Our big news this week: my husband and I closed on a new house on Monday.

Well, “new” to us — it’s actually an old home. Long-time blog readers know we had been looking for a while, as well as considering renovating our home to fit our expanded size. The baby currently sleeps in the master bedroom closet. This is actually a family tradition. Baby #1 slept in what was basically a hall when we lived in a 1-bedroom apartment in New York. We then moved to a 2-bedroom apartment, but baby #2 slept in our closet since baby #1 was in the other bedroom. We moved to a not-small house in Pennsylvania, and it certainly seemed like 3 kid bedrooms would suffice, but then we had two more children.

I’m sure we could have made it work — either by forcing sharing or finishing the attic — but we were looking at what was on the market too. We looked at lots of listings online, visited lots of homes, and had seen an old house — with plenty of space, in the same elementary school district — come on the market in the fall. We weren’t convinced from the pictures. Then we drove by it when we both happened to be in the car (my husband was picking me up from dropping my car off to get repaired back in late May) and…well, the yard was lovely and the house looked much more appealing than the pictures!

It had been on and off the market for a while because, as we saw when we visited, it needs a lot of work. The extent of the work became the subject of much negotiation over the next few months, but in August we reached a deal. We were finally able to close this week. It’s been hard not being able to write here about something that is consuming so much of my time and attention! I spent 3.5 hours there yesterday with contractors going through what needs to be done. The good news is that we live 7 minutes away by car (I often run to the house and back on weekends) and we can keep living in our current house while the major work is done. Ideally, we will move in a few months after the major renovations and then put our house on the market since the idea of keeping the house clean for perspective buyers with all of us in it is…intimidating. But we shall see.

The kids are very excited. My older two boys had seen the house before we closed, but the younger kids had not. We let them run all over the place and the yard on Monday and then when we were getting ready to leave the 5-year-old said “wait, I thought we were spending the night here?” I love that he was all ready to leave the old house for good and sleep in a house with no furniture that he was just seeing for the first time. Always up for adventure. He did quickly find a great new climbing tree!

Photo: A little cherub I found sitting on a stone wall at the new house

18 thoughts on “Home

  1. Congratulations on closing! That sounds like a lot of work. I noticed that older homes tend to have more rooms/closed-off spaces than newer homes, which seems to be an advantage for growing families. My home is a newer, open floor plan one; but with my four (often loud) kids, one of whom needs a quiet space to do homework, and grandparents visiting, I think my family will come to the “Do we make more rooms by renovating, or do we move?” dilemma pretty soon.

    Good luck settling into your new home!

    1. This is something we discovered during the pandemic especially. We just moved from a fairly new construction house with an open floor plan downstairs (2008) to a historic house (1923) and are SO GRATEFUL for all the tiny rooms and doors and spaces that can be closed off, with 4 people trying to get work done and all on videocalls at the same times. Yes, my office is much smaller than my old one, but I have some extra space right outside it that I can also use, so it evens out, just takes a little more creative thinking. 🙂

  2. Congratulations! So exciting. I know this has been a long time dilemma (from your previous posts), so I’m sure it feels great to finally have made a decision that you feel good about. 🙂 Will your new house still have an office with a view you love??

    1. @Grateful Kae- Thanks! I will have a great office in the new place! Some nice book shelves built in and a view of a lot of trees 🙂

  3. That is so exciting! If you are able, I would love to read some posts about the decision making, finances, and tradeoffs involved in large scale home renovations. We are starting the planning phase for a major kitchen renovation this winter and there are so many options that it seems a daunting task.

    1. @Ruth – it is definitely daunting – we did a kitchen reno 2.5 years ago and while it was really rough, that kind of prepared me for thinking this might be an option (the major renovation of a whole house). It really is a trade-off — renovations aren’t cheap, but often older houses themselves are significantly cheaper than new construction – and may be better built and with more interesting details.

  4. Congratulations! I had a feeling this was in the works and I’m glad the news is a new old house! My husband and I are a sucker for those. We are in our second fixer upper currently. It’s a 1950s ranch and it had been vacant for several years before we bought it. It was in great condition (the home never contained children or pets) but was severely outdated. Even the fridge was a 1953 original believe it or not. We did a lot before moving in – gutting the two full baths mainly- but there’s still more to be done. It’s fun having something older. We just replaced the driveway lighting and it was neat to look at pictures of 1950s fixtures and decide if we wanted to stick with that, or go more modern. I think you’ll really enjoy the creative process!!! It’s also great to hear the kids were so accepting, that makes it easier. The transition can be hard and it’s definitely sad letting go of a place that held so many memories.

  5. Congratulations!! Would love some before/after pics or to hear about what you’re renovating. We are moving into an 80 year old house next week!

    1. @Maria – I’ll definitely be writing about the renovations on this blog! And probably posting on Instagram too, I’m @lvanderkam over there.

  6. Congratulations! My husband and I are 6 months into a complete gut renovation of a 110 year old house. It’s right across the street and being close is definitely nice. I hope it goes smoothly (or at least as smoothly as this kind of thing can go). Renovation is a lot of work! I can’t wait to see pictures!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *