We bought a new house and we’re moving into it three weeks from today!
It feels so good to finally let that cat out of the bag. Anel and I have been working on selling our house, getting a mortgage, buying this house, and renovating it all summer-long. The process has completely taken over our lives for the last three months so not being able to share it with you guys has been really hard. But there were a lot of moving pieces and we wanted to make sure they were all going to fall into place before we announced it.
We’re so excited. We’re so exhausted. We’re so excited! Did I already say that??
We were not planning to move this year at all. Although we’d been saving up for a new house for a while now, we were planning to wait for at least another year. But Zillow window shopping/fantasizing is one of my favorite pastimes, and one day in early June, a house caught my eye and I couldn’t look away. I sent it to Anel and was shocked when he suggested that we actually look at it. Even though I’d been wanting to move for a while, it wasn’t even on his radar.
The house was in our price range and didn’t need a ton of work (although it does need some) which felt like finding a diamond in the rough.
A week later I saw it with a realtor while Anel was at work. That same day she showed me a few other houses but none of them even came close to this one. That weekend, I brought Anel and Amalia back to get their take. We pulled up the driveaway and Amalia all of a sudden got super excited and shouted, “Ooooh! Home!” We hadn’t said a word about the house being a place we might live because we didn’t want to confuse her in the early stages.
I teared up at that moment and knew right then and there and knew in my bones that this was our house. I just knew. Anel fell in love immediately and we made an offer that Monday.
The next week, however, I got cold feet. The monthly mortgage payments are going to be higher than what we pay now, we have to move Amalia out of her daycare (which we all love), we have to leave our neighborhood where we’ve grown an amazing community and family, and change, in general, scares me. I wanted to pull out of the deal and got really emotional about it. That same night, however, the seller got another offer but told us we could still have it if we wanted. As soon as I heard that, I had a strong and visceral reaction to the thought of someone else living there and knew we had to make the move.
Since that day I haven’t had one doubt about it being the right decision for our family. That said, it has been a process and a half. Every week since we made the offer, we’ve had some drama or another with either buying the new house and/or selling the old one. In tomorrow’s post, I’m going to give you a full house tour of our current home and talk more about the selling process which has been intense, to say the least, and will focus on the new house today.
On the buying side, it has been challenging because Anel and I both work for ourselves which makes getting a mortgage a little tricky. It’s doable, but a whole lot of paperwork is involved. Luckily we have an amazing accountant who keeps very tight and organized records. My biggest piece of advice for anyone with a business who might buy a house one day is to get an accountant and/or bookkeeper who will keep you on track.
Where we’re moving: Right now we live in Stamford, CT, a suburb of NYC not too far from the city. Westport, the town we’re moving to, is about 20 minutes Northeast from us now (away from the city). It’s a beach town with lots of cute shops and restaurants (many featured in my travel guide) and it’s always been my dream to live there. We have a ton of friends in town and always end up making the drive for date nights or to go to the beach.
Why we’re moving: There are a lot of reasons, but here are the main ones:
- More space – The house itself is bigger than ours and it’s on a lot more property. Boots will be able to run around more freely and we can put up a swingset for Amalia.
- Better schools – While the schools in Stamford are good, the public school system in Westport is one of the best in the country. It feels like a giant relief knowing that our children will get an excellent education.
- The community- Stamford is a small city which definitely has its perks, but Anel and I both crave that small-town feel and a sense of tight-knit community. We look forward to meeting new people and participating in local events.
- House layout- Our current home is a split-level layout which was great for us at first because it felt like less of a jump from an apartment. With a newborn, it was awesome because Amalia’s room was on the same floor as our living space so we weren’t running up and down the stairs all day and night. But we end up only using about half of the space in the home. That is partially because of how we designed it from the get-go, but our house feels a lot smaller than it is because of that.
When we’re moving: September 9th is our official move date. As long as nothing comes up last minute, that’s the plan. Two weeks from today, eek!
Decorating process: When we bought our current house, I decorated it really quickly and cheaply and basically just want it over and done with which, in turn, lead to redoing rooms over and over and making some really poor decisions that ended up costing more in the long run. Anel and I have agreed to do things the right way with this house, taking our time and working with Prudence to design each room one at a time for spaces that will last for years.
House details: The house we bought is a traditional colonial, similar to the one I grew up in. It’s bigger than our current home, but not too big. It feels like the perfect size for our family. If/when we have another kid, it will be full and happy. Not too crowded and not too empty. It has four bedrooms upstairs and a downstairs office for me which was a huge selling point. A 5-bedroom house would have been pretty much impossible to come by in our price range, and the fact that we found a gem with an office space felt like it was meant to be.
My favorite part of the house is a big living room off of the kitchen with vaulted shiplap ceilings (seen below) and a fireplace. There was a little wall dividing the space into two sections which we had knocked down to open it up. The floor on the other side of that little wall (seen in the photo directly below) was tile, but it’s currently being redone in wood to match the rest of the first floor. It’s going to be big, bright, open, and amazing. That little nook without flooring right now will become a space for Amalia to play for now, and we’ll eventually move her playroom to the basement when she gets older.
It is going to make a huge difference to have her playroom right next to the kitchen. In our current home, there is a wall separating the two and it’s hard for me to cook her dinner or get anything done because she often wants to be in the same room as me. Now she’ll be able to see her mommy and play in her space at the same time. And I can keep an eye on her.
You can see that the fireplace is off-center which looks a little odd, so we’re either going to center it and add a mantle or add built-in shelves to the right of it so there isn’t empty space where all that white brick is currently. I’m leaning towards built-ins but would love your opinion.
The kitchen was the number one seller in the house for me. It’s roomy and laid out perfectly. And it has two ovens. TWO! I can now bake cookies and roast a chicken at the same time. Life is going to be forever changed. The only two things I’ve bought decor-wise for the house so far are two new light fixtures for over the island and new counter stools. We’re installing these gorgeous glass pendant lights that will open up the space even more. And we went with these stools in sky blue for the island. We love our bistro stools, but the buyers of our current home wanted them and bought them with the house (including a lot of our other furniture).
When you walk in the front door, the first room you see on the left is a dining room. As in a real live dining room that we won’t be converting into a playroom. I’m truly #adulting over here! Growing up, we ate dinner in our formal dining room every night with candles and I love that. I don’t know if that will happen realistically every night but I love the idea of making that a tradition we do often as a family. We’re going to have a lot of fun decorating this space. I’m envisioning a bold wallpaper, an amazing credenza, and a beautiful light fixture.
Here you can see the entrance from the front door. The dining room is to the left and my home office (with French doors) is to the right. You can get to the kitchen either through the dining room or by going down that little hall and taking a left. There isn’t a ton of space in the entryway, but we are going to make this space feel warm and inviting. And we plan to add a stair runner too.
This is my home office! It’s a really decent size and the light is incredible. It has the most amazing energy and natural light and I can’t wait to work from here. It has glass French doors that I can shut if I’m on a call without feeling like I’m in a cave. I don’t have a vision for the design yet but I’m thinking lemon wallpaper is a must.
This is the family room tucked away in the back of the house. It has another fireplace and we’re planning to add built-in shelves and cabinets to that wall on the right. This is where we’ll put a big cozy sectional and the TV for movie nights.
This bathroom is off the TV room. Clearly,a we need to do some work in here but what I both love and hate about it is that it has a shower. We can use the TV room as another guest room if we get a pull-out sectional and guests can shower here. I can picture us hosting a holiday for our families and everyone will be able to have their own space. Part of me wanted to take the shower out because we don’t have a powder room, but it is practical so we’re going to figure out a way to make this bathroom look cool with the shower in it.
It’s hard to see, but this is the master suite. Yes, a suite! You can close the door and there’s this little hall/area that opens up into the room, a walk-through closet, and the master bath, all of which are pictured below. The master is significantly larger than our current one and we’ll be able to fit a reading nook as well as two large dressers, our bed, and nightstands.
There are four bedrooms upstairs and they all look pretty similar so I’m just sharing Amalia’s room below. It’s double the size of her current room and we’re so excited to make it feel like home for her. Our plan on move-in day is to completely unpack her room and make it perfect as our number one priority so that when she comes home from daycare that night, she feels comfortable and happy there.
This photo of the basement was taken two weeks ago but it already looks totally different. We’re completely finishing it, and adding a laundry room, storage room, and mudroom. You can see in the photo below it, what it looks like with the walls laid out for our laundry room and storage room and the old tiles pulled up.
We picked a light grey luxury vinyl floor that looks like wood but is totally waterproof and durable. I can’t wait for this basement to come together. We’re not 100% sure how we’ll use the main part of it yet but we know eventually it will be a space for our kids to hang out.
The biggest projects we have to do are all on the exterior of the house. The siding needs to be replaced, we have to do some major landscaping work, we have to replace the front steps, and we have to redo the back deck. These are all very costly projects so we will do them slowly and one at a time over the next few years.
Photos by Julia Dags.