home 2 years after we got married and we have lived there for 42 yrs. Don’t want to ever move again!

  28. I really enjoyed all the photos–wow–the split level sure did a one eighty–talk about curb appeal. I bet each and every home you lived in was made beautiful by you.. You sound like a wonderful person. Love your current residence– I miss the beautiful home and yard we had back east in Rochester,NY–and the lovely home I grew up in back in suburban Minneaplis–big trees-big yards–no fences — I lived in an okay home in the Bay Area–2 as a matter of fact–and three here in the Denver area–not the best homes or yards here–unless you have $4,000,000– AND THE STUPID LEGISLATURE in the USA (besides California)

  29. Mary Ann Howat says:

    Thanks for the reply. We live in Florida on Amelia Island on Fernandina Beach. Do not regret ever moving here. Our area is resortish but residential and not built up like southern and western Florida. I don’t have pics of a lot of houses cause our first house was an apartment for 1 year and then we moved to Nutley, NJ where we lived for 27 years. In 1994 we headed for Amelia Island. Only wish we could have moved here sooner. The area agrees with us and the Jacksonville airport is nearby — 1/2 hour away. Author John Grishom lives here and many other celebrities. Trying to get my just retired sister and brother-in-law to move here. We’ll see. Mary Ann

  30. Hi Diane,
    We have lived in 5 states. Originally from the Buffalo/Niagara area. We reside in Macungie Pa outside of Allentown. You would think we were in the military with so many moves. All due to promotions. We have lived in 11 different houses/apartments! Crazy! We have lived here in our present house for 17 years which I find hard to believe. We also would love to live near the water. Thank you for all your inspiration.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Linda – Wow that is a lot of moves and homes. Maybe we can live in neighboring houses along the water someday. Keeping my fingers crossed.

  31. Elizabeth @ Pineapples and Polka Dots says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post! We are currently in our first home, and I often wonder what the future will bring. Your current home is so beautiful! I love the brick exterior, and the sunny front yard.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Elizabeth – Thanks so much. A first home is so exciting and fun since its yours and you can do what you want down to the smallest detail. Before we moved into our current house, each one before it was a fixer upper. Now that I have been in my current house for 22 years, it is becoming a fixer-upper Enjoy making your first house your home.

  32. Mary Ann Howat says:

    I really enjoyed your post. Your Freehold, Nj home reminds me of our Nutley NJ home where we lived for 27 years. Now we are on Amelia Island, FL for almost 21 years. We are 1000 feet from the ocean.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Mary Ann – I hope to follow your path….to live near the ocean. :-)

  33. Let’s see, counting an apartment but not dorm rooms (which would add 4 to the total), I get 6: Two houses with my parents before I went to college, apartment after college, back with the parents in their 3rd (downsize) house, my first house, and now my second, where I hope to stay forever. Even if it’s not as neat as your place. (Right now my basement is a horror because the folks have downsized again, and all those gotta-stay-in-the-family items are coming my way.)

  34. Gerri Christian says:

    I lived in four houses growing up in Michigan (Dad would buy and repair, or build and sell). Then there were the two small places as a single, plus nine more as an adult, married, with children, and now empty-nesters. Each home had things of pleasure and beauty, precious memories…one of the most fun homes ever was a white stucco house on the side of a mountain in Quito, Ecuador- arched doorways, a couple porthole windows, a spiral stairway…and mountains in the distance wherever you look! Thank you for the walk through the memories!

  35. Thanks for sharing these stories, Diane! Gosh, we may have run into each other when you were in Oakland- I was working retail at the time in the area. Small world, right?

  36. Diane,

    What a joy it is to read your blog. I so enjoyed this post, it made me reminisce about of all of the houses that I have lived in.

  37. I LOVED reading this post and seeing all the places and homes you have lived. I am from and still live in the SF bay area – pretty sure I will always be a California girl but who knows after my 2 boys are grown and have families of their own!! Thank you for sharing this with us

  38. Alice @ Earning My Two Cents says:

    Thanks for sharing your house history! This made me nostalgic and wishing I had photos of all the places I have lived. My parents bought the house my sister a and I were raised in before any of us were born and still love there, providing so many memories every time I walk in the front door. My husband and I just bought our first home and I hope to be able to create the same kind happy memories in our home.

  39. Barbara Jaeger says:

    What a fun post! All of your homes have been charming in some way, but the Durham house completely stole my heart. Your current home and grounds are awesome too — full of memories and beautiful bright colors : ) Love your positivity and willingness to share. Thanks.

  40. What a wonderful trip down memory lane! Thanks for sharing; it made me think of all the places I have lived in and called home….including the cramped dorm room in college!

  41. I loved seeing the houses you’ve made home. It’s very impressive how the trees have grown at your current home over the years. They help make wonderful memories.

    1. Don’t you wish you had a dime for all the work hours you have done over the years on all the homes you have lived in? You would be rich enough to be living in a castle today. smile.
      I lived in 6 homes growing up, couple of college dorm rooms and only two homes after college.
      We still live in the two homes, one is our winter home and is one our summer home. We don’t have the water like you, so jealous. Thank you for sharing your home story and design tips. A great read.