Since we’ve been married, Eugene and I have moved house a LOT. We’ve both bought and rented. We’ve lived in a place as tiny as a 50 square metre apartment (before kids!) and a large house by the beach. In total, there have been 6 dwellings and 6 moves.
One thing we’ve always done in any place we’ve lived in, regardless of whether it was rented or owned, is put our own style and stamp on it (granted, this was challenging when we rented a fully furnished place).
Those that know me know that I love interiors. What has always drawn me to them is the idea that how we “feather our nests” is a reflection of who we are, how we’ve lived and, necessarily, how we want to live. For example, if we love art, our homes would be filled with pieces we love. If we’ve travelled extensively, we may have a collection of beloved souvenirs on display. If we want to live an uncluttered “minimalist” lifestyle, our interiors will reflect that.
Unfortunately, I’ve struggled with the “how we want to live” aspect. I have previously posted a blog about moving towards minimalism. I have found this so very difficult with kids. Unless I’m completely ruthless with keeping everything in its place, inevitably, the kids’ stuff invades all living spaces in the house. To a degree, I’ve had to let this go a little – it is just too stressful and frustrating otherwise!
Also, given that we’ve done our fair share of moving house, I would really like to find our forever home and never, never have to move again. Our current home was meant to be our forever home. It is a 1920s character house conveniently located in a leafy inner city suburb. When we bought it back in early 2009, it was a 2 bedroom, 2 (old) bathroom house with a new kitchen. In 2013, while we were living in Bunbury, we had the sleepout knocked off the back and a new dining, playroom/study, living, laundry and alfresco added to the back. Both bathrooms were updated. The house became a 3 bedroom (+ study) home, which was perfect had we stopped at two kids. The addition of Gabriel certainly threw a spanner in the works from a housing perspective.
There was a moment in time earlier this year when I was worried about every child having their own room; could we convert the playroom/study into a fourth bedroom? If we did, was it going to be strange, given this room would be off the dining area? Then I got this idea in my head that we could renovate again, building a mammoth parents’ retreat upstairs with a second living area. So excited was I that I had come up with this brilliant, albeit potentially very expensive, plan that it didn’t even occur to me that Eugene would be totally against it! Other than for the expense, Eugene was (is) not willing to live through a renovation. To be honest, we are time poor and he is willing, when the time comes, to pay for a place that does not need any work.
Fully aware that this “dilemma” is a first world problem, I have decided to completely let go of the idea that we need to find our forever home now. The two girls are really quite happy sharing a room in order for their kid brother to be in his own room. And for now, we love living in our home. Other than for the kitchen, the spaces in the house are a reflection of us. We renovated to our tastes and specifications. That’s not to say there isn’t more to be done to improve our living spaces, especially from a storage perspective. A project we’d like to undertake in the new year is to have an attic installed to house all the items we need to keep but do not need to access regularly (e.g. luggage, seasonal clothing). I dream about the day that every room in the house is clean, tidy and uncluttered.
Finally, I’ve been watching a lot of Selling Houses Australia and Love It or List It Australia. These shows got me thinking about loving the spaces we live in. In Love It or List It Australia, couples must renovate their homes after which they must choose between staying in their newly renovated house or listing it in order to upgrade. One half of the couple wants to stay and love it and the other half wants to list it and leave. The show highlights the amazing potential of a space if one has a vision or dream for it, but also the attraction or lure of finding a whole new home to love. For a little while, I thought about applying for Love It or List It Australia, with me being the “love it” and Eugene being the “list it”; I even got as far as filling in an application form! However, the show requires a renovation, so we’ve shelved the idea.
In Selling Houses Australia, a selling and renovation team helps families who are desperate to sell their homes. Often, the homes have been on the market for many months with little or no interest from potential buyers. Often also, there are obvious reasons why the homes have been difficult to sell, whether it be decor, clutter, floorplan issues or questionable presentation. One thing I noticed while watching the show is the willingness of the people who want to sell their house to take on the advice of the sale/renovation team and invest funds into undertaking the work they have always wanted done to make their house, for want of a better word, lovely; they willingly declutter, and sort through, throw away and donate their stuff. And when it comes time to reveal the spruced up spaces, these families often fall in love with the resultant spaces. This got me thinking…why don’t we go after our dream spaces when we’re living in our homes, instead of only thinking about them for the purposes of selling our homes? Doesn’t it make more sense to invest in our dream spaces as soon as possible so that we maximise the time we get to enjoy them? After all, when push comes to shove (i.e. when it comes time to sell), we would put the time, energy, effort and money into turning our spaces into those we love.