I’ve got so much to write about I don’t even know where to start other than just starting. I wanted to write about the inspirations behind my work, the new explorations I’m starting within my work and the personal discoveries I'm making along the way, plus the reflected learnings of selling my house and buying my studio and the struggles that have come with that decision. These will be many different blog posts but each as important as the next. So rather than not posting at all due to overwhelm I’ve collated some posts and paragraphs written over the last year about my house move. It’s a year today since I moved from my beautiful flat with big windows and views of the silvery Tay so it feels like a good place to start.
Most of these posts were written for a private community I was part of, I had kept copies of them as a diary of the time. I’m glad I did. I’ve edited out some parts relating to other people but other than that it is the wording in those moments. I’ve also included the wins and learnings I had along the way.
...how can I expect to get my house/garden/home studio dream off the ground without taking action. The dream scenario was never going to just drop on my lap while I held on to my flat.
Diary of a House Move.
On Friday I decided to put my flat on the market. After nearly 17 years in the same spot I am moving. I went to see a house the other day that had the most perfect garden and studio situation I could possibly ask for. The house was quite a bit smaller than I have now but I'd have bore it for the outside space. Perfect for me, perfect for the dogs (side note: at the time Bea was moving out so didn’t need to be perfect for her), hidden away up a leafy path with a parking spot. This house was the kick up the arse I needed to get my beautiful gaff on the market. I've been swithering over it for more than 2 years; every time I've looked out my window at my beautiful view or been on a sunny local walk I've changed my mind about selling. It's hard when you live in a beautiful place and you've been in property so long it's steeped in your character and has become your near perfect place.
But on seeing this new property I knew I had to get some skin in the game and commit to having strangers judge my home and decide if it could be theirs. So, now, estate agents have been out, mortgage brokers have been called and my storage unit has been doubled to clear out excess furniture.
My main learning this week has been, how can I expect to get my house/garden/home studio dream off the ground without taking action. The dream scenario was never going to just drop on my lap while I held on to my flat. Bea's leaving home and a new era is on its way. I'm feeling pretty brave right now.
It seems that since stirring up all the good stuff with putting the flat on the market a whole load of shite has been whipped up with it.
I've really struggled to get a mortgage for the house I put an offer in on, my broker has been phoning around loads of lenders and has found one that might be able to lend me about £200000 less than I need. There's a few factors clogging up the decision.
I'm self employed
I'm a single person
my daughter’s leaving home so I no longer get as much tax credits and child benefit stops so unlike previous mortgage applications the decision is based solely on my self employed income from the last 2 years.
Since putting my flat on the market I've been really stressed. The excitement I felt at the start has well and truly gone due to circumstances out of my control. I skipped into selling my flat confident I'd sell it for a good price; get the amount I needed on a mortgage and I'd have no issues getting the house I had an offer accepted on.
2 weeks later...
I'm feeling really ripped off by the expensive estate agent (side note: McEwan Fraser if anyone wants to know who to avoid when selling your property), as far as I can see they've not delivered on what I was promised in the courting phase with the Estate Agent. I feel duped, naive and really pissed off that I've been manipulated for service that is no better than the service I would have received from the original much cheaper estate agent.
I've had a couple of informal offers on my flat at a lot less than I was led to believe I'd get.
The mortgage I've been able to secure is £15000 less than I have now.
There's a high chance I'll be left with much less than I need and might have to let go the house I put an offer in on.
I'm disappointed and frustrated that having never missed a mortgage payment in 30 years; finally having an excellent credit rating and higher self employed earnings means fuck all. I assumed if I could get a mortgage at my shitest financial state I'd definitely get one now.
The flat is going to closing on Tuesday so I'll know what my budget will be and if I can carry on with the house or if I have to rent for a bit.
I've had loads of viewings.
I can stop being tidy after Tuesday.
I got accepted onto another mentoring programme as a mentor.
Whatever happens I'm moving. Adventures are afoot.
So you know how you can't be what you can't see? I had only ever seen people buy homes, sell them and buy another. I was following that line until today when I withdrew my offer on the house I wanted and started discussions to buy a studio along the road from where I am now. So now instead of buying a home and renting a studio, I'm buying a studio and renting a home. I'm friggin excited by this option, all I really want is a place to make art and a kiln and this option provides me with both. I'll also definitely be able to get myself to Australia (side note: I didn’t go in the end). For the first time I'll properly be treating my artistic career as an actual job and giving it all my dedication. I am an Artist mother fuckers!
I have a confession, I've not been taking the time to feel grateful for the good things that have been happening lately. I've been mired in the sludgy eurgh of things not being easy/in my control for the last 5 months. It's hard to change into positive gear when you've been in 'fucksake' gear for a while. Change is hard.
This change started at the beginning of the year when I handed in my notice on the studio I'd had for 14 years with the goal of beginning the search for a home with a garden and studio. I moved out in March; by the end of June I had an offer in on a house with a studio in the garden; July, my flat of nearly 17 year was on the market; a week later I accepted an offer on it. 5 weeks later, I found out there was an issue with the title deeds on the property I was buying; 3 months of limbo later I withdrew my offer and decided to buy a studio instead. Last month I left my beautiful home and moved in with my mum for 3 weeks; last Saturday I moved into a new house and tomorrow I get the keys to my studio.
The house is less than perfect but it has an enclosed garden with a back door to let the dogs out. The house is also free in exchange for me turning it from an old fashioned, slightly (side note: very) run down, empty property into something a bit more saleable. The last week I've been so bogged down with clearing cupboards of crockery, dusty nicknacks, old bedding and linens that I forgot to be thankful for this opportunity.
In short, my goals for this year were to have a house with a door to an enclosed garden, for the dogs, a studio, the prospect of my own kiln and somewhere to put it. Tomorrow I will have all those things. the process turned out far from how I expected or imagined but here I am with everything I wanted for this year. Yay me!
The main lesson for this year is ACTION IS KEY. Do something, anything, towards your goals. I made decisions, took steps, changed my mind, wasted money, U turned, before finally finding the right solution for me.
Over that period I learned not to be so fixated on the imagined future and just take each event as it comes. Things don’t always look like you think they will and your dreams need to be flexible enough to receive the stuff you didn’t know you needed.
I am still in the free house nearly a year later. It’s cold, the road floods and the toilet backs up and I’ve had to camp out in the studio but I still feel grateful to the twists and turns that have brought me here. I don't regret my decision to sell the beautiful flat even though I still feel sad about it sometimes. I'll probably only be in this house for another few months but I'll still have the studio for consistency and joy when that time comes. Where will I live next I wonder?
If you’ve enjoyed this post and if you’re in a position to do so, I'd be ever so grateful if you could Buy Me A Coffee or two. Or visit the shop and buy something.