How I’m Creating My Forever Home

Forever Home

This is a paid partnership with The Nottingham Building Society

What makes a Forever Home? Can we ever actually guarantee that a home will be ours for the rest of our lives? I always describe our never-ending renovation project in our little pocket of south east London as my Forever Home (unless a bolthole in the middle of nowhere lures me away with the promise of lots of land to rescue ducks and goats and donkeys). The truth is though, when I first viewed it on a rainy December day back in 2013 I wasn’t even sure I wanted us to buy it, let alone live in it for the foreseeable future.

Fast-forward five and a bit years and I now see our home as one of the great loves of my life, despite the amount of work that needs doing and how much that thought daunts me at times. This bundle of bricks has made me realise that what I thought I always wanted isn’t necessarily the reality and how my perception of must-haves has changed the longer we spend here.

If you ever watch property shows on TV (erm, who doesn’t?!), it’s the age-old familiar story – couple go house-hunting adamant they know what they want. TV presenter person throws in a curveball which most of the time doesn’t meet their requirements and the couple realises they want something completely different! I was convinced I’d only be happy in a Victorian home but I now love our generously proportioned 1930s semi with large back garden.

SUe Ryder tete-a-tete bench

To have a little bit of fun with the concept of knowing what we want from our Forever Home, I’ve teamed up with Nottingham Building Society who have created the Forever Home quiz to help pair you up with your perfect property. And you never know, if you have fabulous taste, you may just find me and my humble abode as your perfect match! Financially our homes are the biggest investment we’ll ever make and The Nottingham has a range of products and expertise available to help you take the next step on the property ladder, from remortgaging, to helping first-time buyers secure the right mortgage, to finding you your dream home that ticks all the boxes.

So how do you know if you’ve found ‘the one’ and can you create your Forever Home even if you have doubts at first? I’d definitely argue yes. For me, realising that we have our Forever Home has been about understanding what I truly appreciate versus what magazines or people say you should prioritise (big glass extensions, I’m looking at you!). For example, what’s made this our Forever Home has been the fact that even in the winter months it’s so light because we have windows all over the place. I also never realised how important a big garden would be. Or the fact that with the exception of our neighbours on either side, we’re not overlooked at all – all that’s at the bottom of our garden are huge oak trees. Given that this is London, to have so much space and a feeling of privacy is very rare indeed.

And then, of course, it’s everything you do to a space to make it your Forever Home. In our case we’re slowly returning period features like picture rails and are replacing windows. We’ve also added a beautiful parquet floor to our living room. It’s realising that you don’t have to do everything in one go (who even has the money for that?) but that if you take your time you’re much more likely to make considered decisions that you don’t regret or want to change in six months’ time.

Finding and creating your Forever Home is definitely about seeing the potential but also really thinking about how best to make the space work for you. Our kitchen is so small that for a long time we neglected it – we always planned to build a big ground floor extension which would include a new one. Then earlier this year we realised that we didn’t need to do that at all, but could instead turn our large dining room, which is completely unused, into a new kitchen/diner and then transform the current kitchen into a utility room and downstairs toilet. Ok, it’s not the huge wow factor space that everyone loves to see in glossy magazines, but it’s our home and as we’re just two plus the furry ones, who do we really need to make that big space?

Forever Home

Forever may be a long time, but we’ve now lived here for five and a half years and that’s already the longest I’ve lived anywhere in my life. I love the feeling of tranquillity that walking through the front door gives me. I chat to the house and feel its soul. It may sound crazy but this place keeps me warm and safe and I’m determined to pour my love into it and restore it to its full promise. Hopefully there are a good few years in us yet.

This is a paid partnership with The Nottingham Building Society

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  1. Sarah C
    August 29, 2019 / 1:17 pm

    Have been following you for ages on Instagram but never thought to visit your blog! When my husband and I were looking to move in together, we (I) had a little list of preferances which got completely ignored. In the end it was down to location, price and a decent sized garden. Over the years (after blood, sweat and tears – literally) we have turned our house into a home. I’m finding little touches can really make a big difference and I’m grateful that we have a space to call our own.

    • Lins
      August 29, 2019 / 8:53 pm

      Ahh thank you Sarah and welcome! And yes, it’s so interesting isn’t it what really becomes important and how actually, if you take the really immovable beasts out of the equation (like location for example), you can really create a place you love X

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