I'll admit that as exciting as it was to finally find our future home, the process of shopping for it was almost as fun. I loved peeking in at some seriously interesting homes, especially in older neighborhoods. There's something really great about walking into a house and envisioning exactly how you would make it your own. We had a set list of must-have's in mind when we started out looking in our area for a new home. In no certain order, we were looking for:
Great Bones: We knew wherever we ended up, the house would need updating. We were well aware that the area we were looking in had homes with outdated finishes, and that was more than okay. I'll share in a future post the plans and look we have for this new house, but essentially we knew we wanted a good flow for entertaining and no weirdly placed rooms (this last one sounds funny, but trust me... there's a lot of random layouts that will leave you scratching your head!) HGTV will leave you thinking that all walls can be removed, and kitchens can easily be rearranged. These things are all possible, but some walls can't be removed (a.k.a. load-bearing walls), and sometimes the cost outweighs the benefit of rearranging a layout. Our main goal in finding this house was to walk in and not feel like we would have to rewrite a home's story down to the bones.
Location, Location: It was really important to us to stay in a more centrally-located area. Our first house was further out from our friends and the area where all the fun restaurants and shops are starting to pop up. Because we're in the phase of life where baby's sleep routine can complicate evenings with friends, we wanted a home that would allow us to easily invite people over for dinner, wine, and games while B sleeps quietly upstairs away from it all. And a five-minute drive makes last minute hangouts a little simpler.
An Entertaining Kitchen: I love to cook, and we both love to entertain guests. So it was especially important that we found a kitchen that was the heartbeat of the home. It needed the potential to be open concept, so I could be cooking while still a part of the party. We also had visions of a unique kitchen island, and bonus points were awarded if the layout worked with an island.
A Room for the Massive TV: Okay, I guess this could technically be called a "Man Cave," but it'll also be a room for movies, game nights, etc. We liked the idea of having a living room that was a little more "formal" in the sense that it didn't revolve around a TV like our current living room. Preferably, the room would be a little bit separate (in the new house, it's going to be the finished basement) and be the perfect casual setting for a cozy sectional and a big ol' tv so the living room can be a little more put together.
Home Office: Because I work from home, I wanted an office space that wouldn't feel completely distant from the rest of the house. Many of the homes we went to had plenty of bedrooms that one could've been converted into an office, but having an office literally sharing a wall with a napping baby just wasn't going to work. I wanted an office space that didn't feel like a bedroom, and with potential to be a flex room on the weekends. Bonus points: An office that had plenty of natural light.
Master Suite: We looked at a lot of older homes due to the area we wanted to be in, and good-sized master suites were kind of hard to come by. It was important to us because we currently love our master suite, and love that our morning routine revolves around it. I was especially happy when we found our new house because it has a massive tub in the master bathroom - our current house's only tub is outside of B's room.
A Backyard: In some of the areas we began looking in, there were very tiny/almost no backyards. We have a very active Goldendoodle who needs her space to run, as well as a growing baby who will one day need outside space to play. I have dreams of someday having a small garden, too. We needed a house with a good yard - it was a non-negotiable item.
A Nearby Nursery: Currently, B sleeps upstairs and our master is on the main floor. While we've made this work, I really liked the idea of being closer to her and other potential babies down the road (waaaay down the road - don't get too excited.)
A Little Character: Okay, this wasn't a "must-have" per-say... It was a part of our shopping process, though. I really tried to see each home's quirks with vision, and picture how it would look with a little updating. For example, our new home has beautiful wood beams, but they're the outdated 1980's oak. Our plan is to update them with a darker stain, so they really stand out.
Oh my goodness, I could write an entire post on all the houses we saw. I still think about many of them; the good, bad and the ugly. Sometimes we'd walk in, and I could totally picture us living there. Other times, we'd walk in and I could only wonder who had lived there before, or what in the world they were thinking. For example, there was one home in a beautiful older area of our town with zero backyard, a killer balcony, and some crazy staircases that would make a phenomenal Bed & Breakfast. It was fun to walk in and daydream in each home, regardless of how it worked for our list of must-have's.
The same day we saw the potential B&B house (a hard "no" from us on that one, by the way!) we saw our new house, and we immediately knew it would be perfect. The kitchen was a fantastic layout, with tons of potential and even enough space for a designated coffee bar. The room we envisioned as a home office has two story windows, with a great spot on the main level to be a flex room when it's not in office mode. It also boasts a beautiful master suite with plenty of bedrooms upstairs to grow into. It has a finished basement that will be a casual den type of room, and a centrally located living room. Finally, we'll be in the area we wanted - closer to friends and family. We are so looking forward to making it our home, and I can't wait to share what we have planned for it in an upcoming post!