A CALIFORNIA SINGLE DAD’S LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE OF RENOVATING HIS 900 SQUARE FOOT HOME
Because of the pandemic, all the jobs are done from home. As a programmer and a single dad, it seems destined to have taking care of the child at home and watching cartoons part of the job description. When I watch the little human in the house doing an “inventory” of his toys all over the floor, it reminds me of the flying dishes and messy houses in Tom and Jerry. So, art does come from life.
A little bit about myself: I am from a small town in Southwest China, moved to Beijing with ambitions and dreams in the 90s. I got off to a good start majoring in computer science, which was considered the most promising major at the time, and a lot of classmates later become the founding fathers of big-name e-commerce companies.
Every programmer has a dream about going to Silicon Valley. By 2020 Chinese New Year, I have been in America for exact 10 years, during which I moved 16 times, have been living in the Bay Area for 6 years, being a permanent resident for 4 years, my son is 9 years old, and I divorced 3 years ago.
I bought an old 900-square-foot house in 2020 and decided to move in with my son. People who know me well thought I had lost my mind because they doubted that I would bother to remodel a house.
The first two years after the divorce, I experienced different bumps to rent a home with my son: raising rent, safety concerns, penalties, etc. So, I decided in 2019 that starting from buying a home. I want to have a fresh start in life.
The reality is a little bit cruel. In California, the places I liked didn’t like my bank account balance. Eventually, the house below became our new home.
The 900-square-foot is divided into the dining area, office area, bedroom area, a relatively independent space for my son, and the bathroom. The original idea was the industrial style, but after you patiently browse the transformed pictures, you will say "this is not industrial at all!" Such a change of style also reflects a turning point in my life.
When I was working on remodeling the house, unexpectedly, my ex-wife got involve. She doesn’t get more free time than I do, but every time she rushes to pick up our son would still help me to shop for the remodeling.
Whether the floor color is homie? Is the flooring easy to clean? If there any play area planned in the living room? Little by little, my industrial design was out of the picture, but on the positive note, my ex dropped by once, twice, three times… to deliver food for me. This special time makes us know each other again.
After a series of renovation, the following are the achievements I made so far.
The Living Room
The living room adopts the commonest straight strip flooring to extend space and make the room appear bigger. I also left space for more green plants as my ex-wife likes Bohemian style. Have her visit me more with this design, sounds good to me! That is why I said the home design not only changes the lifestyle but also changes life.
Hexagonal white ceramic tiles are used on the kitchen walls to make the room look polished and beaming. Only those who understand life understand the kitchen is the fuel for life.
The bathtub was almost forced in the bathroom since both my son and I like to take a bath. The key to the small bathroom design is to pick small tiles. And the spotlight is still the green plants.
Although the bedroom is the size of a cat house, it is the place to console the exhausted after-work me. There is a train sleeper added above on the kitchen with stairs to meet my son’s wish to take trains. It is not recommended to adopt such designs if you have any infants home for safety concerns.
I realized my dream in 2020 to have my own home and received a big offer during the renovation. Also, I summoned my courage to invite my ex for a weekly family dinner. If you are reading, please cross fingers for me.
Insights Gained from the Renovation
Home is not about a bed or a table, but a warm embrace.
To transform a house into your dream home, we must first have the courage and action power to take action. Whether it is money or patience, a renovation needs you to make investments.
When you know where you are going, the whole world will make way for you. Perhaps this is where the charm of dreams lies. In fact, we just need a start. Whether it's reinventing your own home or reinventing your relationship with your family.
The latest twist is that we've checked in and my ex-wife has agreed to a weekly family dinner. Not only that, but she agreed to my first date invitation, yes! I'm thinking of adding a baby room area for the next renovation...