her home: Family photos make the house a home

kmccarthy@ledger-enqurier.comAugust 1, 2012 

Keisha Williams and her husband, Michael, have lived in three different states in the nine years that they've been married.

All that moving, due to Michael's career in the Army, has made them cautious about making big purchases.

"Even when we got here we were very scared to buy stuff because we didn't know how long we'd be here," she said, referring to their large two-story home in Phenix City, Ala. "When (Mike) gets back (from deployment), we might have to leave and we probably won't buy a house again this big. Or we might go to Hawaii and you don't want to buy a house there."

Like most young adults, Keisha's first house was furnished mostly with hand-me-down furniture, but she, Michael and their seven-year-old son Reese wanted to make a fresh start when they moved from their home state of Tennessee to Fort Polk, La.

"We actually cleaned the slate. When we left Tennessee … we loaded everything we had up in these two little U-Haul trailers and we said, 'Wherever we go, we're going to start off and buy new stuff,'" she said. "We basically took (Reese's) bed, our TVs, our bed and our (living room) furniture. So when we went and we bought something new, we always bought something new, not used, and stuff that we thought would keep for a long time, like (our dining room) table."

They are slow to buy new items because they want to make sure they get what they really want -- plus Keisha said she doesn't like to spend a lot of money on things for the house.

While she said her dining room is their most "upscale" living space, she's quick to add it's "on a budget."

"We don't like to spend a whole lot of money (on home furnishings) because we like to take vacations and go spend time together because (Michael's) gone a lot."

She describes her style as modern, but again notes that she's doesn't want to spend a lot to get a certain look.

"I wasn't real sure about my curtains," Keisha said. "But I got them on clearance and I like to buy stuff that's not real expensive and I feel like they kind of go with the room now."

Many of her best bargain buys she finds at stores such as Kirkland's, Hobby Lobby and Kohl's.

"Hobby Lobby has got the greatest deals. And if you go to Kohl's and go in the back, I've found some really nice art work for my bedroom in Kohl's. And you get get buy-one-get-one-free sometimes," she said. "And we started going to Kirkland's. They have great stuff in there."

Because they're so selective about large purchases, she says several rooms are still "a work in progress," noting that she'd like to add a shelf and wall decal above their chalkboard wall in the kitchen.

The upstairs bedrooms each have their own theme, however, with Marilyn Monroe memorabilia filling the guest room, a calm ocean vibe in Keisha and Michael's bedroom and a full-on video game motif for Reese.

But through all their moves, Keisha said that more than any possession, hanging "a lot of pictures" on the wall is what helps make each new house feel like home, no matter what state they live in.

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