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Moving house is really good fun. Once you get over the crippling awfulness of packing up your entire life into boxes and shifting every piece of furniture you own into a massive van manned by strangers, that is.
The bit where you get to the new place and get to enjoy the excitement and possibilities that a refreshed living space brings you: this is where the magic happens. And creating a home out of a blank canvas is one of my absolute favourite things to do.
I’d been looking for our new house for quite some time. The search began in December 2017, actually, when I started discussing moving in with my partner. We looked round maybe 5 houses, taking a second viewing around one. But with the property market stagnating (thanks, Brexit) it was decided that my partner would stay in his (lovely) house and renovate instead of selling.
And so I agreed to move in, helping him pick paint colours (F&B’s Slipper Satin and All White – beautiful), design kitchens (I spend enough time on Pinterest to be able to do this with my eyes closed) and select bathroom tiles (white marble subway, obviously).
But as the date pulled closer I realised something didn’t sit right. I wasn’t sure I wanted to move my family – pull my kids out of schools they loved and thrived in, usurp them from the only village they remember – into a home my partner had been in for 25+ years.
“My wishlist was simple: 3 bedrooms (one more than we had and sorely needed), within the children’s school catchment, an office (it was becoming tricky to work in our living space), a garden, great light, and character.”
The concept of ‘home’ as a place of comfort and safety for my family has always been incredibly important to both my soul and mental wellbeing, so to disrupt our lives and give up our independence to move into a place that had spent so long being another family’s home, and without the security I know I’d need to feel for our complete comfort, I wasn’t sure I was ready for it.
Which is why I started to look for a place we could call our new house, just the three of us – for now.
My wishlist was simple: 3 bedrooms (one more than we had and sorely needed), within the children’s school catchment, an office (it was becoming tricky to work in our living space), a garden, great light, and character.
Though when you live in the vicinity of Milton Keynes, home of the new-build white-boxes, a house with the above is pretty difficult to come by.
So when my inbox pinged a few weeks ago with the details of a village house which seemed to tick all my boxes I was intrigued: it was newly-renovated but the pictures were crap and just showed yet another white box, so I tentatively rang the agent with low expectations.
As the house was only a mile away and empty I decided to go and have a peer through the windows: the garden gate was open so I slipped in and had a good old nosey, totally falling in love in the process. And so I bothered the Estate Agent – her name was Alice, which I knew was a good sign – until she took me around, and fought and fought and fought (there were a couple of families including us vying for the property) to make the house ours.
There were some tricky moments with the referencing process as I’m self-employed – I had to give evidence of all but the last time I wiped my bum – so the day I found out it was ours was a bloody triumph.
We moved in to our new house a week ago today and are now at the stage I love the most: it’s less nervous breakdown over boxes and flat-pack furniture (I worked both myself and my parents to the bone last weekend to get this done and DONE – thanks, mum and dad) and more settling in, picking curtains and lamps. And, of course, trips to IKEA! I’ve only eaten one IKEA hot dog this week which is obviously not nearly enough…
Our New House
Because there’s nothing like celebrating taking said blank canvas from nothing to a family home, I wanted to record for posterity (i.e. myself) where we are a week in:
The kitchen is one of the most important rooms for us: I love to cook so spend a long time here. I’ve made it lovely with a SMEG fridge (I’ve never bought a fridge before – we’ve always had hand-me-downs or built-ins – so this has been a massive thrill), a rug from French Connection and IKEA light. And, of course, a new kettle! Is it possible to move house without a new kettle?
The dining space in our new house is not just a space to eat but is also home to my books, and I’m so excited to have dedicated bookshelves for the first time ever. This room is so gorgeously bright, I want to incorporate some lovely soft seating for reading in here. Along with some blinds or curtains and lampshades here, too.
My office, AKA heaven: it’s such a treat to have workspace away from my living space. I adore this room and have so many plans and ideas for it, mostly storage-based.
The lounge: would you paint the fireplace white here? I can’t decide… I’m also wondering if our long-term plans should involve a corner sofa here: I have my eye on the Juno from MADE.
Elfie’s room is the best: she has a double-aspect from the windows though the section of the floorspace taken out by the chimney breast meant it wouldn’t fit my king-sized bed or wardrobes in. She adores her new space which I’ve furnished with my old desk and chair for her. Of course, it’s messy already ;)
Hux has the most floor space out of all of us: I bought for him the most brilliant IKEA blackboard wardrobe and toy chest. He loves the independence that his own room has given him.
I was terrified that losing out on my 5 (!!!!) built-in wardrobes would leave me really stuck for space, but I needn’t have worried. I’ve slimmed down my clothes and have employed some clever storage solutions that mean I’m not missing out on space. More on this later!
I love this new bedroom – it’s so peaceful.
The three of us are so happy to be in our new house, and I’m so excited to see how the space grows with our family. Welcome home, babies of mine.