Chasing Dream Houses

Chasing Dream Houses

I love going to open houses and being invited in to snoop around :). Ya’ll probably love to do that too, right? Does your area still host a “Street of Dreams”? That was my favorite house-related yearly tradition for years and years (we moved so I don’t know if they still do that in Portland or not)! But some of the joy of open houses goes away when you aren’t just snooping, but seriously needing to find a house on your less than street of dreams house budget.

That’s the boat we are in right now, especially when it is the stress of trying to find what you need when your budget is better suited to a buyer’s market and not an insane seller’s market. If you are a seller right now in Seattle and you are moving out of town, you must be thrilled! (If you missed my post about moving and you are wondering what in the world I’m talking about, ha, you can read part one here!). Nevertheless, we are confident in our decision to move and believe it is the right one for us in this season.

Chasing Dream Houses

We have looked at all kinds of houses and most of them haven’t felt like “the one.” I don’t know what it is, but houses have a feeling. Even before you move in or even if it isn’t updated to your liking, at least I find this true for me, you just kind of know whether it speaks to you as you walk in. If it speaks (yep, I sound crazy), I feel at home almost right away. But unfortunately the ones that do feel like “the one” are often out of our reach once we add up the costs in this market, or we end up out of the running to get it for one reason or another.

Seattle is a hard market to shop in and the competition is fierce, but a good thing that has come out of our plan to move at this time is I’ve been reminded time and time again that dream houses can come in many different sizes, shapes, styles and neighborhoods. Of that I am sure. When a house speaks, it doesn’t matter whether it looks like a dream house to anyone else or not. It’s gently inviting you home and that’s a comforting feeling.

Chasing Dream Houses

Of course, our move is not about finding a literal dream house, but about creating the life we want to live in whatever home we find ourselves dwelling in. The right house for us might look very different than the ones in my own dreams. I’ve (mostly) made peace with the concept of finding contentment over the years so to be honest, I’m kind of excited about the challenge of making the best of what we will have, no matter what size or shape it is. Even though I know I will miss this home we currently live in, I’m preparing my heart to be open to adventure and creating a new place to call home.

I keep daydreaming about how it will feel to start over again, for the right reasons, and make someone else’s house into our home. It’s really a mix of feeling hopeful, fearful, sad, excited, while feeling kind of tired but strangely invigorated to move and start over again. I know it’s weird that I’m OK with moving, I really do love my home! Of course it would be super exciting if I was planning to move to something dreamy or already amazing and perfectly ready to go (you know, one you can just move into and set your stuff out and its already gorgeous? DREAM!). But even an ordinary exterior, an outdated kitchen or bathroom or less than ideal neighborhood (or all of the above) doesn’t scare me. Well, not much anyway. :) OK. Only a little bit.

Chasing Dream Houses

As I was traveling this past week, I had the opportunity to sit and chat with several women who began to share their hopes and dreams for their homes. I love that women can connect and share a bit of their hearts and home stories with me. It’s amazing what a universal thing it is to have that even small subconscious hope for a special home to dwell in.

Women I spoke to last week were in tears as they described their dream homes (no matter how humble and realistic the vision might be!) because they feared leaning into those dreams with too much hope. Some were reflecting back in amazement because they are now moving into their dream house, in complete awe of how their seemingly crazy dreams were coming true after years trying to suppress or hang on to the hope. And some were still holding their breath feeling fragile or vulnerable, waiting for a loan to go through or hoping for the right house and community to be found even under less than ideal circumstances.

Until the key is in your hand and you can bolt the door safely behind you, there’s that uneasy feeling when you are still on the bumpy road home.

Chasing Dream Houses

No matter what a dream house looks like to us at this moment in time, we understand each other’s inner heartbeat and the vulnerability of longing for and looking for that safe place to call home.

Hope can feel like such a risky thing, can’t it? Sometimes you almost don’t even want to hope, because what if…

While I’m leaving behind a house I love and will not be moving into a perfect house, I’m still hanging on to hope of what is to come. We’ve had trying times in our life and we truly are grateful that this is not one of those kinds of moves. We are in a good place in life right now, we are moving with confidence, intention and goals for our family’s well being, but still, this move is risky and stressful. Dreams are scary sometimes. Yet even so, I chase my own humble version of a dream house with anticipation and hope, not because I expect the house we move to will be perfect or everything will go according to an ideal plan, but because I know we can find our dreams wherever we are.

Our next house story is still being written, but I’m glad I can share it with you as it unfolds. You are my people. I can’t wait to share with you what we have been looking for, what we found along the way, and what we end up with soon! I hope. :) So much to tell you, so many adventures ahead!

Are you a house-dreamer, or does the idea of dreaming fill you with more fear than hope?


  1. Its hard to let go of a home that you have put so much of yourself in, but the thought of starting over is very appealing. It would be fun to live in a new city, and in a new house. As long as your family is there, you can make a home almost anywhere. I really enjoyed visiting your blog its my first time here. If you have a minute I’d love for you to visit me at Hope you have a good week and enjoy your new adventure. xoxo Mickey

  2. I think we always need to remember that a house is merely a structure and that the “dream” lies within our hearts. It is the love of a family — the laughter and even the tears that make a home. I think a “dream home” is built with all of the personalities of the people who live there. Enjoy your search and then joy will follow as you create your dream home.

    I wish you much happiness and many blessings !

  3. Christi {Jealous Hands} says

    I can’t wait to see where this dream takes you! xo

  4. Wish you all the best. I’m sure you will find the perfect place…if not just give it a year and knowing you it will be perfect. (Ps…I could never image you being happy with a perfectly done home to move into….we all need prejects….it’s in our blood) but it can be fun to think that way. Best of luck.

  5. There is a difference between a house and a home. You have turned all your houses into homes and I know you will do the same for your next house. I so wanted to meet you at Haven but I was triple booked during your session. I hope we get a chance to meet at another conference someday.

  6. How fun to start fresh! That was the best thing about being raised in the military-every three years you got a new space to decorate. I am sure that regardless of where you end up it will turn out beautiful and I look forward to reading all about it. Ultimately, this is not our forever home. Eyes to Christ and step out boldly!

  7. Melanie VDG says

    Portland, Oregon right? I think Clark County in Washington, just north of Portland has a Parade of Homes. I went with my friend last year and we loved it. You’re going to love Portland!!

  8. I have lived in my current home for 13 years. The longest we have ever lived anywhere in my married life. It is home to us. We’ve bought a fixer upper and made it our own. It will be undergoing a bit of transformation when my parents move in. I’m excited by the changes that are coming. It’s a natural flow of life. Kids are growing up and moving into their own lives, too.

    I am looking forward to seeing what you and your husband and family find (house wise), and what you will do to that house to make it a home. Fun times ahead!

  9. Sandy @ Reluctant Entertainer says

    So excited for your family. I love the mission you’re on, all for the right reasons. Can’t wait to follow … maybe we’ll move up to Seattle to be closer to you and Jerry! FUN! I’ll cook a lot for you guys… LOL!

  10. Sandy @ Reluctant Entertainer says

    PS. We’ve been in our home for 10 years, but we’re considering a change.

  11. We’re to move hopefully soon,when our character home sells. It’s a 1500 sq.ft. home and you can see from the front of the house,the living room , straight through to the back TV room. It has mid sized main floor rooms,hardwoods,beautiful trim and not one person has put an offer in. We have a large master upstairs with lots of storage. We have a totally painted basement with an office and man cave area. Feedback has been “too small,don’t like the layout,too old.” all things we can’t do anything about. We have had at least 20 showings in 2 months. Our house is mid priced for all it offers. It’s hard to wait for that one person that will love your character home and want to make it their own.

    • Oh, that is so hard! But I always reminded myself in past sales that it just takes one person who will love it as much as we do. Our old house people always said it had a weird layout and was too big :) but we thought it was great for our family, and it will be right for someone else too! Hang in there!!

  12. We are moving in 3 weeks….we put our house on the market 2 years ago and it finally sold. I should be overjoyed but I am not. We are downsizing our mortgage to finish putting 3 kids through college. I have been working two jobs and am tired out! We are buying a flipped little ranch….I try to be excited…first time I have had new appliances, kitchen, bathroom, windows and roof. And my house now was not my “dream” house….but it holds all those times we spent together as a family. I worry that the boys won’t feel at home! It is scary to close one door before you open the next!

  13. Linda Grubbs says

    What a lovely attitude you have!!! I pray that if we chose to move from our current home that I could be as brave as you are. Sounds to me as though you could make any place a “home” for your family. I enjoyed this post very much!!
    Oh, have you told Jack that you’re moving yet? ?

  14. Cheryl @ The Creative Me and My McG says

    We are almost one year in to renovating “our to us” home. It wasn’t anything spectacular when we bought it, but we are slowly updating and putting our “spin” on this home. It was a downsize so we are also learning to live with less and doing pretty well at it. We purchased this home from a family member because it was the one floor ranch that we were looking for…while not our taste, we are slowly making it our own. It’s an adventure for sure…I can’t wait to see what next for you and your family!!

  15. Larysa, You are leaving a house,but taking your home with you.

  16. Yes, Portland still has the Street of Dreams homes. It starts next month and is in Lake Oswego. The houses should be gorgeous! I was up in Seattle last week and the city was lovely, but the traffic was a nightmare! We were bringing our foreign exchange students in for the One Direction concert and I don’t know if it was just that or if there are now so many people living in Seattle, but it took us forever to go anywhere on a Wednesday and not during rush hour. One of our waiters told us that Seattle is one of the cities in the US that most people are moving into and I bet that the market is crazy. I wish you the best in finding the home that is the one for you. I know that being close to family will be so nice!

  17. Mary Susan Brannen says

    I am so excited for you and your family!!! I can’t wait to read your journey. You are in my prayers.

  18. Dreamy dreamer!! I have hopes and dreams for our current home, it’s come a long way, but still dreaming of more. I never loose hope!

  19. Hi Larysa! Love your blog and follow every post. Can you please tell me where you purchased the two gray throws in this post? And the name of them. I looked on Lulu and Georgia and there are several there that looked similar. Appreciate your blog and help!! I’ve been following your blog for sometime and very happy the Lord has prospered you and the girls. Looking forward to your next coffee table book. Oh and please more posts about your doodles. Vicki

  20. Hi Larysa,

    I love reading your blog, and your writing! We just sold our beautiful home of 24 years, it was our very first house, a 1940’s charmer, well it became a charmer after being completely gutted, added onto and loved by us! It was heart wrenching to sell, everyone thought we were completly nuts. But, we wanted a new lifestyle, neighborhood and decided to sell it, even though we still loved it (it sold in 4 days) I set my sights on a new “dream” house, and we bought it! It never even hit the market, we were “stalking” it with our realtor, and the owners happened by us, and we told them we were looking at real estate. They told us they wanted to sell! They invited us in to see it, right then! We made an offer , they accepted, and we now own it. We know that it was meant to be. So, in your search, just keep your intention in mind, you NEVER know what might happen! Best wishes to you and your family.

  21. Dee at the Carlton says

    I love your blog & the way you make your space your own. I totally agree with you, you will know the right home for you when you walk through the door & the space just feels right.

    We found our home when we weren’t even looking – I got an advance email that I hadn’t cancelled from our move 5 years previously & when I saw the email – I just had to go & look (even though moving wasn’t on our cards at all …. ) I walked through the door & loved the space even though the decor was horrid (bright wallpapers everywhere & full wall murals on 2 bedroom walls …. ) but it felt right & so our house was prepared & listed for sale in 3 days, & it paved the way for the dream house!

    I look forward to following your journey because you will create another fabulous home ….

  22. …you are such a precious person…blessings…laney

  23. Having done this several times too, my wish is that you embrace the adventure. As you look back on past moves and the process of creating a home, focus on the laughter, the mishaps that make great stories and the thrill of success. All that awaits in this new adventure again and that is exciting and energizing! I stalked our dream neighborhood and now here we live. It is more than we imagined in many ways, the process continues and it is all great! Wishing you luck and laughs along the way!

  24. You are so right in “knowing” when you walk through the door. I walked into my condo with rose carpet, harvest gold stove and fridge and throught “I can live there.” As the sun was shining in the south-west facing balcony door and all I could see where trees. The rest is just cosmetic.

  25. Stephanie Davis says

    I don’t think that sounds crazy at all. Places do hold certain feelings or “vibes”. Perhaps it’s all part of the person’s intuition, or probably a mix of both. As always, look forward to your next post.

  26. Robbie Zeller says

    Morning Larysa! My husband and I retired in January and have moved to an apartment in the mountains. For certain it has been an adjustment. A good adjustment though.I have felt with each move that the settling process has brought new insights with the Lord as He redefines direction and hope. A slowing process has felt so wonderful for me. In the next two months our family will add a new daughter-in-law and a new grand baby….more family to enjoy. Yet my heart dreams for a home for others in ministry to rest and retreat in where they can take long walks and pray. I am asking God how He wants to align with that idea….I am waiting! I love home!

  27. Olivia Farnham says

    I have a blanket very similar to this but in orange! I love the room – I love your site. I am working towards decorating a beautiful apartment and I hope I can use some of your ideas to inspire me. I am also working on my blog – I love your site and hope mine can be as great ask your one day!

  28. Patti Lambert says

    Hi Larysa. I so can relate to how you feel about movin and starting over. I am in the process of selling my condo which I bought after my divorce 8 years ago. After many hours of love and labor, I transformed the condo into my haven. Two years ago I met a wonderful man and we are going to married in the fall. He owns a large 5 bedroom home so we will be living there. I have so many mixed emotions about leaving my condo where I spent time recovering from my divorce. It felt secure and comfortable. My future husband’s home is a diamond in the rough as he has been a batchelor for 15 years after his wife passed. Needless to say nothing has been done in the way of updating so I will once again begin the process of making this house a home for us. Life is an adventure. I am learning to enjoy the changes that come.

    Thank you so much for your book. God Bless You!

  29. Carol Taylor says

    Hi Larysa, We have moved approximately every five years of our 46 years of married life. We have learned that a house does not exist in which we would not make changes. I am always envisioning what we could do to a house to make it lovelier. Three years ago my husband and I purchased our “final house”. In the process of moving across state to Wilmington, we lost our son. There we were with a house needing major work, furniture in a moving van, no place to go and heartbroken. To make a long story short… this house that spoke to us saved us. It occupied our time, our grieving minds and sheltered us. As it blossomed into a beautiful home, our hearts slowly healed. So, while we saved this house…it in returned saved us. We were so blessed to have a house that needed to be turned into a home.

  30. Joanne B. says

    Well, I thought I would also comment on what the thought of moving means to me at this stage in my life as my husband and I keep talking about ‘someday’ when we downsize, now that our daughter is out of college and we are closer than ever to not having to support her as we have been. But first I read all the other posts. And now, after reading the post by the previous reader, Carol Tucker, I am mute. What could I possibly think or feel or say, after what she so eloquently wrote above. Wow. My heart goes out to her family. And I feel blessed to know, right now, that we are all somehow guided to be exactly where we are meant to be and there is no sense in wasting time and energy trying to figure things out on our own. How beautiful that she knows now that it was that house, that making of a home that saved her! Home IS truly where the heart is. And when it is right, we will know it!

  31. Joie Gahum says

    The window coverings on your window are so beautiful. They definitely give out that rustic design that is so appealing inside dwelling areas at home. I have read inspirational ideas for rustic designed projects inside your homes. Here is the link if you have the time to look.
    I have also seen similar outdoor blinds Melbourne window coverings that looks like your window covering and they can really do a lot of help during those humid and sunny months. They block of the sun and the heat thus saving a few dollars in air-conditioning costs.

  32. Christine says

    Creative people are blessed and cursed by their creativity. Blessed because we can see the potential in almost anything (show me a creative person and I’ll show you someone who struggles to not become a hoarder, lol) They’re cursed because that creative spirit that sees all of that potential doesn’t stop to think of how much work and time it takes to see all of their plans come to fruition. Hopefully with all of the moves you’ve been through, you’re getting better at it.

  33. I can totally relate to your apprehensions and excitement. I’m confident you’ll be able to turn whatever house you decide to purchase into a home. I am very excited to be on this journey with you!

  34. Lisa Mothersead says

    We have moved quite a bit, and I like moving. It’s nice to fix up a house, make some money on it, and get to a home that’s more suited to your needs. One of the smartest things we ever did was to move from a traditional two story to a more modern one and a half story. Our young women had the upstairs “apartment” to themselves. We had privacy in our downstairs master. They learned to take care of that upstairs like their own. It was easier when they left for college sorority houses and apartments as were used to our own spaces and not seeing them as much. They were used to some independence. We didn’t miss them as much and when they come home to visit, they have their own private space again. Also, when your furniture and family hit the new home, it’s home!

    • Great advice! We kind of had that situation in our old house with an upstairs for the teens. They loved having their own space. :) I agree, when your family and furniture is there it will no longer be a house but a home!

  35. Wicorel Koning says

    Thank you Larysa for sharing. You are so sweet, trusting and realistic.

    Although we don live in our dreamhome, I love my house on the inside. But our neighborhood is less ideal. Hope not to grow old in this one…. Have to trust the Heavenly Father for that what is good for us. In the meantime I keep saying “Eucharisteo”. You know what I mean!

    Big hug, Wicorel

  36. Stephanie says

    As I longtine reader of your blog and a REALTOR in Ohio, I so appreciate this post of your’s. Sometimes I hear colleagues of mine say “I wish my client would find a house already” or “I won’t show more than 20 homes, then I cut them loose”. How is that possible? Don’t they know that it has to be THE one. You can’t pick a home just to pick one. It truly does have to speak to you. When THE one comes along and does speak to you, the “less than perfect” things about that home are going to jump out at you as possibilities.

    Good luck in your home search! I hope you’ve found yourself a great REALTOR to work with. I can’t wait to see what you find!

    • Thank you. YES! It isn’t like finding a new coat or something, a house is such a big investment of money and emotions and day to day life, you really have to find the one that speaks to you. You are so right, even if it has things to be done to it, you sense possibilities. I have a very patient Realtor — it is nice to have one that not only wants to sell a house but really wants us to be happy in the one we choose. :)

  37. Fonda Rush says

    We are working on our dream and have been for the last 10 years. We had a house in Columbus, Ohio, but we left it because my wife had an opportunity to pursue her Ph.D in near-coastal NC. So, we sold the house and rented for about 5 years. After she got her degree, she got an adjunct teaching position at a community college a little further south, still in NC. We have lived here almost 5 years. Recently, a full-time position opened and she got it. So, we will be moving out of this rental at the end of September into a house that’s a little bit more south, and still in NC. (Soon, we’ll be at the SC border! lol) This house is not our dream home as far as the way it looks, but having our own house IS what makes it a dream home. It didn’t take us long to find it, but it was only one of about 6 that were available in the size and price we needed. (There are not enough houses here!) For one reason or another, those others didn’t work out. Our dream house was within our means, but it would take about the same amount again to make it serviceable. We liked how it looked, but the plumbing, electrical and HVAC needed to be replaced. In fact, I don’t even think it was ever fitted with air conditioning! THAT was the house we wanted. It looked like the houses we grew up in up north, and it LOOKED like our ideal, but putting that kind of money into it would have been frivolous and downright silly. We tried to justify it and couldn’t. We did, however, find the house we NEED. I can’t use the stairs any more, so there aren’t stairs. It has the right amount of space for us, our kittie children and our hobbies. It is close to my wife’s work. The stores we use are nearby. It is BEIGE every where on the inside — every wall and every cabinet and every floor is BEIGE, but we will change that. We are looking forward to making it the home that will hold us for some time to come. We are wondering where we will put what little furniture we have and how we will set up the kitchen. There are so many plans to make, like cleaning the old place and cleaning the new place, packing and moving our belongings, finding new services that will be closer to THIS home (when OLD home is only 26 miles to the north), making all of those necessary change-of-address cards, etc. It’s keeping me from sleeping. Our dream home doesn’t have much character on the outside, but inside it will have us.

    Best wishes on finding the home you NEED, too.

    • Thank you for sharing your story, I love the idea of finding the house we NEED! I’m sure you’ll be very happy there. I know how it feels to lose sleep over the move, it’s hard!! I’m in the same boat. Thanks for the encouragement and I too hope we will end up in the house we need :).

  38. My mother used to say that when you walk into a house, it either puts its arms around you or it doesn’t. Good advice. Don’t settle for less, see the possibilities, and do what you did so beautifully before – make a delightful, liveable home out of a house.

  39. Hi Larysa,

    The ‘right’ house is when you feel it…It is always important to take into account a broader view of buying exactly that house. Ask yourself why you want that house? What really is the motivating factor when it comes to your decision to buy exactly that house?

    But, I’m sure whatever you do will be gorgeous!

    @Joie Gahum
    I couldn’t agree more that window coverings that Larysa choose are great. I am huge fan of window blinds. Especially Blockout roller blinds (, because they are suitable for any room in the house.

    I really think that blinds offer a huge range of elegant and practical window covering solutions. Here is a one post worth of reading

    @Wicorel Koning
    “But our neighborhood is less ideal” It is an eternal problem, becoming more complicated with time :-)))