August 20, 2013


I've been putting off this post for awhile.

Even though I daydream about what our next home will be like pretty much 24/7, I've been biting my tongue and trying not talk about it since my immigration isn't 100% finalized yet. We're still two people and one dog living on one income so it doesn't feel right to fantasize about our next place when I barely have enough money to pay my credit card bill.

Dream kitchen.
I should've been a permanent resident by now, which means that I should have been able to work and earn an income by now, but a clerical error has made a sitting duck out of me. (Big shout out to our Ridiculously Expensive Law Firm for putting down the wrong return address for my application! Worth every penny. Really.)

Now that the error has been cleared up, I'm expecting to finalize my Canadian residency within the next few weeks (barring any more unbearably frustrating screw ups from the Ridiculously Expensive Law Firm). At that point I'll basically take the first job I'm offered and we can finally start saving for our future and our next place.

In anticipation of this next big step, I'm giving myself permission to do more than just daydream about our next place - I'm going to (gasp) talk about it! And I'm finally going to crack open IKEA's 2014 catalogue (which arrived in the mail last week and which I've been avoiding like the plague) and obsess for a little while.

Dream living room.
Some backstory about where we currently live: Bobby and I viewed a handful of apartments and narrowed it down to two places (cue House Hunters decision-making music). Although I was leaning toward the one-bedroom in Toronto, Bobby had reservations about the crime level in the neighborhood. So we signed a lease on a loft way out in the suburbs, with Bobby's word that we would only live there for one year.

Our lease ends the week of Christmas (because nothing says 'holiday spirit' like squatting among boxes) so our official hunt begins in October. We're a couple of months early but I think it's a good idea to start formulating a game plan now since we're so specific about what we want. This will be our third home together and it's somewhere we want to stay for a few years.

Dream dining area.
We face an uphill battle since apartments in Toronto are absurdly expensive and we have a long list of stipulations that seems to grow by the day. It's not realistic to assume we'll get all or even three-quarters of the things on our wish list, but it continues to expand nonetheless.

Dream bedroom #1.

Bobby's background as a realtor makes apartment hunting even trickier (putting it mildly, he has strong opinions about cleanliness and landlords who don't keep units up to date).

So, over time, our wants have mutated into must-haves based on our collective renting experience. I would say we're too picky for own our good but I have faith that we can have our rental cake and eat it too. We've put in some years at some wackadoodle places. We're long overdue to find exactly what we want at a price we can afford.

Dream bedroom #2.
our must-haves
dogs allowed
2 bedrooms
townhome/rental house
outdoor space (preferably a fenced-in yard)
in-unit laundry
a parking space
no loft - must have a separate bedroom with a door
reasonable walking distance to subway/streetcar/bus
no mirrored backsplash in the kitchen (sounds silly but this is non-negotiable)
no carpeting allowed anywhere but the bedroom (and that carpet needs to be brand new)

things that are negotiable but are still kind of a big deal
a window over the kitchen sink
a window in the bathroom
reasonable walking distance to a quality grocer (Rabba/No Frills/Walmart don't qualify as 'quality')
reasonable amount of counter/prep space in kitchen

Now we just need to find all of the above for less than $2000 in the city of Toronto. I know, I'm laughing too.

Dream backyard.

All photos are from

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