The First House

Let’s Go!

Today is our anniversary! Brandon and I have been married for nine years. We’ve been parents for four of those years, and homeowners for six. It’s been good.

I’ve been trying to push him toward a new adventure for us and our family, but we weren’t in agreement. I wanted us to pick up and move to San Francisco for a year.

I love it there! You will too, and the kids will think the streetcars and trolleys are the best things ever! Plus they haven’t settled in with school yet! You’re home now, and I can work from anywhere! We’ll just rent the house out while we’re gone! We could afford it for a year! It will be fun!

And so on.

Brandon is more practical.

It’s an expensive city. It’s hard to find a nice place to live, especially when you’re new to the area. We have a dog and three cats — that’s not attractive to renters. We have a lot of stuff. Our family is here.

And so on.

Eventually, he relented, but it was not an excited let’s go! kind of thing. More like fiiiiiine, let’s go. I was disappointed. I’m not going to drag us all out there if he isn’t into it. An exciting year in another city would be marred by resentment, don’t you think? If we’re going to make a big change, we need to all be on board.

Brandon and the Kids

I’d been looking at real estate listings for months, finding amazing homes in the Chicago area that were way out of our price range. I wasn’t really looking for something, just browsing the same way you might watch House Hunters. Of course, it’s all too easy to type in our town, start narrowing it down by budget, number of bedrooms… You know. Just to see what’s out there.

Then I went on that Housewalk, and oh boy.

There are still things to do to this house, and I think Brandon would be happy staying put. It’s a great house, and we’ve made it really nice over the last six years, but there’s only so much we can do before we start to over-improve a property. If we knew we were going to stay in our home for another six years, we wouldn’t worry about it, but I’m ready for new projects. A new adventure! And when I talked to Brandon about it, he agreed that he was ready too. We’ll be looking for a new home, here in Oak Park, but hopefully in one of the historic districts.

Brandon and August

We’re going to see what our house is worth (I have an idea, but I’d like an expert’s opinion), and we’ll start preparing to sell. I mean, I love pink paint in my living room, but I’m pretty sure that’s only going to appeal to a very small segment of the market. I think the Edison chandelier in the bedroom is probably pretty taste-specific too.

Our house should be ready to hit the market in a month, if not sooner. I’ll be sharing our progress here, of course. We’re excited!

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  • Reply
    May 23, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Congratulations! The move and new projects will be so fun! But all I can think is: you have a dog and three cats?! I feel like I’ve been reading your blog for years and I had no idea! I’d love to see more of them!

  • Reply
    May 23, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    Home shopping is always fun – much luck!

  • Reply
    Haeley @ Design Improvised
    May 23, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    How exciting for you! I wish you the best of luck in selling your place and finding a new home. We are in the process of selling our condo in Chicago to make the move to San Antonio for my husband’s new job. We’ve bought a home down there and it’s so exciting to think about all the possibilities of a new space. I told my husband thanks to him, I have a good full year’s worth of new blog content! ;)

  • Reply
    May 23, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    Congrats on the big changes! You guys would totally love and fit in with all of us delightful and eclectic folks in SF (and surrounding areas) and it would be so awesome to have you in my neck of the woods… But as someone who lives 600 miles from the closest relative, it is a huge thing to move away from family. (Then again, it is only a year…) Buying a new house is the best! Can’t wait to see what you do with the new home, and what you do with the current one to sell it. Best in every endeavor!

  • Reply
    May 24, 2013 at 11:33 am

    When we sold our last home I worried a bit about my paint colors (I sometimes joked it was like a skittles package threw up in my house). Young couples would come in and love it. Older men would kind of look at the house with this “what are they THINKING?” expression. :) It didn’t hurt the sale at all. You might have someone that comes along and loves it, and paint is a pretty easy change if it’s not in someone’s taste.

  • Reply
    May 24, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Catching up late, here, but happy anniversary and wahoo! Let open those house hunting flood gates! So fun. I would have LOVED for you to announce that you’re moving to SF – I’m sure many of us out here would be happy to play host and tour guide. However, it is such a crappy time to rent and buy. We’re lucky – we own, and we own a two-unit building so we live in one flat and rent our the upper flat (for a reasonable price – I swear!). That said, the flats are small: two bedrooms, 1 bathroom, no dining room (my biggest complaint since we host dinner parties weekly and OH! An eat-in kitchen for 8 is tough!) but we have a sunny backyard with an old avocado tree – big enough for a swing for our 10mo old son. And we have two car parking. And our own laundry. But, still. I dream of living in more than 1000 sq ft and having a dishwasher. Your post got me looking at glorious homes in Oak Park so perhaps I should try to convince my husband to move there! Except, yes, having family nearby for the kids is important. Maybe we’ll sell our place and get a bigger one and you guys move into a historic and lovely Oak Park place and we can house-swap for vacations? ;-) I’m only half-kidding – growing up my family house-swapped with families in England every other summer and it was an excellent way of discovering (forgive me) nooks and crannies. Best of luck on your search!

    • Reply
      Making it Lovely
      May 24, 2013 at 11:03 pm

      Ah, I like the idea of house-swapping!

      I know we would have been in a small apartment, and it would have been expensive, but I still think it would have been fun for a year. Still, we’re pretty excited about our plans here!

      • Reply
        May 25, 2013 at 1:25 am

        House swapping is awesome!

        Every once in a while I like to frustrate myself by seeing what our money could get elsewhere. I love living in SF – I married a native and grew up in a small beach town nearby – but owning a decent single family home is really hard to do. We talk of converting our two units into a single family, but that will be a ton o’ work. And we’re not John and Sherry Petersik (bless them!). So yeah. Grass is always (read: sometimes, when you want change and aren’t sure how to make it happen) greener elsewhere. I am sure you’ll find something fantastic you can work some amazing magic on.
        Aaaaaaaand I just looked at properties in Oak Park, everything under 900K with at least three bedrooms. The Thomas Gale House. WHAT? Still too high, really, for us. But damn. Hot damn.

  • Reply
    Erin @ The Great Indoors
    May 26, 2013 at 8:35 am

    What a fun new adventure! I definitely agree that Brandon’s buy-in is absolutely necessary. My husband and I have both been itching to get out of our current town in Georgia, but we have to wait until he’s finished with school before we can leave. Although we agree on that, we don’t quite agree yet on where our new adventure should start. He says Alaska, I say not Alaska… So we’ve still got some work to do. :-)


  • Reply
    Ashley O.
    June 3, 2013 at 12:31 am

    I wish you could move to SF for a year. We did this, it was not intended to be a year, it was intended to be longer, but it was the best year of my/our lives!

    Upon moving, finding a place to rent with a dog was unbelievably hard. We ended up going with a company, but still really hard to find. I would have much preferred renting from a person/landlord. All of them wanted to ‘meet the dog’ and we lived in Texas- how was that possible.

    I’m a texas girl, but literally left my heart in SF. I am a big city girl. I prefer SF over NYC any day. I love the west coast.

    Glad you are selling!

  • Reply
    June 3, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Saw this today and thought of your post, haha. Most people I know move out of SF when they have kids, it’s not an especially kid-friendly city, but it is great!

  • Reply
    June 10, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Well, I’m super excited! I love your home and have watched it evolve for years. You were the first blog that I started following. Sometimes it’s just time for a whole new canvas! I can’t wait to see your new adventure unfold. Best of luck!

  • Reply
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