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What It’s Like to Be a House-Hunting Food Writer

Bedrooms, bathrooms, size … so much goes into choosing a house. But when you’re a house-hunting food writer there’s more to consider.

A collage of three photos to illustrate this post about things important to a house-hunting food writer is shown. One shows a table laid for breakfast with plates, a breakfast board and muffins. Another shows a hot drink bar in a kitchen featuring a kettle, teas and more. One shows a coffee cup perched on the arm of an outdoor chair.

When you’re a mother and a food writer, choosing a home is more than just the neighborhood and the number of bedrooms or baths. It’s also choosing a place to experience food, to share it with others and, sometimes, to photograph it.

This, my friends, has been the hard part of finding a house to purchase.

But let’s back up to the nuts and bolts for the a second: I’ve been thinking about buying a house since we moved to Maine in 2014. But the timing had to be right. In other words, I didn’t want to buy until my divorce was finalized, I was financially ready for the responsibility and practically ready for the work it would require.

For a while, there was good reason not to buy. Having someone else handle the snow removal, the furnace maintenance and lawn care, for instance, was pretty advantageous when my kids were younger. And there was the issue of a downpayment — I prioritized travel, activities and fun over saving money to have one.

But then, things shifted.

About four years ago, I was ready — at least mostly — to buy. We’d outgrown the townhouse and I’d saved enough for a downpayment. Unfortunately, the timing was still off.

The agent I worked with only showed me old properties on the market and didn’t follow up with new ones as they came on. I didn’t feel like they were particularly invested in finding me a house either. So I moved on without finding a house to buy.

What I did find though was another rental that was more spacious and in a neighborhood I liked. The kids could walk to school and hang out with friends in the neighborhood. And the kitchen was cute. So cute.

Seriously, white cabinets aren’t just a trend for me. They make me happy. So airy! And a gas stove? It sure has made cooking fun.

Here’s what I didn’t know at the time: The shady yard meant the rooms were all on the darker side. That’s made it a challenge to shoot photos. And the old construction (it was built in the 1800s) meant that noise near the shared wall is heard by all.

Still, we’ve loved living here. And, at a time like this when we are spending more time than ever at home, it’s been nice to have space and room to move around. We even had a room in the attic we were able to easily convert to a dance/yoga/music room.

But, I believe heavily in listening to your gut. And my gut has been saying it’s time to move.

Not only move though: it’s time to own.

I want to have a house to enjoy together before Will and Paige head off to college in a few short years. I want to have a house to gather friends and family in. And, most of all, I want a space that is all our own.

Of course, when you are seeking a house that’s not just a home but also the center of your working life, you have a few additional considerations.

Will this kitchen work for my recipe development?

Is there enough light in this house?

Is there room for my office and writing space?

Where will people gather and hangout while I cook?

Is this somewhere I want to live for a longer while?

All of this isn’t to say I am looking for something perfect. I’m not. I accept that in my budget I might need to renovate a kitchen or replace appliances to get what I want. And I accept that I might need to compromise on some things or learn to live in a space that’s almost right.

So that’s where I am right now. My real estate agent, who is someone who really knows and appreciates my wants and needs, has been wonderful about taking me through anything I find interesting. He also notes when something is ideal for something I need (“this would be perfect for Paige to dance in!”). But we haven’t found the right house yet.

Here’s to hoping this house-hunting food writer finds the right house in the right town at the right time with the right amount of space and light. Basically, I am hoping for my own personal unicorn.

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