"We are what we believe we are."
C.S. Lewis

Monday, June 9, 2014

Mop Philosophy Monday

 This Emma Bridgewater vase speaks to my idea of home and pretty spaces: a lovely shape in a traditional colour and pattern.  It is sort of casual as well in that it doesn't need an edited bunch of flowers but would suit some lilacs or hydrangeas cut from the garden.

I was very busy last week keeping an eye on this gentle soul:
Scout in a moment of contemplation.
 Scout had her spay a week ago and though she was supposed to "take it easy" it didn't really seem to slow her down.  She did spend a bit more time on her stripey dog bed though.

I'm putting down my paint brushes this week, I've had enough.  I'll stick to cleaning for now as we make plans to either add on to our house and renovate it completely... or move to a bigger home.
That's a new painting on the right: "Green Storm"
 Our house is 1750 square feet and it just feels too small for us now.  Odd since we don't have as many Rascals at home but what we are missing is some bigger gathering spaces... our house has 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms but a tiny living area.
 I dread the thought of moving yet adding on is also a big commotion, expensive and would ruin a large  part of our garden... I'm tormented over what to do!  Any thoughts or advice?  What is your perfect size house?  We're looking for something between 2500 and 3000 square feet with big principal rooms, enough bedrooms and an office/study area.  Tall order hey!

For whatever reason I am attracted to red and white this summer, mixed with blue it could very well be my Colour Story for our trip to England.
JCrew red linen blouse 2012
 That's coming up real quick, just 2 weeks away...
Any thoughts on houses?  Would you renovate or move?
Enjoy your Monday Darlings, may your week start wonderfully!
xoxDani


64 comments:

  1. I don't know what the taxes of moving are like in Canada but people tend to renovate as the bidding selling process is enough to tear your hair out plus there are so many other costs involved. Its odd because the market here in the UK has changed so much that only a segment of the population ask about specific bedrooms for houses when buying. The real estate agent we spoke to before we did our house for future selling advice was that the space had to be "livable" and given the choice between a bedroom or a study/living area then the latter would make the house much more marketable. You could perhaps knock two bedrooms into one to make some sort of wifi tv den?

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    1. Naomi that's a good idea and you have guessed that our tv den area is important to us, MrBP is a huge sports fan so there is always a game on to watch, our family room is currently one of the bedrooms and it is very small with a HUGE tv. I also made a very poor choice in buying an ikea couch for that room, it's too big yet still more than 3 people in there is not doable. When our rascals are all home we like to be together, watching movies is not an option so we play boardgames in the dining room... setting it aside for mealtimes, it feels so cramped!
      Our land transfer taxes are quite high here but they are double in Toronto, so not really a factor, it's more about the right house in our neighbourhood, we don't want to go far as we love it here. Thanks for the advice!

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  2. My two cents - I am unsure if you would get your money back out of the reno, which may or may not be an issue, since it would make your backyard so much smaller and that might turn some off. I am in the move camp, myself, much as I love your house!

    Poor Scout. Good to have it done though! You look smashing in red!

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    1. Wendy when I stand in the garden and admire Christopher's work I think it would be such a shame to ruin it, the wisteria and the japanese maple... Good advice doll!
      Yes poor Scout though it is for the best. She went through it just fine and is as happy as ever, she is everyone's best friend!

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  3. I say start looking at what's available and when you see something you really like, make the jump! It's exciting to move to a new home....you and your family are at a stage where now would be a good time for a change.

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    1. Anon I think you're right about that. Moving isn't easy but with our children at the age they are it isn't a bad thing, we've asked them all and they are interested in a bigger space for our holidays times etc, thanks Anon!

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  4. Dani, we are in the exact same boat. In fact, I am meeting with a realtor later this week. We would not get our money out of our house if we were to spend $$$ putting in a couple closets and finishing part of the attic to make a spare room and another full bath. However, buying a new home is not only daunting (having to prep existing home to sell and then move, ugh!) but it would also delay our paying off the mortgage. I expect it may come down to whether or not we find the "perfect" home to move into. I will be interested in learning what you decide! You have much more energy than I--Bravo!--our interiors need painting too and I can't imagine doing it myself!

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    1. Amy don't be fooled by my apparent energy, I am wrecked completely from the work I've done in the house the last month, I do not recommend it! Everything hurts and I'm exhausted. I am also just dreading getting the house ready for market if need be, my approach right now is to prepare it so that if something comes up it won't be a big deal.
      I'll keep you posted on what we decide and I'll be curious to see how it goes for you as well!

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  5. Five bedrooms, four baths...in 1750 SQ FT?! You really don't have much room for anything else. Why so many baths? We have 3000 SQ FT master on the main and it was perfect when the kids were growing up...a bit big now but we are stuck with it. I am kind of on the MOVE department but I really am not sure what you want, what you want to keep, etc. If you want me to take a peak at your existing floor plan and what you are hoping for, email me. This is what a do for a living.

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    1. Thanks BB I just may do that, that is a very generous offer. We wish we had a bigger master suite, one of our bathrooms is in the basement which doesn't count as floor space, but still I'm sure you can imagine that the rooms are small. Our house was built in 1915 and it was probably modest for the time though it does have a full third floor with two bedrooms... that was key when the rascals were all here.
      The addition will cost the fortune and we will still have small rooms, just a bigger kitchen! Thanks doll hope you're well.

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  6. We went through the same dilemma when our children were teenagers. We looked and looked for a bigger home but had only two areas that we wanted to live in the city and could find nothing that thrilled us in our price range so we stayed put and now that we are empty nesters it is the perfect retirement home. Ours is a 1912 arts and crafts bungalow which is about 900 square feet on the main with a recently renovated basement.
    You might have better luck finding a bigger home to suit your needs. I think renovating is very stressful and super messy. If you can avoid that you might be better off moving....and it is fun to look.
    So good that you have Scout's spaying over and done with...our cats were naughty trying to pull out their stitches and I hardly slept a wink while they were recouperating.

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    1. Hostess I thought Scout would be more bothered with her stitches but she was fine thank goodness. A bungalow is certainly the perfect retirement home... we saw one last week but it wasn't quite the size we were looking for, we still want to have 3 bedrooms just for the rascals so that it is easy and welcoming for them to come home.
      The renos would be SO messy I'm not sure I can handle it, especially with a giant puppy!

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  7. My house has been the perfect size for over 20 years:). It's 2200 sq ft. But in California we spend a lot of time outdoors, and have entire walls of windows - so spaces feel bigger. Also, I've only got two kids. So I can well imagine you hankering for more space.

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    1. Lisa you have guessed correctly that indoor space is key here in Canada, we are cooped inside most of the time, the outlooks are important also, we spend a LOT of time looking out the window which is why I don't want to ruin my garden!

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  8. We had the same dilemma Dani and kept racking our brains with solutions. Our house was 100 years and if we added the addition I would still be alone in the kitchen. The laundry room was in the basement and it gave a great quad work out up to the 3rd level. Finally we found a new home and never looked back.Less sq.feet but space used wisely makes such a difference.

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    1. Marsha I agree an addition is great but only changes a small part of the house...which is MrBP's point. I'm trying to make a patient decision which is a test of my nature, good for me I think! It sounds like you found the ideal solution, I'll keep that in mind!

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  9. We had a similar decision to make several years ago and would have looked for a house I actually like (as I don't like ours very much) but the property tax we'd have paid to "move up" was an enormous deterrent. So we did a major remodel, but did not add square footage. It took 5 full months, and we are happy with the remodel. It was a lot of work, shopping, planning and dust, but overall it was worth it and getting to choose exactly what we wanted was fun. We ended up with an entirely new family room and kitchen-including furniture-which was daunting as I'd never had the opportunity to decorate an entire room at once - usually a piece here and a pillow there. Good luck!

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    1. Sorry it's taking me so long to get to comments, they are so interesting I want to respond properly plus it has been very hectic around my house these last couple of days.
      Julie you make a good point re the cost of moving, we pay a land transfer tax here which is significant, and of course if we move to a bigger house our yearly property tax will increase, maybe double. That will impact our budget for many years and might affect things like travel etc. All major things to factor in!
      One of our options is to completely renovate our house top to bottom, new floors, kitchen, new furniture... it would take a few months but wouldn't add extra space. We aren't properly using the space we do have, some of our furniture is too big or placed badly etc.
      It would be a fun project because we would start with a plan that would end up a cohesive whole, everything just as we like it. I'm leaning towards this option just now!

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  10. We have been Expat's so long in rentals I am looking forward to finally having my own home in the future. I enjoyed this post lots of information to think about. I live in the UK now 2 more weeks and hopefully the weather will be lovely for you. I always tell my guests from Canada when they visit think layers!

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    1. Hi Joanne you will enjoy a place that you can change to your liking! I am looking forward to the English weather, even the rainy days. I have my short wellies for our walks and thanks for the tip re layers! I think I'll be bringing a few key Brora pieces to layer up and stay warm.

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  11. You need to apply to be on "Love it or List it." Then you can have the best of both worlds.

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    1. Anon this must be a show on HGTV? I'll look it up it sounds fun!

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  12. We have quite a large home (3000 square feet plus a finished basement). It is nice having three defined living spaces. We have a finished attic that is the play room/ computer room. It's nice to have the explosion of toys happen where guests cannot see. We also have a formal living room and our cozy movie watching spot in the basement. Oh and in the summer, we have a couch out in our screened-in porch so I guess there are four living spaces. But as the person who cleans all that space, it sometimes sucks. With my little guy mobile and getting into everything (and keeping me busy), I'm having a hard time keeping on top of the cleaning. It does take a lot of furniture to fill all that space too. I mean we have four couches, that's kind of ridiculous. Sometimes I wish we had our little starter home back. There's pros and cons to every house I guess. Good luck with your choice!

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    1. Hi KDot! You do have a large house but with your family so young that space will certainly come in handy, especially as your little guy grows and grows and brings his growing friends home to play as well. We could have used the extra space we're thinking about now when our son was a teenager!
      When our kids were little I did have help with the cleaning, I just didn't have the time, it was the best treat in the world to have someone come in occasionally to do a big cleaning!

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  13. You have quite a dilemma, Dani. I like small spaces and love renovations, but from what I read, it seems that you are hoping to move. It is perhaps best to avoid the dust and keep a nice outdoor space. I think sacrificing the yard is not a great tradeoff to have more indoor space, despite the winters there. I know you are going to choose what's best for your family, and I wish you much wisdom for this decision!

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    1. Hi AB! It is a big decision, not the sort you want to regret later on... I really don't want to sacrifice my garden, it really is lovely and so is our neighbour's garden... that's the other thing we love our neighbours and our location. Location location!! Thanks for the encouragement. :)

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  14. Hi Dani, it looks like the consensus is for you to move! For this next move we have a bungalow, with a finished basement, 3000 sq.ft. in all. It's open plan living on the main floor, with the bedrooms, master bath, etc. off to the side, plus family room and bedrooms, laundry, bathroom downstairs. I don't think it would have worked very well for us earlier in our family life, but for a couple of empty nesters we think it will be very good. We are not sure if this will be our retirement house, but I'm dreading it if we do build or renovate afterwards - so many choices!

    And hey - great to see KDot in the comments!

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    1. Patricia I agree great to see KDot!
      Your new house sounds perfect for your current life stage, a good layout for you and your husband with room for the boys when they are visiting from school. It's funny, we have an idea that we need lots of space for when our son visits but the truth is he doesn't come home that often from Toronto, we go in to see him or he comes home for one night. And for Christmas break this year we are actually renting a ski chalet, something we'd like to make a holiday tradition, making me wonder what a bigger house would actually be for...

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  15. We have 2300 ish srft including a finished attic comprised of a living area and an office. Our home is new so the first floor is open living flowing to kitchen and dining room in one space. A guest room is tucked on the first floor as well. We only have two kids so the second floor has three bedroom. This works well for me: 4 bedroom 2.5 bath, 2 living spaces, 1 office.

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    1. Mona your house sounds the ideal size and floor plan. The guest room on the first floor is brilliant!

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  16. Nice vase--I'm a big fan of Toast and Marmalade. Also like the painting--who is the artist? In thinking about your housing dilemma, you might want to look at some of the books by Susan Susanka--a major proponent of smaller but well-designed housing. People are thinking of the benefits of smaller spaces again, after years of "upsizing." Renovating might not mean adding on significantly and ruining your garden--and I do get the sense that you appreciate your garden--but rethinking your current space. But it's exhausting no matter how you look at it. Good luck, Margot

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    1. Hi Margot! The artist is Eileen MacArthur:
      http://www.eileenmacarthur.com/landscapes.php
      I love her work, very moody and interesting.
      I am going straight to amazon to find books by this author, thanks so much. There are so many benefits to well planned smaller spaces, less maintenance, costs and cleaning.
      Definitely exhausting and I think if we renovate here we'll move out to a rental during the worst of it!

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  17. We renovated and added on to the back of our house years ago and have loved the results as we all use the extra space daily and love our location and garden. However, we cannot change the narrower hallways and lower ceilings...which became more of an issue as our boys grew (the shortest is 6" tall, and their friends all seem to be of the same ilk). We are now looking to move, which makes me wonder if that's what we should have done in the first place...!

    You look smashing in red...I do hope you are going to treat us to your UK holiday colour story?? Have a lovely week!

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    1. Hi Rebecca, interesting. This is MrBP's argument as well: even if we added space the doorways and other rooms will all be a certain size... we do have high ceiling which is a bonus.
      Oh boy I need to start that colour story, it's just two weeks away and I can't believe I'm not already packed up! ;)

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  18. Wishing and HopingJune 9, 2014 at 5:39 PM

    Dear Dani.
    This is a dilemma.
    We've been through this many times too (as it seems have so many of your followers.)
    There was the battle of a small house for us once our family grew and more of a battle with what to do.
    Started the "house hunt" to avoid all the stress of building and were so indecisive as a family, that we turned to renovating.
    Renovations are the Australian way here and so we joined the masses. Housing prices along with the cost of moving is horrendous here - so financially it made sense to stay put.
    Lived in half the house as the other half was demolished and redone - with the bonus of a second level. For me, the experience was frightful.
    Even more horrible now is the fact that I am constantly cleaning a 42 square home and the maintenance on it blows our annual budget.
    After 6 years of cleaning and maintaining, I've thrown up my hands in the air in protest and have declared "a move."
    Guess what? Still can't find the perfect home. After living in a large house with enormous living spaces, I'm desperate for comfort and cozy and warm.
    Funny we are never happy with what we have. And when we get what we want, we're still not satisfied.
    I think our problem is that we went to the effort of getting the house changed to suit us and no house can offer what we already have. Compromise is in order and it's not happening with 4 different opinions!
    From my experience though - it's all about the "heart and soul and feel" of the house.
    If your house has that, stay put and make some adjustments to make you more comfortable.
    A good architect may be able to achieve what you want without too much rebuilding.
    On the other hand - if you think you can find the "right feel" elsewhere, start looking around.
    It's always a good idea to look at what is on the market to convince yourself either way.
    Good Luck!!!

    Hope little Scout is back to her bouncy self!
    Love the new painting's colours and moodscape! And how appropriate to put English colours into your travel wardrobe!
    So lucky to have this wonderful trip to look forward to. (May put the "house" quandary into perspective whilst away.) Helen :)

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    1. Helen! You're right and I can't wait to get away, we are staying in a small stone cottage with one bathroom so I'm sure it will give a new perspective on cozy. Very interesting too the experience you have been through. We added on to our last house and it made many rooms completely redundant and it ruined the flow of our home. I was never comfortable.
      I'm definitely leaning towards staying put and perfecting our house the size it is, though I do think the bigger kitchen would be nice, maybe without the second floor built on top...
      I'm reading a great book, just found it yesterday: "House Thinking". The premise is that there are two key things we need in a home: Refuge and Prospects. I would call prospects "outlooks", the views and expanse we engage in out of windows or in our principal, or public rooms. Big spaces need cozy spaces as a compliment in order for us to feel comfortable... anyway it's very interesting, maybe I'll write a post on the book when I finish?
      Thanks for your comment Helen it is much appreciated!

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  19. I've gone from almost 7000 sq feet to under 2000 so I feel the space crunch too, especially as my wee ones get bigger (and with bigger friends!) The possibilities are so much fun. I'm doing a little reno this summer and it's fun to make something better. But if it's a big expansion where budgets can go awry, moving might make more sense (I have a 1920s house now and have renovated a Victorian so know that renos can get costly!)

    You do look smashing in red: perfect for England. I can't believe you are heading off so soon. Time really does fly!

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    1. Also give Scout an extra cuddle!

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    2. Jen that is a major change, what a huge house, just the idea of the cleaning a house that size is giving me a headache. I love what I have seen of your smaller house, one good thing about a "cozier" house is that it is easier to keep track of any rascals.;)
      Have given Scout your extra cuddle, she says "woof". She is doing great, lovely dog that she is!

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  20. dear dani this decision is just so hard to make. if you love your home i'd stay, but if you are up for a bit of adventure then i'd move. it's such a personal decision to make...and not an easy one. i don't think there is a right or wrong decision, just one that feels most comfortable. x

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    1. Janet I do love my house. MrBP wants a giant room for gathering with the rascals and I want a better kitchen. I'm working with a designer who has some good ideas for arranging our current family room to get it working better... built-ins and new furniture. Our kitchen could gutted and re-built, I'm looking at all the options, it is fun. I just have to remember to be patient!

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  21. Do they have "open houses" in your area? It's an easy way to get an idea of what's available and for how much, without having to feel committed to a broker. And you may pick up some good reno ideas, too!

    I'm lovin' Scout, she looks so serious!

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    1. Fred you guessed it Scout is very serious, she's aiming for partner before the end of the year.
      I've been going to the open houses, it's pretty fun and is very telling about the market. We found one house but were outbid right off the mark, it was crazy!

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  22. Hello Dani, have you ever been through a re-model before? I did some very, very small things when I bought my house and I was very surprised by the amount of stress. I've had several friends go through the same -- it's funny, even after seeing someone else go through it you think "oh, it won't bother me so much" but then it really does!! So I would say x3 the amount of stress you think re-modeling will be and factor that into the equation.

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    1. Hi PrincessLambChop! I have been through a big addition but that was 15 years ago and it was built pretty much outside of our house until the very end. Definitely X3 the stress and X3 the money!
      Funny that we always think things won't bother us, I am overly optimistic about that sort of thing. I would dread the reno with our dog, very difficult. To tell the truth if we do it we'll move out for the worst of it!

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  23. Hard decision to make. I would think about renovation if your living space can be expanded/reconfigured to make it more functional for you. We live in about 2500 sq ft; the kitchen/dining area/living room are open and not large, but we can do dinners for 8-10 and big Christmas parties (40 ish). I don't have seating for 8 in the living room, but with the fire going, no one seems to mind pulling up other chairs. Fred's suggestions to go looking at other houses for ideas or a place to move to is a good one; all the reno shows here seem to be from Toronto area!

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    1. Lane it seems that Toronto is a hub of house-buying and renovating, people go crazy for it.
      Your house sounds perfect. My dining room seats 10 and it might be my favourite room in the house with the exception of the french doors that were installed to replace the original window, drives me nuts as it is a terrible flow out to the garden, I'd put a door back in the kitchen if I renovate and turn the dining room doors into some kind of gorgeous window situation.
      We do have a small living room and family room... we can address that with furniture etc but a big crowd of more than 20 is pretty difficult. The fact that you can host Christmas with 40 people is brilliant! I bet they're very happy to have your cooking too. :)

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  24. Dani, Love that vase and you look so pretty in red. I hope you have fun on your trip to England! Moving isn't easy, but if you look you can get a better idea of what you have vs. what's available.. I knew when I saw this house, I loved it. I think you have to feel that. Also, you might pay an architect to come give you a preliminary idea of possibilities of what you can do with your space.. Sometimes they have ideas that you wouldn't have thought of.. I know what you mean about bigger living spaces.. We moved to an older home 5 years ago, but the living spaces are very large, but in contrast the bedrooms smaller than our previous new home. Once we moved, we loved it and haven't looked back. We got used to the smaller bedrooms. I wish you good luck and looking forward to the trip photos!! xx Kim

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    1. Kim I think small bedrooms are fine because they are cozy "refuge" spaces. Your home sounds perfect, there are some older homes around with big principal rooms, such a perfect combination.
      Great idea re the architect, my friend Ade suggested that as well! She lives in Toronto and has been here, I spoke to her on the phone yesterday and she thinks we're crazy to move, I do agree that it seems there is so much here we could do and I don't want to leave my street and my wonderful neighbours.
      I'm really looking forward to our trip, I've been debating bringing my laptop so I can blog from England? I might as I'll forget the details I'm sure if I leave it until I get home! I hope you're well KIm and thanks for the good advice. :)

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  25. Hi Dani. Happy birthday. Have an amazing trip to England. As far as the house size, I might consider how big a house I feel like cleaning, heating and maintaining. If I move again, I wont go above 2800 square feet which is very comfortable. A good floor plan is very important. I agree that looking at houses for ideas will be very helpful in guiding your decision.
    Hope that Scout is back to her normal self after spaying her. They feel better pretty quickly.

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    1. Hi AmW, thanks for the birthday wishes! I have a hard enough time cleaning my house the size it is so good advice, thank you. Agree about the floor plan, I'll get some help from our designer on that one, she has so many good ideas, things I've never thought of. Looking at houses has taught me that if I renovate I want to work from a cohesive floor plan so that there isn't a jarring mix of materials used all through the house!
      Scout is definitely back to her old self, friendly and furry as ever, thank you.

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  26. Wishing you a most wonderful birthday! xo

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  27. 10 years ago, we moved into 4500 sqft but had 2 teenage daughters in tow. Now they're gone and it's just myself & himself, and this place is really too big for the pair of us. Also, cleaning it is way too much work and I'm not getting any younger. Before you make the same move we did, get an architect in to take a look at your house to see how many walls he/she can take down to reconfigure and open up the space. Bigger windows can also make a space feel bigger. The Dani abode is simply lovely, has such warmth & character, the location is super and the garden is wonderful.
    Just my two cents worth. Happy Birthday dear friend. Ade XO

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    1. Ade you are a darling friend and I value your advice times a million not two cents! Thanks so much you've really got me thinking, you have such great ideas and I can't wait to consult an architect about those walls/staircases etc. Thanks so much Ade!

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  28. While you need a larger house, we are thinking ours is too large now that the children are grow. Our house is about 3860 square feet and does have decently sized living areas---a family room and a library and largish formal dining room. Deciding whether to stay or move IS a difficult decision for us as well. In your case, I would look at several considerations. First, do you love your neighborhood so much that it would be hard to leave it? You might look at some houses for sale and see if you fall in love with one of them that meets your needs. Finally, if you do decide to build on--hire an architect! They know what they are doing--and the outcome will be so much better than if you rely on a builder alone.

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    1. Susan: words of wisdom thank you! We do love our neighbourhood so much that it would be hard to leave it...our outlooks are fantastic as well, that would be very difficult to top.
      What will you end up doing? Moving is never fun is it, that's a consideration! Thanks Susan and I hope you are well.:)

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  29. Such a hard decision Dani! But you want to love your house and be sure that it's really functional for your life now and years from now. You are an entertainer, so you need to have a great entertaining space. You might be able to find something that has a perfect downstairs space for that, while lessening the number of bedrooms/bathrooms. I'd definitely just start meandering around some open houses to see what's out there. You might find something that is perfection, or you might find that you love your house enough to do some renovations to make it work better for you.

    Love you in red, so pretty! And love that sweet little Scout!

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    1. Thanks Melissa! Tough decision and I don't want to do something we'd regret later on... I think a renovation might be in order, we might have to sacrifice a "large space" but there will always be a compromise somewhere... it's great to see you on Instagram, I hope you're enjoying the summer weather with your cute little guy!

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  30. Happy, Happy Birthday Dani! Hope you had a wonderful day, and love that red outfit you've put together. So LUCKY to be off to England soon too!!! Will look forward to your packing posts. As for the house, hard decisions. Good luck with it all - I loath moving too, so can understand your reluctance, but agree with some others - can you reconfigure some of your spaces to be less bedrooms and more living?

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  31. Wait - you did that painting? The green one? Stunning. Happy happy B-day Dani, you're just after my Dad so does that make you Leo?? Quiet confidence? love that red top on you, perfect neckline, Me and my sisters have collapsing necks like crazy so we are all about the neckline. That's so tricky about the house. Even though we did a re-model, five years later I feel really completely moved in with not another thing to be done or a space to fill. Either way, its a bit of work

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