I’ve finally decided after living in our new house for nearly two years that I’m ready to give a house tour! I’ve hesitated for lots of different reasons that don’t really matter so here we go…
After months on the market and dozens of showings on our old house we finally got to look at houses! I’ll admit that my expectations weren’t super-high. I was really just hoping for something much bigger than the 1,000 sq. ft. we’d lived in for 7 1/2 years (not that I was counting or anything). I wanted 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths (which was 1 1/2 more than we had), a kitchen with more cabinet space, a bonus room and a fenced in yard for Daisy. There were lots of things that I wanted but the things I already mentioned were on our list of must-haves. I wasn’t looking for granite counters or stainless appliances or a lot of upgrades- those were all in the back of my mind as, ‘That would be nice but it’s not gonna happen’. And, for the record, I was wrong.
Fast-forward to nearly the end of a *long* house hunting day and we found our new house! It was brand-new, not even finished yet. As soon as I got out of our car I yelled to our Realtor, Joan, “Forget all the other houses, I want this one”! It was beautifully finished outside with a lovely combination of brick, stone & LP Siding. As soon as we walked inside I think I gasped- clearly I have no poker face. I’m also a sucker for upgrades because even though this house didn’t have a bonus room I was desperately trying to figure out how to make this house work. It didn’t take a lot of figuring though because it has four bedrooms, one of which we use as an office/play room.
So, without further ado, here’s our new house:
I took this photo before we ever stepped inside and you can see Chloe’s joy at the prospect of this being our new home. I love the front porch, the carriage-style garage doors, the cedar shakes & everything else really. Except for the color of the front door. Our Realtor, Joan and I were trying to come up with a new color scheme even before closing day. If you can’t tell from the photo it’s olive- the most muted shade of olive I’ve ever seen.
The kitchen definitely has more cabinet space than our last home:
I love the island, it’s big but not so big that it feels like something that it’s a hindrance getting from point a to point b.
I also love, love the furniture style legs.
Instead of using that as a seating area though we’ve made it Daisy’s eating area. It keeps it out of the way and we don’t really need to use that area for seating.
We also have 36″ maple cabinets, granite counter tops ( St. Cecilia light is the name) and a gas stove. I spent years dreaming of having a gas stove. Why? Because all of the Food Network chefs use gas stoves so I figured that there was something magical about them that would make me a better cook. Silly, Amy. There’s nothing magical about a gas stove but I still love it. My cooking is about the same although Travis thinks it’s magical so that’s a win. We’ve been asked a few times why we didn’t choose stainless steel appliances. The short answer is that we didn’t get to choose anything in this house. The longer answer is that when trying to close the deal the listing agent for our builder (DR Horton) asked if we wanted them, our agent told her we didn’t need that but we did need a fence. Which was completely true. Upgrading to stainless was about $700 but a fence was around $2,500 so we got a much better concession on that since the builder threw that in for free. Later, when I was appliance shopping for a fridge, I noticed that there were *only* stainless steel in the appliance department with a couple of white and black appliances shoved in the back. I had clearly not been paying attention to all of those House Hunters episodes where every.single.buyer.says they want stainless steel appliances. I called our Realtor in a panic to see if we could upgrade after all but since the black appliances were already installed we couldn’t change them.It was kind of a bummer but it wasn’t a deal breaker.
I also *really* wanted a french door fridge and we were going to have to buy one since it wasn’t included and the builder’s Realtor steered us away from buying one from them because the price was so high- around $3,500- yikes! I was stressing about it a bit because we were determined to pay cash for one and the only type of fridge that was in our price range were side by side fridges and I really dislike that type. Then one day close to closing Joan called and said that one of her renters was selling a black french door fridge that they didn’t need anymore. The price was a third of what it cost new so we snatched it up quickly. That was just one of the many, many little blessings along the way.
Travis and I also wanted our home to be a place where people could gather. Whether it’s for a family get-together or a Bible study or a cookout, we wanted our house to be for more than just our enjoyment. This house fits that bill perfectly.
One of the (many) things we have in this house that we didn’t have in our last is an entryway. It might not seem like a big deal but having guests step directly into the living room or more often, the kitchen isn’t ideal. Here people can take off their shoes, coats, etc. and have a bit of room before they get to the living area:
Obviously this was taken before we moved in. I couldn’t get over the amount of space and loved that the kitchen was open to the living area. In our old house every room was closed off so if I was cooking dinner I’d miss out on whatever was going on in the living room. Or if we had a party everyone would jam into the kitchen and it never failed, there would always be two people hanging out in the living room that were left out. I feel like a better hostess here.
I think this post is long enough so I’ll wrap it up by saying that we got everything that we needed plus everything that we wanted. I’ve told friends that it’s as if God took inventory of everything in my head that I wanted but would never have asked for and gave it to me. And by me I mean us but mostly me since I was the one picking out things and dreaming and sometimes obsessing over our new home. Travis loves everything too but I think what he loves more is how much I love it. He’s sweet like that.
People often talk about God’s perfect timing. It’s something that I’ve experienced but at the point that we were buying this house I’d been dealing with a great amount of heartache, heartbreak & disappointment (that I haven’t written about). Even leading up to this we’d dealt with Travis losing his job when our old house was on the market the first time (read about that here and here). I felt a wide range of emotions dealing with that and was disappointed and angry that we’d finally gotten to the point of being able to sell a house that had been an albatross around our necks for years only to feel like the rug got yanked out from under us. BUT, I didn’t know what God had in store for us. Like any good father he used difficulty as teachable moments for us, to change us for the better and then he gave us a gift that was far beyond what I even dared to dream of. When Travis lost his job I didn’t know that he would get a better one with a bigger salary right away. When we took our house off the market I didn’t know that it gave the market time to increase to the point that we could sell our house for what we needed to. The margins were close, so close in fact that we only walked away with $60. But we were able to sell it. And our new house? It wasn’t built yet.
God’s timing was (and is) perfect. And it took a lot to get here. And we’re not leaving any time soon.
Do you know what that means? It means that I’m going to be doing some fun things that I didn’t get to do in our last house.
More on this fabulous aqua door later…