I came back from yesterday’s house hunt with a blistering headache, and hope that I’d found the right property. I also climbed so many stairs, some of them way too steep, that my knees just ache today.
The old axiom about having to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince holds true with house-hunting as well as husband-hunting, and I saw a number of frogs yesterday. The first was a very decent-size bungalow that needed a lot of work and was vastly overpriced for the area and condition. It was a nice place, though, and probably worth the work. The second frog was a building which I’d found online, but which no longer remotely resembled the photos that were posted. It was not far from where I’m living now, which means it’s pretty congested in that area. It needed a lot of work, and there was no garage! It’s listed at $485K and there’s no garage? Puh-leeze.
But the final frog just did me in. The owner is an HVAC guy so he should know better, but he’d put in forced air heating and cooling with exposed duct work through the house! He’d simply tacked a decorative grate to the duct every ten feet or so. *headdesk* He wanted to show us the basement and I said “Is it finished?” because one unfinished basement is very like another, IMO. “Oh yeah,” he said, and led us down to a basement where apparently “finishing” means slapping a coat of paint on the walls and dragging all the workout equipment into a corner to make an ersatz gym. But the kicker? His son was cooking when we got there, and there was a mousetrap on the stove! I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
Two properties were do-able IMO. One is a bit west of me, and is an older brick duplex (what we call a two-flat here in Chicago) with a decent-size yard, an unfinshed basement and a lot of renovating to do. The bones are there, and it would be a very nice place to live. I was quite enthusiastic about it until I saw what is very nearly a dream house for me.
It does need work. The floors are uneven, and there is no proper front entrance to the second floor apartment (This is a slippery legal thing, and not a huge worry for Glinda and me at this time, but it needs to be addressed.) and there is no real formal dining room in either place, but the lot is double-size and it has a sun room attached to the garage. Glinda has her porch right outside her living room and I have a finished basement with a guest room, full bath, summer kitchen, laundry room, separate room for mechanicals, and a decent-size family-room set-up. The first floor apartment has three bedrooms, one of which is smallish, but the other two are good size. The kitchen… I tell you, when I saw it, the clouds parted and sunlight streamed down from heaven to a chorus of Alleluias. Enormous space, great cabinets, a KitchenAid fridge and double oven range, granite countertops and ceramic tile floors. Now, to be honest, very little about the specific choices appeal to me, but it’s still a beautiful place. And if I end up buying it, a coat of persimmon paint and some cobalt blue tile will make a huge difference to the way I feel about it.
The bathroom is also newly remodeled and has a whirlpool tub. The irony is that I’ve almost wholly lost my taste for baths, preferring showers. The second floor apartment has a shower and no tub, and Glinda likes baths. I’m going to see what it would take to give her my tub and have my space redone with a steam shower and a lovely little seat where I can curl up and steam myself to my heart’s content. It might be a couple of years before I can afford all the work that needs doing (We both want some new windows and Glinda’s kitchen badly needs addressing.) but overall I’m seeing a house that could be immensely comfortable for many years to come as well as offering ample work space for both of us.
And then there’s the prospect of a garden. *cue angelic chorus again* Glinda wanted an apple tree, and since honeycrisps are rapidly becoming a favorite with both of us, I think we’ll go for that, with maybe a candycrisp or grand gala as a pollinator. I’d love a linden but finding a resource for them is proving to be difficult. And persimmons are a fave of mine, but I doubt we’ll have the room for so many. We want to put a wrap-around porch on eventually, and grow berries and tomatoes and some other things as well. (Meyer lemons!!!!) And we both love Chinese lanterns and little twinkly lights. We’d have a gorgeous yard.
I’m about to hobble off and do some housework. I also promised myself that I’d go this week and show my work to a couple of store owners in hope of getting in under the wire for this season’s sales. I might already be too late, but it can’t hurt to ask, can it? I have to start supporting my decorating habit.