I would like to be photographed by a real-estate photographer. I would like my blemishes and wrinkles and unflattering angles to be completely removed. You know what I'm talking about, right? You browse houses online (we like www.redfin.com), and you see a photo of a facade and think 'that looks nice.' You start perusing through pictures of the rooms and they are gorgeous, perfect, absolutely pristine. You think this is your house! You call your spouse, schedule an appointment, ready an earnest money check because this you know this is the one and...dum dum dum...the let-down.
The gorgeous hardwood floors are actually paper-thin and marred beyond repair. The lovely deck with the view has rotted wood and a family of rats living beneath it. And the updated kitchen has appliances that are older than you are. Maybe even older than your parents.
But we are experienced real estate shoppers at this point, aren't we? We know that the photos of our current home show her at her best, so turnabout is fair play, right? It's how the game works. We usually walk into a home with the lowest of expectations and are sometimes pleasantly surprised, as we were with this new home. Actually, since we went to the open house with no expectations and after a few drinks at the Roanoke, there was only upside, if you know what I mean. You've seen the artistic photos of our current and future homes in the previous posts. Now it's time for the 'no make up' shots. We are ready for our close up, Mr. DeMille.
We told you about the Snoopy wallpaper circa 1965. I kind of love it, really. All the girls wanted this room, even though they knew that wallpaper was coming down eventually. There is something special about it. How can you look at the Peanuts gang and be grumpy? Impossible! It just makes you want to dance the happy dance...someone cue Vince Guaraldi.
There is a certain nostalgic charm to that. But there are plenty of things with less charm. Brace yourself for the big reveal. Here's what we didn't tell you about:
1. The Ditch
There was drainage work done around the edge of the house leaving a ditch that is still open but covered with a deck. A ditch deeper than I am tall, which may not be all that deep but whatever. So while the house may not have water issues any longer, we just hope we don't lose one of the children in it. Or perhaps it's a great place for a time out?
2. The Deck
There was a wrap-around deck added later to the original deck on the north end of the house. In my fantasies, the original deck is where I will have my morning cup of Irish breakfast tea and where I will position my desk as I write the great American novel. The original deck is unique in its design, 1.5 inch slats laid lengthwise. Very stylish. The wraparound addition... not so much.
This deck addition is missing its railing, covered in peeling paint and the proud owner of many slats of rotted wood. Abby told us that the railing was destroyed after a tree fell on in during a storm. The log in front of it is an ad-hoc step, which has a certain kind of charm, but isn't practical for our brood.
Needless to say, the deck will need to go. The question becomes what to do when it's gone. Do we bring in dump trucks of gravel, sand and topsoil to raise the terrain to the base of the foundation? Do we just craft steps from the family room doors and keep the level of the land as it is? The dream for this section of the yard is a concrete slab patio for dining outside and listening to the bird and the kids. Opinions on what/how to do this are welcome. In my dream, it looks like the two photos of much more polished houses.
You get the general theme. Geometric looking blocks of concrete with something between the borders... Grass or river rock or gravel. Clean. Linear. Orderly. Things our life will not be for a very long time.
3. The Retaining Wall
At some point, a huge chunk of land was removed with the intention of putting in a retaining wall, I think. Regardless, something needs to be put in to keep a forest full of trees from falling on our roof. I don't think we can continue the current style of wall surrounding the front of the house, which is formed by large round-ish rocks connected by what I think is concrete.
I have no idea what a mid-century modern retaining wall would look like and how we integrate that into the stone wall at the front. This will require some thinking and soliciting of opinions.
In my next outdoor fantasy, we will build a studio on the top of that small ridge above the future retaining wall. Something like this very cool pre-fab Eichler-esque cabin. But I get ahead of myself a little, huh? http://www.prefabs.com/PrefabHomes/CabinFever/Eichler.htm
So those are the biggies for the summer. The must-dos before the fun stuff, though we'll get some fun stuff in with paint and a new cork floor in the kitchen and family room too. With my handy husband, his awesome parents and my minor contribution of feeding them and keeping them hydrated, this will be easy peasy. Oh, and did I mention they put in a wall today while helping prep for the move tomorrow? Had a little time on their hands, natch.
Tomorrow is move day. I am going to work. Leave from one house, return home to another. Brett and his mom Ida are handling the move. Brett says it will be easier that way. Brett is one smart man.
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