A Bittersweet Goodbye: the Farewell House Tour

The signs are up, the photos taken, the lock box attached–our house is officially FOR SALE! It’s exciting to be actually on the move (again) but I’m quietly dreading the process of showings (always too-little notice) and negotiations (always late at night).


I’ve spent the better part of the week cleaning and arranging, de-cluttering and touching-up to get the house ready for the photographer and the open house this weekend.

When it was as ready as it was going to get, I went around snapping what will likely be the last pictures of the current house. Though I know the professional pictures will be better than my iPhone snaps, I still wanted to have a few more of my own images to keep and to help remember what we were able to do in the few months we were here. As much as I’m excited for our new home and know it’s the right move for our little family, I am still sad to be leaving.

house classic cape cod white black shutters
love at first sight

When I first saw this house last spring, I fell in love with the classic style and the wrap-around porch. Friends told me, “it’s so you !”, which I didn’t really know how to take at the time (possibly a bit ragged around the edges!?) but I think they meant classic and rather quaint.

The hubs and I had been looking for an acreage for a few years. We wanted somewhere that was more than just a big garden but not a quite a farm(!) and this was right in that 2-5 acre sweet spot. We wanted to escape the city but knew we needed to stay within easy driving distance for work, school and play. Being within a couple of minutes drive of a grocery store and 10 minutes from the hubs’ office, the location seemed about perfect. We knew it would mean relocating our eldest from his playschool, but we had heard good things about the local elementary school so thought it was worth it in the long-run.

Even though the house needed work, we knew it had great “bones” and lots of potential. That it had been a foreclosure and somewhat neglected just meant that we were actually able to afford to buy and renovate it.

We dreamed of the boys playing outside, of making tree houses and skating rinks, of building a shop for the hub’s cars and love of tinkering, and a writing shed for me (no doubt shared with the corgis, those ever-present furry familiars of mine). We imagined celebrations in the living room and family dinners in the dining room, game nights in the rec room and birthday parties with a dozen squealing kids in the playroom. The house wasn’t just shelter, it was a backdrop for family dreams.


Fast forward nearly a year: the house has been renovated top to bottom. It’s clean, it’s been cared-for, it looks pretty good (IMHO!). If we were staying, we’d likely be planning the landscaping and gardening.

But in the meantime there has been the fiasco of preschools and childcare that necessitated twice-daily 30-45 minute commutes for the boys. Then there’s the increasingly delicate health of the g-parents that also required driving, driving and more driving. And there’s the realization that the hubs and I simply aren’t very good “country people”: I hate bugs and dust, both of which there are in abundance out here, and the wildlife makes me (and the corgis) nervous. Plus, the constant upkeep necessary on a larger property means that there’s always chores to be done: lawns to be mowed (a 3 hour endeavour) or snow to be cleared (at least 2 hours, if the machine doesn’t break down, which it does all the time). The hubs and I quite literally never get a break. There are some who enjoy this sort of puttering — I’ve heard neighbours describe moving the lawn as their favourite activity of the week. Clearly, we are not cut out for this!

So our hopes and dreams for the next few years are being re-written; now they are superimposed on the rooms and garden of the new house. We are still imagining tree-forts, but in a different garden, skating now at the local school and, most importantly, more family time.

My hope for the current house is that we find another family who share some of the same dreams, who will fall in love with it the way we did, and who will enjoy the garden and space the way we planned to.

So if you have a few minutes, let me take you on a farewell tour:

front door, classic, entry, f
Front door — newly repainted

The front entry needed touching up with fresh paint but it was always a lovely spot. The desk runs around the whole house, so it encompasses the front and side gardens.

deck, veranda, adirondack
the wrap-around veranda

The stairs were originally covered in dingy carpet and the paneling was painted a very dark brown. The walls through most of the house were pale green with dark purple (yup!) accents. It took three attempts to properly cover it. The stair risers were also painted white and the treads are real oak hardwood. We managed to match the existing flooring on the main level and carry the hardwood throughout the living areas, hallways and bedrooms.

staircase, stairs, foyer
the once-dark and dingy staircase
living room, fireplace
the no-longer blood-red living room

When we first bought the house, there was striped wallpaper on the living room walls. It was already peeling, so we stripped it … only to discover that the walls underneath were dark red. You know, to match the pink ceilings (sadly, not kidding). Lots and lots of coats of paint later, the ceilings and trim are white and the walls are all Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter.

Living Room into dining room

The dining room originally had a two-tone effect with dark brown (again) on the lower half of the walls. With a new coat of paint and new blinds, the room is one of my favourites.

dining, antique
Dining room — no longer green and dark brown
kitchen, white, classic, island, ikea
kitchen — purple and green no longer!

Before, kitchen was all builder-grade melamine cabinets and peeling formica countertops. We gutted it, reworked the footprint and put in new appliances, and new granite (called New Azul Aran).

white, ikea, classic, kitchen
kitchen — all new

The built-ins in the family room are original and have been indispensable for storing the boys’ toys and books. I changed the handles to match those in the kitchen and removed a few doors to open it up.

family room, books, built in, hardwood, ikea
family room

The eating nook between the kitchen and family room was also originally dark purple.

kitchen, eating, nook
Nook

The master bedroom, like all the bedrooms, used to have wrinkled, stained carpet and pale green walls. This photo looks quite dark because there are 6 windows in the room that let in a LOT of light. It overlooks the garden, so the chairs in the bay window make a great spot to sit and enjoy the view (if we ever have a second!)

Master bedroom
nursery, baby,
nursery
bedroom

The boys’ bedrooms were originally painted bright blue and bright pink. Several coats of paint later, they are calm spaces for little ones.

playroom

This is only part of the playroom. We divided the large space over the garage into three “zones”: an exercise area, a TV spot and a play area. I’ve still not quite forgiven the person who gave the boys the drum set (!).

rec room

Finally, my desk, where I mostly write the blog and, soon once more, my academic work.

IMG_2677
My desk

It’s with a bit of sadness but a lot of hope for fresh beginning that we bid this house adieu.

Have you left a house you’ve put a lot of heart and soul into? If so, how did you prep your kids for the transition? I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

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