When I was growing up I couldn't wait to move away from Missoula. To my teenage brain and sensibility, "nothing" ever happened in Missoula, and Montana was years behind other more interesting places in the world (you know, like New York, or Paris). So I left. Then, I spent 15 years trying to come back.

I lived in Portland, Maine

After college, I moved to Portland, Maine (which is a cool town, by the way), and found myself describing the coastal city this way: "Portland and Missoula are really similar. Trade the ocean for mountains and the sailors for cowboys and they're basically the same place." It was one of those things I'd say to people when I told them where I was from, but after a while, it didn't feel quite true. Forgive the sappiness, but Missoula is a unique and special place that can't quite be compared to any place else.

Then I lived in Billings, Montana

For the last 10 years, I lived in Billings, Montana. Every few years or so, I'd find myself visiting family in Missoula and thinking--could I live in Missoula again? As much as I wanted to the answer was always no. The finances didn't work out, or a job didn't line up, or (to my own surprise) I was happy living in Billings. It wasn't until I completely let go of the idea of moving to Missoula that the opportunity presented itself: I could transfer for my job. The catch: the Missoula housing market has been, to put it mildly, pretty hot lately.

And then--the stars aligned.

A family friend wanted to sell their 1952 ranch-style house and wasn't interested in the stress of the housing market. When they found out I was looking for a house, they agreed to sell it to me. I'll be forever grateful to them for trusting me with the house their family has owned for almost 70 years.

While the house was nearly perfect for what my husband and I were looking for, it certainly needed a little TLC. We'll probably have years worth of projects ahead of us, but here's a look at the first phase of our renovations:

I Bought an Old House in Missoula: It's My First Time Renovating

As with any renovation project, we ran into a few mishaps when we began renovating the 1952 ranch-style home we bought in Missoula, but some of the changes we made were easy and immediately rewarding.