After 18 months in our nice home in central Højmark, we have moved to a farmhouse in the nearby countryside.
We had decided that we wanted to remain in Denmark for a while, but thought it would be good to have a bit more space for our large-ish family. However, we knew we wanted to stay in Højmark (we didn’t want to put the kids through a change of schools, plus we love our school) and it is not so often that places come up for rent in the immediate area.
And so our move came suddenly due to a few factors: It came to our attention that a farmhouse had just come up for rent nearby. Since it had a lot of qualities we were looking for, we knew we needed to go for it quickly, since, as mentioned, rental properties seem to be few and far between in these parts. We would have probably preferred to postpone the move for a few months, but the owner of the farmhouse was really wanting us to move in quickly because the house is very old, and it’s not good for it to be left empty.
So all in all, we ended up signing a lease and moving in a few short weeks later.
And here it is in all its old-timey, Danish-looking beauty:
(Side note: I am using photos from EDC Real Estate Agency from a previous listing of the property, and EDC also happened to be the agency that helped us find our first rental property, so shout out to them.)
(I kind of want to make a joke here about how they found the one day out of the whole year that had sun and blue skies to take a picture of the property… 😉
As simple and modern as our former house was, this new home is opposite in many ways.
- Location: It’s in the country…situated amidst farms, forest, and ponds. It’s about two miles from the kids’ school, so a bit more of a problem for them to ride their bikes to school. They haven’t biked yet due to it being dark and cold, but I am holding out hope that the biking to school may happen again after the weather improves.
- It was built in 1830, so close to 200 years old.
- It is heated by a pellet stove. This is actually pretty strange for me–it’s a bit surreal to be pouring bags full of wood bits into a big chute thing and that be our complete source of heat. The bags of wood pellets are delivered on a few large pallets every couple of months, and, as it was put to me, it “requires a couple hours of hard labor” just to move them from the driveway into the room with the pellet stove.
- This house is big. For the first time, our kids will each have their own bedroom. The 3 big kids are pretty excited about having their own rooms, and John and I are excited for Rowan to have his own room (he had been sharing with us). Now, is the house big by American standards? Perhaps not. The house is somewhere between 2400 and 2800 sq. ft., which pretty much measures up to the average home size built in the U.S. last year–2,600 sq. ft. But for John and me, it is the largest house we’ve ever lived in.
- It’s a big house and yet there’s still only 1 bathroom, and no bathtub, so this was probably the one major compromise for us. It’s just the European way, I suppose. So everyone is welcome to come visit–we have plenty of space for you–just know you’ll be sharing a bathroom with 6 people :).
- The farmhouse sits on several acres, including a forested area, a large pond, plus a few more small ponds and even a moat (or what we refer to as a moat). For years, John and I have had a little dream of living out in the country and owning a couple acres, so this gives us the opportunity to try this lifestyle out and see how we like it.
- The biggest pond on the property is home to two swans. The kids are thinking they should be named Swan 1 and Swan 2, but I am leaning toward Mr. and Mrs. Swansen since this is Denmark, after all.
- After moving into the house, we learned that in addition to the two swans, the property also came with a barn/stable cat. Like any stable cat worth its salt, the cat appears to be an excellent mouser. We have already received 3.5 mice in tribute.
- Being that it is close to 200 years old, the house has some fun quirks. For example, the stairs are quite narrow and hazardous, with a pretty, but also dangerous, curve. I have been referring to them fondly as “clown” stairs, because they seem to get smaller and narrower as you go up.
- In keeping with the clown/fun house theme, Rowan’s bedroom has a ceiling that is only about 5.5″ high, so that’s kind of fun.
- Also on the property is a massive stable/barn. Seriously massive–I’m sure well over 5,000 square feet. The building seems to be structurally sound, and the roof looks pretty new, but it hasn’t really been in use, so there’s a lot of broken windows, and, as is usual in Denmark, some moisture issues.
- There is also a giant metal building/shop thing. This is one of the aspects we really liked about the house since John loves having space to work on his various projects. This shop is big enough that the kids can ride their bikes around inside in winter, and it even came with a few broken down classic cars, which is a fun little addition.
- And to add to the “country-living” experience, John and I now have farm chores. John’s farm chores include re-filling the indoor and outdoor pellet stoves, as well as cleaning the pellet stoves every Saturday. They also include mowing the expansive lawn, and using some type of tractor-like vehicle to rake the gravel in the courtyard. Yeah, so I guess it’s mostly John that has farm chores, not me, haha. For now it’s kind of fun for us to joke about our “farm chores”, but hopefully we continue to see them as quaint, rather than tiresome :).
Overall, I am excited about our new house, but as always, I worry, “Did we make the right decision?” As those who know me are aware, I often have a hard time making decisions. We were quite comfortable in our old home here, and had finally established a routine, and felt like we were starting to have things figured out. This new house is going to end up being more work for us in some ways: it’s farther off the beaten path, and will require me driving the kids to school most days. There’s also the hassle of switching all our utilities, bills, address, etc, and the physical moving–packing and unpacking.
So why did we make this decision?
Ultimately, we reminded ourselves that our reason for coming to Denmark was to have experiences. We wanted to take some chances, and pack these few years as full as possible with new adventures and opportunities that we wouldn’t have in the U.S. We are now living in a traditional Danish farmhouse. The property dates back to the 14th century when a church of some sort was located here, and the current building was built in 1830 and was at one point owned by the king. Living in such a place is a cool experience and an opportunity unique to our time here in Denmark, so we decided to go for it.
***And for those who can’t help but be curious how much we are paying to live in such rustic Danish luxury, I will simply say that it is a little less than we paid for our mortgage in Colorado. Of course, a bigger house also means more to heat, and those bags of little wood bits ain’t cheap. So there you have it, everything comes at a price :).