Three years ago this week, we swapped London for Suffolk and moved to our new home in the country.
It’s hardly a sensible house, chosen more with our hearts than our heads, but we do love living here.
When we were thinking of leaving London, I spent hours on property websites, but this was the house we kept clicking back to.
It was more than we wanted to spend. It was further from a station than we wanted to live. We weren’t sure about schools, one of our main reasons for moving. The upkeep – oh goodness, it was not going to be low cost living. But we still pored over the photos and details. I showed the listing to one of my friends, who described it as a “tea caddy house”, because it looked like it should be scaled down into a tea tin.
(And as a side note – if you’re ever thinking of selling your house, remember the power of good photography!)
When we came house hunting in a bleak February half term, we decided to get it out of our system.
We arranged a viewing so we could confront the reality rather than staring at photos and floorplans, acknowledge it wasn’t the house for us, and move on to more sensible prospects.
It didn’t work.
After my husband and I finished the viewing, we walked out onto the pavement, turned to each other and laughed. We did see a few more houses, trying to be rational and sensible, but nothing matched up.
It’s a Georgian house, with a 1790 date stone on the back. One of the strangest things is that it’s only one room thick. Think of a dolls house, and you’re pretty much there, just with a kitchen stuck on one side and a sitting room on the other at ground floor level. Most rooms have windows on two sides, so in summer light streams in as the sun moves round the house. We’re on a hill, with a street in front but views out back over the fields. In winter, the wind howls and the sash windows rattle as you add extra jumpers.
After the rollercoaster ride of selling our old house and buying a new one, we moved in early June. The sun shone, the roses smelled glorious and the house disappeared under a mountain of moving boxes.
I’ve been thinking of writing more posts about the process – finding a new house, the practicalities of buying and selling, realities of living in a listed building, challenges of moving to the country, managing money for a big move – so do let me know if you might be interested.
Three years on, there are boxes we still haven’t unpacked. We’ve only just redecorated the damp patch in the dining room – thankfully damp no longer. The bedroom carpet, stripped out on day one, still needs replacing.
But after the whirl of switching jobs, schools and surroundings, we’re finally more settled. Here’s to many years ahead in Hadleigh!