The Case for Staying Rather Than Moving
Almost five years ago, when I announced my pregnancy with my third child, my husband and I were asked many times when we would buy a minivan and a bigger house. We had discussed having another child for a looooong time so we knew what we were getting ourselves into - we had zero intention of making either purchase. Is our house smaller than those of all of our friends and family? Yes. Could we afford a bigger house? Also yes. Did we want to make that leap right then? Oh hell no - still don't!
There are so many aspects of my house that I don't love. The kitchen is dated and does not have nearly enough storage (ahhhh! No pantry!). The flooring is creaky because it was poorly installed by previous owners. The back entry is an often dirty, too-small epicentre of chaos. I could go on... The fact of the matter is that all of this (and more!) could be resolved with a new house build and we could move to a new neighborhood 5 minutes away. Easy peasy, right? Almost all of my friends have gone this route and I don't blame them for one little second but there are some nagging details that get in the way for me - the things that I love about living here.
I love my little old house - the history behind it, the way it makes me feel like I'm home, that this is my kids' safe place. I can't change that. I know that those feelings could change quickly but my yard, oh sweet Jesus, my yard. It's not perfect by any means but all of those peonies that I planted several years ago are finally starting to produce! I love that my yard is full of big trees, like the rest of my neighborhood, and we have lots of room for big parties and fire pit nights with friends. I wake up to songbirds chirping away and when I sit on my patio or in my hot tub, no one can see me (unless they really try!)
At the same time as when we moved into our house, almost 12 years ago, some very dear friends of ours built a house in a brand-spankin'-new neighborhood in our community. The first time I saw the inside of it, I swooned - I wasn't an Interior Designer back then but OH BABY! THIS PLACE CHECKED ALLLLLL THE BOXES! (even though I couldn't afford it then!) I was so overcome with dark green jealousy, it probably oozed from my pores. It was on a corner lot so my friends had to put extra windows on the one side to enhance curb appeal and all of that West light was pouring in, casting shadows on the perfect brand new, untouched by a child's plastic-wheeled toy or a dog's claw, hardwood. I mentioned the beauty of the windows until my friend said - yeah, they're great, until you realize that the whole damn neighborhood can see us in our house! And right then, it gave me some perspective. I'm the kind of person who moved out of a brand new neighborhood and into an old one because I needed privacy. I needed trees. I needed flower gardens damnit!
If you're looking for a home, it's so important to search out the aspects of living that most connect with you and your family. If you value privacy or want a big yard with a firepit, a brand new neighborhood might not be your thing. If you don't want to deal with dated kitchens and a lack of mud rooms, you'll want to stay out of my 'hood, haha!
Twelve years and three kids later, I still love the privacy, the big trees, and the awesome neighbours. We've done a couple big renovations in here and a VERY BIG one is in the plans for the near future. Some of our friends and family don't understand why we don't just buy a bigger, newer house (with a much bigger, newer mortgage) and trust me, we've looked (have you seen the market lately?!!!? Nutso!) The thing is, I can (and will!) change the inside of my home to suit the needs of my family but at the end of the day, I can't change the central location, the giant trees, the massive yard, or the amazing neighbours - and I certainly wouldn't change those things if I could!