So 12 days ago, after 6 months of offers and contracts and searches and management companies and freehold arrangements and stress and houses falling through, we finally, almost a year after we decided to do it, moved house.
After the endurance test that was the purchasing process, I thought the moving day itself would be a doddle. And in many ways it was – we completed just after 11am – but getting all our stuff (2,000 CDs, giant Italian sofa, 3 pairs of speakers, I dread to think how many books, dozens of framed prints and photos, 2 enormous cats, etcetera etcetera) out of a flat that was up three flights of narrowing Georgian stairs proved to be a mammoth task. The removal men arrived at quarter to 8 in the morning. We left our old street about 2pm, and the removal men left our new house, with an empty van, at quarter to 5. Today, 12 days later, they finally came and collected the cardboard boxes that have been cluttering our new space.
We also finally got a new sofa today, too – the giant Italian thing, that we saved for and wanted for ages, and loved dearly, was awkward to get in, and even more awkward to get out. Luckily our buyer was concerned about getting a new sofa in the flat, and we’d been pondering doing something different with the space in our new house. So we came to an agreement, and as well as our flat he bought our sofa. I threw in our awesome light shades for free. I suspect he’d have liked to buy the place furnished, almost.
Some 24 hours after getting the keys I had a bit of a panic that we’d done the wrong thing: after 5 years in our flat, which we’d bought freshly refurbished and very firmly put our stamp upon, I felt like we’d just dumped our belongings in someone else’s house. Em expected me to be the stoic, pragmatic one, and her to have the emotional wobble, but that wasn’t how it worked.
When I moved into new digs at university I always liked to get posters up, CDs and books out, as soon as possible, to make a space mine. I’ve essentially only ever lived at “home” (my parents house was bought when I was 6 months old, so I remember nowhere else), at university, and in our first flat, so I guess it’s not surprising that I’d fine transplanting our lives wholesale into another set of walls slightly unnerving. I put up as many of our pictures as I could, using the previous owners’ hooks and nails. Some of them seem to fit wonderfully well. Some of the others we’ll move in time. We have more walls now, too, so we’ll have to acquire more pictures.
The television is in the corner now, rather than in the middle. I like that. I think it will encourage us to read and talk and invite people around more, and watch downloaded American TV shows a little less.
We also have a proper, big dining table, bought second hand for about a seventh of what it should have cost new, and four new dining chairs; cheap, unofficial Eames DSWs (I don’t believe in paying £200 each for licensed proper versions, when these chairs were designed for mass-production, were meant to be utilitarian solutions for everyday people; so we picked up 4 for £160). And we have a big, proper kitchen, which takes a small table – we found an old yellow Formica-topped thing for £25.
We still have walls to paint, some more furniture to buy over the next couple of years, but we’re getting there. It’s amazing how quickly somewhere can feel like home.