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Today marks one year since we closed on our house! In many ways, it’s been a tough first year of homeownership, but in so many others, it’s been absolutely wonderful. After struggling so long to find livable places in New York and moving nearly every year, our home–while, yes, in a different city–has given us a sense of stability and permanency. And I’m still in complete and utter shock that we have our dream house, as small as it might be. Even with the flood and construction and sleeping on trundle beds surrounded by boxes for nine or 10 months, it’s truly been the answer to our prayers.

Looking back to last year, it’s hard to describe just how anxious we were in the months, weeks and days leading up to closing. We were convinced that the deal would fall through, as there were hiccups in nearly every step of the (much) longer-than-usual process. As first-timers, there were so many unknowns, and we–or I, rather–didn’t handle the stress too well. I wanted that house so badly that I worried myself sick over losing it.

When we finally walked through the door, keys in hand, I felt like our lives had fallen into place. Of course, we still had our struggles. But it wasn’t until that moment that I realized just how much one’s living space can affect a person. I’m not someone who needs or wants to live in a mansion. I don’t need or want the nicest things, and I’ve never been one to play the comparison game or feel envy. But over the past year, I’ve come to understand what I do need and want: that sense of stability and permanency I mentioned before.

I think for some people, moving often is fun and exciting. And to tell you the truth, when I was in my early and mid-20s, bopping from one tiny hole in the wall to the next didn’t really bother me too much. But by the time I hit 26 or 27, I was kind of done. And since then, all I wanted was a permanent little home in the city.

Today, I’m not annoyed by the fact that at 38 weeks pregnant, we still have a crew making a couple of fixes to the master bathroom. Or that the nursery still needs another coat of paint, I haven’t completely unpacked our bedroom, we don’t have a door on the guest room, and the staircase won’t be done before the baby arrives. Not annoyed. Not annoyed. Not annoyed, haha.

Instead, I am grateful. On the morning of July 15th, 2015, we woke up in a tiny, dirty and outdated third-floor-walk-up apartment, and on the morning of July 15th, 2016, we’re waking up in a clean, far more spacious home that we’ve turned into our own and that has a front door that leads out to the street. Every day, we get closer and closer to being completely settled, and when I really think about it, we’re just about there. Oh, how everything can change in one short year. :)

Still, Year One was a rollercoaster. There were days when stood back and looked at all the progress we’d made on the house and teared up from pride and gratefulness and joy. And then there were days when I cried–big, ugly cries–because I was so overwhelmed by the destruction and money and delays and guilt of feeling badly for myself.

But literally every day–and I hate using the word “literally”–Mitch and I talk about how lucky we are to have this house. That it still feels like a dream. That we feel like we don’t deserve it. That for the first time in our lives, we want for nothing.

And our little home in the city is a big part of that.

Sometime soon, we’ll bring a baby home to this house, and it’ll take on even more meaning. This little house that’s already been filled with so many memories and so much love will become the place we started our family. When I was growing up, my parents used to play “Our House” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young all the time. (In this childhood video, the song starts at 1:55.) It was kind of like our family’s theme song. What I love about the song, too, is that it’s clear that the house isn’t what makes the home. It’s the people who live within its walls. If it weren’t for Mitch and Noodle and our baby, I wouldn’t want this “dream house.”

It’s only a dream house because of them.

Our house is a very, very, very fine house with [one dog] in the yard,
Life used to be so hard,
Now everything is easy ’cause of you…

Year in Review

(These are just a few of my favorite Little Home in the City posts, but you can see ’em all here.)

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We’re Homeowners!


Home Tour


The Great Chicago Flood


Master Bedroom Before Photos


Coffee Table Update


Top Floor Progress


New Couches


Gallery Wall


Fall-Themed Wine & Dessert Party


Home Office Tour


Dining Room Update


Navy Striped Wall


Dining Room: Help Us Choose Art!


Guest Bathroom Tour


Dining Room Art


Master Bedroom Progress


A Fresh Coat of Paint


Another Master Bedroom Update


Living/Dining Room Reveal

Again, those were just a few of my favorite Little Home in the City posts, but you can see ’em all here! Thanks for following along this past year!