When Your Forever Home…..Isn’t.

Author: Charlotte O'Shea

Just over three years ago James and I sold our much loved Edwardian semi to buy a “project” cottage in a small rural hamlet in Warwickshire.

The cottage had already been extended in the 70’s, square footage wise it is generous: a large entrance hallway, utility, second reception room (that we use as a playroom) and a spacious kitchen/diner/living area. Upstairs we have a landing that mirrors the expanse of the hallway, four double bedrooms (one en-suite) and a family bathroom. In addition to this tick list we have a south west facing garden, lots of light, lovely neighbours and a huge double garage with loft. The village looks not unlike a chocolate box picture perfect postcard.

On paper, and for many of our friends that have visited, it is the dream family abode. When the sale went through I genuinely thought the impending renovations would result in a place we could call home for the foreseeable future.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when the doubt set in, but it was within the first few months of moving in. There were fundamental changes I had envisaged that were simply not possible. The downstairs ceiling height is low – not ridiculously so (my husband is 6ft 1 so we could never have bought somewhere which required multiple “mind your head” signs) but I had assumed we could do something miraculous with the floor joists that would at least add an extra few inches. Turns out we can’t. The upstairs windows are beautiful, but are very high up, and as I am a short arse, all I can see out of them are treetops. James’s view is distinctly more appealing (I know because I’ve stood on a chair/tottered about in skyscraper heels to experience the significant improvement of being temporarily leggy). There are various other first-world-problem aesthetics that I could bore you with but the decision to put the cottage on the market has eventually come down to two reasons:

1. It doesn’t feel right. It never has if I’m really honest. Turns out I appreciate the appeal of a cottage, but I don’t enjoy living in one.

2. We have hit ceiling on the value based on the renovations we have already carried out. This came as a surprise, any further expansion could result in us at least making the investment back but it’s not guaranteed, and we certainly wouldn’t make a profit. Thus it would be only worth the time and effort if we were planning on staying for some time.

In 3 years we have made just over 100K profit. This is a calculation based on what we have sold the property for minus the purchase price, renovation costs, legal fees and stamp duty. This is only my third “cosmetic” renovation (by that I mean no major build/extension work) so I’m by no means an expert, but I have learnt an awful lot about what small (often relatively inexpensive) improvements can have a significant impact on saleability. I don’t regret the move as such, it has certainly been worth it in terms of finding Mabel a lovely school and the confidence it has given me to potentially take on another project.

It makes financial sense for us to move on and move up the property ladder, rather than add on/endeavour to make the cottage work for us. So that’s what we are doing. Wish us luck…our requirements are quite extensive. We would be Kirsty and Phil’s worst bloody nightmare.

I am really interested (also see nosey) when it comes to renovations in general: my favourite sections of interior magazines is where you can see the house before and after and they give you the exact costings so you can see how much money they have made. Perhaps this is something we can look into featuring on Rock My Style? Not so much house tours in a “Barbara has excellent taste in marble counter tops” fashion, more of a hints/tips/this is what I spent/saved/made/designed to make my property more desirable/maximise profit.

Have you ever moved into “the one” only to discover it isn’t?

Do you know what I mean by feel? it has never felt like my home. I find it challenging to explain eloquently exactly what I mean.

In other news, it turns out we are open to a new build – I never thought we would be, but over the weekend we saw a bespoke detached property that was part of an overall conversion of a convent. Even though it wasn’t quite right for us location wise, it was a beautiful family home.

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60 thoughts on “When Your Forever Home…..Isn’t.

  1. You most definitely need the feel in your home or the potential of the feel, home is pretty much everything.

    We think about moving on. Can I ask how you found the rural location? Are you looking for another rural property or something a bit closer to the action as it were. Though I love the idea of idyllic countryside living I like having amenities within walking distance.

    Schools is another thing impacting ‘to move or not to move’, my daughter is settled in a lovely school and I’m not sure how I’d feeling moving her to another school for the dream home. How are you managing the school thing?

    1. Home is pretty much everything Anna, nail on head. We are looking at a “surrounding area” that ideally means Male would still be able to go to her current school. She’s really happy there so I’m not keen on moving her. That’s not to say I wouldn’t consider it if the right house came up that was also near to a good school. Our village is in quite a rural setting but we have a really great town just a few miles away….having said that you have to get in the car for everything, and I too would at least like a shop/pub within walking distance. Good luck with your move, it’s a challenging process x

  2. Sounds dreamy but no need to stay because you’ll have lost a lot of money. I’d really like to know what you did to increase the value by so much? Can you link to any previous blogs you’ve done on this? My OH is keen for us to get a house we can add value to but my dad is insistent that doesn’t happen any more, the market isn’t like that anymore.

    I have sold my first home and we’ve moved 450 miles north to Glasgow. We’re renting whilst we settle in and figure out where to buy. We are in a dreamy period listed terrace flat in the west end, but it’s actually so big it doesn’t feel homely! The living room especially, it’s not ours and we’re not staying for longer than a year so can’t do much about it but the lounge feels like a ball room and due to awkward windows it just doesn’t feel cosy or homely. I’m going to remember this when we view houses! Plus it has an en-suite without a window and I hate it, no privacy or ventilation for you know, my routine!

    I’ve always hoped RMS might start doing a ping back link to blogs published on that day in previous years, so I’ve got more to read!

    1. Hi Bunny, I haven’t personally written about my experience no – never really felt qualified to do so to be honest! But I can definitely work on a feature that has my top tips/details of what I’ve done. I think you can add value/make money – but it has to be the right property in the right location. Our last property we set a “president” for Edwardian semis in the area according to the Estate Agents, we were there for some years so there was also a general increase in property value to be accounted for, but the changes we made made the most of the space etc. One guy who wanted the house was so rude when he was out bid “Well it’s not worth that, it’s just because it’s a PINTEREST house!!!” Ok then mate, whatever, but I’ll take my extra 40K and see you…never 🤷🏼‍♀️👋🏻 I actually think a ballroom sounds great (!) but appreciate it doesn’t feel right for you. The ping back is a great idea! x

  3. I personally would love to hear more about the small relatively inexpensive improvements you’ve made that have increased your house value. I used to think that improving a property meant significant outlay, but it seems not!

    Also, I’m with you, it’s always a ‘feeling’. Home, work, kids, all decisions and moves come down to a gut feeling if it’s right or wrong. Sometimes I can try to be over logical about things, but ultimately it has to feel right, no matter how it looks on paper.

    1. I have tried to be logical about our house – tick boxes only get you so far though don’t they. I have never once walked through the door and thought “Ahh it’s good to be home in this house” where as it was just a given in our last place. I need to wrote a few home improvement features babes!

  4. I would really love to hear more about inexpensive changes you can make to your home to improve its saleability. I am desperately hoping that with the possibility of a new job, we will be able to sell our first home which we have already made a £50k profit on and our neighbour’s house that is almost the exact same layout to us has sold for what they wanted; but I know our house isn’t as ‘instagrammable’ as theirs as they have no children and so everything is sleek and grey. I’d quite like to know what are the best and inexpensive ways without investing too much time & effort simply as we don’t have it! I’m excited to see your next home! X

    1. Good luck with the new move and job S! Keeping our house tidy for viewings would have been quite the challenge (!) so we decided on an “open day” – this meant we could get it all in order but only have to do it once….then perhaps a few more times for second viewings (we haven’t had to do this as someone has offered the asking price from the open day). 50K is great, do you have any budget/time for improvements? let me know as it will help with my costings/ideas feature x

  5. We’re in a very similar position. We bought our wee two up, two down terrace in an unfashionable bit of London with the intention of doing it up (needed literally everything doing to it), converting the attic and then living in it forever. We completed the doing it up part but are now looking to move on.

    We’re a little different to you in that we still love our home and would carry out our original intentions if our plans fall through but due to some complicated factors, we are looking to buy a home for our little family plus my parents. If you think you have extensive requirements… I absolutely know what you mean about feeling too. I have tried to be head over heart in our current house hunt but after deciding we were going to offer on a house that on paper made a lot of sense but I didn’t especially like, I felt really depressed about the prospect that night, even though I’ve generally been very positive about the change. I was more relieved than I would have imagined when the offer fell apart.

    The relatively small things do make a big impact when it comes back round to selling, we have found as well. Just updating decor makes a massive difference. Our hallway/living room had a diagonally wood panelled wall, varnished to a high sheen; I am not exaggerating when I say you could see your reflection in it. We demolished that, exposed the brick wall and painted a clear sealant over it. Oftem it’s one of the first things agents and potential buyers comment on (positively!), all for the cost of the sealant, a crowbar and making my brother dinner in return for helping out.

    1. The exposed brick sounds fantastic Kat! and I really feel for you with regards the difficulty in finding a new home – especially if you love your current house and have spent so much time renovating. I’m confident we will both find something that’s right – as you mention, staying positive is key. I really battled with my own confused mind when I was on maternity leave and then working from home…spending so much time in a house that felt like someone else’s. I’m glad you didn’t go through with the purchase that didn’t;t fee right, I have everything crossed for you. nd if you would like to share your decorating tips/ideas then we would love to have you!

  6. I’ve decided I’m against ever moving to a “forever” home mainly because I think it puts way too much pressure on everyone! My husband isn’t pleased to hear this as he hates moving. 😂 We currently have small children and we moved into a house that works brilliantly at this point in our lives – but I can already foresee issues as we all grow (it’s a large house, over 250sqm, BUT the four bedrooms are wildly different sizes and I can foresee squabbles between our kids as to who gets which room). I honestly think you can buy a house that works for you and is right for you right now without having to imagine if it’s going to still work for you in 20 years. Also isn’t living in a house kinda like buying a new pair of jeans – it isn’t till you’ve worn them a lot (and washed them!) that you can see if they’re gonna really work for you.

    The only caveat to this is, of course, cost of moving. That’s amazing that you’ve managed to add so much value to your current place and I would love to hear more about this! We have done all the “big” renovations (new kitchen, utility room) but anything inexpensive but effective sounds fabulous!

    1. “Also isn’t living in a house kinda like buying a new pair of jeans – it isn’t till you’ve worn them a lot (and washed them!) that you can see if they’re gonna really work for you.”
      Best analogy ever…

    2. I agree Kate, I think those that find a forever home are very lucky indeed, and in the minority! Interesting that you mention the bedroom thing – a house we recently saw had 5 bedrooms – two on the third floor both with their own ensuite. Both James and I said “These would be PERFECT for Mabel and Iris when they are teenagers……” But hang on, what about the decade before that?! Does it work for NOW? No……your priorities do change. And the cost of moving is an arse. This was a consideration when we decided on doing the extension or not – the stamp we will have to pay will be similar, so it’s all back and forth with where the ££ is best spent.

  7. Ooh I would love a before and after feature on RMS, with all the nosy budget details. It frustrates when on insta / magazines you don’t know how much they’re spending / how they are financing it. Hard to know whether it’s attainable or not. It’s so refreshing when people open up about their budget. Philippa @forestviewhouse (who I followed through here actually), has been super open and helpful with this stuff. And her home is looking so beaut.

    We sold our house last summer that we’d been in for 3 years and made cosmetic upgrades to. We made £50k, the house was at the lower end of the market, and we spent about £10k on improvements (new kitchen, bathroom cosmetic upgrade, new floors, got rid of artex ceilings, new patio). We’re in Scotland so slightly different buying process up here but it definitely makes a big difference in how you dress the house in terms of attracting higher ‘offers over’ bids. We had a number of offers that were also wanting to purchase our decorative accessories – right down to the cushions and the logs in the fireplace!

    Now we’ve bought a bigger project, and have just submitted plans for a full internal remodel. We have no idea what we’re doing really and are just finding out as we go/asking lots of people on Instagram for advice! Would be happy to document our journey if you do decide to do that feature!

    1. Becs this sounds amazing! Please do send us in whatever you have/want to – charlotte@rockmystyle.co.uk I love Pippa’s house, it’s so refreshing, I find most interiors very “samey” on social generally, nice and everything but just mirrors of each other rather than any unique personality. I think Scotland have got it right – the issues we have here with chains and people pulling out…it’s expensive and stressful.

      I like to know about the pounds and the pence…otherwise what’s the point? x

  8. I could have written this… we actually moved the exact same day as you (to our “forever home) as I remember commenting at the time. We did everything we could to buy it as I thought it was the only place I could imagine bringing up our kids. It’s an absolutely picture perfect cottage too and we have actually done the big extension… but I feel exactly the same. To the point that we’ve given ourselves another 12 months to consider. I moved so much as I child that I thought I wanted the forever home for my kids, but I actually love moving (and high ceilings!) Stamp duty does scare me though so I don’t think we can have too many moves ahead of us but I certainly wouldn’t pile any pressure to make any future home the forever home…

    1. Oh Jen I feel for you, I’m so sorry it hasn’t worked out for you either. I put a lot of pressure on myself as we had had a few properties not work out and we wanted another baby/needed more space. Sometimes you just convince yourself, I know I bloody did. Here’s to high ceilings and finding the “next” one, not necessarily the forever one!

      1. You think you will make £100k on this property? I don’t mean to sound like a negative bunny but that’s a tremendously privileged position to be in.

        1. Hi Lucy, we have already made 100K – did you read the post? it does explain how this calculation was made. My husband and I have taken on various property projects over the years and made a profit. Lots of people choose to take on projects outside of their “day” job for financial gain/something they enjoy doing – this to an extent is ours. And no I don’t take your comment as negative, we put in a lot of time and effort whilst juggling a new baby to transform the house and the outcome has been worth it.

  9. Oh I so understand where you are coming from. We live in London, it was never our forever home but we thought we would do some renovations on the rundown shoebox we bought (and have done half), then escape to the countryside. We found an amazing house about a year ago by accident (well, I say by accident, I was on Rightmove having a nosey around not expecting to find anything…) and honestly, the house is incredible. We put an offer in, spent four months finally agreeing a price, solicitors involved, accepted an offer on ours… Fast forward 5 months and the woman selling the amazing house turns out to be a nightmare (and would remain a neighbour, it’s complicated), she pulled out, came back, argued over what would and wouldn’t be included (despite previously agreeing), and then put it back on the market on Christmas Eve and jacked up the price. Suffice to say we walked away at that point. It was heartbreaking but on reflection we have realised it wasn’t the one and never could have been the one, despite first impressions telling us otherwise. Then I found another house this week, oops!! Totally different location but similar sized house with all the period features, but no neighbour issues (from first impressions anyway!). My husband refuses to consider it, I understand after all the issues we have been through he can’t face it. So we will convert the loft in our shoebox instead to maximise the value, and hang around for another couple of years while our eldest starts school before looking for pastures new. House buying, and the pressure of finding “the one”, is such a tricky thing. Wishing you all the best in your hunt for the new one – and well done for making a great profit in the one that turned out not to be “the one”! I think the most important thing is to realise the mistake and not stay there feeling unhappy, it is great to have that clarity to move on, quite literally.

    1. Annie sounds as though you dodged a bullet there, some sellers are absolute dickheads, we had it once and didn’t go through with that purchase either. He had a hot tub in the garden that he wanted to charge us for…that we didn’t want….and so it went on. And it is great to finally have clarity and move on – I feel a huge weight had been lifted already. I would love to hear more about your loft conversion!

      1. Oh man. What is it about some sellers?!! More than happy to witter on about the loft conversion (or the kitchen extension we did about 4 years ago) if of interest. Although I feel I need to caveat both with a big London sticker as I find it distorts everything somewhat (mainly prices, but also what people want to do in the space to a certain extent). The loft will add 2 bedrooms, a small office and a kids bathroom. And we will convert a bedroom on the first floor into a master bathroom as the only other bathroom is minuscule. Busily ordering every single paint card and tile sample as we speak 🙂

  10. I would love some posts about renovating etc, we are planning an extension and would love some tips and money saving tricks! Good luck with your house hunt x

    1. Thanks Jane, there seems to be lots of our generous readers in the comments keen to share their experiences too!

  11. This is such a good honest post.

    As you know, we finally moved into the barn in September after 3 years of build. It still feels magical waking up there everyday, but there’s no way I am as dogmatic about it being a forever home now- I can see it as a real place not a dream and while I would be sad to move elsewhere it might not always be right. And that’s ok! Forever is a bloody long time! Good luck with your search and if you want a barn before and after post shout xx

    1. Lucy I would love a barn before and after post! and describing it as magical is just perfect….combined with the fact you are being so practical about the longevity aspect.

  12. I hope you found your forever home soon Charlotte, I completely get the feeling, I definitely got it with the flat we live in now, the gorgeous big sash windows and original fireplace, spacious bedrooms and living room. However, our family has grown to a 3 and we would like number 4 in the next couple of years so we have made the decision to move so that Ivy can have a garden to run round with any future siblings and also we want a more family friendly kitchen/dining space. We have sold ours and have had an offer accepted on a house but we have had to compromise on bedroom space and will be looking for clever storage ideas and potentially doing a loft conversion in the future to ensure we stay there for a long time. Any tips that you have would be fantastic, so please write a blog on this and I am also a sucker for before and afters and costs/budgets.
    Good luck with your move!

    1. Thanks Becci! Sash windows are the dream! and that’s the thing…..I get so caught up in what I think I want sometimes I don’t actually bloody know what is the right decision. So happy to hear you have found a house x

  13. Hey Charlotte
    You are not the only one who has discovered the forever home turns out not to be ‘the one’. 🤷🏻‍♀️ Least you have realised and made the decision to move on, esp once you get over the guilts! I have the same issue. Long story short. Pan lids arrive, no grandparents to help, work commute logistics hit when school was looming. We took equity out of one property to purchase a Georgian villa, close to HS1 and school run. Winner winner chicken dinner…. relax… but not to be. It feels like we a renting, temporary living here whilst dragging the house (i have never called it home) into a gorgeous place to live.. and it is.. i will send you the before/afters.. its just not for me which means we are cutting costs on renvating, sourcing similar cheaper…but not scrimping on style.. we love doing up properties but I also still want a forever home… new build y’say… hmmmm..Xx

    1. Jo A Georgian Villa is THE DREAM….so it’s so interesting to hear it’s not yours. Honestly these post comments have been so useful! And it isn’t the house/type of house in the end is it, it’s whether or not it feels right. I would love to see before and afters and hear about how you are styling on a budget charlotte@rockmystyle.co.uk

      On the new build front, after doing a lot of cosmetic work half of me just wants to have a rest for few years and not have to think about it! I crave new and shiny and zero dust (!)

  14. Please do write something, that sounds really interesting!

    I thought when we moved into our current house that we’d be here about 15 years, until the kids have done with school because it seemed to fix everything that was wrong with our last house! But the little things niggle at me: its semi detached (with noisy neighbors) and I now know that I want to add a larger garden again to my list of dream house criteria (and I dream of a playroom but that’s probably dreaming). Living here has refined the list of must haves a bit and I love our village, so realistically, I’m always on the hunt for one of maybe 6 houses in our current village which makes moving a little more difficult.
    We have a loft conversion starting soon as our route to add value/ space and I have my fingers crossed at some point the stars will align in the next five years and we’ll have a house ready to sell at the same time as a better house in this location comes up for sale.

    1. Hannah it’s positive that you want to stay in the same village – have you put postcards through doors? You never know – we are going to do exactly that. What’s the worst that can happen, you just don’t hear anything. That’s what I’ve told James anyway! I’m fascinated by all of these loft conversions, it’s not something I’ve ever looked into.

  15. We moved into a new build I didn’t think would feel like home (it ticked all boxes, perfect location, husband loved it but I wanted character and quirks) and four years in I never ever want to leave! So funny what we think we want and what we really ‘feel’ can be so different sometimes.

    1. Jo this is so good to hear! I’ve seen a mega new build that we both LOVE but location wise it’s just too far out for James’s commute. What is it you love the most about it? I miss the quirks from my old house – fireplaces etc, but Im confident I could create interesting spaces wherever.

      1. It is warm and easier/cheaper to heat! Doing cosmetic work is easy as you don’t start uncovering the layers of problems in an older house that has been touched and modified by many hands before you. Our rooms are large ‘square’ spaces and I thought I would find that boring but actually with kids under foot and friends round a lot it really works. More suited to how modern life actually works I guess.
        It can take big statement pieces like a large concrete table nicely too I’ve discovered! I have added patterned tiles/curtains to help add some of my more art deco aesthetic back in and it has worked to soften it.
        Good luck with the search!

        1. I agree on square rooms, so much more scope for statement furniture, I covet a large square living room in particular x

  16. Our house is by no means perfect (odd layout downstairs, mirrored wardrobes and spotlights everywhere, extremely dated bathroom…) and I hate the idea of ‘forever homes’ as they feel like a much bigger commitment that I want to make! But with all those moans, I do really feel at home there even with the things that I would like to change so we’re planning to renovate in a couple of years (when our mortgage is up for renewal) rather than move.
    It’s an easy, if slightly dull, place to live as it’s a typical commuter town. But it’s only a 5 minute train to Glasgow if I want somewhere more exciting and now we have children and work out of the house 4 days a week, I want easy rather than exciting!

    1. Hi Linsey! Love your avatar! I’m not looking for exciting either, just comfortable…..and to “feel” at home. But stuff to do/see near by would be a plus. I’m with you on the spotlights – we haven’t changed those, all over the kitchen, lounge and downstairs hallway. I rarely put them “on” and use lamps/additional lighting instead. Also, Glasgow is one of my favourite cities x

    2. Linsey where are you living, do you have an insta? We have relocated to Dowanhill in the west end as we work out where to buy. We don’t want city living but I think I’d still like some amenities. Although friends have bought a complete project in Balfron with views to die for and my heartstrings are being pulled!

  17. Good luck with move Charlotte! And the same to all those in similar situations based on the comments! Your mention of be builds immediately made me think of Mrs_Macs_Home in Insta. It’s amazing what shutters & panelling can do for a new build! After our rear extension I totally know what you mean about new & shiny & no dust but for us the loft conversion is looming. We will have to sacrifice a teeny 3rd bedroom (1930s semi so bed rm 3 is practically a cupboard!) and bedroom 4 is actually our downstairs office so who knows if it will always be right. Would love to hear more about the work you’ve done so far, and the the new house of course! X

    1. Amy I’ve just followed Mrs Macs home on your recommendation – so interesting, I will have a proper nose later. Good luck with your loft conversion! and I will be compiling a feature soon – lots of great submissions coming via the comment too!

  18. We have moved to the ‘stepping stone’ home as I like to call it and remind my husband regularly which he loves(!). Our first two bed terrace was a complete gut-job and we loved it. We were so so sad to leave…first words to each other in the new house were ‘what have we done’! But we are nearing the end of a major renovation job on the new one so hopefully it’ll feel like home soon. But in choosing this house, we did go head over heart especially with two small children and working full time, the pull of grandparents / babysitters on tap was too strong! One day we’ll get that rural dream, maybe a self build!

    Posts on hints / tips and money on house renovating / updating would be great and something a bit different to another instagram interior! Happy to share our stories as we pushed the ceiling price on our old street which the husband is quite proud of!! But the two projects we have taken on are quite different to each other which has been a learning curve even though we felt quite experienced taking on the second project, changes in life circumstances (read children) made the two experiences very different!!

    1. Sarah I would love the challenge of a self build, although with two young kids it might just push me over the edge 😂

      Sometimes head over heart is right for that particular time – grandparents on tap sounds amazing. I would love for you to share your story! We too pushed the ceiling on our old house, even our Estate Agents were surprised at the bidding war that ensued. Well done you!

  19. Reading this I think we must have been very lucky. Our house is definitely the house I can see us raise our children and stay until they move out. Yes, it’s not perfect, it needs work, I’d like a higher garden and a porch and a second bathroom but overall it offers most of what we want and need. It certainly feels like home to us and that’s the most important thing. I do feel that there is a lot of pressure on people due to social media to find the perfect home that meets all the criteria- which is really quite ridiculous as most people won’t be able to afford that perfect style anyway. Or live like that if they have children.

    It must have been hard for you to accept that your place is not what you were looking for originally, I hope you find the next step on your house journey soon! And thanks for posting this 😀

    1. Maike I absolutely agree on the social media pressure – I’m lucky personally as it’s been so prevalent in building the business ie I associate it with algorithms and “work” (!) that I don’t see it as real/impressive/relevant to my out-of-work life at all, if that makes sense. I love a bit of inspiration as much as the next person but I tend to find that from places I go rather than things I see online. And you are right, it is unrealistic to find absolutely everything you want. Congratulations on finding a great fit for you and your family x

  20. You know my thoughts on all this Charlotte! ☺️I agree it’s all very well showing the styling and the pretty, we all love that for dream inspo but what’s really useful and much more rare is the nitty gritty, how, why and how much. I try to be as open as possible on my Instagram about all that because I know how massively helpful it is to others attempting the same and we’re all just trying to get along and do our best aren’t we?

    I’m really excited to see where you end up and follow how you make the next house a home. All the best ✨

    1. I find the actual nitty gritty so much more interesting than the styling – anyone can do the latter, not everyone can make a profit/create clever/beautiful spaces on a budget. I am on right move twice a day every day!

  21. We bought our forever home in 2013, plenty of room to grow into with our family, a utility room the size of a kitchen, parts of the house dating back to 1850, mature garden, village location. But it turned out the damp, mould, cracks and general maintenance was just too much for us to cope with, coupled with living on a bus route and not knowing anyone in the village because we didn’t work or socialise there, so we left three years later. We we looked round our 4 bed new build I instantly got the feeling. It’s so much smaller, zero character, but it’s what we need for now and allows me to focus my time and attention on the kids and not whether the walls are going to crumble. I would never use the term ‘forever home’ again as it puts too much pressure on. This is our ‘for now’ home.

    1. Natalie this was so interesting thank you. And I absolutely agree, especially after reading all of the feedback on this post – perhaps it is never your “forever” home, and just the house that suits your needs for that particular time. I like our village, and I would consider staying if the right house became available but it’s very unlikely. I’m glad to hear you are happy where you are x

  22. Congratulations on the sale Charlotte! Your house is beautiful but I totally get it not feeling right to you. I’m looking forward to reading all about your next house including all the nitty gritty bits. I find them the most exciting especially if it involves knocking walls down ala George Clarke!

    I don’t believe you can ever say a house is a forever home as you never know what may happen in your life. We bought a compromise house back a few years ago (size over location argh!) and I knew it was wrong before we even completed but I thought I’d feel different once we were in. I didn’t. It never felt like home and always felt like someone else’s house. If anything broke, instead of acting rationally, I’d go off on a rant about how much I hated the area and hated the house. It made my husband and I miserable.

    We finally found a house and location we loved 3 years ago. It’s in a beautiful village location but still with great communication links for work, open plan so ideal for a growing family and somewhere that we have slowly been making our mark (time, money, young children etc!). However, we were broken into very recently and one of our cars was stolen. We heard them downstairs but luckily our two young children stayed asleep. We’re now in a position where this ‘perfect house’ and location that we thought would be safe for bringing up our children isn’t perfect anymore. In fact our dream has been completely sabotaged and we don’t know if we’ll ever feel happy there again. Just when we thought we’d found the right house!

    1. Oh Anna I’m so sorry to hear this. And I have been the same whilst living here – the smallest thing makes me negative and stroppy and I’m not like that as a person generally (promise!) but I think “living” somewhere you can’t call “home” for any length of time will take its toll. It did on me. With regards the break in, exactly the same happened to us in our last house – it took some months to get over it, but we realised it could happen anywhere at any time. More so in affluent areas – they want the expensive/saleable cars. I honestly think it would be worth seeing how you feel, I eventually got to a stage I didn’t think about it at all and we were only broken into that one time in 10 years. I’ve got my fingers crossed it is the right house for you x

      1. Oh gosh I had no idea you were broken into! Thank you so much for the advice. It really helps to hear from people who have been through the same. I guess we need to take each day as it comes. We live just down the road from your old house and unfortunately it seems like the area, not surprisingly, attracts the thieves. Best of luck x

  23. So interesting. I’ve never particularly liked our 1830s beamed extended cottage either. It needs a rejiggle and neither husband or I can manage it with 2 kids and 2 full time (and the rest) jobs. The thing with ours is that it has potential – we have enough bathrooms and enough bedrooms and a lot of versatile living space for the kids now until they move out. The people who lived here before us were here 30 years, the people before them 50 years. Our neighbours have all been here for 40 or 50 years. Houses never come up for sale so it was a bit of a fluke. The location is great, we are on the edge of a Town and we are a 2 minute drive from the Peak District.

    Things we didn’t think about were how much work needed doing and how hard it is to find anyone to do it. The garden is practically another full time job in summer. Just mowing the lawns takes 4 hours (although I swear my husband does it slowly listening to pod casts for some down time).

    We are trying to do two rooms a year. I have no problem with actually getting stuff DONE. I am just really REALLY bad at faffing. None of the rooms have been properly finished because I can’t find EXACTLY what I am looking for

    Off to follow Phillipa on IG

    1. Yep same Rebecca – I can’t do something for the sake of it/because it needs it unless I am 100% sure it will be right. So stuff just gets left. For years.

  24. Hi
    Extremely interested in the hints/tips to maximise profit features!

    We purchased our first house 5 years ago, I thought it could be ‘the one’. It has however given us ridiculously high expectations. While only being a 3 bed, it’s massive, spacious and light with huge windows everywhere.
    We’ve done some redecoration jobs and converted some of the space in to an annex for my parents to use when they’re not in Spain, but it turns out they’re using it for 6 weeks of the year (such a waste of a space & it’s too full of their junk to Airbnb).
    Now I’ve fallen out of love with the house, I just doesn’t feel right anymore. It’s stuck in the middle of town and its way too big to be honest, it needs a family to love it and live in it, not just a couple & a dog.
    We (husband & me) now desperately want to move to the countryside, in the middle of nowhere with woodland walks on the doorstep. Most of all we want to build our own home, taking all the things we love about our current house and creating something perfect for us (still with potential for an annex).
    My parents on the other hand cannot understand why we’d want to move or self-build! I think there’s going to be some tough conversations in the future, but we can’t put it off just for them so i’m certain we’ll find a solution.

    1. Victoria it is very generous to offer your parents space for when they are in the UK. But ultimately you and your husband should be happy – it’s your house, not anyone elses. I would also love to try a self build – but perhaps not with the children still so little. Part of my husbands company buys land so he is always half on the lookout for the perfect plot!

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