All posts in moving

end of an era

I first saw the farmhouse when it was covered in snow, and it’s always the most magical scene.

It’s official: This little farmhouse will soon be someone else’s to love. In a few days, I’ll be handing over the keys to its new owners, and I’ll be moving on to a house that could not be more opposite of this one. It’s been a lot of work and stops and starts, but I’m so excited for the new adventure!

Want to see all the before/after photos from 2010 to today? You’re in luck — I updated the room-by-room page with photos taken after staging.

I’m writing this from my usual spot in the corner of the couch, gazing longingly out the picture window. It’s such a lovely view.

How it all came together: I started prepping for a “someday” move in 2018, including investing in new windows and siding repairs. Boyfriend and I had been talking about finding our own place in 2020, and then coronavirus put a wrench in almost everything. I had met with my realtor a while back to do a walk-through of the house and yard so that I’d know what needed to be done, and spent this summer working on those projects. When we were ready to start looking for a place this fall, we met with the realtor again and decided that instead of selling both our houses and moving into a new one, the best move in the market right now would be to sell mine as quickly as possible and then spend a few months making more updates to his house. So, we hit the gas pedal and got mine ready to list in just under 5 weeks. It went on the market Nov. 13th, accepted an offer Nov. 14th, first buyer backed out Nov. 20th, accepted a second offer on Nov. 21st, and now we’re in the final stretch before closing!

One of the biggest pre-listing changes my realtor recommended was painting the kitchen gray (Agreeable Gray, Sherwin-Williams). Farewell, cherry red!

What’s next: We’re consolidating households at the house my boyfriend has owned for a number of years, and taking on some DIY interior renovations this winter. When the weather warms up again, we’ll tackle the exterior. We plan to sell it in a year or two, but we have built flexibility into the plan so that we’re not locked into anything too overwhelming while the world is still feeling a bit chaotic!

It’s definitely bittersweet to leave this house and this neighborhood. Both have been so good to me the last decade. I’ll miss walking in the park every day and being able to ride my bike to the office downtown (I miss going to the office, too.)

This front porch has been a dream. I may never have one as amazing again! I just love it.

The new house will be different in so many ways. Instead of a 120-year-old farmhouse in the middle of the city, it’s a midcentury ranch-style house in a first-ring suburb. Our street doesn’t have a sidewalk (which I find bizarre), but I can walk to Target and Hy-Vee, so in those ways it’s even more walkable than my current neighborhood. The house itself is only one level with a basement, so there will be a lot less running up and down stairs. It’s completely different in its design and layout and amount of natural light (ahem, virtually none), not to mention we’ll be living through a remodel for at least six months. But: we’ll be together, and I love a design project! I’m going to learn a lot more DIY remodel skills than I did on the farmhouse, and I won’t be doing it alone.

I’m spending these last weeks in the farmhouse feeling incredibly grateful for all it has given me — independence, shelter, a chance to learn new things — and for all the incredible memories made here. It’s the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere. I’m sure there will be days when I miss it very much. And, I’ve moved before and survived it, and I know the new place will be great too.

I’m not decorating for the holidays this year because the move falls right before Christmas, but I loved decorating for the photos and seeing these bright berries out my window the last month.

Thanks to all of you who have spent time making memories here with me. I wish we could give her the send-off she deserves! Cheers to the little farmhouse, and onward. xoxo

the last boxes

I’m officially moved out of my family’s house in California. And for the first time in six years, all my worldly belongings are in one place. Amazing. And strange. Mostly amazing.
As it turned out, I was only in Davis for about 36 hours, and most of that was spent cleaning out my old room and packing the trailer. I moved most of my belongings to Minnesota three years ago, but this trip was for all the other miscellaneous furniture & boxes that are too fragile to be shipped, plus the stuff my brother is bringing out to Minnesota for college. Here are some highlights:

This is me, packing the red glassware that mom gave me. Take a wild guess as to where it’s going.
A favorite find: a box of childhood momentos, including this charming nightgown (which now fits over my fist and that’s about it) and some awesome photo frames, complete with lace and pearls. The sad thing is that stuff was THE BEST when I was five and living in Texas. I know. You should have seen me and Lissa (a good high school friend who happened to be in town visiting her parents, and helped me pack): doubled over in laughter as we perused the box and ruthlessly threw out all the junk. These gems made the cut, although they’ll likely just sit in a box in the basement of the new place…

Here are my dad and brother (and Lissa peeking through the stairs) – they were moving my secretary desk from my bedroom upstairs to the trailer in the garage. Mom’s parents bought the desk as an antique when she was a girl, and Nana painted it green for a while in the 70s. Thankfully my grandpa stripped it back to the original wood in the early 80s, just before my parents moved from Minneapolis to San Antonio. This desk (as well as the Civil War bed and a number of other random things I’ve inherited) has now traveled a complete circle around the country: Minneapolis to San Antonio to Davis, CA and now back to Minneapolis, just a few miles from where my mom grew up. Scary? Just a little.
The trailer, in the midst of packing.
Then, leaving the California house for our cross-country road trip.
On the road.
So even though I’ve technically been on vacation the last two weeks (betcha couldn’t tell from my copious blogging, eh?), it’s been busy with packing, traveling, unpacking and working on house projects while I had my parents in town. My basement has become just as messy and full of boxes as it was when I first moved into the house in May – but this time, I know there are no more coming after them. They’re the last boxes. Those words sound so, so sweet to my ears. And my sore shoulders.
Exhaustion aside, we made lots of progress over the last few days. I’ll be sharing photos and updates soon for the basement, office, living room and the yellow room. Meanwhile, I’m just enjoying being back at home. Minnesota and this house, both. Home sweet home.

estate sales and wicker chairs

So, let’s be honest, moving the rest of my stuff took a few days. And then I ran off to Georgia for a wedding over the long weekend. Twelve days after the magic moving van did its thing, I have hardly unpacked anything except what I needed for my trip… the house is a crazy maze of boxes, laundry baskets and bags (does anyone else pack books and other heavy things in tote bags and backpacks? raise your hands! my favorite trick.) Case in point:

Yeah, that’s supposed to be the way into the living room. Don’t come over to visit yet.
But, there is good news. During moving weekend, despite the rain and my sore arms, I was lucky enough to acquire a few key pieces of furniture that are perfect for the house. (Me = happy dance).
First, I found an estate sale a few blocks from my house, and got these fun benches and planting box for the backyard:

Not exactly free… but exactly what I wanted!
Then, later that day, I inherited these amazing bamboo & wicker chairs from my friend Lindsay who is headed to Florida for grad school. Although I’m sad to see her go (really, I am – she’s a great friend), I am honored and excited to have these chairs on my front porch. Especially because A) she got them for free, and spray-painted the seats herself (they used to be dark green), and B) they look great around the random kitchen table that I got from a neighbor three years ago, and couldn’t fit anywhere in the house except the front porch.
So, now they can be happy all together (and bask in their fabulous free-ness, and know that only adds to my affection for them):

Oh yes. I am pleased. Come see me soon (but not too soon) and enjoy all the fun new places I have for you to sit!
– LG

moving day: in pictures

Thanks for the well-wishes, everyone. Moving day went great! In fact, it might have been the least stressful moving day I’ve ever experienced. Of course I’m chalking that up to the decision of hiring professional movers for the furniture. Completely, totally, utterly worth every penny.

I’ll post more photos when I’m fully moved in and settled, but for now, here’s a peek:

getting ready to move the couches out of the apartment

apartment bedroom

squeezing the couches through the front door

This Civil War-era bed has been mine since I was a little girl, and it was my mom’s before that. Grandpa Sterling found it at a farm auction in Iowa back in the ’60s. If you look closely at the bottom of the headboard, you can see the knobs that used to anchor the ropes that held the mattress. Mom used to have “rope-pulling parties” to tighten the ropes before Grandpa added slats and a mattress board.

obviously the best moving truck ever

it’s amazing how little space your stuff actually takes up in one of those huge moving vans!

hello, let me take up the entire block

front porch (arguably a room of the house, and the place I’ll probably spend most of my time)

dining room alcove

living room


it was a beautiful day – 80 degrees and partly cloudy. perfect for moving.

and, the irises in the front yard finally graced us with their presence!

the most amazing bouquet of flowers I’ve ever seen (check out those orange ones!), from my colleagues at NCG

flowers from my garden

Cookbooks are ready to go! Dishes and food, not so much.