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By the way, we bought a house

October 21st, 2012 (10:58 am)

I was browsing back through old posts looking for something, and ran across a post from May, Trends in Houses that Make Me Frown. In it, I complained about (1) enormous but badly-designed kitchens, (2) vinyl interior doors, and (3) vastly oversized master bathrooms (we wanted a master bathroom, but we didn't want to waste a lot of square footage on it -- big enough for a toilet, sink, and shower was fine.)

I also noted that we preferred the look and feel of older homes; divided light windows; hardwood floors instead of carpet; the sort of quirks and weird spaces that you get in old houses that not new...but we also wanted a master bathroom, we would like a mudroom or at least a nice entryway with good closets, and I prefer forced-air heat to radiators (in part because I really love having central air for those weeks in the summer when you really want it).

We wound up buying a house built in 1950. The windows aren't divided light, although I think we could buy fake dividers from Andersen (we haven't yet). (Oh, and people always say, "oooooh, Andersen, those are great!!!" The windows were installed in the late 1990s and two of them are now seriously non-functional; I need to call a repair guy to have him come service them. And FTR they are not under warranty -- the warranty is way more limited than they claim in their marketing, at least for this model of window. They are nice windows but they are not, in fact, all that and a bag of chips.

What was funny, looking at my particular pet peeves, was that we avoided all of them very nicely.

1. The kitchen is big but extremely well-designed. It's probably got the best layout of any house we looked at and was a big part of what sold us on the house.

2. The interior doors are all the boring flat wood but they are WOOD, not vinyl.

3. The master bathroom is small and sort of shoehorned in. The master bedroom also has a small greenhouse (!) -- tiled floor with a drain, wire shelves, a skylight, a faucet for a hose hookup. The seller noted at closing that she was pretty sure the greenhouse had made the house harder to sell -- people looked at it and were disgruntled not to be getting an enormous bathroom instead of a small bathroom plus a greenhouse. We're not entirely sure what we'll do with a greenhouse (so far, we've been putting plants in it, but the sad truth is that we are not very good at growing stuff) but we did not look at it and think, "dangit, why isn't this extra bathroom space?"

The house was also mostly hardwood -- there was one room with carpet, and we had the carpet taken out and hardwood installed. (The kitchen is hardwood. That is one place we wouldn't install it, but we'll live with it and see how it goes.) We didn't get a mudroom but there is a WEALTH of downstairs closets, and a nice tiled area by the front door for you to drip on when you come in that way.

Anyway. We're in the process of painting. Two rooms had wallpaper (and now they don't!) and there are various other fixes and upgrades that are easier before you move your furniture in. Molly's room had a ceiling fan, which we downgraded to a light fixture because she wants a loft bed. Kiera's room had a light fixture which was pretty but unfortunately had no globe to shield the bulb, and on measuring and trying various things I'm not sure we're going to be able to find a replacement globe that will work (besides, a light fixture with two bulbs will light her room better). A bunch of the outlets were two-prong grounded, which we had swapped for three-prong grounded. Etc.

We move in November. And I should really return to packing files.


Posted by: OneCrowdedHour (1crowdedhour)
Posted at: October 22nd, 2012 12:34 am (UTC)

And thank you, by the way, not only for the fantastic election information, but the Safari Park/San Diego information. My friends followed your recommendations and had an absolutely wonderful time.

Posted by: Jo Walton (papersky)
Posted at: October 22nd, 2012 12:45 pm (UTC)

That sounds like a really great house, and I hope you're all very happy in it.

Posted by: lynnal (lynnal)
Posted at: October 22nd, 2012 04:39 pm (UTC)
lotus flower

Congratulations on your new house! I hope the construction work and move go smoothly for you.

Posted by: squigsoup (squigsoup)
Posted at: October 22nd, 2012 04:51 pm (UTC)

Congratulations on your new home!

Posted by: van (vanaabegra)
Posted at: October 23rd, 2012 01:53 am (UTC)

Congrats! Sounds great!

Posted by: Corinne (corinnethewise)
Posted at: October 23rd, 2012 03:28 am (UTC)

Try growing herbs - it's lovely to have them fresh, and standard ones like Basil and Oregano are hard to kill.

Posted by: Naomi (naomikritzer)
Posted at: October 27th, 2012 01:48 am (UTC)

I have had surprisingly poor luck growing basil over the years, but I'm going to give it another try.

Posted by: joykins1 (joykins1)
Posted at: October 26th, 2012 01:10 am (UTC)

Maybe previous owners used the greenhouse for a grow operation...when house-shopping, my sister looked at a house that had one in the attic! She said it was funny hearing the real estate agent talk over it.

Posted by: Naomi (naomikritzer)
Posted at: October 27th, 2012 01:47 am (UTC)

We have had several friends raise their eyebrows and suggest a grow op. However, this is really not a DISCREET greenhouse: it has an enormous window opening onto the back yard (and we have back neighbors, on the other side of the alley). It's not wired up for lights (and although it has a skylight, the pansies and petunias that I moved inside are looking increasingly pathetic and my mother says that annuals don't do well if you can't provide them with supplementary daylight. I'm guessing pot would also need fluorescents at this latitude.)

The seller was an older woman, an ER physician, who was an obsessive gardener. She also had a series of tenants (Residents at her hospital) who got free housing in exchange for cat-sitting when she'd go out of town, which strikes me as a bad idea if you're growing pot in your house.

Sometimes a greenhouse is just a greenhouse!

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