As military spouses, we often find ourselves looking forward to the day that we get to decorate our homes with no rules, restrictions, or repainting involved!
We dream of the day we won’t have to spackle the walls as we pray that the housing inspector doesn’t ding us for going over our “allotted holes per wall.”
We fantasize about the day that no one can stop us from painting our living room wild colors such as “Dusty Grape” or “Sunset Orange.”
We relish the idea of a clutter-free garage because we finally have wall space for everything we want to hang!
We eagerly await the day when we can say this is our “Last House” and look forward to the big payoff from all the hours we spent watching our favorite HGTV shows in anticipation of the day we can FINALLY…
Tear down that wall and put up some shiplap!
Pull back the carpets and delightedly find wood floors!
Take out all of our amazing treasures from all over the world and find a spot for them!
Have outdoor living space that isn’t shared with six neighbors!
Go on a Beachfront Bargain Hunt that doesn’t involve a Motel 6 and a military discount!
I even have an idea (just in case any HGTV producers are reading this) for a show called “Military Move-in Makeovers.” I challenge any of the HGTV gurus to help military families make-over base housing without breaking the rules!
Ask almost any military spouse and they will have a favorite HGTV show. Some of them, like myself, love Flea Market Flip. The treasure hunting through thrift stores and markets from all of our overseas and local stations is addictive (and someday, each of these finds will tell a story in my forever home). Other Army spouses love Beach Front Bargain Hunt and, after all the landlocked locations the Army likes to send us, who can blame them?
But the show the majority of my friends seem to watch is Fixer Upper. It’s hard to deny the charm of the show and after relocating to Fort Hood this summer, I grabbed two of my Army sisters and headed off on the mere 47-minute drive to see what the fuss over Waco, the silos, and the Magnolia franchise was all about.
It is a little known fact that Army wives can mobilize for a shopping excursion that rivals a special ops team on a mission, and my two team members were up for the challenge. A predicted 106-degree heatwave got us moving early in the morning.
I have to admit that, at this point, I am less of a fan of the “farmhouse” motif than my two friends. I was actually on the trip for a possible “Chip sighting” and one of the infamous cupcakes from the Magnolia Bakery. I think the appeal Chip has for me is that his answer is always, “Whatever you want to do, babe” and the answer I get from my husband is more like, “Housing won’t let us do that, babe.”
As we approached the infamous two silos in historic downtown Waco, it was hard to not get a little excited at being there. We were greeted by free downtown trolleys and tour guides, but we were trying to beat the heat so we headed right into the Marketplace.
The place was the mothership for all things “fixer upper.” Farmhouse signs, beautiful displays, and of course, lots of interesting pieces to look at or buy. As a die hard flea market shopper, I paid my respects to the beautiful, incredibly perfect decorations and I went over to the bakery to score some “Shiplap Cupcakes” for my military mamas still on a mission.
After happily purchasing coffee and enough sugar to power the silos (with a much appreciated 10% military discount), I met my friends under a shady tree in the outdoor café. As we sat down and talked about where they were going to place their new items in their “house restricted world,” I became overwhelmed with a sense of belonging to this incredible nomadic tribe of HGTV watchers who roll up their sleeves with each housing assignment and just make it work.
Although we all admitted that we often catalogue what we see on these shows for “later” with every passing episode, I couldn’t help but marvel at how we manage to make the now a place to call home. White walls adorn our pictures and mementos and provide the backdrop on which we must be creative every two years.
I love going into my neighbor’s house, and even though we share the same floor plan, square footage, and flooring, she managed to make her small boxy living room into something out of Southern Living. Seriously… the awkward, white-walled house was so transformed by her bold turquoise and red color scheme and creative decorating, it would make anyone “love it instead of list it.”
Part of our mission as military spouses is to make our houses into homes. We do this not with decorators and renovation teams, but with love and with the creativity that allows us to use the same pieces over and over again, but in different ways. We do this with the knowledge that our homes represent more than just beautiful things and perfect symmetry.
They represent sacrifice, solidarity, and simply making the most of what we are given.
So as I sat and reminisced about some pretty tough homes to fill with some pretty tough Army wives, we raised our “Shiplap” cupcakes to HGTV and all the inspiration they give to us now and in our forever homes, wherever and whenever they may appear!
**A big Thanks to Mandy and Dagmar who have helped me decorate my white walls for the past 15 years!
** Looking for some decorating ideas? Check out Furnishing a Military Household and