Our moving story & open house

Our house has been a serious labor of love.  When we found it, I was in love.  And I still am. 
...Which is why our move is so crazy.

But here's our story:

4 years ago, my husband (Dave) & I sold the townhouse that we'd bought as newlyweds at the height of the market... for a huge loss.  We moved into my parents' basement to recup & soon after, I started this blog.  I had just gotten my design business going & my mom generously babysat for our then-one-year old (Christian) so I could meet with clients and work.  Living with my parents was actually pretty awesome (free babysitting, good food, quick runs out to the movies while the baby was sleeping, getting to be with my little sister who lived there-  she's 15 years younger than me) .. but all we thought about was buying our own house again.  It felt like such a longshot.  

 {our basement family room}

Here I was designing houses for other people and I couldn't even afford my own.  We did as much as we could with our basement & would peruse real estate listings frequently.  Sometimes it depressed us & other times it got us dreaming about the future. 

We decided to start taking some drives with an agent and I started sharing the houses we were looking at... And in this area, it wasn't much.  Some of the houses actually scared my parents because they were so unlivable, but we saw potential in them.  My parents talk about how I looked over the yard of a ramshackle 836 square foot house with tears in my eyes because I thought it was so great & could picture our family there.  hahahah  

I thought about what we could do with the wrecks and how we could make them work. 

We finally find our house and I remember when I first saw the online listing...  I saw a living room wall of windows and so much green outside of the windows. 

 It was contemporary, which was a big change for me, but I was excited.  It had been on the market for 4 years and my husband drove by it one day after work and said it was in a culdesac and was actually surround by trees.   We went to see it with our agent.  It was the first house we looked at that day and we looked at 18 others but once I'd seen it, I just knew.  After that, we weren't interested in the center hall colonials we were seeing, we wanted the split foyer!!


I knew it wasn't pretty.
And that it was creepy.

Family members told us not to buy it and our agents weren't very keen on it either...  but we were set on it.

After begging & wrestling the house from the original owners (They bought in the 70s) we were thrilled to move in & start making it ours. 


I chronicled all of our projects in this blog showing you probably waaaaaay too many photos of the minute changes we'd make.  We've been in Heaven fixing this place up & making it perfect for our family.  We love the neighborhood and our town and pictured ourselves living here for years to come.

..Still I perused the real estate listings out of curiosity and always with a tiny hope in the back of my mind that I might find something we loved & something we could afford right near my mom.  

It was while checking out listings for one town that a listing in another town oddly popped up on my search engine and it intriqued me.  I was sitting in the back seat of our minivan holding the pacifier in baby Luke's mouth on the way home from the beach andI read the house's description aloud to Dave as he drove. 

We were laughing as I read more & more and it just sounded to perfect for us.  (me- "2 car garage."  him- "SOLD.")

I tried to understand the floorplan and figure out which rooms were where and how many rooms there were.  (Was the rec room the same as the family room or was it actually another room??  I had to know it all.)

I jokingly texted my little sister who was also driving home from the beach a few miles behind us that she needed to tell our mom to be scared because we'd found a house we loved.  We were laughing and kidding but the laughs were insterspersed with "what ifs?" 

There was an open house the next day and we decided to go just for fun.  As we pulled up, we could see that it was packed with people and I told them from inside my car to "Get outta my house!"  (Don't worry, the car windows were closed.)  We walked in and this is what we saw:

{yes, that's actually tile up the wall.}

I loved it.

We walked around the house and yard over & over.  I wanted it but couldn't get over leaving our current house and town. 
Dave was down.  (Grandmother, if you're reading, that means "up for it" or "game." ;)

I stayed at the open house almost the entire time & tried to work out ways to remedy the floorplan and make it better.  (All while trying to keep our exhausted kids from running around like the maniacs that they are.)  I didn't feel like I could think of moving to the house until I could envision how we'd fix it.  I finally figured it out and was okay to leave so we could think.

We called our families & told them we were seriously considering it.
And then we seriously considered it.

The biggest con for me was (and is) leaving a place we've poured so much into and a town/ community that I love so much. We've FINALLY gotten our house exactly where we want it to be and what do we do?  We go looking at new houses.

Add a 5 year-old, a 2 year old and a newborn into the mix along with a home-based business that both I and my husband support the family off of and we're starting to sound insane. 

I know all of this.  I really do.

But somehow this house is calling to us.

We did pros & cons.  We prayed about it.  I stayed up at night reworking the floorplan and envisioning what life would be like there.  And if I'd be okay leaving.

Still unsure, we took another trip to see the house to see how it felt. 
And it felt right.

I suddenly felt that it would be okay to move on, to start a new chapter.

I see so much potential in this house and I've never seen my husband so excited about something this big before.  We talked and we decided we wanted to put in an offer.  We went over again with our fingers crossed as my parents saw the house and we waited to hear if our offer would be accepted.  Someone else had submitted an offer too and as we ate dinner with my family at a loud restaurant, we strained to hear the phone's ring, hoping it woud be good news.

We got a call: The owners were deliberating between the offers and wouldn't be getting back to us until the next day.
Try sleeping on that one.

I went to meet with clients the next day and Dave drove with the baby in the car so I could feed him before & after the meeting.  During the meeting, he got the call that our offer was accepted!!!

It was so surreal.

Our house is going on the market this weekend.  My other baby.

It's very bittersweet.   I love our house and our life here and I'm sad to leave.  Yet I am sooooo excited for a new place to make home.  This new house is challenging & different and I can't wait to stretch myself creatively a bit. 

The real estate photgrapher came in this weekend and it started to feel more real as I cleared off surfaces and depersonalized the house a bit.  Our agents are having an open house both Saturday and Sunday of this weekend, so if you're in the area and are interested, feel free to email them for details.  (but promise me, no judging!!!  ;)  ;)

I'll be back soon to share pic & plans of our new house!!

To read the blogpost from when I first revealed that we'd moved into my parents' basement .. click here .  I was  so embarrassed at the time and will never forget my now-friends who commented on that post and how their comments really did make me feel better.  It was one of the first times I realized what true  friends my  'blog friends ' really were.

To read about my plans for our current house before we bought it, click here  ...  Reading through it just made me teary now...  dreaming about the wisteria-covered pergola Dave would build me one day and that I now have.

To read about our last house purchase, go .here  Again, the comments from my blog friends helped us and I won't ever forget it. 

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.


Nat said...

Aww Lauren this is such a sweet post!! I agree then when a house feels right you have to go for it! I'm a real estate agent and I've loved following your transformation of the "unloved" house into your home and I cannot wait to see what you do to your next place! I live in Maryland and I can't tell you how many of my friends at some point or another have had to live with their parents to save money since this area is so expensive!

Joanna said...

I'm so excited for you, Lauren! Homes are so emotional, but you guys know what you love. I can't WAIT to see what you do with it. :)

LindsB said...

I am so, so happy and excited for you all at once- the new house sounds like a complete dream come true!! Ok, ok and to confess I'm also excited in a selfish way because I can’t WAIT to get the details and inspiration for each and every room in the new house. You have the best eye and talent for turning the plain old regular into the incredible. Honestly, when I see the room from your new place above I can totally picture all 3 of your boys playing in front of the fireplace surrounded by the most stunning space. All of which was designed and created by you.

So excited for you and your family Lauren!! xoxoxox

Carol@HouseandHomeDefined.com said...

Hi Lauren,good luck with this fantastic new phase. I remember how hard it was to leave our first house, having toiled so long and hard on it, too, but if it feels right, its time to move on! And, beware, once you move, you'll be wanting to do it again, just as you get the new digs just like you want them... :)

Becky said...

i love this post! and how exciting?!? i know you will have that house looking amazing in no time! i too recently took a huge gamble on a house recently and i'm finally (like within the past few days) starting to see it come together. can't wait to watch the progress :)

Erin said...

Great post. I really enjoyed reading about your journey from home to home. SO looking forward to seeing pix of the new house you're making a home!

ashley @ the handmade home said...

Hey Lauren! I just have to say I adore your style, and your home now, and totally get where you're coming from on every word. We have three kids as well, and we had our home on the market this last winter, but changed our minds at the last minute... I still have my eyes peeled for that fixer upper...good for you-so happy for y'all! I can't wait to follow along on your new adventure! ;}

alison g. said...

I can SO relate to how this house just found YOU! It happens. Especially to people who love homes like you (we) do.
I'm so excited for you, it gives me the giddies just thinking about it for you, because I'd be the SAME way!
Can't wait to share this new chapter with you!
Take Care,

mk square studio said...

Lauren, I am so happy and excited for you. I can't wait to see your plans for the new house.

Enjoy every bit of the process...your are a pro by now :)


classic • casual • home said...

Your home is where you are with your sweet family. I can't tell you how many times we have moved...it's all good in the end.

AngelaECS at Number Fifty-Three said...

Congratulations! That's such an exciting venture. I've always loved your posts about your current house and think the transformation was amazing. Can't wait to see your new project!


Meghan Stroebel said...

Congrats!! This is so exciting! xoxo

Erin said...

This is such a fuh post, Lauren, I'm so excited for you and can't wait to follow your journey. The best parts of life are almost always the twists and turns, huh? Congratulations!!

Erin @ Rare & Beautiful Treasures

Nancy said...

This is such a great post, and to really bare your soul, and let it out. I love that you can leave all that cause you love the new house MORE! I hope it's closer to me!
Congratulations, and best of luck with selling your house.

BaileyWife said...

ahh, starting over sounds so much fun, and so scary at the same time! Just like having a baby...love babies, but glad it isn't me! Good luck in this new venture and as readers of your blog, we are ALL so excited to be there with you on this journey!

barbara@hodge:podge said...

Sounds like it was meant to be. Darn too bad we don't live in Herndon anymore - I would LOVE to buy your home! Good luck with the selling and moving, it sounds exciting. It is nice to be close to family though, that is one of the reasons we decided to move back to western Canada. WE still miss our old Herndon neighbourhood dreadfully, but having my sister and parents close it fabulous!

You are going to have so much fun designing this new space - yay! Another place to work your magic!

Things That Inspire said...

Congratulations! Very exciting news, and I hope you sell your 'old' house very quickly!

I understand the attachment to a house that you have put blood, sweat, and tears into....but ultimately home is where your family is (and by family, not just you and your husband and the kids, but yor parents too), and the memories that you have from fixing up the old house can never be taken away from you, they will live on).

Best of luck with

Ira Kharchenko said...

I love the pics and the post!:)


Crystal (theweekendhomemaker.com) said...

I can so feel your emotion in this post. Good luck with selling your current house. You've done such a beautiful job, I'm sure it will sell quickly.

Amy @ Five Kinds of Happy said...

I'm so excited for you! The new place looks really interesting architecturally and I can't wait to see how you work it :)
I too browse real estate listings and mentally redo each one and try to work out the floorplan from the photos. Fun times!

Cherie said...

You will bless the new owners of your house soon to be on the market and they will fall in love with your house, because it is already filled with love. We moved from Florida to Idaho, with three kids (2, 3, and 10) at the time, an 11-day trip with U-haul no less. It was crazy crazy but we wanted to be back in the Northwest. Put our house on the market, two weeks after my husband accepted a new job, and left the third week. Took the house 6 months to sell and we had to rent until it did. The crazy bug can be a good one to have -- it creates an itch that challenges us to change and create. Settling down is an inside thing; we can be settled and alive with creativity, all at once. Home is an inside thing too.

eLIZabeth Floyd said...

Good luck with everything, the packing, the move, the selling, and then the settling in. I know you are making the best decision for your family, and by going with your gut reaction, it always works out!


Perfectly At Home, New England. said...

Such a great story! I can totally relate to moving away from a home you love! Good luck!


Acquired Objects said...

Aww Lauren, when you know something is right you know it's right, you'll always feel it. I can't really say I know what you're going through, I mean we've owned homes in diffent parts of the country but nothing ever said home to me until we bought this house and I knew I was home. I'm never leaving this house, I'm home and after putting my blood, sweat and tears into it, along with a truck load of money, I'm never leaving it I'm home!


younganddomestic said...

It sounds like you are making the right decision! Homes are emotional, and it should feel right. Good luck on your new adventure and I CANNOT wait to see more of the new house!

Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...

YAY! You react and make decisions so much like I do. This is all supposed to happen...moving on...loving where you came from. It all fits together beautifully. Like a fine puzzle in the end.

You will see.

Excited for you. Now...SHOW us the goods!


I am so excited for you guys! I know this will be an amazing journey!! I can't wait to see the new transformation!!! Congrats again
xo E

Miss Iris said...

Wow....very bittersweet. So exciting, but I am so sad...I will miss your house (it's as if we all have lived there with you through your blog). Congrats, can't wait to see what you do with the new house. I am sure it is going to be beyond brilliant. Xo

Windlost said...

lauren, i am so pleased and so proud of you. you are like my own cousin you know. i started reading your blog around the time you were looking at all those (creepy) houses and you totally won me over with all the heart you and dave had with those crappy houses. i started cheering for you and wishing you would find something wonderful. it is weird - like you were growing up right in front of me. it is like i knew you since you were a kid, which is what you get for living in your parent's basement and making me think you were like 18 years old or something...

too awesome. i cannot wait to see the new house and how you will transform it. i want to see all the rooms! take lots of before pictures. sometimes it is just "time" and i love when the universe delivers something beautiful and unplanned.

you can do it! :)

xo terri

Jennifer said...

I love this post! It really resonates with me right now, because we have a 4 month old boy, just put an offer in on our first house this morning and are waiting to hear back about it, and we'll be living with some friends for about 6 weeks before we move in to make everything work! I started reading your blog shortly after y'all moved into the current house, but had never read the posts you linked back to. I loved reading the posts from years ago, and thinking about how gorgeous your house looks now. I'm excited to see what you do with the new house!!!

Gina M. said...

This is so exciting! I live in Alexandria I'm going to try really hard to see your home before you leave! You've done such an amazing job with it! I really can't wait to see what you do with the new place.


JWK said...

Congrats on the new house!!! I can't wait to see the transformation. You are such an inspiration, especially to a renter like me!!!

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...


Congratulations on a new chapter in your life, business and blog. How wonderful to be moving closer to your family! What a wonderful thing for your children.

I am so excited to see all of the wonderful things you are going to be doing to the new house.

Good luck with your open house and sale!

decoratica said...

Hi Lauren,

I discovered your blog by the time you were moving to this house and was inmediately charmed by your style. You discovered me a new way to look at desing, fresh and organic.
It's been incredible to follow you through the years and see what you did for clients and how you designed for yourself in a budget, great experience! (I still have a crush with the room you did for the showhouse two years ago)
I sheldom comment on the blog, but just wanted to let you know how inspiring you are and wish you all the best in your new adventure that I can't wait to see on the blog!

Mike Larry said...

Rightly said in the blog, Love is the only thing that transforms the house into home. I love the pics that you have posted of your house. The important factor that I like about the home is greenery around the home. It makes the home and home mates fresh and lively. To buy such homes, visit us

Something Gorgeous said...

We just bought our 4th home which is the oldest so far. But we love the huge block and massive garden. The house is a huge lot of work but it felt right despite everyone thinking we were mad . It's our five year plan home and hopefully our last. But I never say never. If you don't have a plan , a project or a goal are you moving forward or standing still? G. X

Jen said...

Congratulations! We were in same boat 6 years ago with many people telling us not to buy our current house and we love it! You did such an amazing job with your house and I can't wait to see the changes you make to the new one. Good things are happening!

Low Tide High Style said...

When we first looked at this house it needed SO much work, and wasn't anything like the vision we had for a new house. Like you we had turned our old house into almost exactly what we wanted, doing something to nearly every room and to the yard during the 11 years we lived there...it was the longest we had ever lived in a house.

We lived in a great neighborhood, had wonderful friend there, one of my best friends from growing up even lived just down the street. We wondered if we were nuts to move to this house that needed so much work and imagination, out in the middle of nowhere, but I'm so glad we did. You are following your gut and I know you will create the house of your "new" dreams with this next house! We now joke that the worst day at this house is better than the best day at the old house.

Best of luck and I hope you have a quick sale for your current house!


Ruthie's Renewed Treasures said...

Awesome news Lauren! It's always fun to have new beginnings. I know you will pour your heart and soul into this house too! It looks incredible and love that Dave is so excited as well! You guys make a great team. I love how you keep it real. I'm sure you are getting little sleep but somehow you can do that when there is excitement! Yippee! Enjoy this season!

Beachgirl said...

So happy for you! I recently moved in with my mom to help her out with, well, life and so I'm starting to dream of when i can start looking for a place for myself!
As for the beach, well, I'm gonna be nosy - which one? I live in a coastal town in MD, maybe we'll be neighbors???
Good luck with everything, can't wait to see all the new ideas you come up with! You were one of my first blogs that I started to follow :-)

Holly Irwin Fine Art said...

Lauren, I'm excited for you and your family! Change is what keeps us fresh and young!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Congratulations!!! I love that double height living space. If you keep the wood stove though you will need to have tile or something non flamable behind it unfortunately. If so, I'm sure you will make whatever new tile or surface back there absolutely fabulous!!

michelle said...

What an exciting time for you! After 9 houses in 24 years, Hubs says no more for me. So I try to stay content reading listings and re-doing the houses in my head. (And of course, following along with young, energetic families like yours!) All 3 of your homes have been lovely, and I can't wait to follow your adventure with the new one...Good Luck!

dawnineden.com said...

Laughing only because I totally can relate to your story. My hubby and I totally remodeled our 'family home' that our kids grew up in along with a fantastic backyard, then we up and move to what we felt was our 'dream home'. We ended up there for only 5 years and now are in what I hope is our 'final' house. No matter, I look forward to the re-design for your new home.

vignette design said...

Congratulations Lauren! Although it's bittersweet moving on and letting go of the home you and your husband poured your heart into, a new chapter is ahead and waiting. Enjoy the process. I can't tell you how many times we moved, with 4 kids. Each home was a labor of love and I enjoyed the challenge! Can't wait to see your new home!

jenrick1 said...

Oh Lauren, thanks so much for sharing so much. While we are in a different phase than you (empty nesters) we just left our family home and I am still not over it. but we have moved back into our first home after it being a rental for 15 years and are in the process of remodeling. While the remodeling and "camping out inthe bedroom" is fun and tiring at the same time, especially for a designer like me, I so miss the new place but know that it is important to make this our home as well.
with your young family you will have many opportunities to allows the walls to soak up the family history just as your first place has done. I look so forward to reading about your newest journey and all that you do with it.

Tawna said...

Ahhh Lauren!! Life is so crazy, isn't it? Feeling your pain/happiness as we've juggled two new "home-based" careers, had kids, and moved around. In the end, we have what matters most. Good husbands, healthy kids, and dreams. I can't wait to see what you'll do...it will be fantastic.

sbaker said...

After seeing all of the amazing transformations you have made to your current home, I am on the edge of my seat, waiting to see your creativity put to work in the new home. You have a gift! I am happy for you and inspired by you all of the time. Good luck, I hope everything goes smoothly. Have a ton of fun transforming your new home and share as many pictures as you would like!! I LOVE your designs and how you made plain spaces come alive!! Can't wait!

Elizabeth said...

I love this post, Lauren. You really are the sweetest person. If ever you tire of design, I think you could have a career as a writer. You have a wonderful ability to express what home and family mean to you.

Can't wait to see what you do with the new house!

Stacey {steward of design} said...

I love what you did to your current house and can't wait to see what you do with the new one. Congrats!

Patty said...

I am absolutely itching to see what you do with the new house...I love your taste so much!! But, it is absolutely ok and definitely normal to mourn for your current home...it's a part of you. It's also healthy to move on to new adventures. Your current home will be loved by its new owners.

dervla Kelly said...

I loved this post and selfishly I'm glad you're moving into a blank slate so I can follow along again and see what you do to make your home as incredible as your last one. Congratulations on the new house!

Jennifer said...

super excited for you guys!!!!!! and now feeling tempted to browse real estate in my area ... think I will refrain. for now :)

trendy-fashstyle said...

very good work

www.thewowie.com said...

Congrats, Lauren! Such a great post too. I felt like I was making the decision with you. Love your blog and your pics on Instagram.

Tricia said...

What an exciting new chapter in your lives. I have come to love your home through reading this blog and am a bit sad to see it go. I'm certain you will have no trouble selling such a beauty.

Vel Baricuatro-Criste, MD said...

I feel for you lauren. I felt exactly the same way when we left our very first home in Chicago 2 years ago. We took care of that baby just like yo did yours( although I didn't have any blog then to document all their work we did - I should've). But I've realized now, living in our new home, this kind of change is always a GOOD THING- difficult both physically and emotionally, but n the end, THINGS WORK OUT FOR THE BETTER. Good luck to you and your family dear, keep us posted. :-)

Carolyn@Sweet Chaos said...

Some things are just meant to be. We had a very similar situation with our current house. The listing popped up online in a weird way, and we went to the open house even though we weren't in the market for a new house. I fell in love the second I walked in the door. I was whispering to my husband, "these other people better get out of our house."

It's hard to leave a place you've loved, but wherever your family is together is home. I can't wait to see how you transform it! Congrats!!

Shelly said...

I'm so glad I popped over to catch up on your blog today Lauren! I'm so excited for you and your family. And to be honest I'm not at all surprised that you want to take on a new project. That's what we DO! Unfortunately our husbands aren't so game, but they love us anyways. Good luck with the new home. I LOVE the potential in that room...even with the tiled wall! haha! It's going to be fabulous. :)

Ann said...

That is the most touching post. I am so happy for you guys. I love to see people's dreams realized and knowing how long and hard you've worked for this makes it all the better. We just moved to Japan for a couple years for my husband's work and I definitely feel those house-wanting pangs of putting down roots. It will be wonderful to live vicariously through the blog and see you make this one your own for you and your family.

Karen said...

Lauren, I love your blog and with three boys (8, 5 and 4)I've managed to get behind on my blog reading and my OCD side insists I read all my fave blogs so I won't 'miss anything!' hence, its October and I'm doing a little catch up by reading posts from JULY!! Anyway, I had to chuckle and let you know how similar our stories are. My husband and I bought our first home (condo) at the absolute peak of the market giving the couple we bought from a $100,000+- check they took away from closing. When we sold a few years later we brought our check book to the closing! ugh! We also moved into a house and made decisions over Christmas holidays, just a mere 3 weeks before giving birth to our third little boy. We survived and are thinking its time for a move again - you're blog is actually helping me gear up for the search...Best Wishes getting settled and I look forward to reading about your journey. Karen

Zumi Embiado said...

Hello Miss Lauren, I find your blog well done as long as your house too. It looks wonderful and I had a great time reading your post. Big thanks and keep sharing nice blog like this.

Simon Martin said...

Wow! That's pretty amazing that you've made it look so great! I still in the process of finding long distance movers in Victoria, but I'll definitely be following your blog and try to make my house look (hopefully) as good as yours. Thanks for sharing!