Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The House We Don't Live In

Last summer, I had my eye on a house in town.  It was for sale, and had been several times in the past few years.  Every time I saw a "For Sale" sign outside, I felt it calling to me.  It felt like mine even though I had never even set foot inside. We started to look a little closer when we went on evening walks, and we eventually felt comfortable enough peeking through the dirty windows and sitting on the cracked porch swing like we already owned the place.  Mase did some research and learned that the house was a foreclosure, and was being auctioned off.  For peanuts.  We had a serious discussion about the cost, renovation needed, time, and sweat it would take to make it ours. We had more serious discussions but most of them took place during commercial breaks of House Hunters.  (Maybe they weren't that serious after all) 

Eventually, Charlie and I talked to the realtor and set up a walk through.  I knew as soon as I walked up the porch stairs that I was going to LOVE the house.  And I wasn't mistaken.  The 1910 Victorian boasted 3,000 square feet, fenced in yard, and detached garage.....and LOTS of needed renovations.

Do you wanna take a peek at why I loved it? Let's go....  

In my next house, we WILL have an entry-way.  I love love love formal entryways-- probably because we don't have one.  But this house delivered: 

Hello, Entryway! My, what big doors you have! 

And Good Morning beautiful entryway woodwork!

And as soon as you walk through those beautiful pocket doors, you enter a huge 3-room living/dining area, complete with transom windows (another favorite thing of mine) and the original 1910 tin ceilings.  (I'm drooling.  Seriously.) The tin ceilings were in tact throughout the first level of the house. And look at the detail in the woodwork-- all in such great condition too.  

And I just couldn't get enough of those pocket doors.   Gah, they were practically brand-spanking-new and absolutely gorrr-jeeeees!

And can we please talk about the in-laid floors?  Seriously! (Did you notice the detail in the entryway pics?)

And the house kept whispering sweet-nothings to me as I noticed..... the hidden stairway down to the butler's kitchen.  (I LOVE these!) 

Now, the kitchen needed some work..... but I saw a wall coming down and lots of potential. (Like a bay window above a deep-set white country sink)  Can't you see this.......

Turning into something like this....

Moving on, I also fell in love with my would-be library:

And I loved how big the bedrooms were for a turn-of-the-century home.  Wouldn't this have tons of nursery potential?  hmmmm....

And speaking of potential, how many things can you envision with this space?  Guest room? Play room? Game room? Man cave?  Woman cave?  The opportunities are endless!

So what happened?  Here we have dream house potential selling for a dream price... and we turned it down?  What were we thinking?

Honestly, we were thinking that although this house had great bones and soooooo much character, it just wasn't Spahnville.  And in addition to all these potential gems, it had an unfinished basement (really unfinished-- think Al Capone dirt floor creepy basement), a dilapidated detached (really detached-- not even possible to add a 'walkway') garage, and a poorly fenced in yard that needed a lot of work.  It wasn't Spahnville because it didn't have a field in the backyard or an un-obstructed view of the sunset at dusk.  It sits on the corner of a pretty busy street with little potential for Charlie to run freely through the yards.

But ultimately, this would have become Mason's project. I'd help out with the light lifting like paint and accessorizing, but we both knew a house like this would be some major renovating and 99% of it would land squarely on Mason's shoulders. We would have had to remove some walls upstairs, add a bathroom, renovate two other bathrooms, repair some structural elements to the attic stairs and walls, and replace most of the windows and roof elements.  Not to mention that the garage would need to be torn down, re-built, and a new driveway would need to be poured.  Outside, we would also have wanted to replace the old chain-link fence and do some major landscaping.

Of course, we have our own current "to-do" list in Spahnville but nothing so drastic.  And quite frankly, we're pretty happy here.  We love our home, our backyard is a loved work-in-progress, we love our garage that serves as a large shed due to our overabundance of little-kid toys and ride-ons. We love the vacant lot at the end of our block that allows us to fly kites and hit range balls and someday probably play an entire game of baseball.  We even love our sidewalk-less street and especially the neighbors that line it.  

So while we'd love to show off our home's unique turn-of-the-century character, we have to accept our modest 70's ranch and call that Spahnville for now.  And we're more than okay with that.   

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