Living in Florida and transforming our fixer upper home are two things that are constant. Today I’m sharing with a few friends who are also discussing why we chose our homes and a bit of history.
I’ve lived in Florida for most of my life and residing in The Sunshine State definitely seems to have a certain mystique to it. When traveling and someone asks where I’m from, the reaction to the word “Miami” generally elicits an “ooooh” or an “ahhh”! Palm trees, eternal sun and miles of beaches come to mind. People tend to want to be living in Florida for many reasons. I thought that I’d quickly outline some pros and cons, because many of you ask me anyway about living here!
Living In Florida – The Pros
- The weather is generally sunny and always warm. Living here most of my life, it’s gotten much hotter with global warming.
- The beaches are some of the best in the world. I’ve been to many worldwide and we always come back loving ours more.
- Cultural diversity. We are a melting pot, especially in Miami.
- No state income tax. Hello…that’s a big plus!
- Lots of drivable places to vacation in, including your own backyard.
& The Cons
Most of the “cons” as far as I’m concerned are weather related and things to keep in mind if you’re considering moving here.
- It’s SO hot here and what’s even worse is the HUMIDITY. You must constantly run the a/c and spending time outdoors is impossible for several months out of the year.
- Hurricanes are a threat for half the year, every year and anyone who’s lived here long enough knows that they are no joke.
- The rain here does keep Florida green, but the afternoon monsoons are so intense that it’s difficult to drive.
- Tourists, snowbirds and retirees and other poor drivers. Watch out when you drive, because we have a mix of those plus our immigrant population that may not be familiar with the rules of the road here.
- Critters that lived here long before people inhabited the earth or have been introduced into the wild. We have everything from alligators to iguanas, palmetto bugs that you can practically saddle up, to wild peacocks and more.
I digress, as today is about why I chose my home. This house was built in 1962, and was about 30 years old when we purchased it. It’s a suburban ranch style house with a pool that is typical for many parts of Miami. When my husband and I were first married, we had a home built in a new development that we loved. It was small, and once we started having babies we found that we were outgrowing that home. I discovered the area that we are in now after our oldest daughter started kindergarten close by and the hunt for a home here commenced.
The front elevation (mom van, lol!) and the palm trees that we had recently planted.
After seeing about 50 homes over the course of several months we found this one. It was a fixer upper home that no one had lived in for about six months and needed a lot of work. We loved the circular driveway, the dead end street and the property. Our lot is about 3/4 acre and sits on a canal, so it’s quiet and private and there was room to expand. I don’t really have many photos of the before, since we purchased this home 28 years ago. Going through some photo albums I found a few that were taken the morning before Hurricane Andrew hit.
The back of our home with the original old style screen enclosure surrounding the pool.
We did clean up inside and outside in the first year here…ripping up brown shag carpet and far too much thorny bougainvillea. This is the back after we had done a massive clean up to the yard. Thrifty as I needed to be back then, I purchased the kid’s swing used. We hadn’t yet done any major changes, so the living room is where the girls played inside. All of the furniture was handed down from my in-laws and a few clients. We were on a really tight budget so I recovered, repurposed and reused. I think that those of you who who have adult children can relate when I say that those were some of the best times of all!
Until Hurricane Andrew hit and I would be remiss not to mention that. Living in Florida you definitely dread hurricane season. Our lives changed in an instant, or actually overnight. Hurricane Andrew hit our neighborhood hard, as a category 5 storm spawning lots of local tornados. It was a night of terror for us and we hid in a small bathroom fearing for our lives. At daybreak we saw this below. Trees snapped like matchsticks, metal bent like straws and pieces of our neighbor’s homes and possessions in our pool and yard.
We had a lot to deal with, including broken glass everywhere, flooding, a ripped up roof, soaked possessions, damaged vehicles and no power for a month. The a/c unit got sucked into the living room once the storm broke through our roof and front door. We had flooding and everything that we owned was either damaged or ruined.
There were looters coming in from other parts of the city and the National Guard set up camp on our street.
Fast forward to several months later when power was back on and we cleaned up. We were able to start an addition to make our home better and larger than before. A lemony situation was made into lemonade with lots of hard work and help from friends.
And today, where we simply look back and look forward and love the home where we raised our family Lots of memories here and we are still living in Florida and not sure where our lives will take us next. I’m posting some images below of how our home looks today!
Our street is lined with palm trees and I don’t think that it could be any prettier or more tropical looking!
The pool and garden area as it is now.
And inside…our beloved family home.
I hope that you enjoyed this post and head over to visit my friends who are sharing more stories today.