Gavin and I have bought our first home. All the party emojis!
Lauren and I were chatting about it over email and I jokingly called it ‘The Uncool House’. It’s a three bedroom semi-detached 1976 build in a well-established housing estate. Not the usual Instagrammer fodder. And to be honest, not exactly what I had in mind to buy either. But I’m in love with it. And I feel like we’ve made the perfect purchasing decision for us.
When we moved back from Australia and decided to buy, I had all the visions of a Victorian or Edwardian home with quirky character traits (stained glass window and strangely placed wall cupboards please!). In fact, most of our initial search covered this kind of much coveted home. But the only period properties we could truly afford in our area required renovation and that left us walking backwards with our hands in the air. Gavin’s not the most DIY of men and I just don’t have the patience for that investment with a four year old and a baby on the way. So we did something perhaps a little odd and wrote down the lifestyle that we wanted instead of the house we wanted. It turns out, a period property… Although stunning, just didn’t jam with our current priorities.
Here’s a peek into our deciding factors that lead to buying our 1976 semi.
Building Quality & Manageability
Gavin’s family own houses in and around our area so we know that they are solid, well-built houses. We had a rough idea of the history of the house owners and knew what were the original features of the build and what had been worked on. Obviously, there are often surprises and unwanted repairs etc. when buying any property, but we felt a bit more reassured to know the standard of the build and any impending works that would need to be done (like replacing the flat roof over the garage).
I am hella cold-blooded and require a room to be at the very least ambient temperature for me to be in any way comfortable. And even then I’ll have piled on the blankets and jumpers. All of the older properties we viewed were naturally cold. They would require some adjustment and/or a huge amount of money invested into a heating system to be warm enough for me. The house we have bought is small enough and has decent enough radiators that even during the snow, we’ve not had to have the heating on 24/7.
This was probably the second biggest deciding factor for me. I love the area. The estate is a mix of older folk and young families and everyone I’ve met so far is a gem. The local school that Ethan goes to is a 5 minute walk around the corner and has a great reputation. The motorways to both Edinburgh and Glasgow are just up the road meaning I can be in either within 45 mins. There are tons of close by national parks and beauty spots. And we’re rural enough to have plenty of country walks accessible from the end of our street, but urban enough to have supermarkets etc. within a 10 minute drive.
The biggest deciding factor for us was cost. We knew that the older properties we lusted after were excellent long-term investments, but any that we viewed required a lot of money, time, energy and attention invested in them. For a first house and a young family, this wasn’t the adventure we wanted to choose. We wanted a base. Somewhere we could afford to own and operate solely on one wage. Somewhere that we could afford to upgrade and maintain whilst still having time to spend with the kids. Somewhere with a low enough mortgage that we could travel, save and do other things with our time and money. Many years ago, just after the recession, Gavin and I put everything we had into clearing some debts we had mounted up in our 20s. That experience was hugely liberating and has left us both with a scrutinising nature about financial choices. So we try to operate well under our means where we can and realised that we wanted this for our mortgage too.
We simply felt like we didn’t need that much space. Some of the older houses we looked at were just beautiful in terms of layout and structure, but it did leave me wondering “What on earth would I put there?”. Having travelled and lived on the other side of the world for six years, we didn’t accumulate a ton of things. Yes, we have all the essentials and some treasured items, but the three bedroom semi-detached we’re in has more than enough space for us as it is. We’re not really ‘things’ people. So it seemed a bit silly to pay more for a bigger house, to then go and buy more stuff.
So that was the thinking that lead us to our current find, which we are so unbelievably happy with. I feel like this type of house is very underrepresented in the online world of blogs and Instagram. I have certainly struggled in the search for design inspiration for a 60s/70s build but my post next Monday will be more about our decor plans and a sharing of the inspiration I’ve found.
Do any of you live in a similar house?
I’m also in the market for some new interior decor Instagram accounts to follow for inspiration (not necessarily just for seventies builds), so if you have any absolute favourites, of any style, please wing them into the comments and I would be ever grateful!