Many moons ago (or so it seems) we bought our first house.
As with most of the things in my life it was based on instinct. The house that we chose was most definitely bought with our hearts and not our heads.
It was around the time that the property market was booming and we were excited to get on the property ladder, and perhaps even to make some money too. We were young and foolish but we worked hard and decided that renting was a fool’s game. So we took the leap and started to look around at what we could afford. As it turned out living in Surrey with a limited budget makes property searching a little less ‘Kirsty & Phil’ and a little more ‘Challenge Anneka’. Eventually though, we found a lovely little cottage that gave us a nice feeling when we went to view it. We didn’t rush in, we held back and sought the opinion of my sister and others who had more experience than we did. We were told categorically NOT to buy with our hearts and categorically NOT to buy a house with an unconventional layout. We did listen and then proceeded to completely disregard all of the sensible advice because it was too late, we had already fallen in love.
We bought a lovely little white cottage, near Farnham. Two bedrooms the largest of which had an original fireplace, a cosy living room and a kitchen with exposed brick (alright, unfinished plastering) and perhaps the nicest part of all was the huge cottage garden, with a little shed and a feature tree.
We moved in with the help of our friends and it really shouldn’t have taken too long as we had barely any furniture to our name. Of course we only discovered that the door frames were not quite ‘standard’ size frames as we attempted to fit the sofa into the house, and it quickly got stuck halfway in. The bathroom was downstairs which became more and more tricky especially as the winter months arrived (and I won’t even mention the lack of parking). Nevertheless we loved that little house for all of its faults and we spent many a happy time there with friends and neighbours.
It took quite a big thing to encourage us to leave.
I am not sure we ever would have really left if we hadn’t discovered our second pregnancy coupled with my husband’s first career redundancy, all at the same time. Happiness and elation, followed by shock and upset. We decided that it was time to move. I remember very clearly that we made some pretty big decisions in a very short space of time, but they were all necessary.
So we moved on. It wasn’t the easiest thing we have ever done, as we had both made the most valued friends through work and even our neighbours had become very close friends to us. Yet move on we did.
Our second home was chosen with a little more care (albeit in a slightly stressful rush). I was heavily pregnant at the time and the countdown was on – to move in before the baby made her entrance to the world. With a lot of help from friends and family we managed to move in just in the nick of time, as the next day I went into labour. The new house had three bedrooms, an indoor bathroom and even a driveway. The back room was made into a playroom and the entrance hall gave us more space for an energetic toddler. Most of all though, ‘the feeling’ you got when you walked in through the door was just right – it was home. From the moment that we moved in, or more accurately the moment we took our baby girl home, there has been a sense of belonging for us.
It is almost as if we have lived here for many a year.
More recently, and following the challenges of last year we decided that we would extend the house instead of moving as the children grow up. This decision I just know would meet with Kirsty & Phil’s approval, because our decision has been based mainly on location. Close to schools and shops and train stations we are in a very handy place for family life. However there is another reason, one that has been in the back of my mind for some time now.
One of my wishes for my children as they grow up is to make sure that they feel secure.
Making a home, their home, a place that they feel that they can come back to whenever they need to is very important to me. I want them to both have their own space as teenagers, where they no doubt will lock the rest of the world out. I want them to feel like they can invite friends over whenever they want to. Most of all though, I want them to be so comfortable with their home, that if life is ever cruel to them they know that they can walk through the front door and feel an instant sense of comfort.
We are not quite there yet, the builders are at work as I type. The dust is everywhere and it is hard to see past the chaos. I know though, that when the dust settles there will be the makings of something very special.