Hello, friends. I’m going to get right to the point, because my emotions are high as I type this, and I’d rather not cry into my laptop if I can avoid it. This week we are packing up and preparing to leave our beloved first house.
And moving to Texas.
It’s a big move that has been in the works for months, but things weren’t totally finalized with the sale until recently. With all the work on The Bookshelf Styling Class and trying to wrap up local design projects, I just kept things quiet about the situation and tried to get through this hectic month. Since we close on the house next week, I think it’s safe to say it’s a “done deal”.
This may seem a bit out of the blue, but we’ve actually had our house on the market since September. After years of debating a move back to my hometown of Sugar Land, Texas my husband’s work situation finally worked out a way for him to relocate and keep his same job. It’s a decision we’ve really wrestled with for years, and now feels like the right time to try.
This move is so bittersweet.
In Texas we’ll be close to my immediate family, and it will be a good career move for Stu. But we are leaving behind a town we love and a community of friends who have been like family the last 14 years. I came to the Midwest as a naive college kid. I had no idea I’d end up making a life for myself here, much less purchase my “dream cottage”. As we are packing up all the final boxes this week, I’ve had so many memories come flooding back about how a home can affect us on a deeper level.
It’s crazy how a home can feel alive. How you become so emotionally attached and dependent on its presence in your life. Over time it seems to develop a personality and you interact with it not as you would a soulless structure, but rather as a family member who just doesn’t speak.
Some people just wouldn’t understand that, but I know you do.
At times it even feels like you’re in a long-term relationship with your home.
This is the home I dreamt about as I moved from one crappy apartment to another in my post-college years. This is where I brought my baby home in the middle of a Missouri blizzard. It’s where our family of friends spent Easters, Halloweens, and more Saturday pot luck dinners than I can count.
It’s a home that healed the wounds in my heart from growing up as a teenager whose parents could no longer live under the same roof.
It’s where I tapped into creativity I didn’t even realize existed.
This is the home where I learned how to live authentically in community with others, laughing together and then helping each other deal with life’s blows. A desire to create a place of belonging led to my understanding of designing a home for community. Out of that came a new career and clear purpose as I guided other women to do the same.
(Lest all the memories be rose colored here, I also learned that old homes will always have crooked floors, make strange noises, need major repairs, and require way more TLC and tolerance than newer homes:)
Interacting with this house has shaped me profoundly. I feel a strange mixture of heartache and gratitude as we leave it. We considered selling house to an investor, but a family from out of town ended up buying it first.
MY FAV HOUSE MEMORIES
I try to imagine what it would feel like to come back in town and know someone else is living here. I even worry about how it’s going to be taken care of by the next owners.
Will they repaint the front door? Will they prune the peach tree right? Will they do the kitchen renovation that I never got around to??
The ironic thing is that we are leaving our first house to move into my childhood home. (So. Many. Feelings.) I’ll have lots more details on my “new” old home soon, but for now I just want to give a little love to our 1940’s Tudor style cottage that made my humble home dreams come true.
As a tribute, I rounded up some of my favorite posts that share memories in this house…
Want to skip the packing? NYC Movers can help.
My first party in the house (and very first blog post!)
DIY artwork in the guest room (which soon became a nursery;)
When I made a bold upholstery move with chevron and it ended up on Design*Sponge.
(Oh, chevron…A hot love affair I would later regret.)
When I made a faux log stack and loved my fireplace 100x more.
Gemma’s nursery reveal and thoughts on “messy parenthood”
Our living room update (toy-free, but still kid-friendly)
When I finally gave myself a budget and a deadline and redid our master bedroom.
2015 Holiday Home Tour (I will REALLY miss having Christmas in this house…)
The mudroom that became my home office.
And the most important lesson that my home ever taught me.
It crazy to look back at how much in my life has changed since we first walked in the front door of this house. Six years ago I was a naive and enthusiastic newlywed with no clue how to approach a marriage or a home. Now I’m leaving as a wife, a mom, and a designer with a desire to help others create a space they love.
As I worked and changed the landscape of this home, turns out I was the one being shaped.
One thing I can say with confidence is this…We are both leaving each other better than when we first met. And that’s really all you can hope for in a love story, right?
Barbara Livdahl says
I so get how a home feels!! If I ever have to move from my home of almost 30 years I’d better find someplace that feels like home. .BTW, I still have three little booklets of recipes from Sugarland, TX, from the few years we lived in Dallas. Looking forward to seeing your transformation of your childhood home!
Thank you, Barbara! It will be interesting moving back to Texas after being gone so long. I’ll be documenting it all here though:)
This is so sweet Heather! I think I will feel the same way about our house if and when that time comes! I love the walk down memory lane too! Good luck with the move!
Thank you, friend!! This “walk” has been marked with tissues and wine:) lol
NOOOOOO! What will I do without you in town? I so appreciate all you’ve helped me with… I tell all of my friends about you.
Dramatics aside, it sounds like a good move for your family. I hope all goes well. Keep us posted!
Awwww, you’re so sweet Anne!! (Remember we can always work together virtually:) Thank you so much for your support. I really enjoyed working with you! Chat soon
That’s big news Heather! I wish you good luck in your new adventure! And I feel your emotions 🙁
But I’m sure great things await you in Texas as well! Have a happy move!!!!
Thank you so much, Vin!!! It is comforting to know I have so many “virtual friends” rooting for us;)
First of all. Totes jeals that you get to move to Texas. Ugh. I love Texas. But good thing now I can live vicariously through you. So. Congrats on selling your home. That is so awesome. Great job. I am sure the buyer is just stoked to have it after all the amazing changes you did.
Hah! Thanks, Kells. Well, Texas is definitely a unique place. I am looking forward to good food and great shopping again. (Not so sure about the fast pace and hot weather though!) I’ll be sure and post lots of pics soon:)
Susan the Farm Quilter says
It is hard to leave a home with so many firsts within its walls. You will carry those memories in your heart forever as you create new memories in your “new/old” home in Sugar Land!!! Embrace the changes and be blessed!
Thank you so much for the encouragement, Susan! I really appreciate you taking the time to share;)
Fellow interior designer here! I’m not quite at the stage where I have my own home yet, but I still can understand the sentiment of leaving behind such a special place. I’m actually living in Houston (just down the road from your new town), but I am dreaming for the day when I can move closer to my family like you are about to do!
While it’s sad to say goodbye, know that your new home will give you an opportunity to create new memories with your family. What a gift to be able to live close to the ones you love and share you space with them.
Hey, another Houstonian! Thanks, Challie…It’s a very strange feeling to go home after being gone so long. A mixed bag of emotions for sure:) Do you work at a design firm in the area or do you have your own business?
Right now I work at a very large firm that does commercial interiors. Most of the projects I work on are offices (law, oil and gas, financial services), but our office does all kinds of work from hospitals to retail. That being said, I would love to switch over to residential work some day and maybe even start my own business!
Until that day comes I will just continue living vicariously through you! I really enjoy following along with your blog and seeing design from a different perspective than what I deal with on a day to day basis. Can’t wait to see what you do with your new home!
Hi Challie! Sorry- I just now saw this response. Thanks so much for the sweet words:) We are in different design worlds so to speak, but yours sounds exciting too. All my best to you and keep in touch:)
Erika Ocaña says
Hello Heather, you should be very excited because you have a whole new project in front of you!
I understand you’re going to miss people, town, weather maybe but never ever compare a place or a thing with people. Home is where you and the ones you love get together.
Time will show you that if your family stays together anything you can posses just adds blessings to your life.
Can’t wait to see what you are going to do in your new house.
Thank you so much, Erika!! Good points for sure:) I’ll keep everyone posted about the journey. (We still need to do your 30 min. session when things get settled down for me!)
Les McDonald says
All the way from sunny South Africa – good luck with your move. I think you’ve summed up beautifully the emotions of leaving your lovely home and the anticipation & hope for the future. Isn’t it wonderful to reflect and see how much you’ve both evolved for the better, well done.
Thank you for the kind words, Les! Wow-South Africa? How cool. I really appreciate you taking the time to say “hello”.
Mary Jo says
I can completely relate! I’m am a Houstonian (I grew up off of Buffalo Spdwy) who lives in Charlotte and was going to move back to TX this summer after 6 years in NC, but now I’ll be moving to DC. My heart strings have completely sunk into my current rental and since my landlord let me do what I wanted, I really do feel like it’s home. I’m having a hard time feeling like I’ll find something as amazing as where I go next (I guess it’s our job to make it amazing though, right?)
I think the best part about your move is that you documented your house (and memories) so well through pictures. And thankfully, your new home has lot of (hopefully sweet) memories so it won’t feel quite as sterile.
I’ll pray for a good transition and I think you’ll get there right before the bluebonnet start to come up 😊
Ps- Eat lots of enchiladas for me!!
Hi, Mary Jo! (Yay for the Houston connection;) It’s hard to start over when you really loved your home, isn’t it? Best of luck with you upcoming move. At least you know you will have art on the walls! It will definitely be interesting going back to my childhood home and trying to reimagine it as my own. Oh and yes…there will be lots of enchilada eating:)
Tan of Squirrelly Minds says
Aww hun. What a beautiful home with loving memories. I know I will be an emotional wreck when we leave this place so I can only imagine a fraction of what you’re feeling. Little solace: just imagining getting to redecorate your new home once you’re settled into Sugar land! xo
Thanks, Tan! We have landed and it is a bit overwhelming at the moment! Hoping it will start to feel like home in a few weeks:)
You have such a beautiful home and I would hate to leave it behind, too. It sounds like the years spent in that home were some of the most formative of your life! Surely anyone who would want to buy such a house will appreciate the love and work that went into it and will continue to care for it just as you did.
A new home is an exciting time to press the reset button, however! How cool that you’re moving into your childhood home! I’m sure you’re just bubbling over with ideas for how to make it your own.
We connected via your blog about a year ago, but I grew up in Houston and moved back here almost three years ago. I live on the southeast side of town, just inside the loop. I love it here! I think Houston is undergoing a really beautiful renaissance right now. Hopefully you and your family will adapt to all the changes and start enjoying this next chapter before too long.
Yes, Hi Catherine!! We’ve been back in Texas 48 hours, and it feels so weird to be LIVING here instead of just visiting family. I’m actually sending you an email right now:)
Hi! I just found your blog (via Southern Hospitality) and it stirred some emotions in me. My husband and I moved to our present home in the TX Hill Country after living in our Houston home for 30 years. Our children grew up there and there are so many memories! It has taken me a couple of years to get accustomed to living in a new place in a new house (and I still pine for my old bathroom 🙂 so I feel your pain. However, you will learn to love your new home more and more as you build memories there. Good luck
Thank you for the encouragement and sharing your story, Sandy! I can’t imagine how many memories you had with your family after 30 years there. It’s so emotional for us as women especially I think. My husband has felt it, but not as profoundly as I have. I don’t always adapt to change that easily, so I’m feeling very raw in our “new” house and back in Houston after not having lived here for 20 years. Even though it was my childhood home, it’s very different to come back as an adult and try to make it my own like I did with our little cottage. So glad you popped by the blog today. I hope your enjoying the benefits of hill country…it’s so beautiful there!
judy Clark says
I read about you through my friend Rhoda’s blog. You are a very talented lady! I know that you may miss you home, but aren’t you excited about moving back to TX. Hubby and I will be retiring to TX later this year.
We have already purchased our home so I might be getting in touch with you for some decorating advise.
Your current home is lovely. I cannot wait to see what you do with your home in the great state of TX.
Hi Judy! Yes, I am excited to be back in Texas too. (Besides family, the food and the shopping are hard to beat!) I’d be glad to work with you when the time comes. Thanks for stopping by today:)
Michaela Warner says
Hope the move goes smoothly, Heather! Moving is always bittersweet.
Thanks, Michaela! So true:( Hope all is well with you!