Big News: We’re Moving On!

April 7, 2014

Hey strangers! Sorry to fall off of the grid here on the blog but if you’re following me over on Instagram, you’ll know that we’ve been preoccupied with some pretty big news . . . we sold our house! Not something we thought would be happening even a mere 2 weeks ago but sometimes things are just meant to be. Here’s a personal look at our story, in a nutshell:

Brad and I bought our first home 11 years ago right before Gabe, our eldest was born, and we’ve basically been house-poor ever since. For the record, it’s totally our fault for the simple reason that we love our homes! Projects, renovations and home improvements get me excited (obviously!) and Brad just happens to be an all-round handyman. Our tiny first house was a 5-year renovation labour-of-love that took it’s fair share of blood, sweat, tears (not to mention cash!) but we loved transforming the former flop house (it was bad!) into our sweet first family home. Sadie was born and we jumped right into more serious renos there, gutting things down to the studs and swapping the kitchen and living room (I do not recommend living on site with a newborn and toddler for a renovation of this magnitude!) and somehow all survived. Fast forward a couple more years with Lilah on-the-way and it was clear that we had officially outgrown our tiny 2-bedroom heritage charmer. We bought our current West Coast rancher from friends and it has been the most amazing home to raise our family in! The cedar tongue-and-groove ceilings, treed yard, huge windows and quiet neighbourhood will forever have our hearts.

Birch + Bird

The thing is, despite the fact that Brad and I both work our tails off (he is honestly the hardest worker I know) financial stress has never been far away. Even though our house isn’t huge (and we had renters in our basement suite for most of our 6 years here) there are always projects to do, appliances to fix and bills to pay and we’ve been feeling like we’ve been treading water for far too long. Financial stresses have played a big part in our marriage and we realized early this year that something had to change if we wanted to keep our family together. We’ve played with the idea of downsizing (or even selling our house and renting) over the years but never seriously considered it until recently. One of my partners, Kevi, and her family live in a ’70’s era townhouse complex very close to us and I really loved the layout and lofty ceilings when I first saw her place (not to mention she has mad decorating skills!). I’ve kept my eye open for similar units on the market (they’re few and far between on our side of town) but she let us know during Spring Break of a new townhouse listing in their complex. It had been fully renovated (we’re talking everything) so we called our realtor, loaded up the kids and went by for a looky-loo. Well, we loved it! I think we were all surprised by the fact but it felt like us and we could totally see ourselves living there. Long story short, we listed our house last Saturday and the first viewing was on Sunday (before it was even officially on the market) and they made an offer by dinnertime that evening! We accepted and made an offer on the townhouse, which (after a few negotiations) was also accepted. Boom.

Needless to say, we feel like we made the right decision and that this move is “meant to be” but that doesn’t mean that it’s been an easy choice to make. I’ve definitely shed a few sad tears (I’m sure there will be more!) and we’ll all miss this house dearly (especially the yard, sniff sniff). But I’m also totally at peace and incredibly excited about our fresh start as a family. There is so much relief at the thought of putting our financial burdens behind us and having the chance to actually save money (is that what a savings account is for??) not to mention have a bit more flexibility for the odd vacation and family fun too. Weighing the pros and cons was actually surprisingly easy when we envisioned what we wanted our future to look like. Together.

Birch + Bird: My House

Sorry for the long-winded personal post but I thought it was important to share my story and I’m really excited to share the rest of our journey with you too. Our house is looking sooo clean and has never been more organized (seriously, it hasn’t!) and I’ll be sure to share some fresh photos with you before we start packing. With the thought of neighbours and who-knows-who poking around at our open house yesterday (I hope someone actually appreciated my tidy utility closet), I’ve cleaned, purged and organized every cupboard, drawer and closet and it’s really inspired me to keep clearing out the clutter and keep things simple at our new townhouse. Our closing date is mid-May so I’ve only got a five weeks to pack thing up, eek! You can keep tabs on the process here on Instagram and please feel free to send any moving/packing tips my way! Enjoy your Monday :)


1 Bobbi { 04.07.14 at 7:32 am }

Its inspiring & refreshing that there are still people who will fight to keep their family together. Thank you for that (and your wonderful blog). It is well worth it! Congratulations on your new home & adventure!

2 Birch + Bird { 04.07.14 at 9:44 am }

Thanks so much, Bobbi!

3 Juls { 04.07.14 at 9:36 am }

Such a gorgeous home to leave behind and it will be missed, but you have such talent to make any space amazing, can’t wait to see what you do with the townhouse.
Downsizing in house and yard is a beautiful thing, having extra cash and the free time to spend doing whatever you want with it, not spending all your extra time and money on hot water tanks and new lawn turf!!
Kudos to you for being honest and brave enough to post this.

4 Birch + Bird { 04.07.14 at 9:48 am }

Thanks Juls! So many adventures ahead :) Thanks for all of the moral support along the way too xoxo!

5 Tara { 04.07.14 at 2:21 pm }

Congratulations! We made a similar decision last year. Difficult but right. All the best on your new less stressful life :)

6 Birch + Bird { 04.07.14 at 11:31 pm }

Thanks, Tara! Difficult moves are often the most rewarding, right? Fingers crossed :)

7 Lulu { 04.07.14 at 4:15 pm }

Good for you for being brave and honest about it. I’m sure you’ll be happy you did this.

8 Birch + Bird { 04.07.14 at 11:31 pm }

Thanks so much, Lulu!

9 Colleen @ Vintage Home { 04.07.14 at 6:06 pm }

Awesome! I had thought to myself…they should move in to the same place as KEVI & fam!…so funny …glad to hear you guys are moving closer to me! And you have the whole creek to play in and the school playground is awesome! Also so is the school…hint hint!
So very exciting for your future in the area together!
Colleen @ Vintage Home recently posted..White Wednesday Creamware

10 Birch + Bird { 04.07.14 at 11:33 pm }

I’m sure you’ll see me walking in the neighbourhood often now, Colleen! We’ll be keeping the kids in their same school (it’s only an extra 5 min drive from what we’re doing now) but school at the end of the cul-de-sac would be sooo nice and easy! Rachel’s girls went there and loved it :)

11 barbara@hodge:podge { 04.07.14 at 6:14 pm }

It all seemed to fall into place – it was clearly meant to be! That is why we are still renting (5 years and counting…) because to buy the same house we are in our housing costs would rise by quite a bit! So I live with a ugly kitchen and carpeting I can’t change -but decorate to detract the eye! With one kid in university and another this fall – we are down to one! And in 2 years he will leave to (fingers crossed) and then we don’t need a 5 bedroom home. Despite that fact I can’t renovate and live in my dream home, our finances allow us to help the kids go on school trips, help with university costs, take trips, ski, etc! You will make your new home smashing!
barbara@hodge:podge recently posted..My Latest Ideabook On Houzz

12 Birch + Bird { 04.07.14 at 11:35 pm }

Thanks so much for sharing, Barb! So true and your kids will remember your time spent together far more than they’ll ever remember carpet or kitchen cabinets :)

13 Erin { 04.07.14 at 7:27 pm }

Such a tough decision. My family recently decided to down size and move to another state with lower cost of living this summer. We will be going from a house to an apartment, which will be interesting since we haven’t lived in an apartment in about 8 years. Good luck, hope your new place works out well for you guys.

Erin recently posted..Jewelry Sale #2

14 Birch + Bird { 04.07.14 at 11:39 pm }

Such a big decision, Erin, but good for you! We’re basically staying in the same neighbourhood so your move feels much braver than ours! But it all comes down to quality of life not the size of a house, right? Thanks so much for sharing :)

15 Yvonne Cornell { 04.08.14 at 8:26 am }

Lilly – It’s brilliant. Bittersweet… yes. Nonetheless brilliant. I just got an assessment on our own home last week. Don’t know where it will lead, but I’m ready to downsize too despite the kids etc… Sometimes the shackles and stress are not worth it. Peace of mind, simplicity, and the time and pocket money to be adventuresome are a better example for our children. Good Luck with the May move! Yvonne

16 Birch + Bird { 04.09.14 at 11:28 pm }

Thank you, Yvonne! I hear you on the shackles and stress, despite the dreams of the “ideal” home. I think, actually I know, that the kiddos will remember our time spent together far more than the bricks and mortar that surround us. I know those are the memories of my childhood that stick with me! Hugs and best wishes for any decisions you’re facing ahead :)

17 Kristy { 04.08.14 at 11:51 am }

Thank you for sharing and being honest. It is so hard to get ahead in this city and I see people with houses and I think how do they do it. It is a breath of fresh air to hear the truth – that it is hard and not always possible. I wish you and your family much happiness in your new home and hope your move goes smoothly.

18 Birch + Bird { 04.09.14 at 11:32 pm }

Thanks so much, Kristy! I have many friends with “much” and just as many with “little” but I know that true happiness has nothing to do with either.

19 Birch + Bird Vintage Home Interiors » Blog Archive » Southern Charm: A Modern Farmhouse { 04.09.14 at 12:02 am }

[…] say a huge thank you to all of you who commented and sent all forms of moral support my way after Monday’s very personal post. It felt natural to share the truth (I’m all for keeping it real!) and it seems as though […]

20 Amanda { 04.09.14 at 8:32 am }

Congratulations, and good luck in you new home. The start of a new adventure :)
Amanda recently posted..Whistle and Wolf : I Love Mondays

21 Birch + Bird { 04.09.14 at 11:23 pm }

Thanks so much, Amanda!

22 Penny { 04.24.14 at 1:14 pm }

Congratulations Lily!
What an enlightening read! I deal with people every single day in your exact situation. I love how you and Brad have taken such a pro-active step in the right direction. It is a great feeling when we discover “Less is More”…. enjoy your journey

23 Birch + Bird { 04.24.14 at 9:26 pm }

Thanks so much, Penny! We feel so great about this move and are excited to settle in. Only a couple more weeks to go :)

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