August 1, 2011

The Walk-Through

So let me begin by saying that the house doesn’t look remotely like this anymore. Well, I guess it does in that we haven’t moved any of the walls and the doorways are in the same location. Also, we haven’t added an extra floor or relocated the place to the Bahamas or anything (more’s the pity). But the walls are all a different color, the carpet has been switched out for something slightly less offensive, and the hideous curtain in the front room is gone (disappeared before we ever moved in, thank goodness!).
So why am I even showing you these pictures? Well, I wanted you to have a good idea of what the house looked like when we put our offer in on it. You see, it’s a funny story how we even got around to looking at this house in the first place. We made up our own list of houses that we wanted our real estate agent (who we’ll call “E”) to take us to, then she sent her own list. The internet has made looking for real estate something of a wonder, what will all the access homebuyers now have to online photo galleries, floor plans, previous offers on properties, and a wealth of other information. It’s neat, but also something of a crap shoot. With the right staging and photos, a hovel can look like a mansion. But the opposite holds true, too, meaning that the house of your dreams can look like a jumbled P.O.S.— which is what I thought of our house when I first saw these pictures. I wrote it off immediately, tossing it into our discard pile and telling Denny that nothing on earth could induce me to look at that paint-happy, emerald-carpet, tri-level monstrosity. He convinced me not to be such a brat and I grudgingly agreed to look at it, thank goodness. It’s hard to believe that I almost passed up our Home just because the photos didn’t win me over right away.
So, anyway, back to the meat of this post. Here is somewhat of a virtual tour of the house, as we saw it on the first day we walked through it (that’s all it took, by the way—one walk through and we were ready to put an offer in, circus-paint walls and all).
Let’s start at the front, shall we? Enter Exhibit A. The front exterior of our home.

As you can see, it’s kind of a unique tri-level. It sits on it’s own little lump of a hill, on a corner lot that leads into a cul-de-sac, and is surrounded on two sides of an assortment of mature evergreens (fir and hemlock? I’ll have to ask Denny for sure). Oh, and that little leaf? Not actually part of the house, as you might have guessed. It’s just to cover up our house numbers, so we can keep a wee bit of privacy while doing this.

This the front yard as viewed from the driveway (which is stee-eep, by the way). I do wonder when this picture was taken, though, because as of Sunday afternoon, the flowerbeds looked a little more like this instead:

Only less green-grassy and more pollinating-weeds-higher-than-my-head-y. (Please note that fine piece of description—very professional) Very ick. And to save me from having to whip out Paint again, please imagine the backyard flowerbeds looking the same. Thanks! It’s much appreciated.
Here they are, by the way, as we move along the side of the house and into the backyard.

As you can see, there’s a good amount of landscaping and elevation change, which we’re sure is going to be a fair amount of work but which we are both looking forward to. The whole place is fenced in, although one section is falling down and needs to be repaired eventually. We also have a nice-sized patio which we hope to populate with furniture and a fire pit eventually, making it a lovely spot to have barbecues and entertain. Wait, did I just say entertain? Ooh, don’t I feel all grown-up!
Well, that about covers it for the outside. What do you say we move inside? Internet? Internet? Are you still listening? Oh, you are? Well, alright. In we go!

Here is the entry-way, which opens up into a funny, narrow little foyer of sorts, with a step-down to the left and a wee step that leads into the front room. And am I right about those curtains or what? Gross is an understatement. The window hiding behind those terrible things is monstrous, by the way. A real glass behemoth. Denny breaks out in a cold sweat just thinking about the possibility of neighbor kids playing baseball anywhere nearby.

So, here’s where things get a little interesting. This picture was taken as if you’d just walked through the front door and along the little catwalk foyer towards the back of the house. This is the dining room, which sits on the same level as the kitchen. Which is to its left and looks like this…

Yeah. It needs a bit of work, I know. Those cabinets look as if someone bought them from an old school, or something. They’re kind of a textured, oatmeal-colored laminate with faux-wood edging. Not what you’d call stylish. But no worries—I have big plans for them anyway.
The kitchen actually has quite a wealth of storage. On the left side of this picture is a whole other bank of cabinets and that little nook was meant to be a sort of home-office area, but we’re just going to use it as extra counter space.

Our next space is a short flight down from the kitchen and dining room and on level with the patio out back. This is the living room. It was a fireplace (as you can see) as well as access to the guest bedroom and bathroom, the laundry/utility room, and the garage. Ok, funny note about that fireplace. It’s really hard to see it in this picture (and unfortunately I don’t have any better ones) but you can tell that at one time the brick surround was painted black. However, whoever came after the painter must have decided that they liked the texture of regular stone better, because that whole thing was re-textured by hand. Yep, every single brick had been gone back over with at least a dozen shades of brown and white, in an attempt to make it look like brick again. It was both amazingly ugly and kind of cool at the same time. The effect might have been terrible, but you had to have a little bit of respect for the person who worked their tail off to redo the whole thing. /End brick side-story.

Speaking of amazingly ugly, here was the guest bedroom before it was redone. Muy uglio, yes? There’s really not much else to say about this room (except that it is rather cave-like, in that it’s always rather dark and cool), so we’ll finish up our tour by heading upstairs. There are three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a small linen closet upstairs. We’ll work our way from the back of the house to the front, starting with…

The art studio! Well, it’s not really an art studio yet, but someday it will be. Currently it’s no-man’s land (aka: filled with boxes of art supplies and having no functionality at all), but I have it picked out as a place to someday work on all my projects and crafts someday. It has decent light and closet space and the view looks over the backyard, which I love. I have dreams of floor-to-ceiling shelving and maybe even another window in the future, but that’s a ways out.

This is what we call “the Office,” and it will be Denny’s workspace eventually. It’s not purple any longer, of course, but neither is it a functional office yet, either. Right now it’s functioning as part snowboard storage, part giant spare closet.

Now, brace yourself, this is the guest bathroom. Are you in awe? Yeah, me neither. It’s pretty yawn-worthy right now. On top of being pretty small, it’s in need of some serious updating. I have plans to paint, replace all the fixtures (including lights), and hang a new mirror. Oh, and you can’t see it from here, but the tub is a rather worn-down off-white with some truly terrible brass and smooth glass shower doors. More on that to come.

Here’s the original picture of the master bedroom, taken from sort of a weird angle (from the far corner of the room, looking back towards the door, the closet, and the master bathroom). There’s nothing really striking or unique about this room, except for the window. It’s the same double-paned, white lattice as all the others, but the view is so pretty. It peeks right out into the fir trees and the sight is just so soothing. Although, I admit, we did get a little tired of it the first week, when we had no blinds in that room (or any of the others—did I mention that the house came with not a single window covering?). We remedied that, though, with some white, faux-wood, oversize blinds that look really nice (and give us the option to look at that stunning view or not!).

Wait, did I just repeat a picture of the bathroom in the hallway? Nope, definitely didn’t. Unfortunately, the hall bath and the master bath are the exact same, only mirrored. Which means that we have two slightly cramped bathrooms upstairs. Future plans include maybe smashing down the wall that separates them and building one nice big bathroom. We’ll see how things go…
Wow. Sorry for the uber-long post. That’s just mean. But at least now you’ve been on the virtual tour and have some idea of what I’m talking about when I randomly mention “the studio” or “the guest cave.” I promise next time will be less retrospective and more progressive. I’ll be back soon with more updates!

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