It was a year ago this week that we found THE ONE.

We had imagined it ever since we had decided to sell our house. We had great memories there - and wonderful neighbors - but a two-story colonial no longer fit our lifestyle, and the many stairs were a daily challenge to Dave’s changing health.

We spent weeks driving through our target neighborhood, hoping to see a for sale sign pop up, but none did. We reached out to neighborhood connections, but no one seemed to know of anyone planning to sell their house.

We worried that our house would sell before we had a place to go, and that we’d be looking for a summer rental with two dogs, or forced to live with my parents - and their two dogs - for months.

Our realtor, Judy, assured us it would all work out.

So when Judy called to tell us she knew of a house coming on the market that week and asked if we’d like to see it, we quickly said yes. It was in our target neighborhood and much had been redone, she said. Our excitement grew.

We met Judy at the house on a Monday afternoon. I had just run out in the middle of our annual job fair at town hall; Dave was home getting our house ready to go on the market in a few days.

Judy seemed so sure about the house that we were ready to be wowed the second the door opened. That didn’t happen. Instead, we saw the things we didn’t love: the colonial-style spindles and half wall in the living room, the dark wood cabinets in the kitchen and the tiny room you’d be hard pressed to call a third bedroom.

It was clear another couple had lived a layered life here, as the house was filled with their art and books and antique furniture, and deep reds and warm yellows abounded. Despite having been a realtor myself for a few years a while back, I struggled to see beyond the cosmetics to the bones beyond.

We spent a good amount of time in the house, but left feeling unsure.

I went back to the job fair and Dave to the house. I talked it over with my colleagues, thought about it some more. And then Dave called, asking when I’d be home.

We should talk about the house, he said.

I knew what he meant. The market was tight, and ranches were usually snatched up in a heartbeat. We had a decision to make.

The more I thought about it, the more I could look behind the furniture and the colors and the rest to the things that did work for us: the fenced in yard perfect for the dogs, the large open rooms that flowed into each other, and the vast basement perfect for storage and future grandchildren to play in.

It seems Dave was thinking, too.

When I got home, almost at the same time, we said, “I think we should put an offer on the house.”

After an evening-long session at Judy’s office, we stopped over at Garden Street Bowl for a late dinner, stunned that we’d put an offer in on the first house we saw, and before our own was even on the market.

A couple of days later, our offer was accepted. A month after that, our house went under contract. And just a few months later, we moved into our new home.

The rooms are a cool blue and white now, the spindles are gone and the half wall has a craftsman-like feel (thanks Keith!). The kitchen cabinets are white (up top) and navy (on the bottom), the dogs love their big new yard and the house is fantastic for having friends and family over.

There are few steps for Dave to struggle with, which is a blessing.

While the girls are still trying to see this house as “home,” Dave and I realize what Judy knew all along: this is the right house for us.

Laura Dolce can be reached at