We moved into our house almost a month ago, and it's absolutely crazy to me how settled I already feel, how much I love it, and how much it already feels like home. Prior to moving in, I had given myself several months as a buffer to feel comfortable there and acclimate to a new and much bigger space, but I can't tell you how delighted I am that the transition has been so seamless. That isn't to say there haven't been some surprises and things I'd do differently the next time around. Here, in no particular order, are some of my thoughts from our first month in our new home:
The initial reason we moved from Hancock Park to Studio City was to be closer to Sloan's school for kindergarten, and it was difficult for me to see it as anything other than a sacrifice. I loved our neighborhood and was reluctant to embrace the enormous change, but learned over the course of our move that sometimes the scarier and more intimidating an opportunity seems, the better it really is. Studio City is only a few minutes from Los Angeles, but it feels like I'm living in a completely different area. There's a warmth to the neighborhood (I cried when neighbors dropped off a bag of goodies from a gourmet shop nearby), and it genuinely feels like we're part of a community of like-minded people who are also family-oriented. There are also many things I hadn't anticipated, like a great hike nearby that's exactly the right distance from start to finish. I've been getting outside more than I have in years to walk the trails, and going to tons of fantastic restaurants (some of the best sushi, ramen, and Lebanese food is a stone's throw away). Oh, and the accessibility of everything is game-changer. The first time I went to the market and realized there were tons of spots in the parking lot, I could hardly believe it.
It should go without saying that this is only what works for me, so take it as you will, but unpacking as quickly as possible was integral to feeling settled. Yes, those first few days after we moved in, when there were boxes taller than us lining every room, was beyond intimidating, but G and I put in ten hours a day of unpacking. In less than a week, we'd unpacked the entire house, which was always our goal (one of the benefits of using Rent A Green Box, outside of sustainability, was that we set the pick-up date for exactly one week after we moved as motivation). The moment the boxes were carted away and we were left with our unpacked house was among the most rewarding of my life.
One of the things I hadn't anticipated—though it feels obvious in retrospect—is that, in upgrading to a house double the size of our last one, our existing furniture wouldn't be sufficient. We have a comically large master bedroom with a space large enough for Sloan to hold dance recitals every morning. It's in desperate need of a little seating area. It's intimidating thinking about just how much we need to do, but one of the things that sparks the most joy, particularly because we're working with an interior designer I trust, Katie Hodges. I'll be sharing the entire journey here and on social, but we'll likely be selling and redoing a lot to fit our new space! It's exciting!
I addressed this a bit in another post, but moving into our new home during the holidays was something I loved. As soon as we got our Christmas tree up and started burning pine-scented candles, the whole house took on a really festive feel. Plus, the break gave us a couple of weeks to slow down and enjoy our house during the indulgent period of time around the holidays, before getting into our regular schedules. It almost helped the house take on a magical feeling, although the one con is that I now associate our house with a twinkling Christmas tree in the window. Taking it down was a bit of a rough transition...
The funny thing is that, as soon as we walked into the open house of our last home, I felt like our formal living room would be where we'd spend almost all of our time, but we almost never did, outside of cocktails for formal dinner parties. So when I saw the formal living room in our current house for the first time, I almost discounted it as another living room we'd never go into. It has steps down that feel "too fancy," doesn't have a TV, and is far from the kitchen, which is the hub of our home. But to my surprise, when I have time to myself, I always find myself in that room, planted in front of the fireplace. It's such a warm, inviting space and where I go now to read.
To my enormous relief, Sloan has adapted quickly and beautifully to our new home. The very first room we set up when we moved was hers. We laid out her rug so she had a familiar touchpoint, set out her stuffies, and made her bed. G and I had fully prepared ourselves to sleep on the floor of our room that first night because all we cared about was getting her room ready (luckily, we were able to do both!). That's not to say there weren't moments during the first couple of days, when we were still unpacking and didn't have the bandwidth to take her to the park or a museum, that she felt bored and in-flux, and a bit sad. At a few points, she declared she missed our old house so much, she would move back in and live with the family who bought it. But as soon as we were unpacked, we began to take her on adventures with us in the neighborhood, show her the new neighborhood's park, and new versions of places we had once loved on the other side of the hill, she began to embrace it all. It's safe to say the entire family is now sold on the new neighborhood and house.
There's a reluctance, at least as far as I'm concerned, towards having people over before everything's done. I initially resisted, thinking I would end up spending the entire time apologizing for piles of boxes and unfinished rooms, but at the end of the day, remember that the people in your life are simply excited to see your new space. And there's nothing quite like having friends over to make a house feel like a home. We ended up having people over a for a spontaneous brunch on New Year's Day. Sloan was excited to show her room off, and we all felt proud of, not embarrassed by, our new, unfinished home.
There's a very large L-shaped coat closet I'd envisioned being perfectly organized with holiday decorations and wine, but the minute Sloan went in, she decided it was her Narnia. Instead of bottles, it holds a full tea set and toys—it's a special little cave she can go in with her friends. The holiday decorations are stored haphazardly in the garage for now, but it was worth it to see how excited she is.
Our laundry room is upstairs, so we've had to learn how to deal with "downstairs" dirty laundry, like gym towels and dirty kitchen towels, without simply piling them at the bottom of the stairs until someone volunteers to take them up. We've since added a laundry basket to a downstairs coat closet, and are planning on adding wicker baskets at the top and bottom of the stairs so that when Sloan throws her shoes off or we have anything that needs to go up or down, we can place them in the basket.
There was a moment that happened shortly after we finished unpacking that just sticks with me. I was starting to get a cold and feeling a tiny bit sorry for myself, and as tired as I've ever felt. I drew myself a bath at dusk, in the master bath which is situated under huge windows. Looking out the windows, all I could see were these huge trees and I just felt like, "Is this real?" It was almost a 'pinch me' moment. I loved our last master bath, in which I was staring at our neighbor's crumbling roof, but our new view elicits a feeling like I'm in Big Sur. In that moment, I fell in love with our house—and this is before we've done any work on it. I knew instantly that the tub would be one of my sanctuaries in my gorgeous home. I never want to lose that immense feeling of gratitude, that this beautiful house is my home.