Saturday, December 17, 2011

House hunting (again!)

Since we have receive no response from the sellers of the Mt. Tabor house, we decided we ought to keep our search open. We saw a listing for a Colonial Revival in Irvington with stained woodwork and a remodeled kitchen so we decided to take a break out of our already overcrowded schedule and fit in a viewing. I had done a drive by during a car ride nap and noticed that they had lots of bunting stung across the street and a four square court painted on the street in front of the house. Clearly this is a neighborly block, which would be a refreshing change.
I really wanted to like this house. Really, I did. On paper it is great, only a few blocks from my parish, but quite close to the shopping and dining district on Broadway. A cute inglenook near the fireplace in the living room. But, it just has some weird layout issues and the wood work is actually in really bad shapes. It appears like it was a DIY stripping job; the fronts have been refinished, but the sides of the trim are still painted over and match the wall color which results in the trim losing its depth visually.Some of the wood on the built in colonnade is in such poor condition it looks like it has been scratched by dogs.In the dining room I noticed that it looked like they had just applied stain to the wall because they were missing the apron. But when I got closer, I realized that the apron was still there, it just was now flush with the wall. They must have overlaid the plaster with drywall to cover up damage rather than having it properly restored. Not only that, but the stained trim was covered in micro paint splatter, like they couldn't be bothered to tape off the trim when they rolled the walls. It seems such a shame considering how nice the box beam ceiling is in there.The kitchen has been remodeled and it is nice. The maple cabinets, stone counter tops, hardware, and apron front sink are all lovely. I'm not sure how it functions, but my concern is the island in the middle won't seat our whole family. When I looked at the online photos, I was hoping the mud room in the back would be large enough to accommodate our kitchen table, but it seems probably too small. Also Mr. W worries the breakfast/coffee bar will be wasted space. I love the idea of them, but have never lived with it in application.Upstairs there is what looks like maybe a sleeping porch which has been converted into a bedroom. I say this based upon the casement window hardware and ghosts of awning screens. Irvington may be very tony, but the view is littered with everyone elses rear dormers. That is among the things I feel spoiled about with the Mt. Tabor house. The lot is so large, and there is a large, high hedge, that it feels so private; there is no other house right on top of you.A nice period bathroom. Vinyl flooring isn't my fav, but nothing terrible.The bedrooms in this house are all very small. One has a built in dressing table, which I loved. Now, old drawers tend to rack, especially long ones, so I pulled open the center drawer to see how it functioned. I normally do not open up people's drawers. Well, I found a bong. And not hidden or anything either. Right there on the top front of the drawer. Seemed an odd accessory for a house like this. They bought the house in 1987. I shouldn't make assumptions, but I wouldn't expect pot heads to own this home. Mayhaps it is medicinal marijuana? Anyway, an odd thing to store in a room staged in a nursery. One of our requirements for moving is a separate family room and living room. This house had a family room listed on the 2nd floor. I think it was originally a bedroom though and they removed a wall dividing it from the hallway. This would explain the heat vent in the middle of the floor. The converted attic is listed as the master suite and there is a small bathroom up there. But this is a little too rugged for me. I'd make this the boys' bedroom and let them hoof it all the way to the top floor. It would be SO hard to negotiate an adult size mattress and furniture up there.Don't get me wrong, I love beaded board, but not in my bedroom!
Instead I would want to make the family room space our bedroom, but it lost all its privacy when it lost that wall dividing it from the hallway. I envision children tramping through our room on their route upstairs.You can see a better view of where the wall would have been here. I'd have to pull up all the carpet to see if there are clues in the subflooring for where the door opening would have been. For a master bedroom the closet is somewhat spacious and has a built in too. Another bummer is the original windows have all been stripped fromt he house (there weren't picture windows during the Colonial Revival) and this room doesn't even have sashes! The glass is just wedged into the trim. It wasn't quite this bad in the window openings downstairs, but most of the windows would need to be replaced with appropriate ones which is another expense.
So if I take back the family room for our bedroom, that leaves converting this basement room to living space. Imagine the tv set here. Making it over would be an additional expense; Mr. W is underwhelmed to say the least. Like I said, I tried really hard to like this house, but it needs too much work and it just can't compare to the Mt. Tabor house.


  1. Looks great from the outside but doesn't sound like it was love at first sight - here's to the next house, maybe they will hide their bong better:-)

  2. You know naive me, I wasn't even sure if it was a bong; I had to call the guys over to confirm my suspicions.