Tristan here !
It feels beyond exciting to be able to be able to say that Andrew and I are finally moving out to the countryside into a little charming 1873 stone schoolhouse. The most unexpected part of this move is that the property is right across the road from my parents, and the home where I grew up. The way that this deal fell into place feels like the biggest push from the universe.
QUICK BACKSTORY …
I’ve always loved the city and taking in everything that it has to offer, the energy, the people, the shops, the patios, the ability to go to an inspiring pilates class or grab a coffee in the park with friends. I’d been loving that life for over a decade. It was also really easy to escape back home to the country side of West Grey. It felt good to go back to the place where I grew up and where my parents still live. I especially loved it for the times when I needed a break from the city and get my country stillness fix. In the back of my mind, I’ve always known that the country is where I wanted to plant my roots and eventually find myself back there. It’s always had a big piece of my heart and where I felt the most free. I just didn’t realize how quickly my dreams would turn to reality.
Over the last year with the pandemic, Andrew and I were spending quite a lot of time at my parents house. We would stay for weeks at a time and I really started to the notice the shift that HOME had on the both of us. Andrew helped my Dad create a mini golf course in the field and would get up super early to go for long walks and run outside after the work day to hit some golf balls. We spent a good portion of the summer living in the cabin or treehouse, making fires at night and having coffee with my parents in the morning. It was the most non pressure / testing the waters way of finding out what life in the country would look like for us.
Fast forward to January… We weren’t even looking to purchase a home just yet and we were going to wait another year or two before we made a move up North. Then it happened… we got an unexpected call from our lovely neighbours across the road. They called my Mom to see if they could have our realtors number and ask if we could help them with some tips on how to stage their home to sell. My Mom told me about it and instantly, I had an overwhelming feeling that it could be the perfect home for us. My Mom and I went over to look at the stone school house and wow, I fell in love with it!! My sisters childhood friend grew up in the house so I had played in it as a child. This time though, I looked at it through a different lens and the thought that this could be ours, felt really special.
I brought Andrew and my brother back to take a look and see what they thought of it. Brett had nothing but nice things to say and helped me think through some renovation plans. Andrew LOVED the garage (ha pretty typical) – and was instantly able to picture a life there with all the possibilities. We ended up working out a private deal with the owners and a few weeks later, the sale was official!!
Honey we’re (almost) home !!
What’s the house like?
The exterior has allllll the stone charm I could dream of. It was built in 1873 (for $9, WOW) and remained a schoolhouse 72 years! Andrew really dove into researching the history of the home. I have just been smitten with stone houses since I can remember. The interior hasn’t been touched in maybe 50ish years. This excites us, because we see value in taking on a project and making it our own. The house needs a new floor plan for a better flow and to be able to utilize the space better. We will slowly start to upgrade the different parts of the house. We want to move in and take our time and get a feel for the house before doing anything drastic. There is a loft bedroom that we would like to add a bathroom to down the road. It has an outdoor insulated bunkie that can be used as an extra bedroom or office and a pretty great steel garage that we can use as a workshop and storage.
We close on the house in May and we plan to start with some exterior upgrades while we save for the bigger interior renovation. We want to paint the steel roofs on the bunkie, garage and house. They are all red right now, and we’d love to paint them black. We have major heart eyes for black and stone. Short term, we would love to be able to add a second bathroom too but we will wait and see what’s possible.
When the snow melts we will be able to see what the lawn looks like, and for now I have just been dreaming and pinning up a storm about the possibilities of some long grass gardens and wild flowers. I really love the look of big climbing hydrangeas and would love any gardening advice or sources you turn to for tips. My level of expertise is equal to a kindergartner growing a bean. Would love to have an outdoor table for sunset dinners, some loungers for coffee on the grass and maybe even a classy little fire pit, because we are a s’mores loving family. There’s also just something so nice about sitting around a fire on summer nights. Definitely going to be filling in the property with trees, wild bushes, hammocks filled with summer blankets, string lights and an outdoor lounge space. Cue all the wicker. Will be sharing all of this as it unfolds.
There’s no doubt that this year has challenged us all when it comes to our homes and home life. It was not very long ago that I was feeling a bit stuck and uninspired with my surroundings. A place I turned to when I felt that way was challenging myself to find joy in whatever was in front of me in that very moment. Maybe it’s a sun leak through the window, a morning ritual to get lost in (my fave is to refresh my office for the day and light a bunch of candles), or taking in a beautiful song in the background. I really try and come back to that place whenever I am feeling stuck. All of those moments this year have led me to feeling incredibly grateful and taught me so much about loving what you have in the present and just trusting your life’s path.
Living across the road from my parents nestled in a little stone house is a dream that I never imagined to be possible. It puts the biggest lump in my throat.
If you have any advice for me, please share!! I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.