Family • June 4, 2017

{The Ordinary Moments 17} #17 ‘The Story of a photo in a house and how we decided to move’

I should probably put a disclaimer at the top of this post and say that actually what I am talking about this week is anything but normal. After eight years in our little home a couple of days ago we exchanged contracts on a new property, we are all set to move in a couple of weeks time. However our home has of course been such an ordinary part of our lives for so long now, it’s the place we feel safest, the place we have made so many happy memories and some not so good ones too, and it’s been an integral part in raising our growing family. We are all incredibly excited to move, to make new memories and to start a new chapter in our lives together, but at the same time we are really sad to be moving from somewhere we love so much. We weren’t planning on moving for a while, but life moves in mysterious ways sometimes and I wanted to write down the story of how we came to be moving as it is quite a funny one…

A couple of months ago now I was sat at home in the middle of the afternoon looking after the two littlest ones when my sister text me the most bizarre text. ‘We’ve just been to look around a house and there’s a photo of you all in there’. At first I was completely confused as to what she was going on about, but soon I got to the bottom of it. They had been to look round a brand new show house near us, you know the ones that builders and developers will have on their new build developments so you can get a taste of what it the houses are going to be like. The ones that make you want to instantly live in them, done out in the latest stylish furnishings, the most gorgeous interiors and with picture perfect happy looking families smiling down at you from photos on the walls. Where you are supposed to walk in and think ‘wow I could imagine us living here.’ Where there are flowers in vases on all the tables, where all the books are straight and in colour order, and where there is mood lighting everywhere to let in as much light as possible.

Except in this show house there was something slightly strange. Sat there on the sideboard as you went entered the beautiful vast hallway was a photo in a frame. And in that photo was a photo of the five of us. At first we found it absolutely hilarious and to be fair I still do. Of all the photos in all of the world, a photo of us just happened to be in a new build show home in our town, and people that we knew had gone in there and seen it. That is one massive coincidence. Jon and I couldn’t stop finding it funny all day so we decided that we would go and see it for ourselves, to see what photo it was and if it was actually true.

We went into the sales office and as you do you feel awkward even though we had no intention of buying a house. We made small talk with the lady in the office who was really nice. I was feeling paranoid by this point as I said to Jon I was sure she was looking at me funnily because she recognised me from the photo, which he found even more amusing. She left us to it and went back to the office and sure enough we found the photo straight away- it was this photo that we had taken in the lavender fields a couple of years ago, but they had converted it into black and white. We found it really funny, took some photos with it as you do, and then left.

I think Jon looks like one of those people that you might find in the Daily Mail or a woman’s weekly magazine, where they are sharing their dramatic story and all have concerned/angry/sad faces. 😉

When we got home and I told a few friends the story they said although it’s funny, it is actually quite naughty of a very large housing developer to take your photo off a personal blog without permission. The more we thought about it, the more we thought the same, it didn’t hugely matter to us but it is quite bad to take a photo of our children without asking. I presume it wouldn’t have occurred to them that we would ever have had a chance of seeing it, it is quite a coincidence to be fair. I then started freaking out that this photo as in all their show homes across the country. In the end I did email their head office to ask, they eventually got back to me and said it was the interior design company they use who came across the image online, but that it was only in that particular type of house. They took it out, the interior company emailed me to apologise and offered to make a charitable donation in my name as an apology, so that was the end of that. I’m not a naming and shaming type of person and I don’t like a fuss, so I would never say who it was. I believe it was an honest mistake.

After going to see this beautiful show home and having a look around, it got us chatting. It was really lovely and had so much more space than our current house. We moved into our little home eight years ago now and when we moved in it was not our style at all. Over the years we have planned and saved and turned our small little three bed house into something that we believe to be really special. We had an extension put on last year which has just been the best thing we ever did, we renovated the kitchen, the bathroom, and decorated the girls room, our baby boy’s room and our bedroom exactly in our style. We also gave the garden a makeover and even a couple of months ago had our garage converted into an office. After years of creating our lovely family home, would it be mad to even contemplate moving? Yet at the same time this house was never going to be our forever home, we always knew one day we would move to a different house, in fact we had thought we would have done it sooner, but redundancies, one baby, two babies, changes in jobs and then a third baby meant that we had stayed a lot longer than we originally anticipated.

One thing lead to another and we couldn’t stop thinking about the possibility of having extra space. We didn’t want to live in that new build development, as lovely as the houses were as it would mean a change of schools for Mads and she couldn’t be happier where she is. But we tentatively rang an estate agent to come and value ours, we went to see our mortgage lender to see how much more we could borrow, and we started to have a little look around at houses. We both decided that actually it was a great time to move, Jon is in a fixed contract with work till the end of the year but that is due to run out in December and then we might not have been able to borrow that much, I had had a good year work wise and we thought it was a perfect time to see what the bank would lend us mortgage wise.

We started off looking at a new build development in a different area and we almost made up our minds on a four bed property on there. But then I started to get worried about what the development would be like in ten years time as they were planning thousands of houses on there, so we decided to look at a couple of others. We went to look at a house less than a mile away but in a different part of the outskirts of our town. It was a little over budget but we thought there was no harm in looking. Instantly pulling up on the street without even seeing the house, I completely fell in love with the street. It was absolutely gorgeous, a small development of houses on the edge of a larger estate, but that felt completely separate.

We went into the house for the first time and instantly I could just see how much potential it had. It wasn’t to our taste at all, with twee flowery wallpaper, a old looking plastic conservatory and a kitchen and bathrooms that were quite tatty, plain and just not our style at all. Sometimes I can’t quite picture something in my head, but I just did instantly with this house. It would take a lot of time, money and effort to get it into a family home we could be proud of, but it had so much space upstairs, the four bedrooms were all a good size, and the downstairs could definitely be extended in the future. It had high ceilings and it just felt like a proper family home that we could grow in together. We went away and I was delighted to hear that Jon felt the same. A couple more viewings later, our house going on the market and selling instantly, and a bit of negotiation, and our offer was accepted. We were delighted but having had our first home fall through in the past, we didn’t want to hold our breath or tempt fate.

A few weeks later and we got the call to say we had exchanged. It was a quick exchange due to the fact that the people we are buying from are buying a new build and they needed a quick exchange as they were getting pressure from our builder. We danced around the garden like idiots when we heard the news. I am going to be so incredibly sad to leave this house, to leave something which just oozes love, something which we have made into a family home we love and is perfectly our taste, to something which is going to need a lot of work to make it our own. We won’t be able to do big things, like the kitchen and bathrooms for a while as we haven’t got enough budget left, but we can redecorate and start to slowly make it into ours. It might not be our forever home as who can say forever, but it is certainly going to be a home that we live in hopefully until our children have grown up and have babies of their own.

I am so excited to have a project to work on, interior design is one of my biggest passions, and it is something that I can enjoy doing over the years, just as I have with our current property. I will really miss our bifold doors and our artificial grass the most, but hopefully one day we can get them again in the new house, although that will be a long way down the line. And of course I will miss our memories, we moved into this home before we were even engaged and over the years this is the house we came back to as man and wife, and bought our three babies home to, but at the same time I am looking forward to having some new adventures and making some new memories in our new home.
It’s funny how things come about sometimes. We went from having no intention of moving for a year or so, to buying a new house, all because of a random photo in a show home. But we all excited and can’t wait to start packing.

And just because I don’t want to forget, the couple who are buying our house came over to view it again to take measurements but we were away for the weekend, we got home to this note (I’ve blanked their names out!) and these treats. It sounds silly but it was the nicest gesture and it makes me really happy that our beautiful home is going to some nice people who will hopefully treasure it and love it as much as we have.

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