One grey, wet Thursday morning, two days before flying halfway around the world, Chris and I moved house. In the space of a few hours we ceased to be Londoners, and picked up the keys for our new home in Surrey.
I won’t go into the stresses of the house buying/selling process. Suffice to say that it blows. But compared to many we were very fortunate, with the entire process taking about 17 weeks from offer to completion. Moving day was the worst, sitting in a little cafe in Woking waiting for confirmation that our money had been received and we could pick up the keys. But the call came through, the furniture fitted in trough the front door, and now all that remains is to tackle the mountain of unpacking.
Every interior program I’ve ever watched has said that you ‘just know’ whether you want to live in a house or not when you walk in the door. I think if you’re deliberately looking for a project house, it takes longer than that. You have to be able to look past dated decor, terrible wallpaper or the massive feature boiler in the dining room (yes, we have one of those), and visualise what you can do with the space. But once we saw the potential of this house there was no question that we were going to try to buy it. Or rather, once I saw that it still had a working Edwardian electric servants’ bell system, there was no question. The roof could have been about to fall in and I wouldn’t have cared.
There is still a mountain of unpacking and setting up still to do, not to mention the painting and decorating needed to cleanse the house of yellow wallpaper and grey paint. We don’t have a working stove yet, and all our plans are going to take some time, but that’s the thing about a project house. You don’t take the risk because it’s already perfect, but because given time and love it will be astonishing.