Since graduating nursing school, I’ve lived in an apartment and spent my hard-earned money to have my own place. If you were to think about the money I spent on six years of rent, I’m sure it would be an astronomical numer, probably close to a down payment on a house. The positive is the independence it provided me and the discovery of what I liked and didn’t like in a living space. Beyond that, I had no idea what to expect from a house hunting/buying experience.
The single most important thing to me in any living space is an open floor plan. Since I spend most of my time in the kitchen on any given day, I cannot tolerate when the kitchen is walled off from the rest of the living space, not even by a pillar. As for Charles, a large garage is essential, because it would need to house not only his truck, but all of his tools and workbenches. Our “two car garage” at our apartment in Indy was only able to accommodate one of our vehicles (SURPRISE – it wasn’t my car), so we definitely wanted a more functional space wherever we settled.
The crazy part about our home buying experience is we almost didn’t look at the house we ended up falling in love with and buying. Why? Because Charles was convinced he wouldn’t be able to swing his truck into a side-entry garage.
For the sake of being thorough, we looked at the house anyway. Immediately, it started checking off all the boxes on our list. It had a large, three-car garage with eight foot garage doors and extra space for workbenches and tools for Charles; a large, open, functional kitchen (with white cabinets!) for me; no carpet; and it was three bedrooms, each with a bathroom (meaning plenty of space for storage and potential guests).
We looked at the house several times that evening – looking at details, talking it all out together, and really considering the possibility. The first time we looked, there was no kitchen back splash, but by the third time, it was tiled and grouted! There weren’t any lights in the house yet, so when we went back for the final time that night around 9, we were using our phone lights to look around.
The next afternoon, we met with the sales representative, Adrienne, to purchase the house we couldn’t stop thinking about. The great thing was we were able to customize a few things since the house wasn’t totally done yet. Charles widened the driveway and I got to pick out light fixtures and my washer, dryer, and kitchen appliances.
After returning to our regular lives in Indy for the following two months, Adrienne sent us weekly updates as the house was completed. All week long, we looked forward to the pictures she would send on Friday evenings.
Over the next two months, the driveway was put in (as wide as they would allow it), tile flooring was placed in the bedrooms (instead of carpet) so the floors were the same throughout the house, mirrors were placed and framed, my appliances and lights were installed, the landscaping was completed (after weeks and weeks of rain!), the shutters were put up, and finally, my washer and dryer arrived and were installed. Our house was ready for us to move in!
Now there was the event of actually moving.
Move-in day was a bit stressful, as we were driving from Tennessee to Florida (with two vehicles, a trailer, and two cats!), and had to make our final walk through and closing appointment at 4 pm. We left early and made good time, even though Twila had a bathroom emergency we had to stop for and clean up. After the walk through, we were finally able to unload and let the cats out. It was a relief to finally be there, in our new house.
For the first week, we had only what we packed in our vehicles and what we picked up from his parents’ house in Tennessee. It was only the essentials – cat food and litter, clothes for a week, toiletries, towels and bedding, tea kettle and coffee, cast iron pans, folding lawn chairs, all of my plants (of course), our four bikes, and cleaning supplies – so the house was quite barren for the first week.
The cats didn’t quite know what to do with all the space for the first couple of days, and if I’m being honest, neither did I. The house looked so big without any of our furniture or belongings in it. The good thing about this, though, was that we were able to decide exactly where we wanted everything to go before it arrived.
I remember eating meals while sitting on our fold-up lawn chairs at the kitchen island (which is a terrible eating height, if you were curious). We slept on a very uncomfortable air mattress the first night and then just blankets on the floor every other night after that.
The rest of our belongings arrived at the end of that week and we spent the following week unpacking and organizing everything. We’ve been in the house for almost a year now, and I kind of feel like we are still moving in. It’s a constant work in progress, one I hope to tackle in the near future. If only I could get over my fear of filling empty wall space…