virginia st.

_MG_0744 _MG_0747 _MG_0751 _MG_0750 Eliza's Room_MG_0771 _MG_0768 _MG_0788 _MG_0776 
This our home on Virginia St. We've been here in Berkeley for a little over a year now. It's crazy to think that we moved across the country, had a baby, and settled down only a year ago. It's crazy to think that we have lived in Berkeley for longer than we lived in New York. It also makes me a little sad, because now Brooklyn seems like such a little blip in our life. But, that's not what this post is about.

These photos are of our home here in Berkeley. This was our dream home. Perfect, sunny, breezy, spacious- in the best neighborhood. But, we are moving to a new home this weekend.

Without getting too personal and talking too much money, we've made a decision for our family to move to a smaller home in West Berkeley. It came down to this: if we ever want to get ahead in life, and actually save money to own a home (especially in the Bay Area) than we have to move. In case you don't know- real estate in the Bay Area is totally nuts. We were not-so-pleasantly surprised to find out that rent here far surpassed rent in New York City. I mean, is that even possible? When we decided to move, the management re-listed our home at $600 more. $600 difference in just one year!? And, there were at least five eager families here for the showing just chomping at the bit.

It is perhaps one of the most humbling experiences that we've ever had together. I hope that this doesn't make us sound superficial. But, Sam and I take pride in our home. It is our hobby. We like to feel inspired, and would rather spend the time painting our 10 foot ceilings and walls on a rental so that the rooms would feel brighter and happier, then feel like we are living in a cave.

But, here we go again- another move. It has been a very stressful and difficult couple of months looking for a new place. I know that this is the right thing to do for our family, and I'm proud of us for doing it. We will be saving for our future, and proving to ourselves that we can live with less. As we've grown, I feel like we have become a little entitled- and I don't want Eliza to see that. I know we can live with less, and we will all be just as happy- if not happier. Happiness is not wanting.

So, I took some photos to help me feel some closure. I know this all sounds so dramatic, but it's hard on us. This is our home. This is where Eliza was born. I want to be able to remember it exactly the way it is. I totally understand now why my parents dragged me past every apartment and rental home that they ever lived in when we were on vacations. It was so annoying. But, you can count on me dragging sassy teenage Eliza by this house to tell her all about how long it took me to get down all those porch stairs and out to the car to go to the hospital when I was in labor. Or, how we would sit by the front windows and watch the hummingbirds in the china strawberry tree when she was a newborn. Or, how she loved it when her Papa would slide her on the hardwood floors from one side of the living room to the other, until she would explode into fits of giggles.

Funny story- we will actually still be living on Virginia St- just further west! We've found a little rental house that needs a lot of work. But, we are feeling better and better about it every day. It's going to be our new home. Sam spent all of last weekend ripping up the linoleum in the kitchen. We've made a deal with the landlord where we will help out with labor if she pays for the supplies to make the place nice. It's kind of exciting, because it's almost like a trial-run to owning a home. And, we get to do it all our way! Also, the house has a lemon tree, it's right across from a park, and we are within a few blocks of some killer shops and eats.

So, here's to the future! It's going to be great.

PS. The photo of Eliza's crib was taken by the amazing Weston Colton once when he was visiting. (Follow his Instagram- daily inspiration, let me tell you.) I stole it off of his wife's Etsy page because she made that adorable quilt for Eliza. Also, we only have a fixed 50mm lens, which makes it impossible to take photos indoors without backing up a million feet. I'm thinking we are going to need a new lens if we want to take any pictures in our new house! Donations welcome. Kidding...


  1. Glad you were able to capture how awesome that place is and how great you guys made it look

  2. You guys are the best for always seeing the positive. Taking on a challenge is so commendable, but so much work. I send you lots of good vibes in your move. Your new place is going to be amazing, I just know it.

  3. I was happy you were moving and now I'm sad. :-( But you are right about entitlement. It is a seductive thief. Of course, your mom and I never got to suffer from it. Ha ha.

  4. I'm with you all the way my friend! Rent/house prices are CRAZY here in the Bay area. But like you and Sam, we feel right about being here. Scott is just 10 years away from retirement...we don't own a home. We can't afford one here in the Bay area. We are renting. But, I know the Lord has a plan for us and for you!!! Go, Go Gray Family!!!

  5. Hi there! My name is Heather and I have a question about your blog! My email is Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com that would be great!

  6. I totally understand where you're coming from! Practicality is always the better trait, and your decisions about moving are definitely justified. Although it really is a shame that you had to move again after just a year. Based on the pics, the place looks so lovable, and that's not counting its sentimental value. Stay positive, and good luck with the move further down the street! Dave @