It was the mid-century house of her childhood — and her dreams.

Not everyone can afford to purchase a home, let alone their dream home. But for one woman in Albuquerque, New Mexico, getting the title to her perfect residence was a lifelong journey — one that started when she was just a little girl.

A Special House

interiors of a house

Growing up, Nichol Naranjo was used to going with her mom, Margaret Gaxiola, to work. Her mom cleaned houses to foot the bills, and the houses she cleaned were much more impressive to Naranjo than the small apartment she and her family shared.

One home in particular always stuck out though: a 3,000-square-foot, mid-century home that was stuffed with European antiques and featured an interior courtyard. Naranjo was in awe of the house and everything in it, and would sit under a desk in the library on those Friday afternoons when her mom cleaned.

“I could see her wandering room to room, just dreaming about everything in here,” Gaxiola told The New York Times of her daughter’s love for the property.

A Special Friendship

Eventually, the home became much more to Naranjo. Gaxiola and the home’s owner, Pamela Key-Linden, grew closer as the years wore on. Both women went through divorces and lost people they loved, which helped them to bond even more.

At one point, Key-Linden began bringing home trinkets for Naranjo and her sister after trips and wrapping presents for them at Christmas. She’d stock the house with their favorite treats. When the homeowner married for a second time, both girls and their mom were invited to the wedding.

“We went into many homes because of my mom’s cleaning,” Naranjo told the publication. “I was able to observe different lifestyles and personalities. No one was like Pam. Pam became like family.”

Passing on the House

In 2018, Key-Linden died. Gaxiola continued cleaning the house until the following year, when the woman’s second husband, Richard Linden, also passed. At that point, Gaxiola had been cleaning the house for 43 years, so it was hard to turn over her keys to the estate.

“That was heartbreaking, and I thought, ‘That was half of my life, too,’” Gaxiola said. “I was saying goodbye. This was not a house to clean. It was a second home to come and enjoy.”

Shortly after Gaxiola stopped cleaning the house, she learned that the estate planned on selling it. She immediately called her daughter to deliver the news. At the time, Naranjo and her husband had been looking at homes in the neighborhood. Her husband worked in cybersecurity and Naranjo, inspired by the items within the home she loved so much, had gone into design.

They contacted the estate and expressed their interest in not only the home but all of its contents. Roughly a year later, due to COVID restrictions, the house was theirs. They had acquired it and nearly everything within it for $472,000.

“My whole family’s fingerprint is on this home. It was so emotional,” she said. “We’ve seen some hard times in our life. This was always a place to come and catch our breath. And to dream.”

Dare to Dream

We don’t always get the things we dream about in life, but sometimes we do. That’s why this story is so inspiring: growing up, Naranjo had no reason to think that she would one day be the owner of the home she loved so much. But she wasn’t afraid to dream, and when the opportunity presented itself decades later, she jumped on it.

It’s a nice reminder for all of us that there’s nothing wrong with dreaming big or hoping for more. Sure, life can bring us down, and there’s a good chance we won’t ever be able to achieve all of the things we want. But having a goal to pursue and a purpose in life can also drive us in unexpected and meaningful ways.

So dream about that big house, that expensive car, that beautiful baby, or the much-needed trip. One day, those dreams you keep on dreaming may just manifest themselves after all.