I'm in love! Yes, with my hunky husband, obviously, and yes with my darling toddler, of course. But most recently, I have fallen head over heels for our new house! We celebrated one month in the new house on January 18th, and each day, I find more and more reasons to appreciate it and love it just a little bit more.
Relocation was not easy, and finding our Alabama home took many hours on the internet, many days touring, and even a some tears (all mine, and I did cry in front of our realtor which she said was a first, eek!). You see, when we decided that we would be moving from Scottsdale to Huntsville, we assumed we could get more house for less money. I envisioned a gorgeous brand new kitchen with a gas stove, and told myself it was okay that we were moving where we didn't know a soul, because I could bake in my beautiful kitchen!
We were in no way expecting to find a house like we had in Scottsdale (it was, in a nutshell, our dream house complete with a theatre and resort-style backyard). But, let's be honest, we were moving from a metropolitan area (a resort destination!) to a small city in the south. We thought we could get a lot more for our money in Alabama. We were wrong. Part of the problem was that we were only interested in buying in a few specific areas of town, close to the center and where Max would have a 20 minute or less commute to work. These also happened to be the older, established areas, which was good and bad. Older and more established meant huge trees and a "neighborhood" feel. It also meant that the houses were fifty-plus years old (and small, since houses weren't built as big back then, or with master suites for that matter). A number of the houses in these areas have been "moved off the lot" and replaced with gorgeous new builds. These were nearly twice our budget. What we could afford were the houses that had been remodeled and built onto, giving us the space (4+ bedrooms) that we wanted. Here's where the tears come in. We saw the houses in our price range that matched our wishes, and all of them had been remodeled and built onto several times and by several owners. What emerged was a mishmash of construction and a wonky fun-house type feel (and not in the good way). I began to worry that we'd never find a house that felt like home!
We played around with the idea of buying a house that needed work (something I really didn't want to take on after already relocating cross-country), and with buying a newer, nicer style home in a neighborhood that wasn't at the top of our list. Then, we saw "the one", though neither Max nor I knew it at the time. I liked it for sure - it was located twenty minutes walking from the downtown square, on a cute street where most of the homes have been rebuilt or redone, and it had been remodeled and built onto, with almost everything we wanted: a big backyard for Parker, an office for Max, a two-car garage plus extra work space, four bedrooms, three and a half baths... it was on a corner lot, to boot. It still took a second look and a night of sleep before we put our offer in, I think mostly because the house was SO different from our Scottsdale home.
The house we found was originally built in 1955. Whoa. That means it will turn sixty this year and we totally want to celebrate it. It also means that the neighborhood has been here that long, wow. Walking into the downtown we pass even older, historic homes, which I think is very neat (and totally novel coming from Arizona, a state that didn't even join the union until 1912). The remodel on our house happened in 2004, and it covered a ton including the kitchen and all bathrooms, so we get to enjoy funky quirks of an older house with updates and a modern feel. I love it.
Move-in day was such a happy day for us. After six months of being apart (followed by weeks of living in the one-bedroom condo) we were ready to have our own place!
Parker waited patiently for the "kkkkuh"(truck).
Truck number one...
Followed by two and three. I think we had around 20,000 pounds of stuff. Wow.
Max stayed outside (in the cold, thanks, babe!) and kept tally of the boxes as they came into the house.
Parker and I directed the movers once the boxes were inside. We had the nicest, nicest moving crew!
I swear I wanted to kiss all our furniture when I saw it. And I had a major reunion with my clothes. It was also funny that our house had been packed up at the end of October, but was being unpacked right before Christmas, so we were looking at things like my blackboards that read "Stay Scary" and "Happy Halloween".
I didn't get my dream kitchen or gas stove (I'm still holding out for white shiny subway tile, white marble counters, and a Viking range, eee!), but I did get a ginormous walk-in closet. As in, one of the remodel changes was to convert an original room into the master closet. Always a good choice, people. I mean, the closet has windows!! This is my area, and Max's is on the other side of the window. My shoes have never been so happy.
The previous owners also added stairs and a second story, so our top level (boasting two rooms with en-suite bathrooms, an open room which we are using as Parker's play area, and a storage area) is completely new. Downstairs was added onto as well, so we have two (two!) mudrooms, one that's so big I'm using it as my craft room.
We are slowly getting settled. We started off with a bang and got lots done very quickly, but this last 20% or so (hanging things on the walls, getting curtains up, those few boxes still unopened in the second guest room) is still hanging there, not urgent enough to really motivate us, but annoying enough that the house still doesn't feel "finished" - does anyone feel me on this one? Plus there is they techy-stuff that Max is working on (hanging security cameras and making our house "smart" like the last one with home automation). There is not one single room that's 100% yet, but as they finish I promise to post befores and afters!