Life + Style

March 8, 2013

Life Lately & Link Love

remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck  -Dalai Lama

Life Lately
So we've now put three offers on three different houses in three monthsAnd we already own a perfectly great house, yet we're about to have no where to live.
Wah Wah

I'm sure this is not the update y'all were looking for when you urged me to keep you up to speed on the house hunt.  But I just feel like whining today.   So bear with me, pretty please.  God knows we're in the most amazing position in the scheme of things.  If we don't find a house to buy or can't seem to close on a house we want, we can always rent.  We're not worried about how we're going to come up with first and last month's rent for a deposit.  It's just a matter of hoping something big enough is available in an area we like.  And we don't have to sell our house in Pawleys to buy a house here.  What are we doing with that house?  That's a chat for another day.  Although selling our first house might improve our buying power a bit, it's not holding us back.  These are blessings, major blessings, and I'm not going to forget about them and how much they are improving the stress level of this situation.

Maybe you're more interested in this part.  Matthew and I do have a list of requirements for our next house purchase and once those rooms are checked off the list while we're at a showing I sit and think, can we live here.  Where would the kids be playing while I cook dinner?  Where will we keep our 700 coats and bags that I like accessible by a door.  Is there a playroom so I don't have to see toys 24\7?  As much as we try to make this a financial decision, let's be real, it's emotional.  This is where Santa is going to bring my babies presents next year and hopefully for years to come.  A backyard Wells is old enough to maybe remember one day.

We are all too familiar with how life can take you down paths you can't foresee, but we want this house to be a forever house if we want it to be.  But not something so grand that it feels too big for us at this point.  Something that we could picture Wells bringing her fiance home too or Tagg's kids coming over for Christmas dinner one day.  But still cozy and homey and small enough for us to afford furnishing it right now.  We'd like four bedrooms but we'll take three.  Matt's parents and brother live out of town and it would be nice to house them somewhere other than a living room couch when they come to visit.  That fourth bedroom would more than likely be a playroom most of the time.  Like a giant toy box really, at this stage in the game.  A family room separate from the living room.  Family movie night should be in a different room from girls wine night.  I want an eat-in kitchen, even if it's just two bar stools around a mini island.  I'm tired of digging out cheerios from the couch.  And let's not discuss the smears of unidentifiable foods that land on my rugs and upholstery.  Matt would tell you he needs a gear room, but really we just need a simple laundry/mudroom.  We need a garage or large shed or significant structure for crap.  Not to park cars in, but to house Matt's never ending supply of turkey calls, duck decoys, fishing rods, and golf clubs.  We could run a freaking outdoor sports store out of there.  And let's not even talk about the hiking, biking, running, or other hobby of the month and all the gear that comes with each.  Oh,  and somewhere for me to spray paint to my hearts content.  I want a nice backyard.  A patio or deck and a play set or just room to build our own.

We're realistic on expectations.  I want at least 2.5 baths and one needs to have a tub.  But they can be original to the house.  Yes, 1960's or 1970's bathrooms don't scare me.  I'd settle for two baths I think, but I'd always be thinking about how we could add in that half.  A crappy kitchen from the 90's or earlier isn't a deal breaker either.  We prefer older more established neighborhoods and are okay with the outdated appliances and fixtures that come with that classic charm.  In our price range at least.  We're not in the market for someone else's updated renovation.  Our buying power can only guarantee so much in the areas we're looking.  We need to be close to Matt's work.  We need to be in a good school district because as of right now we're not sold on private schools which are the norm here in Richmond.  But we're not willing to be total suburbanites for cookie cutter house and school either.  I'm absolutely not knocking that, it's just not for us.  Anyone familiar with Richmond probably knows how hard the house hunt here is for all the reasons we've listed. 

Do I sound like an episode of house hunters yet?  I haven't mentioned that we want something perfect for entertaining so I guess not.  That's usually a couple's only requirement.  They always want an open floor plan perfect for entertaining.  I want a traditional floor plan perfect for keeping toys contained and entertaining my two toddlers.  We might find the time to entertain once or twice a year so I'm not going to plan my whole home around a party that I might never throw.  They also don't show you how many times you don't get the house you want, so this is clearly not HGTV.

So what do you think?  Do I have more or less requirements or expectations that you would have expected?  What were the deal breakers for you in your own search?

Link Love

Just got some new kicks in the mail yesterday so I can finally pull off my lululemon-mom look at Target and Starbucks.  Love the atomic pink neon!  They're super light weight and perfect for pretending to work out.

This amazing Dodecahedron Pendant Light DIY is worth noting.  I've been drooling over it for weeks and just can't get over it.  It's awesome.  I think I'll make Matthew make it for me once we're permanently settled.

My friend Caycee transformed her breakfast nook into an cozy little breakfast nook inspired by my post here.

I'm obsessed with the rug Nancy is using in her laundry room makeover for the One Room Challenge.  Oh, and all of her fabric and other finishes she's picked.  Yummy.

I live in row house too so I get that sometimes function rules the day.  That's why I'm obsessed with Jenny's dining room hutch makeover.  I would totally do this.  I guess I just need both the credenza and the bookshelf first.



  1. Wow you just took the words right out of my mouth! We are putting our home on the market finally after 2.5 years of thinking about it and me dragging my feet...but we'd like to move for our kids, for a yard, for schools, for our next chapter! And apparently there is zero on the market right now to buy so a good time to sell but we might need to do temp housing-with an almost 3 year old and a 3 month old! Only upside is one isn't mobile yet! Good luck, it sounds tougher in Richmond than in Atl...Isn't Richmond Thrifter looking to move too? Same area?

  2. My last house search was from 275 miles away. We came to Virginia 15 times to scout neighborhoods and look at houses, all with a baby in tow. It was hard and we lost out on countless houses. I would not say that this is my dream house but it is large enough and in a nice neighborhood on what we think is the best lot. I know you are pressed for time but hang in there!
    Honestly, I did not want the cookie cutter suburban house either but unless you have close to a million to plunk down in Downtown Fredericksburg its cookie cutter living. I like it now though.

  3. For me, there are only three major requirements for a home...Location, Location, Location. Almost everything else can be changed, added or deleted. Lot size is obviously unchangeable, but a park near by will do wonders for kids.

  4. The hubby and I have talked about moving back to Richmond and it is honestly the most challenging place to find a house. All of the areas we love have the original kitchens and bathrooms that you talked about but hardly any space for playrooms. They are all gorgeous but small! Oh and the school system situation, totally tricky! I know God has a plan for you guys and it is all going to work out : )

  5. Girl you are right on track because you know what you want and need. So important. Now just stick to not settling and you'll be good to go. Renting could be fun b/c you could do something totally out of the norm for y'all knowing it's just temporary and to enjoy it (liking living right downtown!!). xoxo

  6. You are so right…buying a house is so emotional! I always say, if you get it then its meant to be and if not, there's a better one out there for you! Dont settle just to settle…keep looking for that perfect spot…which will become that much more perfect when you see your family in it! Good luck and keep us up to date!

  7. House hunting blows! I feel your pain. When we were looking, we started out with unrealistic expectations (doesn't everybody?), and in the end realized we wanted 3 things- 4 bedrooms, a fenced in yard, and a basement. It's an old 80's home with dated this and dated that, and we are perfectly happy! Best of luck!

  8. All of those requirements sound perfectly reasonable to me! It's also refreshing to hear someone else not want an open floor plan. When we buy a house, I want it to flow, but I still have to have divided rooms.

  9. Thanks for the mention Julia! I don't think you are unreasonable for your requests. Your'e not new to this game and each time you want it more to your liking and situation. You clearly can do amazing things with what youve got, so the key is neighborhood, schools and location I'd say. I hate that you're having such a hard time, but good things come to those who wait hopefully and there's a reason you haven't closed on one yet! Good luck my dear, and hope you have a nice weekend. Wish I was more help, but I'm a big fan of yours so hope that counts for something!
    xo Nancy

  10. A few summers ago my family went through our own house saga. We bought a house first, without selling our own. We proceeded to get 3 offers on our house, just to have all 3 fall through. We never ended up moving, but even THAT turned out to be such a God-thing! It has been made so clear that we weren't supposed to move! I'll be thinking about you and praying it works out. I think your requirements sound good to me. I sort of like divided rooms as well :)

  11. i am a born and raised west ender so i totally understand! Although I live in Nashville now I still look at real estate back home. For me I'm a won't move past a certain area on river rd...but that's b/c I have always lived within a 5 mile radius! My favorite old county neighborhood would have to be Westham followed by South Ridge and Twin Lakes. Good Luck! I also have a friend who owns tons of rentals in the area...some are even in grove area so if you need a number let me know!

  12. I am still patiently waiting on my dream house but it will be a few years til we can afford to move. I am sorry for your housing struggles I know that sucks. Uncertainity is the worst. Granny needs to reconsider and let yall stay! Have a good weekend friend!

  13. You are the coolest Mom! I want to be just like you one day. Love the new kicks and love that you don't want an open floor plan like everybody on House Hunters. I'm sure you will find exactly what you want and be happy you didn't settle. I can't wait to hear about it!

  14. Damn house hunting can be such a pain! I know you guys will find the perfect house soon, or one real close to perfect!! I want an invite when you do too ;)

    ps thanks for showing me some link love today ;)

  15. Have you guys looked in Midlo? We moved here from the Northside 2 years ago and love it. Try Salisbury in Midlo, Cambridge or Oxford in Bon Air. We live in Roxshire (probably a little too cookie cutter for you), but the area is great. Lots of young moms, everyone is super nice, and you're close to a lot. And we love our preschool and ACAC!

  16. There are some great places for sale in the Mary Munford district now. A lot of them are already updated but sometimes the older couples will sell the houses unrenovated.

  17. my fingers and toes are crossed for ya'll to find exactly what you're looking for soon! hang in there, know it gets tough and stressful! also, LOVE that DIY pendant lamp. LOVE nancy's rug! and love your new kicks! remind me of spring.

  18. We're in va also but further south. I still haven't been to Richmond yet. I'm sorry that your house hunting hasn't gone the way you'd like it. Something will come along though, hopefully soon.

  19. First off, I am still giggling about the pretend to work out look because I do it all the time. My husband used to be all confused when i'd tell him I'm not actually going to go to the gym. On a day where I don't want to put on real clothes I figure it's a lot better than frumpy sweat pants so the man needs to just go with the flow.

    Dude, the process of finding a house just plain sucks. I'm way emotional about it and totally get you when you talk about finding a home where all those special memories are going to take place. I'll be praying the perfect place comes to you guys.

  20. Hey Julia, I live in College Hills (Westham Area) and I know of a few neighbors putting their house on the market in the next few weeks. Hang in there! A lot of houses will be on the market in the next month or so!

  21. Julia -- I totally understand. We just went through the house hunt in RIchmond and had similar issues with schools/neighborhoods/suburbia. We ended up moving from the city to just over the Goochland line on River Road, and love our house, but will likely go the public school route. Hang in there!


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