The time has finally come to say goodbye to our first home, our beautiful little Victorian mid-terrace house with the yellow door. We have had so many wonderful memories here, including bringing our youngest daughter home at just 6 hours old, hosting parties, working together on DIY projects, watching both our children learn to walk and talk, and, of course, I am very grateful to have been able to call it ours. However, it is almost two years to the day that we decided to move on so, honestly? My heart has not been here for a while. It has been with the other three houses we’ve tried to buy along the way, it has been dreaming of driveways and downstairs toilets and space for dishwashers. We were completely content with our situation, but as soon as our head was turned by something different, I’m ashamed to say our patience for the little niggles mentioned above started to wear thin. Family life grew and two active children (potentially more one day?) require more than a couple with a baby who doesn’t move.
And so, to sign off our adventure in this home on the blog, I have curated a mammoth house tour for you full of all the juiciest before and after shots! We have learnt so much from the renovation – we made a lot of mistakes and compromised more than we would have liked to due to budget (we spent approx. £6500 in total for the whole house) but overall we have both really enjoyed the process. I hope you like it!
I am writing this in utter disbelief, with tears rolling down my cheeks, splashing the keys on my laptop and moistening my angrily tapping fingertips.
Six months ago, I shared with you all how our house move had fallen through at the last moment. Whilst heartbroken and raw, I read it back now with shock at how positive I was, even then, in what felt like a very dark moment. Of course I could write then with the hope that this sort of thing never happens twice? Surely that is unheard of? Surely the next house we find will be THE one? Turns out I was wrong. I know I’ve lost all perspective, but honestly, right now I feel like moving house is impossible.
This time around we were in a chain of six, but we’d got even closer. A few weeks ago everyone was talking about moving this very Friday (22nd June). We had a date! We had started arranging childcare, received quotes for removal men, cleared out the loft, the kitchen and the under stairs cupboard. My word, I’d even cleaned the oven in preparation!
However, today we found out that #3 in the chain (our buyer’s buyer) has pulled out. Our buyers are no longer proceedable. Therefore we have to put ours on the market again, which for one reason or another, will be the fifth time in 22 months. We have spent close to £2000 on trying to move and we are back to square one. Except now we lack the innocent, giddy hope we began the process with – we just feel cynical, jaded and powerless.
If you’ve been following me for a while here, or on Instagram, you’ll be well aware we’ve been trying to move house. Despite having only lived here for just over two years now, we always saw this house as a vessel to get our foot on the bottom rung of the property market. We renovated and decorated with that in mind (the house is completely painted in white, for instance) and nearly all our decisions have been rooted in the thought that this house, although much loved, is fairly temporary.
To cut a very long (16 month) story short, after heaps of house viewings and offers falling through on other houses, a few weeks ago we were finally very close to moving. A three bed Victorian semi-detached with a drive and a garden, on a quiet road in a fantastic catchment area – just what we wanted and the perfect home to (maybe, once we’ve caught up on sleep!) expand our precious family in. We’d had the survey done on the house we were moving to and so far, despite being in a chain of five, everything had gone smoothly. We’d had a builder friend of ours come and see the house and we’d drawn up plans to reconfigure the downstairs. I was pinteresting like MAD for inspiration, and even spent a whole evening looking at different hinges and brackets for kitchen units on the IKEA website. Our hearts and minds had already moved…
It is certainly widely acknowledged that moving house is very stressful. Then add in the complexity of trying to sell your own home, whilst finding another appropriate one, PLUS having two little tornadoes running through the house, daily emptying the sock drawer on the floor, turning your plants upside down or throwing Weetabix at the wall like an Olympic shot putter on speed, and you’re in for a fun couple of months…
There are definitely moments when you are knee deep in rubble, power tools and paint samples where you come to think this must be your life forever. Will I ever rest my fingers on a surface in this house and it not be covered in a thick layer of dust? (Probably not, actually!) Or will we ever have a house without lights hanging precariously from the walls, a rug covering up untiled surfaces, or living a life where you frequent Homebase more than your local pub?!
The first birthday of our firstborn, Darcey, was definitely such an occasion. We were three days away from moving in and had so much painting to do before the carpet fitters arrived that we just simply did not have the time to celebrate her birthday ‘properly’. Obviously, in a world where searching ‘first birthday party ideas’ on Pinterest can send you into a land of vomit inducing unicorn utopia, I found it quite sad that we weren’t making much of, what is, quite an important milestone. We had been a family for a whole year! We had survived! And more importantly, so had she!