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Thursday, May 25, 2006
Midwestern State House Hunters continues with the big decision (somehow, blogging about this and involving you in the process makes this seem so much more exciting than it probably really is).
Funky Waterfront House: we really liked this house, mostly because it had the Traditional elements to which we are always attracted. The neighborhood was fairly diverse (well, as diverse as a smallish Midwestern town can be), with a mixture of huge McMansions and older ramblers, all with well-maintained yards. The lake access was certainly a big draw.
We had an architect friend look at the house for us to see how expensive it would be to make the changes we'd want to make. Basically, this house is now out of the running because it would cost big dollars ($50,000+) to renovate it: the Jack and Jill bathroom would have to be completely torn apart in order to make it more functional, the laundry room is not configured properly for an oversized washer and dryer, and renovating the kitchen would be a massive project -- virtually nothing would be salvaged. All of that and the fact that the furnace (which is approximately the size of two refrigerators!) would likely have to be replaced in the near future made the decision to eliminate this house from consideration relatively easy. (Photo at left is of the crazy linoleum in the laundry room, and my cute new Keen Mary Janes.)
Boat Ramp House: I'm suprised none of you picked this house! It is a gorgeous place, a lovely blank slate on which we could put our own mark. But we ultimately decided against this house because 1.) the yard would cost a lot of money to get started, since it was basically all weeds; 2.) we were concerned about the possibility of a boat access expansion, which would probably eliminate the trees in the backyard; 3.) the house was really too similiar to what we have now, although the rooms were considerably larger; 4.) the builder was not going to budge at all on the price; 5.) the size of the dining room was a real disappointment to me, since we spend so much time in our kitchen/dining room; and 6.) it was new construction, which we had sort of decided against, and we knew that we would have construction going on around us for at least two years as the rest of the neighborhood developed. We've lived through that once, and it's a noisy, dusty time and not fun at all. (Photo at left is of amazingly huge bonus room -- it's larger than it appears in the picture. It was nice, but honestly -- what do you do with a room that size?! T is really not a fan of wasted space, and that's what this would be for us.)
That leaves us with only one choice:
Pond House. After our second visit to Pond House last Saturday, we both just felt "right" about it. A second and more in-depth examination of the kitchen convinced me that it didn't need a major overhaul -- just appliances, new flooring, and new cabinet hardware. Eventually I'd like to replace the countertops, but for now they are serviceable. The big expense at Pond House will be the bathrooms, which really are ugly. Everything works, however, and so we can wait to do a major renovation until at least next year. Until then, we can get creative with paint and shower curtains! The dining room is fantastic and huge (shown in photo at left, with hideous chandelier), and leaves me a massive wall on which to feature my cookbook collection, and the office has more space than I would know what to do with. Assuming we get this house, we would have the carpet replaced before we moved in -- that would do wonders to freshen it up. Overall, the biggest thing lacking in Pond House is a family: it is crying out for a family to come and live in it and make it a home again. Hopefully, we will be that family.
We have not put in an official offer yet, as T wanted to have the home inspected first (and he wants to be there for the inspection, so it might a few weeks given T's hectic schedule). But we did have a great conversation with the realtor (who is also the current owner of the property) and have already knocked the asking price down $10,000 because we did not use a buyer's agent. We're hoping to get an additional $5,000 off to put towards appliances and carpet. We didn't think the realtor/seller would budge on the price at all, but since he just bought a lakefront property for himself I imagine that he's thrilled at the prospect of getting Pond House off his hands, and to people he likes. The only reason this property is for sale now is because the realtor/seller found a lakefront home he could afford (they are ridiculously expensive). The realtor/seller and his family lived in Pond House for nine years -- his kids grew up there.
I am very excited about Pond House -- excited to make an offer, excited to get in and paint, excited to see how my furniture looks in a new space, excited for ST to run rampant with the neighbor kids (there are paths running through the woods between the houses -- kid paradise -- and the kids around Pond House are within a year of ST's age). I'm excited because T really, really loves this property, and since he doesn't yet have a job I'm glad he'll have something to look forward to as we move to Midwestern State. And I'm excited to share the transformation of Pond House with you all, if you'll indulge me! I hope we can make this deal work -- I don't want to lose this house (although it's in a price range that is not moving quickly). Stay tuned as House Hunters (God willing) becomes Design on a Dime!