Why We’re Not Moving

About two years ago I started thinking about selling our 150-year old home and moving into newer construction. The temptation to move began shortly after our basement flooded two summers ago and we painted our home’s exterior. Replacing a collapsed basement wall due to a freak rainstorm and flood, along with sprucing up the exterior with paint was a lot of work. And stressful, too. (This post contains affiliate links.)

farmhouse, summer porch, summer home tour


We started looking at model homes that were closer to family just to see what was out there and what we could afford. We saw some beautiful houses and I could see ourselves living in a new home with everyone over.  My kids would even be able to spend the night with their families. And we wouldn’t have to paint the outside of the house, which is a plus!

Industrial Chic Kitchen


Buying a new house meant our real estate taxes would triple – probably the biggest reason why we’re not moving. We live in an old section of town that’s grandfathered into a lower tax rate. We also own the empty lot next door, which is where we keep our vegetable garden. I would miss this part of the yard and the extra outdoor space.

Onion Plants in a May Garden in Illinois


And so, the more I thought about moving – putting the house on the market, having people traipse through, looking for another home, and packing everything up – I became less enamored with the whole idea. So I asked hubby how he felt about trying to make our current home work better for our needs.

Selling a House


He’s pretty much fine with whatever I want to do when it comes to house-related things. He could live anywhere. And so, I made a game plan in my head and we got to work. First on the list was turning our dining room into a sitting room – or small living room.

Country Style Christmas Sitting Room


The living room became our new dining room. The dining room is now larger and I found a table that extends to seat 14 people. Our previous dining room would get crowded at holiday meals with everyone crammed around a table that’s only meant to seat 8 maximum.

Farmhouse Style Thanksgiving Table Setting


A small change we made to our kitchen was adding extra storage with a new kitchen island and farmhouse hutch.

Farmhouse Kitchen Island and Hutch


And we purchased a new farmhouse table from Pottery Barn to replace the vintage wobbly table – so we could actually eat in our breakfast nook.

Farmhouse Breakfast Nook with Spring Flower Arrangement


A new chair from Pier 1 and ottoman from Wayfair was added to our entryway so the space could do double-duty as a cozy reading nook.

Fall Home Tour - the farmhouse entryway


Most of our changes have been furniture related, like this new console table from Kirkland’s that was added near the stairway to provide additional storage. Almost every decision was based on storage and best use of space.

Console Baskets from Pottery Barn


When you live in an old house, storage can be extremely challenging. A new TV cabinet from Wayfair in the family room created more opportunities for tucking things away when not in use.

Farmhouse style TV stand


More cabinets and new artwork have spruced up other spaces.

farmhouse cow painting, script chair, gray cabinet, sitting room, living room, den, farmhouse style, farmhouse decorating ideas, wall art, wall decor


We’re finishing up changes to the downstairs bathroom which I’ll share during the next installment of our Cozy Living series on March 3rd.  Hubby’s also been busy giving rooms a fresh coat of paint. Still on the to-do list is creating a courtyard with a koi pond in the backyard, and checking to see if we can add a master suite.

Backyard Pond with Koi

Photo by Aquascape, Inc.

All of these changes are far less expensive than moving – and we won’t have to pay astronomical real estate taxes. Not to mention the stress of moving! And our immediate family members are still less than an hour away so it’s not bad.

So for now, it looks like we’re staying put and I’m happy about that!


Shopping Sources:

Script Chairs in Sitting Room

Tamiami Dining Table

Slat Back Dining Chairs

Kitchen Hutch by Ferris

Kitchen Island by Giulia

Pottery Barn Farmhouse Table

Entryway Accent Chair by Pier 1

Tufted Storage Ottoman in Entryway

Console Table Baskets from Pottery Barn

TV Cabinet in Family Room

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  1. Penny at Enjoying The Simple Things says:

    All of the changes you have made are wonderful. I would stay there too!

  2. Good for you!! I like your thinking process!

  3. Nan, Odessa, DE says:

    Smart move! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Your house is beautiful and has so much character. As nice as a new build would be in terms of everything being shiny and new…..you will definitely miss all that character. PLUS you would probably have to change the name of your blog to just TOWN LIVING….lol…just doesn’t have the same ring to it!!
    My home in Canada is an older home. We call it the Corner House (built on a corner lot)…built in the 1940’s…not as old as yours but it is very charming. It has so many quirks…but the only way I’m leaving it is in a box….and hopefully not anytime soon!!! Keep on enjoying and blogging about your old home….we all love it.

    • Thank you, Marion! You’re right – I would need to change the name of my blog. LOL. Your home sounds wonderful. Ours is on a corner lot too – another thing to love and another reason to stay put. 🙂

  5. Your home is so very pretty, I love everything about it.

  6. I love all of the changes you have made. Not that I plan to move but if you have been in your home for any length of time it is shocking when you check the numbers what the tax rate increases too.

  7. june lovell says:

    everything looks great and i think you made the right decision(s). the koi pond is a great idea, also, they are beautiful and i love them, as long as they are in someone else’s yard: what i learned from my brother-in-law’s koi pond: raccoons will find you, even in the middle of a Southern California neighborhood, and, there is a virus which can be disastrous to the fish. research into the koi breeder is very important as well as adding fish to a healthy pond from another breeder.

    • Thanks, June! Lucky for me, I work at a company that installs ponds and manufactures the products go into them. So if I ever run into a problem, I know who to call. LOL. 🙂

  8. Mindy Delano says:

    I love all your changes. It makes total sense! Taxes can be incredible added to the mortgage, so much that folks that desire the big house, really, in the end, have no disposable cash at the end of the month for the niceties of the home. They are paying car insurance, car payments, larger utility bills, and some hire help every 2 weeks to help with housecleaning. Your home is lovely; remember though, the bedroom is the one place most people don’t spend time in. Perhaps a family room! Keep up the great decorating.

    • Hi Mindy! We lost a bedroom a few years ago when we decided to move our bedroom upstairs and make the former master bedroom a family room. Hubby’s family is all out-of-state so it’d be nice to have an extra bedroom back when they come to visit. Plus a master bathroom (which we currently don’t have) would add some privacy when guests stay overnight. We’ll see though. It all depends on the cost. 🙂

  9. You’ve made this a true home. Why start over? 😉

  10. I discovered pretty much the same thing as you when I was thinking about moving closer to my children and grandchildren who are a short hour away. The costs were out of sight, the houses were larger (so I could have EVERYONE there at the same time) which meant more housework for me, and the actual moving itself after many, many years …ugh.

    After years of crowding into my small home for holidays, a normal progression has occurred – grandchildren have grown up and now have spouses and significant others and little ones of their own, so it takes a huge house and dining facilities to have everyone eating at the same time – something I would never be able to maintain if I had sold and moved.

    I think there is a season for everything and that includes families. At some point, we become the elder generation (regardless of our age) and our children take over with their larger homes that are more suited to entertaining a constantly growing immediate family. I have become, and you will also, that elder generation that no longer has to spend hours upon hours cleaning before everyone arrives, cooking for days on end, then cleaning after everyone leaves. I find that since my children take turns hosting the family holiday dinners, I am for all intents and purposes, a guest. I felt bad at first because everyone had always come to Grandma’s for family dinners. But now, I take a family favorite dish, a small bouquet of flowers for the hosting child, drive an hour, and once there, actually have time to catch up on the busy lives of my grandchildren that I didn’t have when everyone was coming to my home.

    I too was contemplating moving to a big, expensive house to entertain “everyone” when actually, “everyone” is more than happy to give up the hour’s drive each way with little ones or having to arrive late or leave early due to a work schedule. (More than one nurse in my immediate family.) It’s actually a good thing – and someday when your children’s homes become the “go-to” place for family dinners, you will be so happy that you didn’t leave a home that you love and incur expenses that were unnecessary. Enjoy your family’s time in your home with your new furniture additions and space arrangements, but look forward to being the holiday dinner “guest” in theirs in the future, knowing that you will be returning to your comfortable and affordable home. I apologize for the length of this comment but wanted to let you know I’ve been exactly where you are ….

    • I enjoyed reading this. Was not at all bothered y the length. Thanks for writing it. You made some very good points.

    • You are so correct in your thinking about the generational thing…plus not having to move is wonderful.

    • True words of wisdom, Pat! Thank you for sharing your experience. My son and his wife just bought a move-in-ready home and it’s fairly large and they expressed interest in having holidays at their house. So maybe it is finally my turn to relax a bit!

  11. I love your home, so glad you’re staying put. Nothing beats the character of an old house. I moved from my old house after many years there, to a newer home. I have been trying to add old character to the new one ever since. I miss the solid feel and the quirky character of my old house, which can never be replicated. Home is where your heart is, and it’s obvious that your heart is right there.

  12. Sandy Frankel says:

    I am a Zillow/Refin/Realtor daily fanatic. I have a 1915 Craftsman, that we have worked on for 19 years-and have one room to go. We finally ( after threats of mutiney) installed a new HVAC system, replacing the original 1911 basement furnace. Alas! A new standard of living.
    Old homes are a commitment. More $, more work, more love. I have to remind myself of the greater good, preserving for generations to come, providing a gem of this community, and the environmental impact. New homes are certainly not the “green” way to go. An old house is the ultimate in recycling. The impact of new construction on this earth is huge. And the taxes! I have the Mills Act ( historical home tax reduction in return for restoration) If I moved my property taxes would increase by over $10,000 a year. OUCH. Realty fees, moving costs, restoration and remodeling of the next house, on and on. We talk about it almost daily-but until ( if ever) I get that gut feeling that I have found home-we will stay in this crazy old house. But I have heat and air now!!

  13. You’re a “woman with a plan!” More than that you are willing to implement it. Add an agreeable and resourceful hubby and the sky’s the limit… which you are proving.
    I SO admire your practicality and vision.
    The koi pond is my favorite part of your plan! Dear Gussie, I think that all that work is wearing me out. Might have to get a sweet tea and put my feet up on the patio. Ocala’s 78* weather is calling me. 😉

  14. I think that you made the right choice . . . older homes were built better than they even think about building homes today and there is so much charm and space in your wonderful farmhouse. These new builds in their cookie cutter neighborhoods just make we claustrophobic. You have gold, don’t trade it for silver:)

  15. I love all your ideas to make your house work for you.

    Our cottage is small and hosting both of of children and their spouses is tight. Add in a new baby and it’s even tighter. But, we live just steps to the beach and we have no desire to move. One thing we did was gain space by replacing furniture- a love seat rather replaced a full sofa and we went with a smaller chair. We removed furniture in the dining room and had plate racks built which literally gained us 18 inches. We live in Southern California so we are able to live outdoors almost the entire year- not so this week! Any new pieces of furniture I choose must provide storage and we had a SheShed built in the garden for storage. Most important to living in a small space is the pull down attic stairs we installed.

  16. Marlene Stephenson says:

    I know it will be for the best, i love your house and i am sure with your ingenuity and your husband ready to help everything that can be done will be done. I have complete faith in both of your abilities as a couple on a mission and besides with God anything is possible.

    • Thanks, Marlene! Not to mention – we’re also within walking distance of the little ice cream place (similar to a Dairy Queen but privately owned). I know for sure I would miss that!!

  17. I couldn’t imagine ever leaving that house, it is beautiful!

  18. Your house is darling ! You did a great job redoing the rooms , adorable !love all the farmhouse !! DONT do a pond! Been there!done that !! ALOT OF WORK !! Anyway ! Just a suggestion !

  19. Christine Irvine says:

    I love the changes you have made and think it’s a smart move for you not to move. That sounds weird now that I wrote it! Anyhow, it is cheaper in the long run, and less stressful, to stay where you are and make those creative and fun improvements. Maybe someday put siding on the house (gasp, I know)? They have types that look so much like real wood now. And have you thought of getting a small RV to park in your extra lot to use just for a bunk house for some of your kids and grand kids to stay in? That could work about half the year for you, and that would be a fun project…making one of them into a little guest house. It could also be a little retreat for you too some times, and a “dog house” for your husband if he acts up. 😉
    Just some thoughts. Keep up the good work, and have fun. Your decorating is beautiful and I am sure your whole family appreciates it.

    Amherst, NH

  20. Love your house and love your blog.

  21. Sooooo glad you’re not moving! I love your home, and so love that kitchen! What wonderful ideas you have for working with what you have. Way to Go!

  22. Wow, you have made wonderful changes and added many beautiful pieces. We loved our Koi pond in the old house. Can’t wait to see the rest.


  23. You’ve made a good decision. I love the photos, such pretty decorating.

  24. Great house, easy decision. But I love the old houses they have so much charm. Well done great decision. Love the pictures.
    Catherine X

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