We have a house in San Diego!

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We’ve been praying about a home in San Diego for months now, and it is such an amazing relief to finally have a home to go to, and address to count on, and a future within those four walls to imagine as our own! I get a little giddy whenever I think about this house and all the plans and dreams that come with it.

Here’s a little bit about how we are making this house work (budget-wise) and some of our dreams for our life there… along with a few photos from a realtor’s phone!

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Elliott actually toured this house last month when he was in San Diego for work. At that point it was way out of our budget, and he didn’t even tell me about it until he noticed that the owners had lowered the rent.

As we scrolled through the pictures, I fell in love. Compared to the dozens of small, cramped, dark places we’d looked at online, this house was flooded with natural daylight. I loved the crisp contrast of the light walls, ceiling, and kitchen with the dark wood floor. I could imagine us fitting right in there, living and working and laughing and hosting in that spacious, open main room.

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There are two unique features of this house. One is that the owners listed it as a furnished rental. This is actually not uncommon in Coronado, where owners will rent vacation homes to long-term tenants. The owners of this place might have been willing to move their furniture out, but they didn’t really want to have to do that.

In the end we decided to sell our furniture here in Sicily and rent this home with its furniture. This was really my preference. I like the way this house is decorated, and I am not sure our furniture would fit with its aesthetic.  Besides, I bought most of our current furniture on Craigslist before moving here, and I am not emotionally attached to it. I feel like my/our styles are evolving, and I would rather let everything go now, live lightly, and then put time and thought into a home we care more about in a few years.

 (What do you think? Am I crazy? Would you ever sell all your furniture and start again?)

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The other unique feature of the property was the “tea house,” a stand-alone cottage on the property with a pull-out couch, bathroom, and kitchenette.

“Maybe we could rent it out on AirBnB,” Elliott suggested. A quick search of other AirBnB properties in the neighborhood revealed that we’d probably have no problem filling the tea house for a week or so every month.

“And I’ve always wanted to run a B&B,” I said, getting excited.

But then we had the brilliant idea to ask my dad if he’d be interested in renting the tea house instead. My dad works right outside San Diego two weeks every month, and he had already planned to rent a place closer to the city so that he could see us when he was in town. The tea house would mean a longer commute for him, but he’d be close to us, and my mom (who travels with him pretty frequently) would be right with us whenever she came to visit, too.

My dad didn’t have to think about it very long.

“Will the owners take out that pull-out couch if I bring my own bed?”

YES.

“OK, let’s do it!”

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the Tea House

Now we had a hard decision to make. We loved this house, but we had two other homes offered to us at the same time. One was a town house, and the other was an apartment in a small condo building. Both of these homes were located in the heart of Coronado, and both cost a lot less each month in rent.

For a week, we negotiated, prayed, sought counsel, and talked. We talked about it so much that it became a running joke at the dinner table.

Me: “This house just seems to fit so much with our dreams and priorities as a family: hospitality, being outdoors, living near or with extended family….”

Elliott: “But I know we can do all those things in a smaller space, like we did in D.C. in our studio apartment when we first got married. We had dinner guests every week there even if they had to sit on the bed to eat.”

Gil: “Maaaaaaaama. Uh oh.”

*something crashes in the background*

 Lena: “So what are you guys talking about?”

Me, laughing: “What do you think, Lena?”

Lena: “Our house in San Diego?”

Elliott: “Yep….”

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[we won’t be keeping the flat screen!]

Spending more on rent was hard for us, because we’re really thrifty people and are careful to live within our means. Other than our mortgage on my studio in D.C., we’re debt-free, and we generally examine every angle (freebies, hand-me-downs, living without, coupons, discounts, airline miles, hotel points, etc.) before we spend money. We can afford this house, but it will mean less in savings for us for three years.

But we also don’t want to live forever waiting for “someday.” Someday we’ll have a home that we actually want to invite people over to. Someday we’ll try to live close to our extended family. Someday we’ll make the sacrifices to prioritize what we say really matters to us.

When we stepped back and looked at the broader picture, we realized that this house is exactly what we’d been hoping to find in Coronado.

  • Home large enough to host traveling family and friends (even whole families!)
  • Indoor/outdoor space that we could offer as a gathering place to our future church, Bible study, and new local friends
  • Space for siblings to live with us if they decide to move to California (as one is seriously considering)
  • Home where my dad could live with us part time (huge huge bonus!!!)
  • A peaceful place filled with natural light where we can learn, read, play, and live together as a family

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And so, with some fear and trembling, we signed the lease!

Once the actual commitment was made, I felt enormous joy and thankfulness. This home is, in so many ways, the home we’d dreamed about when we thought about living in San Diego. It’s just a mile and a half from Elliott’s new office, and he’s planning to bike or run every day. It’s a mile from two beaches, and it’s less than half a mile from the commercial heart of Coronado, the beautiful library, and Spreckels Park.

Elliott is really excited about his work, and I am really excited about continuing another chapter of creative, hospitality-focused motherhood, so we both feel like we have so much to look forward to in our everyday lives there. We’ll live simply — we have to! — but we will be in a neighborhood where we hardly ever have to get in the car, where people live outdoors most of the year, and where we already have connections that we are excited to turn into friendships.

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This season in Sicily has been filled with blessings but also hardships. I know these will continue in this next phase of life, and I know we can’t even imagine some of the gifts and the heartaches that lie around the corner.

Elliott and I were reading Pilgrim’s Progress last night, and we came to the chapter where Christian and Hopeful are trapped in Doubting Castle and can’t find a way out. Suddenly, after days of beatings and starvation, Christian remembers the key named Promise hanging around his neck. Within seconds, that key unlocks the gates to the pilgrims’ freedom.

There is the obvious lesson here that we need to remember God’s promises in order to be released from times of doubt, depression, and discouragement. But there’s also a more subtle message that if Christian had been remembering God’s faithfulness, he would have remembered that key around his neck much sooner and would have been long gone from Doubting Castle.

We’ve been given so many blessings, and I’m sure this house will be a great blessing to us in a lot of ways. But I know there will be hard times, painful relationships, and deep misunderstandings in this house, too. As we leave Sicily and prepare to move to this new house and city, I want to remind myself often of God’s faithfulness, God’s goodness, God’s promises to me and to my family.

We have a history with this God. A good history. He who promised is faithful, and He will remain so!

“See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way
and to bring you to the place I have prepared.”
Exodus 23:20

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41 Responses to We have a house in San Diego!

  1. esther June 9, 2014 at 9:55 pm #

    Becca,

    This is gorgeous! I am SO excited for y’all and do hope that Case and I can come visit at some point!

    • Becca June 9, 2014 at 10:06 pm #

      We would love that so much! We’ll also be in VA more often that we have been (we hope), and so perhaps we’ll see you on that side of the coast, too.

  2. Poppy June 9, 2014 at 10:02 pm #

    YAY!!!!!!

    • Becca June 9, 2014 at 10:06 pm #

      Let the good times roll!

  3. Cindy June 9, 2014 at 10:47 pm #

    Congratulations! I actually like the idea of a furnished rental as long as everything is nice and clean. All you have to do is put your clothes away, order a pizza, and relax. That is my kind of moving day! :)

    • Becca June 10, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

      Haha, YES, I hope it’s just like that, Cindy!

  4. Nicole June 9, 2014 at 11:12 pm #

    Beautiful! I love Coronado and really do hope to get my family down there for a vacation while you’re there. So glad to see the pictures!

    • Becca June 10, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

      We can’t wait for your visit, Nicole! We’re holding you guys to it! L & G want beach buddies!

  5. Katie | The Surly Housewife June 9, 2014 at 11:56 pm #

    Congrats! I’m so excited for you guys as you continue on your next adventure. The house is stunning and I can’t wait to hear more about your move and new environment :)

    • Becca June 10, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

      I’m so curious and excited to see how this blog changes with our move! I definitely plan to keep blogging, and it’ll be fun to see what new topics come up.

  6. Becca G June 10, 2014 at 1:35 am #

    Congratulations you guys! What a beautiful post, Becca, and a simply stunning home. Your family will thrive there (as you would anywhere, but seems particularly so here), and we’re thrilled with you for all the memories and adventures ahead in this new stateside life stage. And we’re huge fans of moving without furniture! Let it go! It’s the coolest feeling. :)

    • Becca June 10, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

      We hope to see you and yours when we’re in D.C. for a bit this summer. We love you guys!

  7. Kimberly Montgomery June 10, 2014 at 1:55 am #

    I love the photos of what will be your new home. It sounds perfect. I bet you will be glad you made the choice to get the house that comes closest to your dreams. We moved from NC to Seattle and seven years later we moved back. We sold most of our furniture both times (before the moves). We also downsized somewhat both times. No regrets in those decisions.

    • Becca June 10, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

      Wow, sold most of it both times?! You are so experienced at this! I’m loving the furniture-selling so far because some things I’ve been wanting to get rid of since we moved here (!), but it’s also a little sentimental too. I think we’re trading up, though!

  8. Jean June 10, 2014 at 3:59 am #

    Wonderful home. We have twice had to get rid of furniture and start over. You will be glad you got rid of your old stuff and chose to travel light.

    • Becca June 10, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

      Thanks for the encouragement, Jean!

  9. Elizabeth Mays June 10, 2014 at 9:10 am #

    How in the world did you get San Diego, especially in the Army? We stayed at the Navy Lodge in Coronado during our transition to Germany and fell in love with the little island. It reminds me a lot of Charleston, SC! Best wishes on your new adventure!

    • Becca June 10, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

      Elliott’s working with the Navy again, Elizabeth, which is something that Army veterinarians get to do because they serve all the branches of the military. We’re totally lucking out, I know!

  10. Eden June 10, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

    Excited to visit Coronado sometime…

    • Becca June 10, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

      Excited for you to visit sometime… ;)

  11. Kristen June 10, 2014 at 3:22 pm #

    The house looks lovely. Thank you for the reminder to pray during the process of finding a new home. We are about to begin the process of building a new home and I need to continue to pray that God show us the home He wants to create.

    • Becca June 10, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

      Building a home seems so intimidating to me, but also such a privilege and an opportunity. I hope you can build the home of your dreams!

  12. Amanda E. June 10, 2014 at 6:59 pm #

    BEAUTIFUL!!! So exciting – I am trying to suppress the California lust… :D Are you up for perfect strangers dropping in?? ;) Kidding – many many congrats to you guys.

    • Becca June 10, 2014 at 8:55 pm #

      We totally are! At least we could meet up at a park or something, especially if you have kids! ;)

  13. Courtney June 10, 2014 at 8:09 pm #

    Oh Becca, this post is SO exciting!!! What an absolutely gorgeous, beautiful, AMAZING home!! It was so fun to see all the photos and read about your thought process.

    We’re already starting to discuss what kind of home we want to buy (eek!) in a few years when we are (planning to be) in Denver permanently. There is so much to consider!

    Congrats!!

    • Becca June 10, 2014 at 8:57 pm #

      Denver will be wonderful! I hope the whole process goes smoothly for you guys, too. Home buying is a huge decision, but also so rewarding. I’ll be excited for updates about your home next year!

  14. Carrie June 10, 2014 at 9:26 pm #

    Congratulations – it looks lovely!

  15. Angela June 11, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

    Becca, the house is beautiful! It seems like everything is falling right into place, this is definitely the one you were meant to have. And I wouldn’t be surprised if you found yourself saving just as much (or more!) than you did before. Don’t doubt;) I have enjoyed reading your blog from Sicily for years and can’t wait to share this new adventure with you. I, too am a sahm and sometimes you want to run away. In those times I read one of only 4 blogs I actually read and you always get me back up and out there. You have a great knack for showing us sahm’s how lucky we are and what a great opportunity we have. Thank you so much for sharing you life all these years!

    • Becca June 11, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

      Angela, this is so so so encouraging! Thank you so much for making my day!

  16. Nathan June 11, 2014 at 11:51 pm #

    Wow, Becca…. the pictures are so inviting and beautiful. But your words… what you write is so meaningful to me. Your decision making process and your approach to what will happen in this special place came to me as so wise. Yes, our God is good. He builds an incredible legacy of faithfulness with us. Blessings Sister!

    • Becca June 14, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

      Nate, thank you SO much for this heart-warming and enthusiastic comment! It put huge smiles on both my face and Elliott’s. We hope to see you and Sandie again soon!

  17. sarah June 13, 2014 at 2:18 am #

    Becca, that is lovely! And hopefully mitigates a little of the sadness you feel at leaving Sicily and your current place (though that is a legit grief! Oh how I started mourning leaving Asia – and even our very unoriginal apartment there – months before our departure. I loved your former post on your home decor, btw. What an unforgettable fireplace!) I wrestled with the cost of rent of that same unoriginal – but nice – apartment because it was more than we had paid at our previous spot overseas (AND the Chinese were always very blunt to ask the socially acceptable question “How much is your rent?!” just minutes after making introductions. Aiyo.) I actually felt guilt over it at first because it was the top of our budget, but it was truly an answer to prayer after finding nothing suitable for hosting and entertaining and blessing others. All that to say, I came to realize how different God’s economy can be from my own, and this post was an encouraging reminder to me of that as you guys have sought values beyond just saving cash. Blessings in this next chapter of your lives – I can tell many will encounter the hospitality of Christ as they encounter your family and home(s).

    • Becca June 14, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

      Oh wow, I loved the line about “I came to realize how different God’s economy can be from my own.” We are learning that! And I loved how you put it all in perspective by saying that we have sought values beyond just saving cash. I DO want to do that in my life, and we’re trying to, even when it’s scary. I hope and pray that God will work through us in this home, and that it will be a resting place for many friends.

  18. Monica June 17, 2014 at 5:30 am #

    Such a beautiful home, Becca! I hope that we can meet one day (perhaps sometime when we’re in SD visiting Garrett’s brothers?). I also think it’s really cool that you’re selling all your furniture…kind of nice to have a clean slate, you know? Plus it forces you to not get too attached to material things and be more of a minimalist. :)

  19. Monica December 6, 2016 at 6:37 pm #

    Becca, just re-read this as I was on your blog trying to figure out if your kids share a room and it couldn’t have come at a better time. As you know, we just signed a lease on a house in Newport and like you guys, we were very torn between two houses. One was way below BAH and old, charming and spacious, with 5 bedrooms and amazing neighbors. But the location was about a mile further from where we wanted to be. The house we ended up with is much smaller and more expensive but we will be in the heart of the city, which was our priority for our one year living in Newport. Reading your post helped put me at ease that we made the right choice. Thank you!

    • Becca December 6, 2016 at 10:57 pm #

      I am so glad to hear this, Monica! We have not regretted our decision one bit, and I know you won’t either. Your house is so charming! I am so excited for you and this lovely year ahead of you.

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