November 11, 2014

Is this your forever home?

Over the last two weeks we’ve had some walls plastered and painted, and a heating engineer has been in to scratch his chin and tell us how much it will cost to sort out the central heating (to fix a small mechanical fault). We asked him if it was worth us replacing the system with a combi boiler, and his response was to ask if this was our forever home (and if not, then no).

We moved in here 8 years ago, with a newborn baby and very little furniture. Pete and my stepdad took the van that we hired for the removal to Ikea to buy everything. The designer garden was not yet overgrown with weeds and de-gravelled. This house was both better than we expected, and not as good as we wanted. The plan was to stay for ten years.

Since then we have had the walls and loft insulated, ripped out a hideous stone fireplace, replaced some carpets with laminate, built in a bedroom wardrobe, block paved the drive, and completely neglected the garden. Piece by piece we have been replacing and fixing and fiddling with bits of the house until it… still looks much the same as it did. And the really unsatisfactory bits (tiny kitchen, only one bathroom, too many plants in the garden most of them weeds) remain the same because they’re too big to do anything about. If we decided this was our forever home, perhaps we would stop fiddling and build an extension, instead of trying to improve the place piecemeal.

But I don’t think our forever home is semi-detatched on a suburban cul de sac; I’m holding out for something better. Not necessarily bigger, though my wishlist includes two bathrooms, large kitchen, and one extra room to be the study. Fields or woods or something nearby other than the main road to Reading. But then on the other hand we don’t want a whole load more mortgage when we’re managing perfectly well with the one we’ve got. How am I going to know when we find our forever home?

Karen

5 thoughts on “Is this your forever home?

  1. Good question – I’m yet to find even my forever *county*, let alone narrowing it down further.

    My *personal* opinion (and it’s not a positive one for your question, I’m afraid) is that some people just don’t do ‘forever’, for whatever reason.

  2. I currently feel far more settled than I have done in my adult life. I’m living in house I like, in a place I like. Assuming no major change in circumstances (which is a big assumption) I would hope to stay put for quite a while. Long enough to do the things that would make the house work better and look nicer, and long enough to spend the money to do it in a sensible way rather than on the cheap.

    Despite all that forever seems like an awfully long time though so I’m not sure I could bring myself to describe as my ‘forever’ home. I’ve always found ‘for a while’ plenty long enough to plan around.

    Ms Gammidgy on November 11, 2014
  3. Only people like Kirstie Allsop have forever homes, country piles that are passed down through the generations. Normal people have the house that is appropriate at that time (and that they can afford: who doesn’t always want the one that is just out of reach when house-hunting). Bigger when you have children marauding, then sensibly downsizing once they have flown the nest
    We are in our “quite a while” house.

  4. I grew up in a forever home. I don’t know if that was the intention when my mum, dad and gran bought it, but it was certainly intended to be a long-term home, and my mum is still living in it, some 34 years later. We’re no Kirstie Allsopp level family, but the house will be passed on to my sister and I, and due to circumstances, may well wind up being my sister’s forever home too.

    For many years after I moved to London, I had no sense of a forever home. Or even a “for the whole of this year” home. Then, when I met MrP, and things got serious and then the property market went the way it has, we were gradually forced into the conclusion that if we were going to buy a house, it may well be a one-shot deal. That we might never be able to afford to upsize if we needed to, and so spent quite a long time thinking about what we could afford vs what we thought would be somewhere flexible enough for it to be, if not a forever home, then at least a “for the next 25+ years, unless circumstances dictate otherwise” home.

    We’re exceptionally lucky that we’ve managed to find a house that ticks almost all of those boxes. It gives us space to be a family of 3 and can flex to accommodate clumps of wider family too. It’s in a good location too. And even better, we’ve started to be able to put down roots. We moved there a year ago, knowing nobody, and we’ve got friends now. Not the kind of nod in the street, have to invite them round but stay on your best behaviour kind of “friends”, but real friends. Who help, offer support, babysit if you need to go somewhere or get something done, don’t mind a messy house when they pop over, and a whole lot more.

    After donkeys years of looking longingly in the windows of Estate Agents and imagining what it would be like to live in wherever it is, in whatever kind of house, I now rarely even look, and when I do, I don’t have the same feeling. I am, for perhaps the first time in my life, entirely happy with where I live. I don’t entirely trust that feeling, but that’s another kettle of fish.

    Is this my forever house? I don’t know for certain, but it sure feels like it.

  5. Like pixeldiva, I grew up in a forever home built by my parents. It looked as if my brother would take it on, but in the end he moved up the street to his wife’s family forever home and we sold ours.

    Of all the residential houses available the ones I truly dislike are the split level suburban bungalows that have spread like mould across this country. We are living in our second one. We have drastically and sometimes structurally changed every single room in this house, except the upstairs bathroom, which was ‘just renovated’ when we moved in more than 10 years ago.
    We were planning on staying for a year.
    Yes. Well.

    No this is not our forever home. It’s bearable now, but I want to move. I also want something that isn’t a suburban bungalow.

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