Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Should we stay or should we go...?

We are a very lucky little family. We live in our favorite city, in a fantastic neighbourhood, with great schools and tons of free kids programs and loads of excellent adult entertainment (not the dirty kind), right next to public transit and surrounded by friends, in a beautifully renovated house that is the size  of a postage stamp.

We've lived in our wee little place for four years, and I have to admit that I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with it. All of the great things about our neighbourhood that I mentioned are 100% true, and count for a lot, but sometimes when we head out to visit friends in the suburbs, I get feeling pretty down about how huge and fresh and new their places are (more than one closet - are you serious!?), and how tiny and old ours is in comparison. I mean, our whole house is 11feet wide, that's small, right?

So with another member of the family on the way, we've been talking about our options when it comes to real estate. The problem with such a great city is that other people are also aware of how great it is, which means that buying a home here is beyond unaffordable. We are lucky to have our house, we'd probably need the intervention of a wish-granting leprechaun to find a larger one.

The other problem with such a fantastic city is that once you've lived here, it is pretty hard to think about leaving.  We've certainly been tempted by the giant spaces, ample closets and straightforward design of a home in the suburbs, but in a lot of ways, we feel like we'd end up further behind financially anyway. Adding a second car to our budget alone would be probably bank-breaking. Not to mention the mental toll living in a little box made out of ticky tacky might have on a certain, restless mummy. Not trying to knock the suburbs, I'm just not sure I'm cut out for it.

For the past couple of weeks, I've been meeting with contractors to work out whether there are some small adjustments that we can make to our little piece of land that would make room for the the three of us, plus baby makes four. I don't know if you've ever worked with a contractor/architect, but having having someone come into your space and talk about all of the ways to make it perrrfect is almost too exciting for me.

The scope of work that we started out talking about was enormous - we practically could have bought a whole other house and attached it to ours. As we've talked and thought and number crunched, we've arrived at a more moderate approach that we think is going to make our home just right as we expand into it. We've decided that we're committed to living in a small space - it's environmental and European - right? A win-win ;)

And I'm still super excited about it. We're going to be living in chaos for a while, but I'm hoping that it is the kind of chaos that ultimately makes life a little better (kind of like raising kids?).


  1. First of all, you should totally apply to be on Love It or List It! An old friend of mine slept with a guy 10 years ago who is now married to the blond assistant girl on the show. So basically I totally have an in for you!

    Also, it was funny reading this post since last week we were in Toronto and thinking about how all the ways that living there would be better than living in the 'burbs of Guelph. *Sigh. Grass is always greener, right?

  2. Also, I totally apologize since that comment seems completely inappropriate for a baby blog. :/

  3. Totally NOT inappropriate! Sleeping with people is how babies are made, so I see the connection to a baby blog. Plus, I would KILL to be on Love It or List It. I told a friend the other day that Chris and I are playing the "home version"... but it sounds like you could totally get us on ;)

  4. Just wanted to say hi! I'm new to commenting on here. I'm a friend of Randalin's (we used to live in the same building). I came across your blog through hers, actually. I'm always a bit shy about commenting on other people's blogs, but just wanted to say: a. it's really refreshing reading your blog (love your writing, your style, your sense of humour), b. um, I'm obsessed with love it or list it (it airs 4 times a day and I may have just started pvr-ing it, sad, I know.), and c. go for it! We live in Guelph too, and have just started a renovation of our own. We've got an 8 month old, Audrey, and plans for more, so we figured, why not? (Well, there's a lot of reasons why not for us, most to do with finances, but we've bit the bullet and started anyway, hoping it will be a good investment long-term to make this house more family friendly.) Can't wait to see what you guys get up to! Oh, and, congrats on your pregnancy!

  5. ps. by 'we live in Guelph, too' I meant as in, as with Randalin, we live in Guelph. I know you're city folk. Your neighbourhood sounds fantastic.

  6. Hi Michellenicole! I can't wait to start showing what we're doing around the house. The process of planning and organizing seems to take more time than the actual work, but we should be getting started over the Christmas holidays. I'm really glad you left a note, it is great to "meet" more blog friends - especially friends of Randalin!


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