“So how is your house coming along?”
To answer the question everyone kindly asks: the process is moving slowly, but the house itself is not coming along—there’s no house to speak of yet.
Six weeks ago, we were ready for permits and blueprints. We had even received an email telling us they’d be ready soon and we should schedule a meeting to come in and sign off. Well, we went in for that meeting on Jan 6, but were notified that they forgot items on our blueprints and that they would need to go back for edits. However, our sales rep still had us come in because there were things we could sign off on in the meantime. It was annoying, but any progress on our house at this point is good progress.
Turns out, the fact that we added the sunroom went over someone’s head and when the words, “you didn’t get the sunroom, right?” were uttered, I felt my blood temperature spike for a brief moment. However, it became clear how incredibly numb we’ve become to the house situation and its many road bumps, because it barely affected us past the initial frustration.
“It is what it is.”
A couple rays of light
Not all house-related news is what we’ve become accustomed to. In December, we were informed that, due to the grading necessary on our lot, the builder would need to add a basement walk-out to stay up to code (aka free upgrade for the Woodwards-to-be). To add another level, we learned in our last meeting that it isn’t just going to be a standard door leading out; it’s going to be a sliding glass door! Which means that, way down the road, when mommy has to move her home office to the basement because the babies have taken up all the bedrooms, she’ll have plenty of natural light! Yay!
Fast forward a few days to an email asking for us to call our sales rep (this can’t be good). Turns out that, because the builder now needs to add the walk-out in a certain location, but we decided to remove the standard deck from the back of the house, we were in a cosmetic pickle. Originally, we chose to forego the back deck because our plan is to create a nice patio off the back of the house. However, if we had simply left the house without a deck or stairs, going in and adding those things down the road would be much harder and if they added stairs, not a deck, they would be super steep. So our rep was advising us to add the deck back on.
Safe to say, the back of our house now has a sunroom, basement walk-out, and a 10′ x 10′ deck. I always wanted the deck, so I’m thrilled.
In the meantime
We’ve been keeping our spirits high by taking this extended period of time to track down furniture. One of the challenges with buying a home for the first time is figuring out how to furnish it—more specifically how to afford furnishing it. We had our apartment, which was a combination of items we had previously, hand-me-downs, IKEA furniture, and Home Goods splurges. Truth be told, I loved our first apartment and everything in it. Was it my dream space? No. But it was comfy, it was quirky, and it was ours.
However, as we begin our lives as a married couple, there is the obvious desire to upgrade in our new home. After 25 years of living in someone else’s home or in a space you can only do so much with (due to building restrictions and on account of being young and broke), we’re ready to turn this house into what we’ve been aching for. Of course, that all still comes at a price and, let me tell you, furnishing an old, small apartment (with help from family) is not the same as a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath house with a formal living room, dining room, kitchen, breakfast nook, family room, and a sunroom. Granted, our house is not very big (fun fact: Nick and I have always liked smaller, cozier spaces—who knew!), but it’s still more rooms than we are used to as a couple!
As with the wedding, we have a strong desire to have significant savings when all is said and done. So while we want our home to look beautiful and cohesive, we still have to be budget conscious. That’s where the internet has come into play! If y’all haven’t looked into your local area’s sale groups or Marketplace on Facebook, you’re missing out. For months now, we have been scouring the wonderful world that is Facebook for local people selling furniture. We’ve found pieces that are finished and ready to go, alongside plenty that just need a little love and a fresh coat of paint. The best part? We’ve gotten great deals on all of them. So far, we’ve purchased an oak round dining table (pictures of how we refinished that below), 4 chairs to go with it (thanks Ash and Don!), a sofa for the formal living room (we got this before we moved out of our apartment), two nightstand dressers, a sofa and loveseat combo for the family room, a coffee table, a dining room hutch, a dresser for the guest room, a sideboard/cabinet, and a vintage tea cart we’re picking up today! From what I can remember of the pricing, I’d say we got that all for just under 2K. We looked at a sofa/loveseat set in a furniture store and those two items alone were like $3,500.
We’ve also been fortunate enough to call dibs on some other hand-me-downs to round out almost all of the other furniture we’ll need besides some additional dining side-chairs, furniture for the sunroom (not sure what we’re doing in there yet), additional pieces I’ll need in my office, and rugs. I have a laundry list of refinishing projects and a few more pieces to build (already did our coffee table for the family room (pics below), even though it needs to be re-stained), but the amount of money we’ve saved is simply unreal because of our unfortunate luck with buying a house.
To wrap it up
In the end, I know I’ll be grateful that our house wasn’t done before the wedding. For me, if we aren’t moving in April, I wouldn’t want to move until after we get back from our honeymoon anyway. I’ve always known deep down that would be a lot to handle and we will simply have to manage as we have managed the past year and a half. These delays not only give us more time to slowly find, build, and refinish the right furniture for us, our new home, and our wallets, they give us more time to save for the days post-wedding, honeymoon, and settlement—something that has been instrumental to us thus far.
I hope to say that, later this week, we sign off on blueprints and our house moves to construction, but regardless, we know it’ll get there eventually and it’ll be worth every minute of this process. To hear my fiancé—as someone who, for most of our house hunt, considered a house to be nothing more than a structure and property—call it the “perfect house” the other day, on our long drive to get furniture in PA, was sheer perfection.
We’ll get there… and our appreciation for it will be tenfold.
Now here are some pictures of the furniture we’ve refinished/built already!