Our old house near RichmondHappy Halloween everyone!! Are you dressing up or doing anything? I'm heading back to my parents for a night of fun including pumpkin carving and American Horror Story watching (my new obsession - who would have guessed?!), and I believe I'll be getting my face painted there too and possibly digging into our old dressing up stash! Unfortunately today's post is Halloween themed (with my current record, I'll probably manage to get a Halloween post up by, let's say, February?!), but hope you enjoy anyway!
I haven't really mentioned around here yet, but Ben and I are currently on the hunt for a new house. We've been renting for nearly the last 5 years together, starting when I was at uni in Newcastle and the two of us shared a flat together, to moving down to near Richmond when I was teaching in Durham, to being back down again in North Yorkshire to near where we grew up, in a market town in the countryside about 15 miles outside of York. We do love the house we're in right now, but we feel like we've been throwing money at renting for a few months too long now, and we're luckily in a position to be able to start looking to buy.
We're really hoping to stay around the same area we're in now, because the small town we live in is just about perfectly half way between both of our workplaces, and I have ties to the choir and my Brownie unit there now too. But we've got our search spread out to about 5 miles or so in every direction, because in reality, there just aren't that many houses around here! We do have another couple of villages that are high on our list, and we've been to look around 3 houses now, though none of them have really jumped out at us.
We've barely even started the process of house hunting yet, and it's already stressful. I'm the kind of person who will get something in my head then be disappointed if it doesn't come through. We've been keeping an eye on the houses in the area for about a year now to see how things were moving, but also "just in case". At the start of summer we spotted a house that was lovely and ticked a lot of our boxes (I'm not so disillusioned that I think the house that ticks all our boxes will just pop up!). We weren't exactly in a position to be serious about it, but I still kind of hoped the house would wait for us. Of course, it didn't! But every time we drive past, I'll still sigh and think of it as "our house", even though we never even went to look round it!
The story's the same now, even though we're starting to view houses and are in a position to put in an offer. Just last week, a house popped up that was just out of our search range, but was almost perfect for us in every other way, so we decided to go and view it. I sent an email requesting a viewing and Ben received a call back quickly that unfortunately, despite it still being up online, they were taking no more viewings as they'd already had offers. Now we think about it, it must have been underpriced to have gone so quickly. In reality, it was just that bit too far for me to drive to work from on a daily basis. But still, it was lovely.
No other ones that interest us have come up over the last 2 weeks, so I thought I'd do a post talking a bit about our house hunting journey (apparently, despite moving 3 times during the blog's life, I've never done this before!) and what sort of things we're looking for.
Lane outside our current house to illustrate location, it usually doesn't have a posing Sian in the middle of it though!
"Jeremy" the owl who lives in the marshland at the bottom of the garden
Location is one of our big things, as it is for most people who have jobs and areas they're settled in. Despite a few years in Newcastle, we much prefer our countryside location in Yorkshire so would like to stay. The house we're living in now is on a lane on the very edge of town, meaning we look out over a bit of marshland at the back with houses in the distance; the front looks over the lane then onto fields. So we'd like something similar to that, although finding it is a different thing! As long as I have some open space to look onto from at least one side of the house, I should be happy though :)
Our bedroom in our old house (you can tell we liked this one better, a lot more pictures there!)
In Newcastle, we had 2 bedrooms; near Richmond, we had 2 bedrooms; where we are now we have 3...and this presents a bit of a problem. There are only two of us, but when we moved, we realised we could afford to rent a house with 3 bedrooms, and this one was perfect. I've now found I'd find it difficult to be in a house with less than 3 bedrooms. At the moment, we use one as a spare bedroom (we occasionally have friends or my sister to stay, so it is used), and the other as my "dressing room" since the wardrobe won't fit comfortably into our bedroom. I'd like to be able to use the extra bedroom we have as a dressing and sewing room in the new house, so we're keeping it at 3 bedrooms (although if the price is right and there's the opportunity to extend at some point, I could deal with 2 for now!).
The most important room to us though is the kitchen - we like to cook and spend time in there, so we'd like it to be a good size and light. It wouldn't matter if the units themselves weren't great, as they can be replaced, and as long as they're in usable condition for now, it wouldn't be a problem. We both love kitchens that extend into the garden with pitched roofs, folding doors and big Velux windows like these. We like a lot of light and space, and would also love a breakfast bar or an island in the kitchen too at some point.
Spare bedroom/my study in our old house shortly after we moved in - it didn't look this tidy for long!
The house we're in now is nice, but it's not in top condition. Fortunately it has a new kitchen and bathroom, but it's the little things that bother us such as the painted touch ups on the walls being slightly off colour, skirting boards not being finished and the back door being draughty. We wouldn't be too concerned if it was our own house, because we could change those sort of things, but here we can't. We'd like something in good condition though that doesn't need much doing to it, but I've got ideas in mind for painting walls (duck egg blue or sage green are my favourites), as well as flooring, curtains and other small bits and pieces, but they'll all come in time. At the moment, we're a bit stuck because we've got some cheap bits of IKEA furniture (some of which is falling apart...) and we want to buy some good hardy stuff, but don't want to make that leap until we've got a house we know it will fit into, so we're waiting on that right now.
So, I think that's about it for now! I'll keep you updated on how our house hunting journey goes. We've got about 6 months that we want to find something in and get moving, as our contract for renting can't go onto a rolling contract, and each renewal costs us a pretty big amount of extra money and ties us in for another 6 months, so ideally we'd like to get out as close to the end of it as possible!