06 October 2011

This Old House

I remember driving around our neighborhood 6 years ago and discovering a street I never knew existed in our town. Not exactly Narnia or anything, but a new discovery all the same. We drove to the end of the "cul-de-sac" (the street actually dead ends in my neighbor's driveway) and noticed a cute house that looked like it belonged in New Orleans. We took down the realtor information and then went home to check out the online photos of the house. We were a-mazed! The house looked so small with its unassuming front yard (think postage stamp). We wondered how that little house could hold 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2 living rooms, a dining room, a breakfast nook, a sunroom and a basement. The house apparently goes out in every direction. But what really captured our attention was the backyard space. There were 9 photos posted trying to capture all of the TWO back yards! We immediately set up an appointment to look at the place.

We looked at the house a few more times, at different times of the day and also after a rain, before we put in an offer. It was touch and go with selling our place and buying the "new" place and we ended up with back-to-back closings.  There was a lot of stress leading up to that day.  It's hard to believe that we moved in 6 years ago this month! I remember we spent 11 days sleeping on the fold out bed - and getting used to the train and the clock tower - before our new bed arrived.    And we forced Emi to sleep in her own room (she was 3, poor thing).  We didn't do any renovating at that time...just changed the locks, installed a washer and dryer downstairs in the basement and a refrigerator in the kitchen. 

I don't even know what style our house is. Ranch?  Split Level?  I mean, while we do have an attached garage, it's not prominent (and we also have a detached garage). Our house is deeper than it is wide, so maybe no to ranch style? Split level? Sort of.  We have a half story room above the garage and the back of the house is 2 steps down from the rest of the house. Cape Cod? Hodge Podge? Hobo Lodge?{definitely that last one}

We know the house was built in 1952 by a retired Navy guy. {One of my neighbors has been in her house since she was a little girl and knows the history of the whole neighborhood. Very cool.}  She informed us that our basement is, in fact, a bomb shelter.  Wow! I do feel safe when I am down there and I love the extra storage it contains. I think the original owners taught school down in the basement as there is a chalkboard on my side (and an old timey pencil sharpener). And the front half of our house was added on later (1968, I believe).

While we haven't renovated anything, we did immediately change up the use of a few rooms -- some I had a hard time believing were used as the previous owners had listed. I could be wrong - it was just the 2 of them, no kids - but I don't see how they utilized the middle room of the house as their dining room. It's not a huge room and it has entryways from the main hall/living room, kitchen and the 3rd bed/bath/basement "wing". 3 entryways is a little busy for a dining room, in my opinion.  The back living room is just as big as the front living room and is located off the kitchen so it was a logical choice for a dining area, aka Gathering Room. Plus our dining table was a little too big for the original dining area.

Also, there is a small room off the kitchen that was listed as a breakfast nook.  I guess so if you like sipping your morning coffee in a closet.  It is "a snug area just off the kitchen that has enough space for a small table and chairs" yes, but definitely not the traditional breakfast nook which faces a window.  There is no window in this room but there is a ceiling fan (it's on the list to be replaced) What was once a small breakfast nook is now our sizable pantry (love).

Pantry Love
And we have painted all of the rooms in the house except for the Little Ones' room and the main hallway. And we replaced the windows in the Master bedroom and office and replaced the fan in the 3rd bathroom and added a fan to the 2nd bathroom. Not much, I know but we've been busy! And we did add the library...

A couple of years ago Scott and I painted the sun room and took out the 70's vertical blinds hanging in all 3 sets of sliding glass doors. We didn't hang curtains but the room was so cozy enough to hang out and drink coffee and take in the view of the big back yard....maybe we should have made this our breakfast nook? About a year and a half ago this room became a play room because all 3 kids were sharing a room and they needed a place for their toys. Slowly but surely their toys have encroached on more space in that undefined room.  They are trying to take over!

This room is not exactly energy efficient and we only use the doors to the west. I thought we could rearrange things in there again and hang up drapes finally but recently I've decided that I want to create a relaxing space where I can grow plants and read. Maybe wall it up partially, install bench seating under a huge (energy efficient) window. I have found no good options yet, but I am still dreaming.

I had thought about doing the same with the north glass doors but when we build that cabana, we can make use of those doors again... I'm thinking archway connecting the 2 structures... please don't wake me up yet...

These days I am feeling caught between wanting to get busy on the big projects and totally taking it easy...so I'm trying to compromise.

Office Side
I am obsessed with this wall coming down...
I can't knock that wall down in between the office and kitchen, but I can hunt for the replacement dishwasher that we've needed so badly.  And I can't cut up and haul off that hot tub by myself, but I can break up the frame and toss it little by little meanwhile. I can't carpet and replace the windows in the basement but I can purge the basement of all unneeded items that have found their way down there. Baby steps...

Hopefully by this weekend we'll have a sexy new dishwasher....


  1. Sounds like your house has a lot of interesting history! That's one of the reason's why I prefer older homes to those found in brand new cookie cutter style neighborhoods.

  2. Definitely, Melissa. I can't see us living in a neighborhood where all the houses look the same. There's a healthy variety in my neighborhood for sure.


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