Goodbye to Our First House

Anyone who knows me well knows I’m not great with change. I’m very sentimental and have trouble letting go of places and things that remind me of wonderful experiences!

At the end of March, we moved out of our very first house. The house we bought together just before we got married. The house we lived in when we brought both kids home from the hospital. The house that is filled with memories of friends playing croquet and beersbie in the huge backyard, as well as family staying with us from different countries.

We called it our box house.

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We were at a Superbowl party in early February (I actually had to Google which sporting event it was, how pathetic), and received a text from a realtor that someone was going to put a bid on our house. At this point it had been up for sale for five months and we’d only received one lowball offer and a bunch of helpful feedback along the lines of, “Your windows are ancient” or “Your shingles are peeling like scabs.” Then all of a sudden this realtor’s text came in saying, “My clients are super interested but you need to get out in 30 days.”

Up until then we hadn’t been that interested in selling, which is why we’d listed the house on our own rather than use a realtor. We were just testing the waters. We didn’t even have a FOR SALE sign on the front yard. So Trenton and I read the text, had some more beer, and then went home and read it again. We thought about whether we actually wanted to move.

We’d lived in our house for seven years. We LOVED our house. The only reason we were even considering selling it was because the house was in dire need of renovations. We needed to make a decision: stay or go.

As DIYers, Trenton and I had already put a lot of work into the house ourselves. We bought it in a private deal from the developer who transformed old military housing into an inner city suburb called Garrison Woods in 2001, and before us the house had been filled with renters. The grass in the backyard was burned away from dog pee and the walls and baseboards were dinged all over. We did ALL the landscaping in the backyard, including planting trees, digging gardens, painting the fence, and lowering the deck.

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We also did the following interior renovations ourselves:

  • retiled the guest bathroom, installed a new bathtub and vanity
  • retiled the ensuite, installed a new shower and vanity
  • ripped out the carpet on both staircases
  • ripped out carpet in the basement and replaced with laminate
  • painted walls, window trim, and baseboards
  • installed new shelving in closets
  • installed a stackable washer/dryer upstairs (this one I did not help with – it was all T and his dad as I watched the kiddos)
  • added crown mouldings in front entrance and replaced stippled ceiling with drywall

The people who bought our house had it professionally renovated, and last night we had an opportunity to walk through the finished product. It looks amazing. It made me happy to see our house transformed the way we knew it could be. (It also felt pretty good to see that they kept our bathroom renovations intact. Go us!)

The negotiations on the sale of our home were crazy easy. They asked for a quick possession, and we asked for close to list price. Now we live in a house that doesn’t require renovations any time soon–which will be a marriage saver with young kids–and it’s only seven blocks from our old neighbourhood, so sentimental me didn’t have to let go of all my favourite things, including the parks and river paths.

While it’s emotional to say goodbye to a house that has been your home for so long, we’re already making memories in our new home. I was a bit worried that Owen would be upset after taking the tour last night, but as we drove away he talked about how much he likes his new bedroom with the big window.

So farewell to our box house! You were good to us and we’ll cherish our memories with you always.

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