Wally Cottage, One Year Later

We walked into the house and I got “that” feeling. The one where you can see yourself making a life there, tending to the garden, sliding open the huge living room windows to let in the morning light, curling up with a cup of coffee on the couch, taking the place of the sweet original homeowners, we would only be the second family to ever live in this house…I mean I even had the Christmas tree spot picked out and it was only February! You know the feeling I’m talking about. There were a couple of hang ups, like the super outdated kitchen and lack of a third bedroom. But the potential in the bones? Oh it was there. The neighborhood? Perfect. The price? Spot on. I was happy to hand wash dishes and run my business out of the oversized living room until we could make proper renovations. It wouldn’t be ideal, but I had that feeling when we walked into the home so this was our “yes” from God, and we knew this was going to be the one!

Except that…it wasn’t the one.

I got the text from our realtor while I was sitting in a coffeeshop, before a client meeting. The sellers took another offer. I remember so vividly the feeling of being crushed. Over and over in my head I kept saying, “This was supposed to be our home.. God told me I would live on this street. I heard it loud and clear!” I knew that there were two big hang-ups on the home (the outdated kitchen and lack of a third bedroom) but those were things we could live with, so I just didn’t understand why it was a sudden “no.”

Ten days later Jeff and I went to Panera Bread for dinner. We couldn’t get that first house out of our minds and it was time to figure things out. It had felt so right and we felt so confused about it. We talked about our options, and how we wanted to move forward. After all, we had a particularly small budget as first time home buyers, and we had a deadline to meet because our apartment lease was up in March. So, after a lot of back and forth discussion we decided to call it quits. We would wait another year to find our first home, and let our realtor know in the morning.

I laid in bed that night and I remember praying my heart out. I asked God so many questions and felt so confused by what had happened. My very last sentence before drifting into sleep was, “God I heard you loud and clear, you said we were going to live on that street…I know that house had an outdated kitchen and it didn’t have a third bedroom, and those are two huge things on our list. I trust you…but I’m so confused, just please take this house off of my heart if we aren’t supposed to live on that street.”

The very next morning I woke up to this text from our realtor, “Just emailed you. A house on ‘xx’ street (same street as the first house) just came back on the market!! Same model as the other, but with 3 beds…” I woke Jeff as quickly as I could and slurred something to him in my tired state about a house coming back on the market and that I thought it might actually be the one!

After getting off of the phone with our realtor, she confirmed that there was indeed a third bedroom AND an updated kitchen in this one, so we drafted up an offer, sight-unseen and scheduled an appointment to look at the house that afternoon. It was perfect in our minds, it was on the same street as the other house and it was the exact same floor plan so we knew what we were dealing with. “Okay God, hearing you loud and clear on this one!”

Our realtor had warned us that the sellers were a bit “off” and from the pictures online we could see that it would need a little TLC but nothing that a little elbow grease couldn’t fix. However, when we arrived at the house and took our first steps through the front door it took everything in me not to run right back out of there and straight into a shower.

It was dark. It smelled like animal feces. There was a constant high-pitched beeping from the seller’s alarm system. The seller followed us through out the home, into every single room. She told us there had been 4 break-ins and that it was infested with termites. There was cat litter spread throughout the carpet of the entire house. There were towels over the windows, wooden bars drilled over the doors. This place was my literal nightmare. “God, you must have accidentally sent us to the wrong address.. I know this isn’t the place you want us to live.. we can’t even breath in here and I’m pretty sure there’s a bug crawling on my ankle. Thanks, but no thanks.” We were probably inside for no more than 10 minutes and I had seen enough, enough to confirm that this would not be the one. As we all (Jeff, our realtor, and my parents) stood on the driveway moments later, Jeff looks at me and says, “Well I think that’s the one! It’ll take some work but I think it’s great.” UMMMM excuse me WHAT? Did you experience what I just did? Did you even hear her mention the break-ins? The bugs? Did you see the animal feces everywhere? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Here are several pictures from that first day, this is what we saw when we walked in..


Over the next few weeks, God chiseled away little pieces of my doubt. I felt every single emotion as we moved forward with our offer on the scary, bug-infested place I was supposed to call home in 45 days. We soon found out that the seller had early dementia and that she had made everything up about the break-ins because she didn’t want to move out of her home. She was sad to leave and thought she could scare us out of putting in an offer. As the end of escrow drew near, we were soon presented with the next trial in this process; the sellers wouldn’t move out and they completely cut off communication with everyone involved. So, for 7 days we were first time homeowners…with tenants, and we had no clue what to do. But on day 7 we got confirmation that the sellers would be completely out in the a.m. and we could finally take over the keys to our Wally Cottage.

This last weekend we celebrated one year of living in Wally Cottage! The road to finding our first home and the year following has been rocky. Believe it or not I left out a bunch of details that would make this story even crazier. But as I sit here one year later, reminiscing on all that God carried us through, and how perfectly He orchestrated every last detail, I’m amazed. It took a lot of elbow grease, 15 gallons of paint, our amazing realtor, two incredible families, and one HUGE God to help us along the way…but we made it. I always go back to my prayer that night, the one before we were going to give up our home search. I asked God to take away my heart’s desire to live on this street if we weren’t supposed to. I woke up to a direct answer from Him and I couldn’t believe it. God doesn’t always give us audible answers when we ask, but sometimes He does. And when He does..it’s so very sweet.

Below are some pictures from our first year in Wally Cottage!


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(Our first reveal of the new home)


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We inherited our TV stand from my Nana’s cousin this year and it’s one of my absolute favorite pieces! It has been in our family cabin since it was originally built in the 70’s. The other amazing piece we inherited this year is my childhood piano. This piano was originally in my great grandfather’s (Papa) home, followed by my grandma’s home and then my home growing up. Myself, my aunt and my grandma all learned piano on this very one and I’m so happy it will be in our home for our little kids to someday play!


This has been one incredible year of growth for us and I can’t wait to see what this next year holds. Making our house into a home is something I absolutely love!

  • Gale Anne - Sweet story Nicole.ReplyCancel

  • Shannon Speake - Love your home buying story!! I swear, buying a house is like dating. You can get so attached to what you think is “the one” and then when it dosn’t work out it’s devasting. But I love to see how God works out everything perfectly and you ended up in THE right house. The one you were meant to end up with :DReplyCancel

  • Kate Sutton - I absolutely love this story! Life has a funny way of working out a million times better than we ever imagined. The work you put into your house is stunning! You deserve to have a happy and beautiful home and I’m so glad you have that!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren Melendez Clickner - This is absolutely lovely!!ReplyCancel

  • Lacey Monet Carroll - This is beautiful! I absolutely love this photostory! I need to do this!ReplyCancel

  • Annie Velenovsky - THIS IS NOT THE SAME HOUSE. This is beyond amazing I’m so envious of your perfect little cottage!!!ReplyCancel

  • Betty Reed - I’m wondering if this is the same “Wally Cottage” that I lived in for a couple of years with my aunt and uncle when I was around five or six years old. It was a two-story cottage on a dirt road within walking distance of Conneaut Lake, and had a barn a short distance into the back yard where they kept my pony. We rented the property for about two years, and I remember that our landlord’s last name was Gottlieb. This was seventy years ago, so perhaps it’s just a coincidence. I would love to know if your “Wally Cottage” is the same place, and all my wonderful memories are now in good hands.

    Betty Reed

    • nicole - Awe Betty that is sweet! I wish I could say this was your same wally cottage, but this is just a little old one story home in Sacramento, CA!! It sounds like you grew up in a very sweet home, though :)ReplyCancel

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