I feel like I've probably been going on for years about our off-and-on, more-casual-than-not house search. We've always loved our current location, even if we don't love our current house, so for any house to ever match the convenience and joy of living across the street from the park and a mile from downtown, it would have to be just about perfect. It would have to have some acreage, partly grass and partly wooded. It should have extra space for ranging beyond our property lines. It must have privacy. It would have to have, if not necessarily more square footage, more open areas for living. It should have personality, although hopefully not a wonky and spiteful one.
It would basically have to be the house that we just agreed to buy.
I was too excited, and the kids were too wild, for me to take great pictures of our recent visit to the house that we're buying, but, for what it's worth, here are some of my favorite parts of it:
The property has woods, albeit a sort of brambly, overgrown woods that no one has tromped in for decades:
The kids and I explored some of these woods on one morning of our visit, however, and even picking our way around thorns and through brush, we already found so many treasures--a sinkhole, a creek, a jack in the pulpit, a tree growing out of the bottom of an overturned, rusted-through metal washtub.
I've assigned the kids to trail-blazing after we move in, and they've made their own plans for a secret fort where they can spend the night, and a secondary clubhouse, and also a tree house--basically their own little primeval village.
The property has fields, and a substantial amount of them, enough for a giant garden next year:
The current owner says that this field used to be fenced, and horses and cows lived there, so the ground should be very fertile. My dream for it this summer is to fence in an area for a garden next year, then set the chickens free to roam inside and do all my tilling and fertilizing for me.
The property has several odd little buildings on it, including a garage, an actual smokehouse (perhaps next year's chicken coop?), an actual root cellar--
|I have no idea what we'll do with this. Do you?|
--and a just-about-to-fall-down 1930s general store:
Yes, I'm serious. If it stays standing this year, we can hopefully budget to get it renovated next year--or at least get the floor stabilized enough to be able to walk inside without probably having the whole building collapse on you.
We have a goodly amount of space between us and our next-door neighbors on one side, but on the other side, we do have a neighbor pretty close:
Yes, I'm serious about this one, too. The current owners of the house had owned this drive-in since 1955. They recently sold it to another family, who plans to open it again this month. Matt and I have taken the kids to this drive-in ever since they were born--when they were babies and toddlers, they'd actually fall asleep on the drive TO the drive-in, and then Matt and I would feel like we were dating all over again, sitting on lawn chairs watching a movie with our kids sound asleep in the car behind us.
My main goal the second that we've moved in is to somehow convince the owners of the drive-in that it would be an excellent idea to let us drag our lawn chairs over to watch movies for free anytime we want. Doesn't that seem like something that you would want to let us do if you owned a drive-in?
Okay, if you're still lingering, rubbernecking our insanity, then now you get to see the actual house!
This is the foyer:
It goes across the entire back of the house, both the 1980s addition that doubles the square footage, and the original 1940s portion. It opens up to the main door from the driveway AND the back deck, and has two doors leading from it to other parts of the house. I had been hoping to set up an aerial silks rig for the kids (it's the biggest item on their wish list) across one of those beams, but it turns out they're just decorative. Maybe that beam up top will bear weight, or maybe we're just destined to have an aerial silks rig in the living room. The washer and dryer are on the main level in this house--yay!--so the kids can start doing their own laundry, ideally. We also have room for a bench by the front door, and the plan is to set up a system to neatly store shoes and other outerwear here.
From this foyer, there are honest-to-gawd windows that look into the 1940s part of the house:
I guarantee that my kids will never use a door to get from one room to the other.
The kitchen has its own table!
Think of it--a table, just for eating, right in the kitchen! AND there's room for another table in the living room:
The video game stuff that Matt and the kids like could go in here, and I don't know what else. It would be nice to have a place to watch family movies, and certainly some of the children's toys will need to be stored in here. I'm not in love with the carpet, so perhaps this is the place to put the table for messy art activities, with a cheap rug underneath. This is also likely where we'll install the aerial silks rig, if it doesn't work in the foyer. When the girls are older, though, we might give this room more over just to them, so they can have a more private place to socialize with their friends.
The kids' new bedroom is a little smaller than their current one, but it has a big closet, and won't need so many shelves as they have now, because our dream is to shelve the entire family's books together in the big family room. It does have sunny windows--
--one of which leads to a concrete patio where they can play and we can have a container garden.
The kids will also have their own bathroom, thank goodness:
On the other side of the bathroom is another room just that size that I would like to use as my study/studio space. See the skylight?
I'll also need to upgrade that lighting fixture at some point, because that other window looks out onto the foyer, not the outside. I'd love to not store our homeschooling materials in this room, because that's what takes up the majority of my current study/studio, but I'm not sure where else they'd go. This house does have two humongous walk-in closets, so perhaps one closet *could* be dedicated to homeschool materials, with materials currently in use stored elsewhere?
Perhaps here, in the big family room?
We'd like to put a permanent space for the children's computer and our printer here, perhaps underneath a loft bed that we already own, with a reading space on top and large bookshelves on each side. My dream is to shelve the entire family's books together, organized and alphabetized like a library. The space is also big enough that I'd like to score a huge conference table from our university's surplus equipment store, large enough that we could have a couple of projects going at once AND have space for schoolwork. Our big dorm couch can go here, and our record cabinet. I'd also like to attractively store our large collection of games and puzzles here , and the children's creative, large-format toys that love to have space and that the adults love to jump in and play with, too--building blocks, racecar tracks, etc. The room also looks out onto a large back deck:
It will be a friendly space to live our days on in nice weather.
Matt and I plan to upgrade to a king-sized bed in our humongous master bedroom:
We'll actually have room for nightstands to hold our books, and my treadmill could go here and not be squashed for space.
This room has its own big bathroom, with a giant walk-in handicapped shower (that wants to be renovated into a large jetted tub, perhaps?) and TWO giant, walk-in closets.
So that's our house! Our hope is to be settled in by the end of May, so we can start stressing about who on earth will want to buy our current house.
Ideally, someone who really wants a hallway with handmade comic book wallpaper, and a basement that has a giant timeline on it, and kid-painted rainbows on many surfaces...