[Photo by Katy Gitto Photography]

Hi, I’m Heather Robertson. And I never expected to live in the suburbs, let alone blog about it.

When I graduated from the University of Missouri in 2002, Kansas City was just a summer layover on my way to ad school in Atlanta, and ultimately to a cute little brownstone in Wrigleyville.

But my boyfriend in Kansas City had a two-year-old son. And I had debt. Lots of it.

So, we stayed.

When we moved out of our midtown apartment and into the suburbs that fall, we thought we were just escaping the cockroaches and crazies at our old place for an air-conditioned paradise in the land of dishwashers and garbage disposals.

But what we didn’t know (besides our new rental’s brown recluse problem – yuck!) was that we landed in one of the best public school districts in the area.  So again, we stayed.

We swatted spiders through our first year of marriage and my stepson’s first year of school, until jumping head first into the housing market in 2005.  Which is to say, with no down payment and a savings account that was soon emptied by overpriced furniture and oversized TVs.

In the six years since then, we’ve paid off over $100,000 in debt, had a baby and are now sending my husband back to school.  Can you believe our walls are still bare and the floors remain rugless?

We’ll likely live in this split-level in the suburbs for another six years,  so it’s time to invest what little time and money we have into making it ours.

Maybe you have a nondescript late-nineties house in the suburbs too.  Or maybe your urban house is full of character but short on love.  Either way, I’d love for you to join me.