Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Waiting Continues...

Not much new to report on the house-hunting front.  We did look at one other 1940's cape, which, although was not quite as cramped as the first, was still not as spacious as we would like.  It did have 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, but the rooms were oddly configured, and the stairs had no banister or railing on one side (I can just see the kids sliding down and falling over the side...eeek!).  A couple of new houses have popped onto the market, but nothing that we're really interested in seeing.  So the waiting continues...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

More houses, but still no home.

After looking at a few more houses, we are finding that there are not many out there right now that fit our needs.  There was a colonial which was ok, but it was near a busy intersection and also had a weird little studio apartment attached to it (complete with tenant that seemed to be equally as weird).  Then there was the cape in which the listing boasted a "backyard oasis" (the yard was nice, but I wouldn't quite call it an oasis).  As for the house, the kitchen was nice, but the bedrooms were very small and had no closets.  And the upstairs had such low ceilings that my very tall husband would have to hunch over to walk around.  I guess we can scratch that one off the list!

So we scoured the current listings online, trying to find some more houses to look at, but soon realized that there wasn't really anything else out there that we wanted to see.  They all seem to have some major flaw...too small, bad location, need to much work, etc, etc.  The more we try to look at other houses, the more we want that 1925 hip roof colonialSigh.  So I guess for now, we wait.  We wait to see what happens with that house (it could be a month or more before we know if they'll even be taking a look at our offer...ugh!).  And we wait to see if any new houses pop up on the market that would better suit our needs.  In the meantime, to you, 1925 hip roof colonial, I dedicate this song (melodramatic? me? well, ok, maybe just a little).

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Our Family

Most of the people reading this blog probably know our family pretty well.  But for those of you who don't know us quite as well, I thought I would do a few introductions.  So hop on over to the new "Our Family" page to read a little bit about us.

Cramped Cape

While we are waiting to see what happens with the 1925 hip roof colonial, we decided to continue looking at other houses.  You know, don't put all your eggs in one basket, and all that.  So the next house we looked at was a 1942 cape.  The location seemed good, but the houses in the neighborhood were packed in pretty close together.  As for the house, well, it followed the same pattern.

At the side door (which would probably be the most commonly used door since it was facing the driveway), there was a small enclosed area, kind of like a was configured something like this:

I'm not exactly sure what the point of this area would be other than to cause traffic jams with all those doors in such a small space (we have such areas in our current home).  This was also the only way to get to the backyard (which, by the way, was fenced but very small) would have to practically go out the front door of the mini-mudroom just to get to the back door!

Moving on....the side door opened into the kitchen, which needed some major updates (the appliances looked as though they'd been there since peg-rolled jeans and jelly bracelets were in style!).  The kitchen was also not quite big enough to fit a table.  There was a dining room, but you had to go through a small narrow hallway to get to it (I can only imagine the number of times I would have to go back and forth in this hallway to fetch more of this or that for the kids during thanks!).

The living room was nice enough, and there were hardwood floors throughout, which I do love, so that's one plus.  Upstairs, there was a nice bathroom and three small bedrooms with a variety of wall coverings.  The highlight of this house was probably the flocked red damask wallpaper in one of the bedrooms (sweeeet).  Sadly, I didn't get a picture of it, but it looked something like this.

All in all, the house felt small and cramped, and the layout was awkward.  Definitely not the house for us!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

1925 Hip Roof Colonial

Over the past year, we have looked at many houses.  Being an artist, I find that the visual appearance of things is very important to me, and this very much applies to houses.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind a house that needs some updating and improvement (I can easily look past garish wall paper or dated colors), but if I don’t like the overall style and structure of the house (raised ranch, anyone?), it’s difficult for me to even consider it.  So, while I do try to keep an open mind, I’ve learned that it’s probably not worth my time to look at houses that are not pleasing to my design sense and instead focus on looking at houses that are. 

Once I have found a house that looks appealing to me, there are a few top priorities to consider: location, size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms.  Then there are other details I look for: the general layout and flow of the house (is it open and smooth, or small and awkward?), the configuration of the rooms (will there be space for me to work on my creative endeavors, and my husband to work on his music?), the yard (is it fenced and private, or a uni-yard shared with the neighbors?).  And of course, there is always the consideration of price vs how much updating and work the house needs.

Enter 1925 hip roof colonial.  Swoon. There is so much that I love about this house.  First of all, it’s in a great location.  Check.  The house has a great flow and is big enough to accommodate our expanding family, as well as allow us space for all of our creative passions.  Check, and check. While the configuration of the deck is a little odd, the yard is nice (there are trees!   something that was missing from our first house) and has a fenced in area that would be great for the kids to play in.  Check.  There are two bathrooms   one on the first floor, and one (with a claw foot tub!) on the second.  Check.  It does need some updating, but it is in our price range.  Check!

So now that the top priorities are all met, let’s look at some of the details. We’ll start outside.  The yard and outside areas could definitely use some cleaning up, but there are some nice trees (did I mention we love trees?) and hedges around the border.  As for the house, there is a nice large front porch, complete with a bench swing.  


Now let’s go inside.  Going in the front door, you are greeted with a display of bold floral wallpaper lining the entryway, hall, and stairs.  Not my first choice for walls, but it’s in surprisingly good shape, and we could live with it for awhile.  Off to the right is a nice living room with hardwood floors, what appears to be original molding and trim, and a nice wide opening with columns into the dining room:

Hardwood floors continue through the dining room, which also has a built in china cabinet:

Off the dining room is, of course, the kitchen.  The kitchen could use some updating, but is a nice size:

Back behind the kitchen is a bathroom, laundry area (yay!), and an extra room that was added on which has a multitude of possibilities.  This room could be used as studio space for myself or my husband, it could be a playroom for the kids, a guest bedroom...or even a bedroom for one of the kids should we decide to have another baby in the future.  :)

Let’s head upstairs.  The lovely floral wall paper continues up the stairs and through the hallway on the second floor.  There are a couple of nice little stained glass windows, though, so that’s a plus!  

On the right side is the largest of the bedrooms, which has a little walk-in closet (nice!).  On the left is 2 smaller bedrooms.  The hardwood floors upstairs could definitely use a refinishing, but I don’t mind that.  The upstairs bathroom could use some design help (ugly wallpaper and tile), but it has a fabulous claw foot tub (love!):

So that’s the second floor.  And I would still love this house if that’s all there was to it, but there’s a little bonus:  a finished walk up attic space.  This is a fantastic feature of this house.  It’s a bit steep to get up there, but it’s nicely finished, and with windows on both ends and skylights, there’s a lot of natural light.  This room is like the icing on the cake:

So, long story short, I love this house and can really envision it being our family home for many years to come.  But unfortunately it’s a short sale which already has an offer (boo!).  So now we play the waiting game to see if the bank approves the other offer, or if we will get a shot at it.  Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Beginning Our Journey

About 7 years ago, my husband and I bought our first house.  We were excited to leave behind the world of renting apartments and live in a house of our own.  At the time, our 1000-square-foot, 2-bedroom house was what we could afford, and it suited our needs just fine.  But we always thought of this house a starter for us...we thought we would be here about 5 years, then move on.  And though in some ways we were definitely ready to move after 5 years, in other ways we were definitely not.  But now, with our expanding family, this house is getting a bit cramped, and we are very eager to make the move.  This time, we are thinking long term, and are not looking for just a house, but a home.

We actually started this quest a little over a year ago, but with the housing market slump, it has been difficult to sell our current house.  It can be quite discouraging and frustrating that it is taking longer than we anticipated.  I have to keep reminding myself to be patient, and that things will work out...somehow, they always do.  But at the same time, I’m not the type of person to just sit around and wait for things to happen.  We have to take action.

When we first put our house on the market, we were hopeful that it would sell and we could move before baby #2 arrived.  So we went ahead and started looking at houses.  After looking at many houses, we found one we liked a lot.  So, crossing our fingers, we made an offer that was contingent upon the sale of our house, only to be denied.  Sigh.  So we kept looking, found another house we liked, made an offer, and were denied again.  Double sigh.  In order to avoid further disappointment, we decided to hold off on looking at any more houses until we had some interest in our current house.

After many showings of our house, and zero offers, we were starting to feel like we were never going to get to move.  And with baby #2’s due date quickly approaching, we thought it was in our best interest to take our house off the market for awhile, and instead focus our attention on preparing for this little one’s arrival.  It’s a good thing we did this when we did, as baby decided she was ready to meet the world a bit earlier than expected!  

So, we been reconfigured our rooms, moved furniture around, and made space for our new little bundle of joy.  After taking a month or so to just relax and enjoy our new arrival, we were ready to continue our journey.  

Unfortunately the housing market seems to be in even more of a slump now, and we haven’t had any luck selling our current house.  But we’ve decided to not let that get in the way of us finding our new home...we’ll just have to think outside the box a bit about our current house.  We may try converting it to a 3-bedroom, we may have to drop the price more than we would like, or we may have to consider renting it out for awhile.  I’m not sure which option we will choose yet, but one thing is certain:  I am ready to move!

So I decided to start this little blog to document our quest to find a new house, and I plan to continue it as we transform this new “house” into our new “home”.  I hope that you enjoy reading about our journey.