The First House


Today I’m finishing up a round of illustrations for a client, signing some paperwork for a new writing gig I’ll be taking on, and putting together a pitch for a huge event that requested some styling help. (I’m a hustler, baby!) And then? We should probably start packing up. We’re out of here at the end of the month.

Our House Exterior

Our house sold in five days. The first day on the market, a Friday, was quiet. The weekend picked up, and then our agent held an agent’s open house that Tuesday. The next day saw a flurry of activity, and we accepted an offer. We’d had 16 showings and cancelled at least a dozen more that were upcoming. I hadn’t said anything on the blog until now because real estate transactions are slippery fish! There’s the initial “I want to buy your house!” offer, then negotiations, the inspection, an attorney review period, the appraisal, and financing to be secured — and at various points the buyer or seller can walk away. Nothing is 100% until the closing, but that will happen July 31. Assuming all goes according to schedule! Fingers crossed for everybody, all around.

We won’t have a house for a few weeks after we sell. We’ll be moving all of our stuff into storage, and then going to Wisconsin to spend some time at the family lake house. We’re not thrilled about the added expense of renting storage units and moving everything twice, but we are lucky to have such a nice place place to stay while we’re in between. The kids have been looking forward to heading back up there, and we could use the change of scenery ourselves. We’re all excited about the new house, but it will still be hard to leave this one.

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  • Giulia
    July 11, 2013 at 8:59 am

    Congratulations! Selling and moving is always stressful. I hope you get to enjoy a little summer before you have to move again. You’ll keep the memories of the old house, the ones you share with us and all the other ones as well.

  • Kara
    July 11, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Check freecycle for free moving boxes :-) It’s a great way to reuse/reduce/recylce and congrats. Love when great things happen to great people!

  • Sarah from a fine line
    July 11, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Wohoo! Congratulations! You make this house upgrading business look easy!

    • Making it Lovely
      July 11, 2013 at 9:11 am

      Oh, I don’t know about easy! It probably seems that way since I’m not live-blogging the process. ;) From day to day, it has been a bit of a roller coaster.

  • Laura
    July 11, 2013 at 9:11 am

    So exciting! Stressful, but with a good outcome. And hopefully the time at the lake house will be a nice breather, especially for the kids. Peace amidst the chaos. Good luck!

  • Anne @ Planting Sequoias
    July 11, 2013 at 9:14 am

    Wow! Everyone in blogland’s home seems to sell in a blink of an eye (probably because they’re so beautiful!).

    It is definitely a seller’s market up here in Grand Rapids…it makes me nervous for when we start looking.

    • Making it Lovely
      July 11, 2013 at 9:15 am

      It’s a seller’s market here, too. Houses like ours are going quickly.

  • bella
    July 11, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Good for you! It just goes to show, when a house is in good shape and well-loved, it’s an easy sell.

  • Nicole S.
    July 11, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Wheeeeeeeee! I CAN NOT wait to see the new place. I’ve been checking my feed for more house updates every day!

  • Lilly
    July 11, 2013 at 9:33 am

    How exciting! We are leaving our apartment at the end of the month. And our closing date is July 29th! Up to this day the negotiations are still going on. Before we move to this apartment we did what you will do, we put our things in storage for a few weeks. I can relate to this post =)

  • maia
    July 11, 2013 at 9:34 am

    we’re in the same place as you! sold condo in 4 days, closing 7/26, and moving into in-laws before a 3 week vacation to australia! though we only have 1 kiddo, packing and moving twice and looking for a home…and all that…pretty exhausting but congrats on the quick sell and smooth closing –> now off to MLS hunting

    • Making it Lovely
      July 11, 2013 at 9:48 pm

      Happy MLS hunting, and enjoy the vacation!

  • Kim @ Yellow Brick Home
    July 11, 2013 at 9:38 am


    That, and try to enjoy the little bit of downtime. Things are about to get REALLY exciting…

  • Leslie
    July 11, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Congrats on the quick sale! Wish you and your family the best.

  • Amanda
    July 11, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Congratulations! Exciting (and stressful) times ahead. You will probably need the holiday time after moving a houseful of belongings with two kids. Have fun.

    BTW I can’t be the only reader absolutely dying to see what you do with the new house! No pressure or anything. :)

  • Shannon
    July 11, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Congratulations!! We just listed our house for sale today! Fingers crossed for a fast sale like yours! :)


    • Making it Lovely
      July 11, 2013 at 9:52 pm

      Your house is so cute! Fingers crossed for you.

  • Beth {Design Your Dwelling}
    July 11, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Congratulations on selling your house and all of the other good that is coming your way! Your home is definitely beautiful and I admire your style! I love checking in on your blog!

  • Jen @ Fresh Crush
    July 11, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Fantastic! We sold this year too, and were concerned we might need to “move twice” as well. Have you considered a storage container / pod system? ( It might take the sting out of it. The container will just show up at the new place when you need it. Good luck with everything! Enjoy the adventure!

    • Making it Lovely
      July 11, 2013 at 10:01 pm

      I did look into getting Pods. Unfortunately it was going to be more expensive than renting a traditional storage space, even with the additional moving expenses.

      • Sarah
        July 17, 2013 at 9:22 am

        Nicole, we used pods when we were in a similar situation. There are also other companies (upack, packrat etc). I called all the ones that were active in our area & got quotes, then called PODS back who ended up beating the lowest quote I got by about 10%. You can also ask that they prorate your storage so you pay by the week rather than for a full month at a time. The convenience of it made SUCH a difference for us. (Also, it’s dirt cheap to hire movers to unpack your POD).
        Good luck with all the logistics!

  • jenn aka the picky girl
    July 11, 2013 at 10:27 am


  • Eva
    July 11, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Wow, congrats on a fast sale!! I can’t wait to see what you do with a new place! :)

  • SMID
    July 11, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Congrats! Sending deep breaths your way. That in between can be a nightmare.

  • Margaret
    July 11, 2013 at 10:43 am


  • Kate
    July 11, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Congrats on the quick sale! I have a bit of (unsolicited – sorry) moving advice: I’d look into the Pods or other similar service. They deliver a shipping container to your house, you pack it up, they pick it up and can store it at their facility, and deliver it to your new house when you need it. You only have to pack once! I have friends who used it and they were happy with it.

    • Making it Lovely
      July 11, 2013 at 10:02 pm

      A few other people mentioned them too, but they aren’t going to save us money. It’s too bad, because in theory they sound great for our situation.

  • Sarah C.
    July 11, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Congratulations Nicole!
    Good luck with the move and the mini (required) vacation!
    Looking forward to how you guys make your next house your Home!

  • jbhat
    July 11, 2013 at 11:17 am

    I hope the new owners of your home will love it as much as we all do. I’ll miss seeing it but I guess there are always the archives to visit….and I am dying, DYING I tell you, to see the new place.

    Have fun at the lake, you hustler you!!


    • Making it Lovely
      July 11, 2013 at 10:03 pm

      It’s been crazy to not share the new place yet! I’m planning and scheming and dreaming. Next week, if all goes well, I can share!

  • Danielle
    July 11, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Hooray for a quick sale!! Do you have those Pods things near you? They’re like portable storage – you pack all your stuff in, move the whole pod, then unpack. Saves moving twice (which I have done and it was NOT fun). Looking forward to seeing more on the new house :)

  • Ravyn
    July 11, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Best wishes!! We are in the process of moving right now, too … It’s always such an exciting time! While it’s tiring, there’s nothing like the first night in your new home!

  • Audrie
    July 11, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Congratulations! We’re moving and about to put our house on the market. Fingers crossed it sells quickly too! :)

  • cathyv
    July 11, 2013 at 11:43 am

    We just moved into our “new” home. We were vagabonds for 6 weeks. You can read about it on my blog.
    It was kind of an interesting journey.

  • Helen
    July 11, 2013 at 11:48 am

    We used PODS to move into our current house. Do you have those in Chicago? Huge time saver and reasonably priced. Congrats Nicole! Your renovations really shine. I can’t wait to see what is next!

  • Mo at Mocadeaux
    July 11, 2013 at 11:52 am

    selling and buying a house is ridiculously stressful. Huge congrats to you on the sale! Good luck with the packing then try to enjoy some relaxation in Wisconsin!

  • Libby
    July 11, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Congratulations!! That is awesome… we are trying to get our house on the market so we can move! So I am so happy for you :)

  • Alyssa
    July 11, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    I had no clue you had ties in WI, I live in WI and we travel up north once in a while:) I am a new-ish reader so maybe that’s why I missed it, but either way I’m glad I caught that!

  • CTDC
    July 11, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Congrats from a completely random person who admires you, your style, and your hustle!

  • Stef
    July 11, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Woah! That’s amazing. It’s great to see that the Chicago market hasn’t been hit as much as many others. We’re selling a place in Metro Detroit and will lose an immense amount of money on it, as is every other seller – no way around it.

    Have you considered Pods or similar? I’m sure the price adds up quickly, but it also seems easier than physically lifting all that stuff out of the house, into a truck, into storage, out of storage, into a truck, back into a house. Saves a step.

    • Making it Lovely
      July 11, 2013 at 10:09 pm

      So sad to see that Detroit has had such trouble rebounding. The market is definitely picking up here, and in pockets around the country. Hopefully that upward trend continues for all of us.

  • Kathy
    July 11, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Congratulations! Selfishly, I’m looking forward to seeing what you do with the new place. Wishing you a happy family summer on the lake!

  • Raquel
    July 11, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    This is the first time I write a comment, but have been reading for several months. Congratulations! You have taken such great care of your house and making it into a home for your family was such a labor of love, I had no doubt you would sell in no time!
    Cheers for a new begining and thanks for sharing this with us.

  • Tatyana
    July 11, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Congratulations! How exciting! Hope you have a blast at the lake house and enjoy some time off before the new adventure begins.

  • Karen L.
    July 11, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Congrats on the sale! We’ve moved a lot in our 42 yr marriage (we’re in our 11th house for our early retirement home) and it is always an adventure. We also helped our son, daughter-in-law, and their five kids move a couple of years ago, which also included a double move when they had to move into a rental house first for six months. So, we totally understand the work and the joy of having a new place. May you enjoy everything about your new place and may it all go very smoothly in the move.

    • Making it Lovely
      July 11, 2013 at 10:10 pm

      That is a lot of moving! I think we’ll be happy to stay put for a good long time in our next place.

  • Joy
    July 11, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Yay, congratulations! And I’m inspired by your hustling, as always. :) Sending lots of good luck wishes for a smooth moving month.

  • julia
    July 11, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Congratulations! And I’m sure what a relief that you didn’t have months of showings with little ones underfoot (one of my biggest fears when we sell our house) Enjoy the time at the lakehouse, sounds wonderful!

    • Making it Lovely
      July 11, 2013 at 10:13 pm

      It was a relief! It can be fun to head out with the kids and the dog, sure, but not everyday for hours at a time at the drop of a hat — all while keeping the house pristine and still fitting in my work. We were glad to be done quickly.

  • Laura
    July 11, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Hustler indeed! You do more than any 3 people combined. Your buyers are lucky people to have scored a uniquely Nicole house.

  • Laura
    July 11, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    And it’s a seller’s market here in Seattle.

  • Kiran @
    July 11, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Fingers crossed and congrats on the new adventures ahead!!

  • dyna
    July 12, 2013 at 12:56 am

    so when are you going to show everyone a photo of your new place?

  • Emily @ The Em Dash
    July 12, 2013 at 1:47 am

    My boyfriend’s family also has a house in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, which we just visited. Their home is in Hayward on Lake Courte Oreilles. Is that near where you will be? You can see my trip here: Neat coincidence!

    I hope the move to your new home goes well. I know that this time can be stressful, but at least you’ll get to spend the interim in a beautiful place! :-)

  • collarcitybrownstone
    July 12, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Congratulations!!! I cannot wait to see your new home.

  • ashley @
    July 12, 2013 at 9:40 am

    at least you have a wonderful place to round out your summer! sounds fun! and ooooh new house at the end of your trip! :)

  • Amber @ Wills Casa
    July 12, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Congratulations! I knew it wouldn’t take long for someone (probably multiple someones) to fall in love with your house. Enjoy your 2 weeks at the lake! Can’t wait to see all the new house and everything you do with it!

  • Debbie
    July 12, 2013 at 10:01 am

    I must have missed a post where you explained why you are moving, so I’ll ask now. :-) Why are you moving?! Congrats on selling the house!

  • Christine @ Practical Decor
    July 12, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Congratulations! As a first-time home buyer (closing on Monday!) it’s all very exciting stuff! Can’t wait to see where you guys wind up!

  • Katie |
    July 14, 2013 at 11:18 am

    We just moved into our first house but had bids in on a different one months before that – I know exactly what you mean about the slippery fish part. :-) Thankfully, things happened for a reason for us and I love the house we moved into ten times more than the one that fell through.


  • Carrie Lea
    July 14, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Congratulations! Leaving a home you have loved is always bittersweet! Be present in your memories and give it a hug goodbye (literally if you want)! I’m going to miss your house, I always loved it! I’m not surprised at all that it sold so fast.
    Enjoy your time at the lakehouse! Try to relax. Maybe you will miss your stuff so much it will make unpacking more enjoyable. :-)
    I’m so excited to see the new place! I’m sure you are excited to share it!

  • Melissa
    July 29, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS!! So happy for you and your family and so excited to see what you’ll do with that new / amazing house. I have two favorite of all time blogs – yours and Young House Love and you’re BOTH getting new homes. It’s so exciting.

    *selfish disclaimer. We closed on our third house this past Thursday and I need all the inspiration and ideas I can get, so I am BEYOND thrilled that I get to watch you design and decorate a whole new house. Any plans to do up a really fun boy themed playroom mood-board while you’re whittling away the hours in Wisconsin? (PLEASE SAY YES!!) It’s the one room in our new house that has me completely stumped. It’s just a standard sized bedroom with a closet. An average sized white box that has to hold a mother load of toys and art supplies…while remaining neat and organized…it should be easy but I’m terrified of it. Help me. ;-)

    Enjoy your time in Wisconsin we’ve been having some CRAZY weather lately. You’ll need snowpants and swimsuits. =)

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