If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that I’m in the middle of a problematic house move. We sold our house at the end of March and found a new house a couple of days later in a lovely village on the Norfolk Broads. So far so good. Like the rest of the UK we were keen to complete on both sale and purchase by the end of June to beat the end of the stamp duty holiday. Not a small amount, and actually quite crucial to our ability to buy the new house. Long story short, it didn’t happen. In order not to break the chain we agreed to honour the sale of our house, but our vendor dug her heels in. So, we’re actually homeless. Camping out in a friends spare room (really good friends I might add, who have been amazing!) with all of our possessions in storage.
The worst of it is, we have no idea when the vendor will actually agree a date for completion. It could be months. It probably will be. The latest news is that she has now found a place to buy herself (after telling us she was going to move into rented accommodation) so she is at the beginning of the conveyancing procedure, and we have no idea about the person in front of her in the chain. Buying a house in the UK sucks. We have already invested a lot of money into this purchase what with the survey, the searches, the conveyancing. Plus the cost of storage, removals, and of course we are paying some rent. And we are completely at the mercy of a vendor who at best put her house on the market before she was serious. At worst, has just been messing us around.
So, What Next?
It’s a tough one. Part of me wants to pull out, but then I look at the mounting costs. We are actively looking for something else, but if we find somewhere new it is likely to take even longer than sitting tight. The thought of finding something less expensive appeals, but prices seem to have risen in this part of the country since seeing the house in March. So far we’ve viewed 6. A converted barn with very little garden (a deal breaker), a tiny converted cottage (and I mean tiny), a delapidated cottage with a huge garden and a mooring (so much work!), a lovely eighteenth century cottage (over budget and still needed work), a converted schoolhouse and last buy not least an Arts and Crafts gatehouse. We lost out to a higher bidder on the schoolhouse and the Arts and Crafts house was lovely but needed work (again!) and would still have been too small.
The Arts and Crafts Collection from Dunelm
A tenuous link I know, but I’m rather fond of this style. I love the earthy colours, which is definitely my palette. I love the references to nature, the craftsmanship, and the solidity of the furniture. It’s honest, transcends trends, and would work in most types of houses. The schoolhouse (sob) by the way already had William Morris wallpaper, huge windows, solid wooden stairs leading up to a gallery, and gabled ends. The Arts and Crafts house had a decorative terracotta tiled exterior, huge upper windows within gables like a surprised expression, and a garden overlooking grazing cows. Both could have been amazing for different reasons. I’m still dreaming of the schoolhouse.
Stick or Twist
For now we are sticking I guess. I’m trying to remember the things I fell in love with when we viewed it nearly three months ago. It’s a house of two halves. A two up, two down brick built cottage which at some point had a brick and flint stable attached to the rear. The ‘stable’ is double height with a brick floor. The second half was added in the nineties, the rooms are lighter and more generous in size but still quirky. The garden is established and wraps around the house. It has two driveways, two front doors, two sitting rooms and could, with some changes become a home and a separate holiday cottage. That was our original feeling anyway. Plus it’s on the edge of a Broadland village with a river, dyke, community shop and pub. Our escape to the country.
All images are from Dunelm (affiliate link) and feature the Arts & Crafts Collection