We were out for brunch with Marc and Jen. That's when we decided that we'd like to share a house. It wasn't just the coffee talking (although I have my best ideas after a cup); we live in an expensive city and we'd been talking about housing alternatives for months. But it was during that meal that we shyly agreed that we would like to live with each other, that we thought our lifestyles would work well together and that we were ready for such an experiment.
We were ready because we wanted to move out of our apartments. By combining our resources, we realized we could afford to rent a real house with all the trimmings (a garden! laundry! windows! closets!).
We were excited, but it took us a while to get the project off the ground. At first, I delayed because my job was unstable. Then there was nothing available in our price range. During those months, we kept the project alive with serious discussions about the implications of sharing a house, and we came to the conclusion that we could mitigate a lot of potential conflicts by landing the right house.
So, we started visualizing the right house.
We wanted a house with more than one bathroom and preferably one with two full bathrooms, one for each couple. We wanted a dishwasher. We wanted bedrooms that weren't located next to each other. We wanted enough space for guests and musical instruments and sewing machines and sipping cocktails outside. We wanted to be walking distance from groceries, co-op cars and the city centre.
Thankfully we were on the same page about all of these things, although Jen doubted that we'd find a house with two full bathrooms.
We started looking again after Christmas, when Michael noticed that there were a number of rental postings in our price range.
After that point, everything happened very quickly, which surprised us, since we weren't sure how landlords would respond to the four of us. We looked at three houses in one week. The first two were close -- we could picture ourselves in both -- but they didn't quite meet our criteria.
The third house was better than anything we had imagined. It met our requirements and threw in a couple of wood burning fireplaces for good measure. And friends? It has 2.5 bathrooms.
We sealed the deal with the owner fairly quickly, thanks to a mutual friend who vouched for us. Since then, we've been picking paint colours, packing, updating addresses and willing time to pass quickly.
We found the right house. Now we can try out this housing experiment with the knowledge that we're giving it a fair shake.