Heart ache and the Home


Most grownups who have a home have gone through the process of home buying/selling.

We are going through it now.

The market is as squishy as a jelly donut right now. So the house we listed early, thinking that it would be best to unload and move sooner than later. First we discovered that the town we were considering moving to is priced about 60K higher than the area we are looking, on average.

A love story.

When we first bought this home, I really, really didn’t like it. I didn’t buy it because I liked it. I bought it because it was October, and the plan was to move and the house was large, had potential and hardwoods and was basically structurally sound with few glaring major repairs. Yes the stove is prehistoric. Yes all the wood moulding was 50 years old and very beat up, yes the landscaping was rather sad, yes the interior decor was beyond basic, with metal blinds in every room…but like I said, hardwoods were in good shape, and everything that really needed to be done was just cosmetic. And we had no babies, and it was 11K below appraisal, and it was close to work, and it was near a park, and it had big trees around it, and it was in an established neighborhood on a corner lot. I counted the goods about the house and tried just to be happy that I was for the first time going to have a house.

Financially, we couldn’t afford much. J was still self employed and would need to submit all tax records which wouldn’t show much more than he barely made enough to live, so we bought our first home totally on my humble teacher salary that was also burdened by a mountain of school debt. The house looked totally solid, and like a project we young marrieds could sink our teeths into.

And so we did. J made himself a woodworking shop in the garage, and the first item of business was redoing the fireplace wall. When we bought the house it was a monstrosity of bricks that looked like they had been painted 10 times over and a bunch of swamp wood on the wall at a nice 70s angle made to look cozy, rustic and chic. In 2005, it just looked old and yucky. After redoing it with maple builtin’s, we were happy. Slate around the fireplace and a nice mantle.

After that, we started up stairs. We had ideas for sconces, paint, new trim, new doors, window treatments and rugs.

We are mostly done, if we were to stay, we would probably get new doors, but Addy’s room is 2 shades of violet, dusty and deep but light, and an eggplant below the chair rail. All rooms got new floor and ceiling moulding and new window finishing as well as new paint. We were happy when we were done.

The next step was the main floor. This included the kitchen, which if we were going to stay, we would have done something to that, because it most direly needs it. I long for a kitchen, but it won’t be happening in this home, not with us.

We painted the living room a dusty muted fennel green, were gifted a decent couch, and made our first grand furniture purchase of a nice rug. We put new moulding in the living room and dining room and changed out the really horrible double sliding glass window where junk got stuck between the panes, not to mention a variety of dead bugs with a new vinyl window. We replaced the exterior doors including the front door with a craftsman style solid mahogany door (before it was a hollow core old sad thing).

The kitchen left wanting, with highly sheened veneered plywood cabinets that show every fingerprint, and very retro round chrome fixtures…the prehistoric stove and the dishwasher loud enough to drown out an ariplane taking off and a fridge that was clearly a factory reject as it doesn’t seal, not to mention an atrocious choice of tile which makes the floor look permanently dirtly and wood finish look formica, the kitchen is some version of a 50s/70s yellow/gold nightmare. The saving grace being that it is generously proportioned and ripe for a complete overhaul with only the imagination as the limit.

Probably the best part of the house is the size. At 1750 sq ft, it is a good, if not perfect size. The trilevel layout we have really found a good one. I still wish I had a proper entryway, and of course I want a wraparound porch, but that will be in the future maybe.

Downstairs was black vinyl tile, original, which had a knack for looking dirty no matter how clean it was. We replaced it this winter with new carpet and J did his first tile job in the hall and mudroom/laundry room. But that was really about as far as we got downstairs, we never really decorated, and that is where I sit right now, in the 21 by 12 foot room that does many duties as a bedroom for stepkid when she comes, TV room, computer room, playroom, and the extra bedroom downstairs is J’s office.

So, our humble home. On the exterior, we repainted with a hip color, made new shutters to replace the lame originals, and planted flowers all over the place, and not to mention a TON of tree trimming and ripping our ivy that I honestly don’t think anyone did for 20 years previous. We hauled off at least 20 truckloads of limbs that came down from the front and rear.

Now we are trying to sell. We are trying so hard. I bought a bunch of hanging baskets, have been diligent in watering and every other weekend an open house. We made an offer on a home but they said that they wouldn’t accept the contingency, perhaps because they knew how slow the market is. We haven’t dipped below what we thought we could sell it for yet, and we still have some cushion to get out the equity we need, but all in all, it is slow going, and sad and here this house I really pretty much loathed when I moved in, well it’s all homey now, and I am sad to see it getting this poor reception…


One Comment Add yours

  1. Mrs. T says:

    Have you tried St. Joseph? (the plastic statue, not the baby aspirin, although I’m sure you could use a dose of that, too.)Your house is lovely and looks move-in ready. I’m so sorry that someone hasn’t snatched it up!

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