Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Enjoying the Transition: Family Life in a Rental

This Washington family learns to enjoy the lessons of the transitional housing while they wait for construction to finish on their two-acre dream home.


Angela and Jeremiah Strand and their three children (ages 7, 5, and 3) are in the midst of realizing a dream. Last fall they bought two acres of land where they’re currently building their future family home: a place where their kids will be free to roam, climb, and experience life outside. Of course, this transition meant not only making the difficult decision to sell their beloved house in Stanwood (saying goodbye to their garden beds, fruit trees, and backyard chicken coop), but also taking up occupancy at temporary digs in Island County. 

They family has been waiting out the construction nestled in a 1,500-square-foot, three-bedroom rental house, where they've already been longer than they expected. While a modest rental isn’t where they envision spending the rest of their lives, they’re learning a great deal about enjoying the transition and living with a fraction of their belongings, most of which are in storage. “We’ve gotten accustomed to living with less kitchen gadgets, less toys and less of those things we thought we needed,” says Angela. “It’s also shown us how kids can really thrive in a simple environment, and how we can all think more clearly with less clutter in our spaces.”

Photo: Joshua Huston

The kids are free to climb and experience life outside.

The rental house doesn’t allow for things like hanging pictures, curtains, or painting walls, so the Strands do their best to temporarily personalize their space so it reflects who they are as a family. The kids’ artwork adorns the fridge in the kitchen, and printed photos hang from a string above the fireplace. During the dark winter days, they hung white twinkle lights around the dining room; now that spring is in the air, they bring in fresh flowers to display. “I think it’s all about the small details, and doing those small things that bring us joy,” says Angela. 

Since the rental doesn’t have any garden space, they created garden beds out of recycled wood pallets, allowing Angela to satisfy her green thumb. “I’m the kind of gal who needs to be gardening,” she says. “It was a practically free project, and they turned out great!”

Photo: Joshua Huston

Garden beds are created out of recycled wooden pallets.

Asked what they’ve learned in the transition time between moving into the rental and the inevitable completion of their dream home, Angela says, “I am so thankful for our rental, and for the amazing community we live in. We are thankful for the ability to find the ‘good’ in a situation we weren’t expecting to take so long.”

Angela runs the NW Healthy Mama website, where you can read more about the Strand family’s journey, plus lifestyle inspiration for area women and families: