Monday, October 10, 2011

A weekend of house hunting

Friday night we met our realtor at the Victorian townhouse in Buckman. I knew going in that I probably wouldn't want it based upon the white painted woodwork and the location on a busy street. But it did have a beautiful, unpainted fireplace mantel and a sizeable corner lot with a garage. I've been admiring the restoration the owners have been doing over the last few years since we pass this house all the time. The interior woodwork is mostly intact and the floor plan hasn't been muddled much. It had an eat in kitchen which we like and need. However because it is a town house the rooms are small, compared to the Mt. Tabor house, the front parlor wouldn't accommodate our sofa and chair well. And like the Mt. Tabor house the only fireplace is in the dining room, which the current owners use as a living room. The upper bedrooms were well sized but only 3 with the 4th being on the dormered 3rd story which is a guest suite and not appropriate or safe for small children. The clincher for Mr. W was a replacement, metal casement window which opened right at floor level at the top of the stairs. He had horrible visions of Eric Clapton's son. :( It did have an awesome wine cellar in the basement though to inspire him.And a view of downtown from the balcony.
The next day we met at a Tudor Revival on Alameda Ridge. I knew the woodwork was still stained and the kitchen looked like it might be original. It also had an awesome jazz age bathroom. I was initially surprised at the asking price since it is on Alameda, but it isn't on the view side of the street, so that is probably why. We came in through the back door and the first thing I noticed was the original patterned linoleum, which I followed down the hall into the kitchen. I looked up and saw the great metal drawer pulls when it hit me: these were metal kitchen cabinets! So awesome! And the plastic laminate counter top was likely original too! The jazz age yellow back splash certainly was. The kitchen is modest, but to find such an intact kitchen is a rare find. Most of the ones I have seen in the photos online seem to be very nice, brand new dated kitchens. That is to say, they look great and impressive now, but in 15 years they won't. It has the sweetest little adjoining breakfast room too. The dining room and living rooms are well sized. It reminded Mr. W and me a lot of the house Mrs. H grew up in, and since I spent half my childhood there, it was very nostalgic for me. I was really beginning to fall for this house, much more than I thought I would. There were some photographs of the owners in the house as far back as the 50s. A wonderful wrought iron banister lead me upstairs to the awesome peach jazz age bathroom. I forgot it had a built in dressing table! It also has a tiled shower stall in addition to the bathtub. Oh how I love this bathroom. I could easily find a period appropriate pedestal sink to replace the existing 50s one. The bedrooms were huge, compared to our bungalow. The master is nice, the largest room I'd have the boys share and the third could be the playroom/guest room for now until we have baby #3.
Down in the basement is a finished family room with a raised hardwood floor and a brick fireplace! This would make a great Lloyd Yoder Memorial Theatre! So the Mt. Tabor house is still my first choice, but this one would make a wonderful consolation prize if we can't get it.

The next house in Irvington I knew was too small, but wanted to see simply for the lavender Jazz Age bathroom. OMG! I was so in love and had to remind myself how dumb it would be to move to a same size house just for a bathroom. But damn! It is awesome!
The next house was a Foursquare in Sullivan's Gultch, but I didn't read the map carefully and didn't realize it was on a busy street with an ugly, infill apartment building behind it so we didn't even go in.
The final house we looked at had a dining room ceiling that literally made me gasp when I was looking at photos in the listing. The exterior though made we worried that there had been a fire or something in its past because the overhangs are missing from the upper stories. Situated right on Vista Ave on an extreme slope, the house seems to be settling and shifting downhill. It is a total money pit and I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I know I'm not a West Side girl, I just didn't realize how busy Vista is.
The lesson I learned this weekend is how to comprehend the listing so that I can eliminate houses from our search to save our time and energy. I also think we should focus on packing rather than house hunting to avoid getting our hearts set on something that we aren't ready to make an offer on and then we get disappointed.


  1. So exciting - think you belong on Alameda!

  2. I need to upload the photos so you can see that Alameda house, the living room is nearly identical to yours.

  3. You are right the living room and the staircase are very similar to the Old homestead