Home sweet home

Well, it’s finally officially official, and I can finally announce, with great enthusiasm: We are homeowners!

I’ll let that sink in for a second, because it still hasn’t sunk in for us.

We are so lucky to have gotten to this place in our lives, after years of working towards this feat. However, even after these years of working and dreaming and saving, we didn’t think that the actual process would go so fast.

We had planned to start looking once we had reached a pre-determined goal amount in our savings account, which was on track to happen this spring. However, I have not been able to contain my excitement, and I have been dreamily searching online listings since, well, since forever. I don’t even know how long I’ve been perusing real estate listings, but I began to get a little more serious about it this past fall. We set up a showing with a real estate agent who showed us one house that had caught my eye with an online listing, only to visit the house in person and be pleasantly disappointed to find that the house had been much better depicted in its online photos, and was not an ideal place for us. I say “pleasantly disappointed” because were were not in a position to buy a house at that time, and told the realtor as such. However, he encouraged us to keep an eye on the listings and he was so kind as to set us up on his daily “new listings” email alert, telling us to give him a call if we ever saw something we’d like to check out.

Well, let’s just say that this first pinky toe dip into the waters of real estate gave us, or rather me, some serious House Fever. The combination of my ignited excitement, along with the daily emails of new listings I was receiving from the realtor in our chosen neighborhoods meant that I was suddenly really, very in the mood to buy a house. I knew we still weren’t ready to truly buckle down and start the hunt until at least after the first of the year, but it didn’t keep me from browsing Trulia and Zillow and various other online outlets on a daily basis.

Ironically enough, our real journey toward homeownership actually started the old-fashioned way.

While out on a run with Olive one day in November, we rounded the corner to go home and I noticed that the house around the corner from us was for sale, and the listing agent was holding an open house. Through the open door and large picture windows, I could see rich dark floors and upgraded fixtures inside the house, and a warm glow emitting from all sides through gorgeous stained glass windows set among a brick exterior. It was beautiful, and I immediately went home to see if Anthony wanted to walk back with me to do a tour. We checked it out online, to find out that there was a detached full studio in the backyard, complete with a small kitchen and bathroom. Be still my heart! A detached, backyard studio has always been a dream of mine — a place to store our art supplies and create with friends; a place to do my freelance and invitation work, giving me a separation of work and home; a place to see clients, someday! However, with all of the features we were looking for, in addition to this extra property, the price of the home was out of our perceived budget. With a sigh, we conceded that this was not our house, and opted to skip the open house already in progress.

Fast forward a month: I am completing another long run with Olive, and the “for sale” sign is still firmly attached to the darling front porch of the old Victorian. I convince Anthony that it is worth at least checking out, and we notice online that the price has been lowered to a little closer to our goal figure, and we start considering the possibility of using the studio as an income property, at least for the first few years. Our realtor agrees to show it to us the next day, and we are immediately struck by the beautiful updates and unique charm upon entering. It’s an old house — really old — built in 1914. However, it has been carefully and professionally restored and now holds the perfect combination of old and new. With new appliances, fixtures, cabinetry and countertops, the interior is completely move-in ready, and the outside boasts a fresh coat of paint and brand-new roof. Conversely, the stained glass windows, beautiful dark trim, hardwood floors, unique layout and original doors give it the imperfect character and charm that we were hoping for. The icing on the cake is most certainly the original marble fireplace that lights like a charm and instantly warms the entire first level. We were in love, and ready to move.

I’ll spare you the gory details, of which there were surprisingly few, to say that the process over the last month moved quickly and (as far as I can tell!) flawlessly. Yesterday, after just a few weeks and countless signatures on forms, we were handed the keys to our very own, first home!

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We went back to the house after the closing so that we could take it all in, and begin getting to know our new old house. For all her charm, she’s certainly imperfect, as we’re already finding small quirks and tiny fixes we may need to make down the line, but we are still completely, head over heels, in love with this old beauty. We are bracing ourselves for the inevitable challenge of homeownership, as well as a two-block move of all of our belongings, but we couldn’t be more excited. We are excited to finally have a place that we can call our own, and decorate to perfectly represent us. We are excited to finally have a true space to entertain and host friends. We are excited to begin with a large, clean slate of a yard and create an outdoor space that fits all of our needs. We are excited to finally be able to provide out-of-town family and friends with a comfortable place to stay when they come to visit. We are excited to begin making memories in our house!

Thanks to everyone who has been bearing with us as we embark on this new adventure, and for those who will inevitably serve as sounding boards and advice dispensers as we try and navigate these new waters. We will need you more than ever, now!

I intend to document some before and afters and inevitable house projects here on the blog, so more pictures to come, but here are a few to tide you over:

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