wants + needs + shifting priorities (thoughts on our next nest)

When we bought our condo we had one baby and one on the way. It was supposed to be our starter home, as jumping into the Montreal (or any city, really) real-estate market means starting small and working your way towards your dream home at a snail's pace. Not many people living anywhere enter the real-estate in their forever home, especially urban home buyers, and we were no exception. Well, we're at the 5 year mark in this condo and starting to think about the next nest.

Compared to Toronto and Vancouver, Montreal is actually an affordable city, but compared to non-cities, it's still very expensive to live here. But we didn't choose Montreal as our home because it meant the most sense financially or because we could get the most bang for our buck here, so we've already accepted that things are pricier and space is limited, no matter where you are in our city.

Straight up, I love our home. I will weep the day we leave this place. If we had one more bedroom, I could see us here for the next forty years. Moving to the city has taught me SO much about contentment, the value of stuff (spoiler: it's very low), prioritizing function, family, and quality of living above square footage and acreage. I feel like we live in paradise. Our neighbourhood is everything we would ever want, and our little corner of it is our dream come true. Under five minutes on foot from our house gets us to the metro, the bus, an excellent primary school, and the greatest cafe. What more could a Montrealise mama want? Except that part about us having three kids and both Brad and I working from home... in a two bedroom.

We are so utterly happy in our home, but at the same time, we can see that it won't suit us forever. Brad's office is in the entryway of our home and mine is a foot from our bed. Our three kids do a great job as roommates for now, but soon they'll need more space for their school work and Oli may outgrow sharing his room with two girls.

This condo has taught me a lot about what we don't need in a home as a family of five in the city. We don't need a garage, heck we don't need a parking space. Street parking does us just fine, in our neighbourhood. We don't need two living rooms or two dining rooms. We don't need a bedroom for every child. We don't need a back yard. We don't need a ground floor. In the end the stairs were quite helpful for daily exercise and actually are considered a security measure. Ground floors, the coveted real estate for families, are also the most likely to be broken into, and third floors get all the sun.

Here's a list of non-negotiables + ideals for our next nest that make me think we'll actually never find it, haha.

  1. Must be in Le Plateau. Period.
  2. Must have three bedrooms, ideally four (which would be B's office).
  3. Must be under 10 minutes walking from a Metro, ideally under five minutes.
  4. Must be under 10 minutes walking from a local school, ideally from the local school Lily is already at, and ideally closer to five minutes.
  5. Must have two bathrooms. OK so I'm actually wavering on this one, because though we've grown accustomed to having two, we realize it's absolutely freakish for most Montreal condos to have more than one bathroom.  
  6. Must be within our budget, obviously. Sometimes banks say you're approved for mortgages that are higher than you want to pay, and you feel rich for a hot second. Don't listen to them! Staying within our means is priority uno. 
I'd actually love to stay in our EXACT area, if the right place opened up. I'd love to stay within 15 blocks of where we are right now, but I'm just not sure if what we want even exists here. We'd love to get a low priced dump and reno it (and by that I do not mean do the work ourselves! That would take more time than we have and probably end up costing us more too, because hi, we are not professionals). Take down some walls, lay down some light oak floors, forego walls for windows, paint everything white, and call it a day. But we'll see.

Currently our plan is to move summer of 2018, but I'm starting to plan ahead now since we'd be doing all the designing. I want to be so prepared that when the time comes and the right house opens up, we can jump on it and know what we're doing. I'm talking, I want to know what sink faucet in the kitchen and what size tile for the shower and what shade of white we're painting all the things-level prepared. So here's my beginning thoughts. Many many more to come!


  1. I love this! We are a family of 4 living in a 2 bedroom condo, and we've been here for almost 11 years! I can so relate to wanting basically the exact same house you already have, just a tiny bit bigger. My husband also works from home, and we've converted our storage unit across the hall into an office. But it's unheated and not ideal, and someday we anticipate our boys might want their own rooms. We adore our neighborhood, and we just wish the condo were a little bit bigger. It's on the market right now, but we haven't had any takers yet. In the meantime, we're trying to figure out what our ideal house will be, and what we can do to make the best of our place until it sells. I'm really glad I found your blog!

  2. Thanks for your kind words, SL! Are you also from Montreal? Props to you for using a storage unit as an office! Impressed!