You can picture it vividly in your mind. Too vividly that you even dream about it, in fact, you can almost touch it, literally.  It’s your last thought before you doze off to la la land, and the first thing that flashes in your mind when you get back to consciousness…’ah, my dream home!’

The hubby and I were well into the  fifth year of our marriage, with our then two bundles of joy born a few years apart, and had been renting a decent bungalow near my parents’ home, when I started feeling the itch to have our own place. It was an itch that never left us. So, born out of our desire to finally see our dream home after years of mindful saving and investing, we bravely started the construction of our home.

It took many months of meetings and huddles with the architect and contractor, numerous trips to depots near and far to make sure we got the best building materials that we could afford. It was about ten months of highs—so happy about how our lanai turned out, and lows –- one of the kids’ bathrooms was too small so just gotta tear down a wall; no big deal, right? The journey was physically, emotionally, not to mention, financially exhausting that I felt like breaking down at some point, or maybe I did!

Then came the masonry work, tiling, and finally painting. Hubby and I both wanted a young, energetic vibe so that our sons could imbibe the positive energy. So we opted for a mango yellow tone for our walls. I loved how it turned out, complementing our home’s Mediterranean theme. It was years later when I was becoming bolder  at experimenting with colors that I decided on my own to paint accent walls with terra cotta. It gave the added oomph and contrast to my predominantly yellow home. Many happy Christmases were spent in our home, which became our sanctuary of memories.

Until one day, hubby came home looking frazzled after a 3-hour drive. Oh, did I mention that hubby worked in the northern part of the city, while we lived in the southern part? This was to be our new normal, the long hours spent in traffic. Suddenly, our dream home was no longer the solace it previously was. There were signs to act on it, to do something, but what? Then our sons, now teenagers, successfully made the cut to the bigger schools up north. What to do? Then, a moment of epiphany: It was time to move…and so we did, because our current location no longer fitted the status quo.

We acquired a pre-built house near the kids’ new schools. It was a year of transition.  We had the old house repainted, and we put it up for sale at the same time that renovation and repainting were being done in the house we were moving into. The enormity of the work ahead floored me, more like knocked me down…almost. We had to put in serious efforts in decluttering and purging, and bear the constant struggle with the angst of letting go of things that we had accumulated but were no longer essential. After a year of shuttling back and forth, we finally settled into our new home. It can still be considered a dream home by virtue of the house being practically near everything.

What were my biggest takeaways from our move?

The concept of a dream home can be temporary.

There was no doubt in my mind that my former house was the home I would grow old in. I failed to consider the changes in our daily lives as our kids grew and our needs changed. What was once ideal for us did not quite match our  current living requirements.

Stick to a home design that is generally appealing.

If you want to install a clear glass open shaft in the flooring of your second floor bathroom, or put a sliding kind of spiral staircase for entertainment in the middle of your living room, you may want to forego doing so. As much as it appeals to you, this may affect the marketability of your home later on.

The easiest and most cost-effective way to change the look of your home is by repainting.

Nowadays, repainting your home is easier than you think. Just a few adjustments of some furniture and stuff, and you’re on your way to making your home look new again. It is so uncomplicated that you can go DIY, and because paints now come odor-less, the repainting job will not significantly disturb the movement of people inside the house. A few strokes of paint, a change in the tone of color, can make a remarkable difference in your home’s ambience. I had my old house repainted with an off-white color palette as it was a more neutral color than my mango-bravo-yellow-extravaganza color of choice, which can be too bright for sensitive eyes.

Remember that every single item you bring inside your home will not disintegrate or melt on its own.

Until now, I still cannot believe the amount of purging and disposing I had to do during my decluttering efforts. It got me to a point where I asked myself, “Why did I buy this ______ (insert item), when keeping or disposing it only added to my ‘TO DO’ list? And my TO DO list was already way too long.” Fancy buying those Italian vases? Just remember that at some point, you will have to tackle how to dispose of them. They are not going to magically vanish into thin air to  make room for your new stuff.

It is every person’s dream to see his dream home come to fruition. And hey, it’s good to dream big dreams, but make sure to leave room for changes.

So, are you ready for your dream home?

Lee Borci Chua
Author

Lee is a doting mom to her three blossoming gentlemen. She loves to talk, listen to stories, and read about life stuff. When not doing consultancy work or writing, she dabbles in real estate.

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