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Chris’ Forever Home, Part 1: So I’m Moving to The Burbs

You may have seen me post on social media a few weeks back about fiiiinally securing my forever home. Truth be told, I wasn’t sure it was ever going to happen.

I’ll get to that in a moment, but I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be posting weekly in the lead-up to the house being built and me and my partner (and the two cats, of course) moving in. Expected completion date is in September, so we’re not far off!

In this first post I’ll be discussing a few interesting scenarios that popped up on the journey toward buying the home. And then each Wednesday I’ll be sharing interiors imagery that’ll be inspiring the decor choices I’ll make, mood boards for each room, and updates on the house. This is my first real and legit chance to deck out every pocket of the home from scratch – and I cannot tell you how excited I am.

Oh and I’ll be dying to get your input on the mood boards, colour schemes and product choices too. So I hope you’re up for lending a hand!

Chris Caroll from The life Creative - in Melbourne
Do they have graffiti in Reservoir?

So I didn’t get my Ideal Suburb

Having moved down to Melbourne a little over a year ago, I didn’t quite understand that renting in Richmond was only setting me up for major disappointment when it came time to purchase.

Living in Richmond, you’re literally a five minute walk to a bar, pub, restaurant, cafe, and tram. I say tram, but in all honesty, as people often told me, Richmond folks don’t need to leave Richmond, and I haven’t much. It has everything a city-fringe-dweller could want.

But sadly, it comes at a cost. And when it came time to purchase my first home, the bank account scoffed at me, and then starting rolling around the floor laughing “You can’t afford Richmond, FOOL!”.

So we had to go further out; securing a place in Reservoir, which is about 25 or 30 mins from the city. At first I outrightly declared, “I can’t live in a suburb called Reservoir. It sounds like a sewer”. But I’ve been told it’s an up-and-coming area, so I will blog away in the burbs for the next few years and wait for the boom to occur. Then, I’m moving to Toorak to become a Real Housewife of Melbourne.

That last part is a joke. I’ll never be able to afford Toorak.

home build in reservoir Chris' Forever Home the life creative

Sole Trader = Undesirable Loan Applicant

Who knew that being a sole trader – as I am with my blog, styling and presenting work – would deem it so flamin’ hard to get a loan? I saw all the commercials on TV about struggling sole traders and how tough it is for them to get loan approval with what the bank deems to be an unsteady income.

But for some reason, I thought strutting into the mortgage broker’s office and saying “Didn’t you see me on The Morning Show in 2014?” would stand for something (and yes I am STILL holding onto that fleeting moment of TV fame from two years ago no matter how desperate it sounds!).

Turns out it took forever for the loan to get approved based on my income. Even though I earn more now than I did when I was working full-time. Thankfully my partner Gavin has been in full-time work forever, which stood for a lot and got us over the line in the end. Which is good, because I was ready to strut into the mortgage office again with my new book for round two of negotiations.

Now for the Hardest Part…

While we wait for the home build to near completion, I’ve come to the hardest part in the journey. I know, one might think that saving the deposit, going through the loan process, or going to look at potential homes every Saturday was the toughest part.

But no. I’ve just entered the most gruelling part of the entire first home buyer process: negotiating with my partner over what furniture and decor to keep and what to throw out.

More on that hilarious discussion next week 😉

Did you have to go further out when you purchased your first home? And can any Melbournians tell me what’s hot and happening in and around Reservoir? 


Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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11 Responses

  1. Yay! Congratulations Chris, such an exciting time! Can’t wait to see how you style the place. Reading this post reminded me of the headaches we went through to get a loan (it took us 8 months!!!). I just recently finished building my forever home and successfully managed to get rid of every single piece of furniture I owned (other than the guest bed) ha ha. My technique was to just magically have new furniture arrive and then oh oh, looks like we’ll have to put the old one up for sale 😉

    1. I really feel like all of Chris’ readers are conspiring against me here. I’ve got no hope of keeping my beautiful coffee table!

  2. I grew up in Reservoir Chris – it has changed dramatically since my parents bought their first home there over 30 years ago. It’s a nice mix of families, first home buyers, renters, etc. Public transport is excellent, there are some great cafes, and a huge new Kmart to spend hours wandering around. There also still old school italian deli’s and small businesses that have been trading locally for years. Preston market is down the road, there are some great homewares outlets nearby (check out Albi imports on Chifley Drive) and you can get an ace Vietnamese feed on High Street. Congratulations and enjoy 🙂

  3. Yeah so you let him keep his key fave pieces and then you decorate THE ENTIRE HOME around those pieces so they fit in. In time the annoyance will be like a minor itch.

  4. I really love your posts, you’ve actually got me up & out of bed this morning. Can’t wait for the next instalment of ‘The Carrol Diaries’

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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