The Biltmore, Miami

Fred’s House

The man we bought our house from was called Fred.

I mean, he wasn’t ACTUALLY called Fred, obviously. I’m going to call him that, though, to respect his privacy, and because Fred is a fine name, don’t you think?

Anyway, because the process of offering on this house was such a long and complicated one, we got to know Fred reasonably well, and every time we spoke about his house, we referred to it as “Fred’s House”. Because, well, that’s what it was. “If we buy Fred’s house…” we would say, or “Oh look, that would look nice in Fred’s house!” In the end, we talked about “Fred’s House” so much that we started to think it would ALWAYS be “Fred’s House” to us, and that in a few years time we’d still be inviting people to “come round to Fred’s House” or telling each other that we “better get back to Fred’s House.”

The Biltmore MiamiSince we bought it, however, it somehow stopped being referred to as “Fred’s” and started to be known as “the new house”. I have high hopes that one day it will become “OUR house”, but I think that’s still a ways a way, because we’re still walking around saying things like, “Wow, I can’t believe how much bigger this kitchen is than our own one!” and “I don’t know how to work this washing machine: it’s not like our own one!”

Terry, meanwhile, had the misfortune of having to go back to “our own” house last week, to sort out an issue the new owners were having with the towel radiator (Remember this guy? He was the first thing we bought for our old house, and as it turns out, he was the LAST thing we bought for it too, because he point-blank refused to work for the new people, and we had to pay for him to be fixed. I think he was just hurt that we left him, you know? I certainly would be.), and although he said being in the house again didn’t affect him at all, it certainly had an effect on me. Even though I wasn’t actually there.

I think up until then, I’d somehow been letting myself believe that thus was all a big game we were playing, and that even although I wasn’t living in that house, no one else was either. But when Terry came home with his tales of painted walls and painted doors (“They looked really nice, actually,” he commented, which was great: I’m glad we lived with those hideous doors all that time when all we needed to do was slap some paint on the suckers: D’OH.), it suddenly hit me: THOSE PEOPLE ARE TOTALLY LIVING IN MY HOUSE. And changing it. And that makes the chances of me just sneaking back in and pretending nothing happened a little bit less likely, dontchya think?

Basically, then, for the last week and a bit we’ve been living in Fred’s House, other people have been living in OUR house, and everything is all messed up and turned on its head. I, meanwhile… well, I have NO house. My old house isn’t mine any more, and this house doesn’t feel like mine either, even though I know it is. Everything is new and different and confusing, and the fact that we’ve moved to a new town (Well, a new village, actually) as well as to a new house only heightens the sense of strangeness, which has been going on ever since we started to pack up the old place.

I feel like I’ve been living in some kind of surreal dream for the past couple of weeks, and I’d quite like to wake up now, thanks very much. It’s not that I don’t like the new house, obviously: I absolutely LOVE it. It’s just that I think it’s going to take a bit of time to actually feel like HOME, and everything feels a bit strange in the meantime.

Rubin, meanwhile, is every bit as confused as I am: more, probably. Which is really saying something. We knew the change would be a bit stressful on him, obviously (Actually, just the process of packing up the old place was stressful on him: he knew something was going on, and I think he suspected that “something” might be going to involve us going on holiday or something, and leaving him behind…), and although we’ve been doing our best to keep his routine as normal as possible, and to surround him with familiar things, it’s pretty difficult when you’re shuttling boxes of stuff up and down stairs all day, and there’s a constant procession of visitors and deliveries to deal with, so we’ve had one very confused little pup for the past week or so.

He’s starting to feel more at home now, I think, but we’re keeping a close eye on him: and not just because the entire second floor and stairs are covered in very pale carpet and small, naughty dog + pale, expensive carpet does not a good match make.

Anyway! These photos were NOT taken in Fred’s house, as I’m sure you’ve worked out. We should be so lucky! They were taken on the last day of our stay in Miami, when, as I mentioned in this post, we went back to the beautiful Biltmore Hotel, this time to sample their fabulous high tea, and a very excellent tea it was. In fact, ever since we got back, I’ve been insisting on having my ham and cheese sandwiches curled up into little rolls, as shown in the photo at the bottom of the page. All food should look like that, seriously.

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  • Well, I think once you can actually stop fixing the new house, and everything is put away and you can actually enjoy it and live with it, it should be ok…though again: I can completely sympathise with the feeling of extraneity. When I was a child my parents and I spent summers fixing the house he was born in, which became our vacation house. Then my parents split up and I haven’t been there in years. I was supposed to go, but my dad’s new girlfriend is there, and she’s been ‘improving’ things…I wriggled out of it. It’s not our house anymore, but hers.

    August 21, 2013
  • First of all I think you look gorgeous in these photos! I knew you were wearing a skirt, but the color combination was so good that it looks like a dress. Very pretty! Also, you made me hungry with that last photo! I must find a place where they serve high tea in my country, because I haven’t tried anything like this before, and I really want to.
    I’m sure you’ll soon relax and get used to your new house, which you’re going to like even more than the old one. It’ll take some time, I’m sure. I’m also not good with changes, especially huge ones like this. I don’t know what I’d do in a situation like yours. But I’m guessing I’ll find out some day soon enough when I have to move to my own house.

    August 21, 2013
  • Gorgeous “Fred” 🙂 and your dress!!!! 🙂 x

    August 21, 2013
  • We just a bought a new (to us) house a few months ago. This is our fourth (and hopefully final) new house. Here is what I do to make it feel like MY house and not like I’m a guest taking an extended holiday in someone else’s house.

    Paint a room. This serves two purposes – it puts your decorating stamp on the place and, even more effectively, neutralizes the smell of the previous owners. You would be surprised at how effective this is at least removing that sense you are occupying someone else’s space. It might still feel like it’s not quite your place yet but at least it doesn’t feel like someone else’s either.

    Change the toilet seats. This is the FIRST thing I do. I don’t like to think about sitting my bum where…well you get the idea.

    Congratulations on your new home!

    August 21, 2013
    • Stacey


      I *always* change the toilet seats first thing. I also *always* get looked at like I’m crazy for insisting that this be done. I’m glad to know I’m not alone in this!

      August 21, 2013
  • Love your outfit! Totally looks like a dress – and a fabulous one, too! I’m sure you’ll settle in, it just takes some time 🙂

    August 21, 2013
  • I also feel like I’ve missed the nice summer because I’ve been unpacking boxes (but, on the other hand, we have a garden now and that seems like it will take a lot of work, so excuses to hide inside have been a little bit welcome).

    I don’t even think of our old place as our old place any more, but every time I go past it on the bus I find myself glancing up at the kitchen window and going, “Yes, she’s still got the red blinds. Quite right, too. What sort of heathen would change them?”

    August 21, 2013
    • Me. Me. Me.

      In other news: I hope you feel settled soon!

      August 21, 2013
  • I always have trouble settling into new homes as well. Which I do every few years because we rent. But I’m going to be absolutely heartbroken when we have to move from this place because from the moment we walked in it felt like home. It’s not my dream home or anything, but it’s small and cozy and it feels comfortable.

    I think it’s just a matter of getting used to it all and remembering what cabinets you stuck everything in.

    Fashion and Happy Things

    August 22, 2013
  • Just had to say how gorgeous you look in these photos!

    I’m sure the new house will soon start feeling like ‘our house’ – I always think a place just needs ‘living in’ a little! x

    August 22, 2013
  • Looking forward to seeing some more sneak peaks of “the new house”, the ones from Instagram look lovely. I saw your Shoeper Women challenge Insta earlier in the week too, really must check that out and see if I can join you all!

    August 22, 2013
  • That skirt is so stunning on you. And though this isn’t “Fred’s House” it is a great background.

    August 22, 2013
  • this is so crazy, “Fred’s house”, but I’m sure you’ll settle in in no time. must be strange, though 🙂
    p.s. I still love that skirt

    August 22, 2013
  • This is one of the posts where I swear you got inside in my head and wrote my thoughts. I don’t know what else to say besides thank you; you really have a way with words.

    August 23, 2013