Sunday, 26 November 2017

House update: nearly one year on

Home buying one year on

I'm typing this sitting on our blue sofa under a grey fluffy blanket, half-watching Rick Stein on Food Network, with a pumpkin candle burning on the mantelpiece. Ahead of me I can see the yellow chevron curtains we chose, next to our bookshelves stuffed with books - yes, colour coordinated, because I'm a bit of a wanker. The coffee table is littered with glasses that I haven't got round to putting in the dishwasher. Our mantelpiece is littered with candles, thank you cards from our friends' weddings, a couple of cacti and the orchid I forgot to water which is just a twig now. To my right I can see our cluttered dining room, clothes drying on the airer by the radiator, the beginnings of our wedding crafting on the table. And beyond that is our kitchen, which I can only just see, but the sight of our shoe cupboard and notice board makes me smile because it shows that people live here. This is a home.

Home buying one year on

This week, we'll have been in our house for a year. A YEAR. It feels like no time at all, and yet it also feels like we've always been here. It's not perfect, it's rarely tidy, but it's ours and it makes me so happy. I love the clutter, because I remember when it was bare and empty, and I remember when it was someone else's, and now it couldn't be anyone's except ours.

We've gradually done bits and bobs this year to update it, from installing a dishwasher (probably the best thing I've ever owned) to printing out photos of some of our trips and putting them in frames above the sofas. There are parts that need updating - the carpets, the fireplace - and there are still parts that need a bit of our personality stamping on them - the boring white walls in our bedroom, the curtains we still haven't bothered to replace, the box room which we've turned into a makeshift study. We'll get there. Major investment hasn't been an option this year as we've been saving for our wedding, but next year I think we'll be able to do some of those bigger things.

Home buying one year on

The box room I mentioned is one of our biggest priorities, and what's nice about it is that it doesn't need MUCH doing. We've already popped in a desk and a sofabed from IKEA which just fits the space when folded out with maybe an inch to spare. We'd like to paint the walls a calming duck egg blue, and we're desperate to replace the gaudy bright blue and yellow jigsaw-print carpet with, god, anything. Anything is better than that. The last thing is popping up a pretty blind or some shutters (I really like these Direct Blinds ones) and that's it. Investment-wise, it's all small - in fact, we could do it for around £100 if we don't include the carpet (which I hate, but have to bitterly concede that we won't replace it until we do the whole house).

We'll get there, and I'm fine with that. I like seeing it come together gradually.

Just to finish up, the news lately has been full of the same kind of thing I've seen a lot this year, that the younger generation could afford to buy a house if they just gave up buying avocado on toast, Pret sandwiches and fun. There's a shred of truth in it, that sacrificing treats is a way to save a surprising amount of money, but not tens of thousands (if you saved £5 a day on lunch, you'd have less than two grand by the end of the year). Buying a home is bloody expensive, especially in and around London, and I don't think I know any home-owners my age who managed to do it without help from their parents, including us. We did sacrifice a few things to get our deposit together, including having our own place for the best part of a year, but we were also given financial help too and we would not have this house without that. I'm very grateful for that help, and I would never feel comfortable pretending that we didn't have it, because I know many young people aren't as lucky as us and I hate the implication that it's somehow their fault that they don't own a house.

Home buying one year on


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2 comments

  1. It's all coming together and it looks so cosy! I love the pictures above the sofa. It's extremely you to mention the help you had at the bottom and I love you for that. I don't think you should feel bad for that help but it's also good for others to hear it, I think, so that they don't feel bad if they can't do the same. Can't wait to come visit again soon!

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  2. A year already!! Your home is so lovely, hoping next year will be our year!

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