When I was little I read about so many different houses. A few stand out in my mind still, somewhat mashed together to shape my dream house. Green Gables is up there, obviously, along with the little house in the big woods, Rapunzel’s tower, the wild yet beautiful secret garden, and (every child’s dream) the gingerbread cottage. As I moved into adulthood, more houses were added to the collection in my mind: Bridget Jones’ London flat, various townhouses from chick lit novels, a lonely house on the Yorkshire moors, and the Burrow.
Each of these places captures the essence of me in some form. Rapunzel’s tower and the house on the moors speak to the part of me that craves solitude. Green Gables, the house in the woods, and that mysterious garden reflect my desire to be surrounded by nature. The Burrow, the townhouses, and even Bridget Jones’ flat convey the warmth of family and friendships that are so important to me, and the gingerbread house is a bit of whimsy that we all need once in a while.
There are many more clambering for space, competing for a chance to feature in my final dream house. I say final, because Kevin and I have been planning our dream house for years. Even before we were married we had decided that one day we will build our house. We’ve never faltered from that dream. We’ve never once said maybe not.
Our first house was rented – a tiny, one bedroom flat near the centre of the town. We moved into it six months before we were married. It needed modernising a bit, plus the heating and hot water never worked, but it was our home. It’s where Kevin carried me over the threshold after our wedding. It’s where I commuted to my first teaching job from. It’s where we discovered we were going to be parents.
Impending parenthood was the catalyst for us seeking out a new home. We were extremely fortunate to have family offering to help us with the purchase of a house, so we set to looking for one that would be suitable for bringing up a child.
We quickly found a house that was close to both sides of the family, had good transport links, a garden, and three bedrooms. The extra bedroom meant that we would have space for another child, should we be blessed with another. Little did we know that our family of two would expand to a family of six within nine years!
As our family has grown, so has our dream house. We’ve designed and changed and designed some more. Sometimes we’ve clashed on aspects of structure, but usually manage to compromise and make both of our ideas work together. For example, Kevin is a big fan of open-plan spaces, whereas I like cosy and intimate pockets. We’ve compromised, by designing an open-plan space that is divided up into the cosy areas by furniture. Grand Designs helps us keep our dream alive, and we are avid watchers of the programme, taking note of what works and mistakes to avoid. Our vision is likely to go through several more changes before we get to our final plan.
Owing to the fact that we’ve been living on one income since we moved into our current house, and the fact that we have a big family, we haven’t been able to realise our dream as quickly as we’d hoped. We are undeterred though, and have been squirreling away funds to put towards our build. Once I’m working again we’ll be able to save at a faster rate, and can begin looking for a plot of land that will be turned into our own grand design.
People frequently ask if we’re planning to move soon, more so since Jessica arrived. The short answer to that question is no. Although it can seem a bit squashed sometimes, especially when we have family and friends over, we’re actually comfortable enough at the moment. We also don’t want to fritter away any of our precious house-building funds on something that will only do for a short while. We always have the bigger picture in our minds.
Our dream house isn’t something I talk about very often. The few times I’ve mentioned it, it’s been shot down with oh but it’s everyone’s dream really, isn’t it?! and quiet disbelief. I don’t know why people feel the need to do that – is it jealousy? The feeling that our aspirations need to be brought down a peg or two? Who knows? Whether or not it’s everyone’s dream…well, I can’t speak for everyone else. I can only speak for us and our dream. A dream that is getting closer to becoming a reality every day.
What does your dream house look like?