August 5, 2015

The Search for Home (Again)

We had our open house this past weekend and it ended up going really well…  We were out of town (there is NO WAY we would have been able to keep the house perfectly neat with our three boys and newborn!!) and were on pins and needles as we waited to hear from our realtor how it went.  I fretted about styling and all of the things I’d forgotten about like the haphazardly hung wall of family photos that my husband surprised me with late one night a couple of years ago & I’d always meant to rehang, along with all of other walls and spaces I hadn’t yet gotten to really decorating properly…  because you know, people buy houses based upon good artwork placement, right? 😉 Anyway, after the nail-biting was over, we got a couple of wonderful offers from what seemed like really nice people who will love our home as much as we do.  And now, we’re officially under contract, which feels a bit surreal.

{lights on open house-style!!}

It’s all happened really quickly and while I’ve moved on in my brain, I already know how much I’m going to miss our place.  (I think I miss it already??)  Like I mentioned before, this was a house we thought we’d be in for a good long while, not a “flip”, so it really meant a lot to me.  I thought through every little decision, weighing my options, doing what I thought was best, even when it wasn’t the easiest or (most inexpensive) route.  There’s a story behind pretty much everything I brought into the house and I’m sad to leave so much of it.  

{This piece of furniture, which I had built into the wall,  was given to us by my dad as a gift when we had our first baby.}

I’m going to look back so fondly on our time at this house.  I really felt at peace and content (lol until the whole school moving fiasco that is) and I can’t wait to get there again.  But, I know that really, a house is just a house.  Not to to be totally cheesy, but I’m just really thankful that our family is healthy and all together,  We’ll be fine wherever it is we end up.  We have an insanely busy Fall with client projects, lots of travel, the book release/ book parties, a show house in Beverly Hills, so we’re just trying to take each week one day at a time and to get in some quality moments with each other whenever we can.  I am in NO WAY ready to not have Gisele with me at pretty much all times so girlfriend is coming to work this Fall.  

{can’t get enough of this little thing!!!}

We’ve already begun hunting for our new place and Dave & I are both seriously torn between two paths: The first being the safer/ easier route… Finding a house that needs minimal work in a super convenient location (which would result in a smaller yard) and just getting in and living and enjoying ourselves and keeping things simple.  Basically, not a permanent move or a “dream home” of any sort, but a move that could help us catch our breath a bit- for however long felt right.  The second would be another crazy renovation on a property with more land that wouldn’t be quite as close to everything (but still way closer than what it would have been had we not sold our place) … but this time maybe even more extensive.  This route would most likely end up costing more in the long run but we’d end up with something incredible…  something we could stay in forever if we wanted to.  A “dream house” in the sense that it’s a house I feel passionate about and where almost everything is designed the way I want it to be, like our house now.  A place where I feel creatively satisfied.  Another opportunity to stretch design-wise and to showcase what we can do for our clients.  (I should mention here for anyone who thinks I’m the crazy one (I’m talking to you, Family!! 😉 that my husband, Dave, would rather go this route because a larger yard is really important to him and it would create better opportunities for our business.)

When we think of it from the kids /commute perspective, we know that with either route we go, the commute is a major factor, and as I’ve mentioned, we want to keep that shorter.  But there is a big difference in being super-close to where schools are to being fairly close. (“Fairly close” is what we have now, but when the high school school moves, would change.) We honestly don’t know what “super-close” to a school feels like because we’ve never been in that position, (I have to say, I loved the walkability of our old house in Herndon and imagine it could be similar;  Walking into town for dinner & drinks or town functions, and being around the corner from our church and soccer was easy and just so much fun.  I know how quickly time seems to fly by and this route is so appealing.  I want this to be what we want.  But I also want the boys to have a big yard to run around in with room for another kitchen garden.  We love the privacy that a large yard affords and spend many of our waking moments at home outside.  Reality is, we absolutely can’t afford a property that has it all, so we’ll have to make a choice.  

They’re two different paths and I think we could love both.  I’m not one for regrets, so I don’t think I’d ever mourn the path not taken, one way or the other, but we would do something about it if we thought we’d made the wrong choice (I.e. move again)… and I’d really like us to be settled and have a place to raise the family in.  If we can’t find a house -or figure out which way we want to go – by the time we need to move out of our current home, we’re considering staying at my parents’ house while we house hunt.  The flexibility to be able to jump back into the market at our own pace appeals to me but putting everything in storage and moving twice is definitely not appealing at all.  (As far as living with parents? I actually look back on our time living in their basement- with one baby- really fondly and think it could be fun, but it would be a tad different now that we have 4 kids…  my very sweet mom is scurred and it would need to be a very SHORT stay for their sake 😉  

So…  it’s time so start checking out some properties and testing out morning commutes and really imagining what life would be like in different houses.  I have my eye on a couple listings that are so exactly opposite it’s not even funny.

{Probably way newer/nicer than what we’ll be buying and not the house we’re looking at…  but this gives you an idea.  Image from here.}

One is traditional and just so “normal”…  super-convenient and it would entail a light renovation- floors, woodwork to make it feel more authentic, kitchen & baths- and could be a really nice house that we could love life in.  We could make the move without staying at my parents’ and it would be pretty easy.  I’d have the chance to work in a more traditional home and turn it into a special place.  I think I could get excited about it design-wise, but am not really excited at this point.  It would require more “decorating” and that sort of thing because it’s architecturally “ok” and will need more dressing- which isn’t really my personal style at all- to be “great.”  It’s not a “forever” home in the sense that I’d feel major love for it.  All of that being said, we’re seriously considering it due to the idea of that convenient life.  (If someone bought it out from under us though, I’d shed no tears.)


{A photo of Grey Gardens in the 70s… It’s not too different in terms of condition!!  Image from here}

The other is amazing and for the first time in my life, I actually understood how someone could utter the phrase, “be still my heart.”  I, no joke, was practically yelling (or maybe I was yelling?!!) “oh my gosh!!”  and then…  “oh my gosh!!”  and again,  “oh my gosh!!”  I seriously couldn’t handle myself when I saw the listing it was so good.  I was pacing and felt frantic…  afraid to love the house because it looked so UN-doable.  (I’m an excitable person by nature but what I felt was beyond normal for me…  I’ve never had my heart rate go up and flip out over a house like this before.  My family just sort of shook their heads at me and laughed to themselves, and I was aware of how dramatic I was being, but I couldn’t stop my declarations of “Oh my gosh!!” or “I want to scream I love it so much” to “I think I am screaming!!!”  One of the only other times I probably felt like this was when I was a little girl and my mom took me to the gemstones room at the Smithsonian where the Hope Diamond was on display.  She said I pressed my face from glass case to glass case exclaiming, “Oh, it’s so beautiful!!!” and moaning, “I love this one so much!!” and “Look at all of the colors!!!”  and “this one is my favorite!!!  No this one!!” as onlookers giggled to themselves… I had no idea at the time people were laughing at me, btw.)  Anyway, I found the listing on a day when I had all but decided that “convenience” was the route to take, and so felt ridiculously torn.  (Like, probably close to Vampire Diaries-Stephen-and-Damon-type torn.)  The house is uninhabitable.  Like, really, people can’t live there.  (Technically, it’s a tear down, but not for me.)  Now, whether this house is an option or not (we haven’t visited yet and it looks to be an expensive mess to fix) it did open my eyes to what feeling like a house was “right” could feel like.  (I had a similar feeling when we found both of our other houses, but it was waaaaaay stronger this time because the house was so much more undoable.  (Hence, the torn feeling.) But I honestly had thought that I was over any sort of emotional attachments with houses, so I guess I’m not.  I go from “we absolutely can’t get into this sort of money pit” to “Maybe this was meant to be!!!!” and “We’re the ones who can save this house from being replaced with a soulless mansion!!!” (No offense to soulless mansions…  I just love this place too much to not be sad if/when that happens 😉  

{Image by Kayaksailor}

And an odd coincidence… we saw a rainbow as we were agonizing over the listing and thinking about whether or not to go for it.  It’s really weird, but with all three of our previous houses, we saw rainbows when we found them and were figuring out whether or not to go for them.  Each time, Dave and I would be deep in conversation about the house- should we do it or not?? Pros & cons and all of that- and then just sort of look up and see a rainbow.  The rainbows never changed our minds or confirmed anything per se for us, but somehow they made us feel good about things and the path ahead of us… and at this point it’s getting kind of funny.  

Anyway, I’ll keep you posted as we hunt and let you know what we’re thinking after we check out a few places!!  I’m working on a post that includes a tour of our whole house- kids’ rooms and all that- in one place and will hopefully have it up soon.  Thank you so much for your kind words about our house and for sharing the listing with friends & family.  I appreciate it so much!!

Join Our Newsletter

Sign up to receive design inspo, exclusive content, shopping guides, and more.