Saturday, September 23, 2023

Where We Live: ‘The big move’

“The big move” has become a chapter of life in the collective American imagination.

It’s the time when a young couple takes the family from the small starter house and trades it for something more permanent: A home.

For David Kline, the big move took place in the summer of 2015 when he and his family left their small Hampton townhouse and moved to Washington Ridge, a local Ryan Homes neighborhood.

“It was really cool, but it was really sad at the same time,” Kline said. “So many memories here.”

Kline said the open houses, the planning, the pushing around furniture in the model home to make sure everything was just right, were only the beginning. As soon as the family moved in, Kline got right to work updating and renovating.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ll be going to bed, and I’ll walk downstairs, and I’ll see something,” Kline said. “And I’m out in the garage getting caulk or a hammer and my wife is like: ‘Really? It will be there in the morning.”

To date, Kline has handled the painting, tile and trim. He’s built a custom theater room, a garage and a shed designed to match the house.

“I’m the one who goes to HomeGoods and At Home and wanders around with our throw pillows,” Kline said, pointing out that his friends find it funny that he, a big mechanic, enjoys the subtleties of home design.

Kline’s do-it-yourself attitude comes from equal parts passion and principle. He’s spent countless hours on YouTube and various blogs, honing his skill and knowledge.

But his drive also comes from his young exposure to the building world as the son of a real estate manager.

“I was a little kid walking around new home sites with my little name tag on that said ‘assistant site manager,’” Kline said.

From his early days, Kline became acquainted with what a home should look like, and being a self-described perfectionist, he said he would often fixate on the building flaws found on some job sites.

With the same mindset today, Kline said he’s spent countless hours in tight corners and high up in ladders, pulling trim or fixing paint. And the work has paid off with creations unique to his family, such as a in-home dog house for his Labrador, German Shepherd mix, built into an empty space under the stairs, or the fact that his home theater is wired with smart lights. Every Thursday pizza day, his son can just say the words: ‘it’s pizza time,’ and the lights dim, focus on the table and the projector and sound equipment snap on.

Kline said he’s now offering guidance in the form of advice or pictures on the internet, and he’s seen much of what he’s accomplished over the past three years become an inspiration to others.

“I’ve made hundreds of connections and friends with people,” Kline said. “I’ve asked tons of people for help and guidance so I’m the first one to (help)”.

Today Kline has a photo collage from different stages of his renovation process on the wall in his foyer, and underneath is a picture of his first home, the townhouse. He’s received recognition from Ryan Homes who have asked to give tours of his home, to show it off as a model to potential customers. One person asked to buy it from him on the spot, even though they knew it wasn’t for sale.

Most of all, Kline said it isn’t just about having a nice place to live, it’s knowing the fact that he gets to be an active player in his family’s future. To go beyond the parabolic ‘big move.’

“To do it, to pull it off and to get the feeling when you come home that you’re not walking into a cookie cutter house, you’re walking into your home,” Kline said. “It’s definitely been a fun ride so far.”

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