Today I thought I would share a little bit of a personal post. Kyle and I had a bunch of errands to run yesterday and decided to stop to have lunch. As we pulled into the parking lot, I happened to look down at the date on my phone... January 15th. It occurred to me that we have officially been homeowners for a year! WHAT!? It went by so fast.
About two years ago Kyle started talking about buying a house but the thought of it was so overwhelming to me. We had student loan debt, I was self employed, we were clueless... plus I really loved our apartment! We moved out of West Philadelphia in a really big hurry after being robbed and we found our King of Prussia apartment. It was my lifesaver. I felt safe. It was located close to literally everything, there was a pool, it was quiet, it was updated and I loved it. I didn't want to leave.
But we started to more seriously discuss house hunting and one day while I was randomly browsing Zillow, I found this little white victorian in a small town between Kyle's office (to the East) and our hometown + parents (to the West). It had just been listed. Literally, that day.
I emailed Erinn, who ended up being our amazing agent, and she showed us the house that week. Admittedly, we did not shop around. We briefly (like 5 minutes) toured another house and turned around and walked out. That little white victorian had to be our home.
The weeks between seeing the house and moving in were honestly so stressful but with hindsight we learned so much and we now know what to do next time.
- Listen to your real estate agent when choosing a lender
- Listen to your real estate agent about all things all the time
- Trust your real estate agent
- Love your real estate agent
Seriously, Erinn is the absolute best. And we would have been so lost without Sara, who is a client care manager for the team. We could kiss their feet. If you are looking for an agent in Chester County, PA and the surrounding areas, use The (all female) Dickerman Team. Serious girl power in that office. I bow down.
All of a sudden between a long trip to Ireland and a longer trip to Disney, we found ourselves closing on our new house and moving in the same day!
The only thing we did before moving our furniture into the house was paint the master bedroom. Our whole house is painted with a purplish grey + white trim but I really wanted a navy blue bedroom so my mom helped us paint!
Our first night we slept with trash bags in the windows (we didn't have curtain rods yet) and woke up the next morning with a lot of organizing and unpacking to do. Our family came later in the day on move-in day #2 to help us and we had a big army of unpackers. Both sets of my grandparents, my aunts and uncles and Kyle's parents all came to check on us and everyone helped to unpack boxes and unwrap furniture. My parents helped us that whole first week with hanging mirrors (I sort of have an obsession with mirrors) and art throughout the house.
Our house was built in 1900 so all of the walls are plaster and lath. There had been some time where it sat empty and there was a great deal of water damage to the ceilings so a portion of the ceilings on the first floor are drywall but the walls are all definitely plaster. Which is super fun for hanging really heavy stuff. Right? Right? Yes. Oodles of fun.
One week after we moved in, we left for a 10 day trip to Disney World and of course, it snowed 3+ feet while we were gone and froze into a giant block of ice when we got back. A very quick taste of the joys of homeownership.
When spring arrived we started to tackle outdoor projects. Through the summer we built a retaining wall, brick-edged our flower beds, painted all of the exterior doors, ripped out 30+ feet of dying boxwood hedges that were growing on the sidewalk, trimmed all of the bushes in the back yard, moved the fence, painted underneath the patio and a bunch of other projects that were supposed to take 2 days and ended up taking 2 weeks.
My parents came over and painted our porch ceiling and finally the house looked like I had envisioned it months earlier! That was the big ah-ha moment for me. Yes, she's all mine! We live here! This is our home!
There is a small room at the front of our house that didn't have a door or a heat source and is too small to be a bedroom. Since the master bedroom only has one small closet, we decided to make this my dressing room. It's one of my favorite rooms in the house even a year later thanks to Kyle and IKEA.
Our most recent project has been finishing the attic. It used to be a very dark and creepy space and I flat out refused to go up the steps. It made me so uncomfortable. Kyle needed an office space so we thought we would try finishing the attic. Thank goodness for my Pappaw because if we had attempted it on our own, it still wouldn't be finished. Thanks to him it's now a bright and comfortable space!
Our house is celebrating her 117th birthday this year. She's had a long history of both devoted owners and total abandonment. We feel really lucky to be a part of her history and I am extremely grateful to have such a safe, beautiful and comfortable space to live and work every day. I love the dark hardwood floors, the beautiful foyer and restored bannister, the old windows that get icy on cold days, the ornate cast iron radiators from 1912 and the way absolutely nothing is level or straight.
In the last year we've already made some wonderful memories in this house. We got engaged in the kitchen, hosted a holiday, adopted a puppy and hosted two big parties.
There is still a long long of to-do's (as we were warned). I was so hesitant to jump into this process but I've loved every second and it was financially a really smart decision for us as well. Because we're getting married this year, many of our house projects are on hold but in the future I hope to actually grow some grass in the back yard, update the lighting throughout the house (and add more chandeliers), renovate the main bathroom and finally find some chairs for our front room.
The true champs of our first year at #VictorianonSecond are The Dickerman Team, IKEA, vodka, our families, the Restoration Hardware catalog, Amazon and the Home Depot. Three cheers!