Two weeks before Christmas, my husband and I closed on our first house. We had found out that he would be at Fort Bragg for quite awhile, so we decided that it was time to put our rent money into a mortgage instead.

House shopping was both fun and aggravating. We found a house that we fell in love with, but it ended up getting sold right as we were putting in an offer. Every house seemed to have something that my husband liked or something that I liked, but none really had that right mesh of what we both wanted.

We found several houses that would be fantastic remodeling projects, but we werenít really interested in such a long term job. The ideal house would be one that we could upgrade, but was still able to be lived in while a possible remodeling job could be done.

The house we ended up purchasing was, to me, perfect. I fell in love with it as soon as I stepped onto the Southern-style porch. The bright green door spoke to my love of color. The structure of the house was solid brick; it is an old 1930s house that had been extremely well taken care of.

My husband was most concerned with the kitchen and he gave his seal of approval after looking at the beautiful galley kitchen done in desert reds. I was most picky about the bathrooms and the porcelain bathtub in the main bath had me from the beginning. The backyard was a great size for us to play around with our dog and keep our chicken flock.

But the best part of the house was a room in the basement that Iím in the process of converting into a darkroom.

Photography was never something I truly thought I would take to until I had to take a darkroom photography class during my freshman year of college. At the time, I was pursuing a degree in film production with an emphasis in editing.

Within the first week of the class, my classmates and I were developing our own film and photographs. It was magic. I spent countless hours in the darkroom wet lab, coming back to my apartment smelling like the chemicals I had just spent hours playing in. I was hooked. I switched my major to photography with an emphasis in fine art.

My time at school opened me up to so many different types of photography. As a history buff, I gravitated toward the more historical processes. My favorite process was one of the first methods used to colorize photographs in the late 1800s. The prints are created by layering UV light sensitive solutions of gum arabic and ammonium dichromate mixed with watercolor paint.

I decided that was the process in which I wanted to specialize. For the last several years, I have been collecting items to make my dream darkroom for this process. Iíve come close; at our last house I had a space set up and was able to make prints that were published late last year. But the space I was working in wasnít quite perfect.

Our new house has the space for the dream room. A walk-in closet is being plumbed this weekend for the darkroom sink that my husband and I built. My husband also built me a light table for looking at negatives and we wired a wooden box with UV light so I can better control the exposure of my prints. I can easily control the amount of natural light coming into the room because the windows are very small.

I have no doubt that Iíll be spending the majority of my time in this space.

My life has been spent in the pursuit of finding a place that I can call home, and I think after years of searching, I have finally found it.