I have a confession to make. I didn’t want to live in this town. I had my heart set on a town in southern Westchester. My priority was walkability of a town; at the time I wasn’t driving so I envisioned walking everywhere. It seemed like the perfect transition to the suburbs from the city as the main street was dotted with cute restaurants and boutiques.
We looked and looked for months and nothing was fitting the bill. We saw a ton of fixer-uppers that were charming but with two young kids the idea of putting sweat equity into a home wasn’t appealing to us. My husband who grew up in the suburbs of Miami came to the conclusion that we needed more property too. He craved more land and privacy.
Luckily one of his colleagues mentioned Chappaqua and on our first trip there up the Taconic we stopped at a gas station with a large convenience store so I could properly fuel up with caffeine before going to see a dozen houses that day. My first impression was “Wow, this kind of reminds me of the Catskills. I don’t know if I can do this.” After all, I grew up in Queens and had lived in the city for ten years.
We must have looked at 60 homes in this town throughout a six-month period and my husband and I could not agree on any of them. Some seemed too large. Others seemed too isolated. I didn’t want to have to scream to my neighbors with a megaphone. But then we found it in the nick of time.
We had decided that last weekend in April on our home search that if we didn’t find a home, we’d put a deposit down for my son for another year of nursery school in the city and stick it out–four people in a cramped two-bedroom apartment.
The minute we saw it, we both knew it was “the one.” It had great natural light, wide spacious rooms. I envisioned the kids running around the large backyard and could picture them growing up there. The large dining room abutted the kitchen and was large enough for my whole family to have holiday dinners. The staircase would one day make a perfect backdrop for prom pictures. We made an offer that afternoon.
This fall, it has been eight years here and I love it. Sure, there have been ups and downs and I’d be lying if I didn’t say it took adjustment- from learning how to drive again to figuring out what the heck an HVAC company is. Home ownership requires maintenance and sometimes we are on our game and other times we’ve let things fall by the way side like our doorbell which hasn’t worked for almost a year. I’m embarrassed to admit it but we’ve been relying on our dog to tell us if someone is at the door.
As the holiday season is right around the corner, I’m reminded of a saying whose author is unknown: “A house is made with walls and beams. A home is made with love and dreams.” As you read articles on holiday recipes and get inspiration for your Thanksgiving table settings, I hope your house is filled with warmth and all your dreams get fulfilled.