Today I want to talk about something that has changed our lives, it’s not a new concept, but it’s given us more freedom, more choice and more comfort. The decision to commit to our home, to where we are, to make it the best house it can be for us, without being dictated by the house value or how a future owner may view the details within.
I’ve touched on this in the past, in other posts, but I haven’t talked about it directly. It’s definitely not a straightforward subject, we are all in very different positions when it comes to our homes. I hope by talking about our experiences and choices, you may be able to relate in some way, perhaps not now, maybe a little way off into the future, but I think it’s something worth writing about.
I don’t think I’ve ever shared a full photo of the front of our house, so here you go, is it what you were expecting? I’m guessing not! Our place is on the left, with the blue/grey door. It’s safe to say it’s not my dream building, but it’s home.
As I’ve said in the past, there came a time where it felt as though our family had outgrown this house. I was desperate to move, I started to look around at our options, but it soon became obvious that we would have to spend at least another £70k to make a move worthwhile, probably more like £100k+ and that was something we just weren’t willing or able to do. We’d had our house valued at this time, so I was well aware of what our home was ‘worth’ on the market, but then I started thinking, what is it worth to us?
My for and against lists looked something like this –
Want to move for –
- More space.
- A house with period details (50s or older)
- Detached house.
- BIGGER BATHROOM!
- Bigger rooms – not necessarily more rooms.
- High ceilings.
- Bigger garden.
- Nicer looking frontage.
Stay put –
- Financial freedom, sooner.
- More freedom to explore my own career options, without pressure to be bringing in a certain amount of £.
- Light – we have so much light here, a very important thing to me.
- Play – the grass square at the front has formed an integral part of our children’s childhood so far, they spend hours out there, bike riding, hanging with friends, it’s a very important parenting tool for us.
- Location – whilst the house itself isn’t my ideal, I wouldn’t want to move from this area at the moment, partly due to…
- Proximity to school.
- Proximity to town/country
- Outlook – it feels as though we’re in the country when you look out from the back of the house.
Most of the issues in my reasons to move list weren’t remotely important to my husband, he has no interest in living in a period house, he has no problem with our ceiling heights, to be honest he was more than happy existing as we were, despite the struggles, the cramp, chaotic feeling. So there was another big reason for staying put, only one of us wanted to move!!
It took some convincing to get Stu to agree to the extension, he doesn’t really like change, at least initially, he clearly married the wrong gal as my need to change things is something I can’t control! But once he realised the benefits to our lives, vs the cost of moving, he was fully onboard. We were both in agreement that the fact an extension would take us above the property’s ceiling value just wasn’t an issue for us. We were investing in our quality of life as a family, for now, not the value if sold. And anyway, who knows what will happen in the next 5-10 years?!
Now that it’s done, the difference it has made to our lives is invaluable, the connection it has given us with the garden, I love the way it has lifted the rooms around it and taken our kind of ugly, late 60s end of terrace and given it the modern twist it so desperately needed. We haven’t had the house valued since the extension, I want to, purely for curiosities sake, but my guess is we’re at least £15k over the top end. Am I worried? No, could we have moved house and gained what we have, for the same cost? Absolutely not. Everything is relative.
I won’t lie and say I am completely at peace with our situation, there is still that voice inside me that knows my need to change things all the time is actually the fact this house fundamentally isn’t the home picture I have in my mind. My entire style aesthetic craves a bigger scale, simple period details, less ‘stuff’ but within more space…
But I am also learning to be more grateful for what we have, which is a lot more then many. I think it’s just the nature of an interior design enthusiast to keep thinking bigger and better.
Things I still want to do that will take us further over the ‘value’ of our house, but which will add value to our home…
Jazz up the front of the house, externally insulate and clad the porch and cover the weird roof tile feature thing under Eula’s bedroom window – Ugly House to Lovely House style.
As I’ve mentioned before, our bathroom is on the to-do list, but as it functions and we have zero funds, there’s little hope of it going through a transformation this year. However, this doesnt stop me planning and scheming, it’s good to be prepared!
This leads me to what really inspired this post…
One of my ideas, as it’s so small in there, is to get rid of the bath and just have a walk in shower. I never bath (due to the fact I can only fit half my body under water at any one given time, small bath/big person issues) and the girls only have one bath a week. When discussing this idea on Housfolk, a few people expressed their concern that removing the bath would affect the resale value and for a split second I thought, that’s a point. But it’s actually not the point, is it? The point is we live here, we’re living here every day, should a decision like that be made based on a hypothetical ‘one day’? Personally I think not, this is how my mindset has changed, this is our position. This said I am also very Japanese plunge bath curious, have you seen them before? A.mazing!
So I feel I should round things up as you may well be asleep by now, well done if you got this far! I hope this post helps to give a little more context to our world and to the decisions I share with you. This is my take on our home ownership and how we are choosing to live our life, I hope you find aspects that you can relate to and find helpful. Or perhaps you’re a serial house flipper, renter, saving to buy your first home, there’s no right or wrong, good decision, bad decision. I’d love to hear what drives you, how you make things work for you and your world.