Smooth Move, I Hope


First, one of the joys of blogging is finding pics that appropriately convey what you’re trying to say. Once I had decided to call this blog ‘Smooth Move’ I googled my title and these were four of many images that came up in the search engine. My apologies in advance if I’m using your photo without permission, but guess which one is most appropriate for this real estate blog?

As a top-producing realtor assisting both buyers and sellers in the trade of real estate, I help a lot of households change residence each year. This fact could lead one to believe moving is a pretty straight-forward process I’m fairly comfortable with.  But the truth of the matter is I’m finding the whole endeavor of moving emotionally draining, anxiety-inducing, and fraught with stress. Blech!

If you’ve been following my blog this past year, you’ve already shared my six month journey to be more organized at my loft in The Button Factory (click here), then navigate through the trials and tribulations of the some upgrades that resulted in a fainting spell (click here) until I finally put a bow on what had ultimately exploded into a substantial makeover (click here). And then, after fifteen years since launching The Button Factory conversion in pre-sales, three months later I put the loft I had made my own on the market ‘For Sale’ and sold it within a week in order to manifest my next Dream Home. So here I am leaving not only my personal residence, but the very first conversion I helped shape by design and community building. I call the experience ‘Happy Sad’, such are the conflicting emotions!

Since the third week of September when the sale was negotiated, I’ve been ‘letting go’ of Home. In my shell shock of actually embracing a future filled with unknowns, I’ve had to reconcile I’m imminently exiting a space bursting with breath-taking original features like authentic brick walls and century wood beams, plus some spectacular custom upgrades including a 26 foot high sky lit atrium and ten foot mahogany doors opening onto a cedar decked dining pavilion and contemporary bucolic brick-walled garden filled with birdsong. The Button Factory represents a cultural evolution from a place of industry to a space of domesticity, the fusion of historic preservation with contemporary modern living, a spatial exercise in volume and proportion, the marriage of indoors and out, plus a celebration of air and light. And without intending to read as dramatic, this loft conversion synthesizes my multi-disciplinary education, my professional career and my personal values and beliefs up until this moment. All in all, it makes it rather daunting to accept that no matter what my future holds, I will never replicate the physical masterpiece that is this adaptive reuse community. Here’s a Globe and Mail feature.

Not only am I departing what began as a vacant shell of a vintage factory which, over the past thirteen years became a top to bottom custom-built symbol of self, but within this tailored built environment is also a neighborly life and personal story rich with delight, laughter, sorrow and heartbreak. The colorful tapestries of experiences that comprise a substantial chapter of my life are coming to a close in this beautiful space. And while my heart knows these memories will always be with me and with those who shared them, I confess I can’t help but mourn the impending loss of this special place which has in many ways defined my adult life more than any other residence thus far.

While already nostalgic with the impending loss of built-form perfection (for me, at any rate) bursting with memories, as the closing date approaches I’m fraught with anxiety. As a perfectionist who has a precise place for everything, I had already taken my own sage advice to pare down, donate, and toss all that isn’t moving to the next property prior to coming to market. Yet, as the time came to pack up I found myself increasingly discombobulated living in a place that looks and feels more and more unsettled. To me Home is a place that is grounded, tidy and ready to host a dinner party for 16 at any given moment and NOT a place of diminishing supplies, stacks of boxes and empty shelves.  I don’t like it one bit. I feel placeless.

The anxiety and stress are in part related to the fact that Monday’s move is extremely temporary. In fact, it’s only for a short four months. As a result, I am nearly devoid of the excitement many buyers feel when taking the next step on the property ladder into something bigger and better. This next move is not so much aspirational as practical and functional, which I must admit diminishes the dazzle and delights of relocation and heightens the stress. Allow me to explain.

In order to manifest my dream of constructing a residence from the ground up, I elected to extract my capital by selling the loft in advance of making my next purchase. My initial plan was to spruce up my company HQs with a little paint and new carpet and take advantage of its live/work zoning by running the company AND occupying it as a residence under the same roof while searching for my future building site. But when I realized that finding the right site and building from the ground up will take a minimum of three years to complete, I decided a simple short-term property tune up just wasn’t going to cut balancing the requirements of functional work space with my necessity for somewhat private quarters.  As a result, the move into the digs has subsequently exploded into a rather comprehensive top-to-bottom makeover which, while all very exciting come Spring (stay tuned!) also means that this Monday will also be relocating into the four month sublet.  Yikes on the stress! Now both my residence and company are moving on the same day (of which a snowstorm is predicted!) for four months, and then it will all be packed up and mostly relocated (hello storage rental) back into the newly renovated live/work space. Eiyyee!

So its goodbye Button Factory (sniff!), and hello temporary digs, and then more temporary digs! Get ready, start your engine (and don’t crash like the photo of the car at the top!), and pack your laptop…and join me on my 2011 here, there, and everywhere journey!

Here’s to a Smooth Move!

~Steven and the urbaneer team

Real Estate

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