2022 - New Year, New House
Back in September my girlfriend and I didn't imagine we still wouldn't have a solid deal on what we thought was our perfect home. But delay after delay cropped up as it seemed like the seller was maybe not as ready to sell as we believed. At last we had an offer set to expire on January 31st 2022. The main road block now seemed to be the seller finding suitable housing.
The weeks went on, and the only news we heard was that the seller still hadn't found housing. We went back to looking at interesting looking open houses and a few private showings with our agent.
Until we saw our new perfect house:
The main entry is an enclosed, porch, fully finished and with a pellet stove on one wall keeping the room nice and toasty. We were there on one of the coldest days recently, and actually took off our coats when we stopped in this room to chat amongst ourselves before leaving.
It's rare to see a room with windows on all four walls, but tends to be a common feature of enclosed porches.
We're thinking we might put our exercise equipment on the far side of the room from the stove, letting us enjoy the tree-filled view while running or biking. Far better than their current location in my basement.
The kitchen includes space for a table for the popular eat-in kitchen feature, but the dining room is just through a doorway at the far side of the above picture.
The kitchen also boasts a gas stove (fed by a propane tank near the garage, and is the only gas fed appliance) as well as one of the three wood burning fireplaces.
The dining room is a decent size, and we loved the built-in shelves and cabinets. As it turned out, built-ins would turn out to be a common feature in this property.
The living room, just off the entry hall from the enclosed porch, provides a welcoming atmosphere, and the second fireplace on the ground floor.
The third and final fireplace is in the basement. It doesn't feel like a basement though, thanks to the walk-out access and full size windows on two of the walls.
The basement also hosts the garage access, through a breezeway, and the laundry room as well as a utility hallway housing the oil tank, furnace, and central air system.
My girlfriend's mother plans to make this side of the basement into her bedroom, walling it off with book cases to start, and eventually a finished wall, creating a short hallway between the stairs and the laundry room, through the closed door at the right of the above picture.
The laundry room will eventually be split into a bathroom and kitchenette for her as well.
One of the things we initially liked about the previous house was that the in-law addition was its own separate whole house, with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, laundry room and full kitchen. The more she thought about it though, the more my girlfriend's mother realized she wanted her own space, but not to be completely separated and alone, feeling like we'd have to invite her over, or be invited to her space. But now she'll still have her separate space, but also often hang out with us in the common areas on the first floor.
While we were touring the open house, my girlfriend, her mother, her sister, and I each independently decided this room with its built in cabinets and drawers, would be perfect for my girlfriend's craft room. She was pleased we'd all come to the same conclusion and she wouldn't have to fight me for it.
This second floor guest room may be my girlfriend's mother's bedroom to start, while we sort out the basement, but will eventually be a guest room unless some other use presents itself.
The biggest thing we disliked about the house was the color of the primary bedroom.
The room itself is large and bright, with windows on three walls as well as his and hers closets (hers is a walk in, on the left in the picture at right).
We haven't yet settled on what color would be best, but we both agree it's not the current color.
The primary bedroom does not have an en suite, but the first and second floors each have a full bath.
One feature not pictured is what my girlfriend and her mother called a "snug" just off the kitchen. A small room, with built-in bookshelves, that would be perfect for a cozy little home library.
Back on the ground floor is a fourth bedroom, currently used as a home office and I see no reason to change that. The large furniture pieces in the room make it feel smaller than it really is, and this is the only bedroom without built-in shelves or cupboards.
You may have noticed two common themes among these interior pictures: colored walls with white trim and ceiling, and hardwood floors. The house has hardwood floors throughout. No carpets, only rugs, including a runner on the stairs. This was another major selling point for us.
In the back yard we have three huge selling points for us: an above ground pool (circular, 8-10 feet diameter, 3-4 feet deep), gorgeous stone steps leading up to the back deck, and a greenhouse!
The pool is not as good as the previous house in so far as it's smaller and shallower. The way the pool sits with the deck, there is a separately fenced off section of deck where the pool ladder is, rather than fencing in the whole of the pool (the yard itself is also completely fenced in). There aren't any great pictures of the steps, but trust me when I say they look better in person.
The green house can be access from the back yard, or from the garage, and will be ideal as my girlfriend and her mother work to turn the back yard into a back garden. I'm not sure what will be growing besides probably tomatoes, and some variety of flowers.
The last feature, and really the first feature you see when you approach the house, is this little sunken area with a small barn, chicken coop, and at the moment three rabbit hutches. I'm not certain whether the hutches will go with the current owners, but the stable and coop are wired in to power (for lights and heat) and are more or less permanent structures. Currently there are no chickens, but my girlfriend's mother is excited to keep chickens again, and a coop was one of the things we were going to have to build at the other house. The barn currently houses three ponies, but we think it might also work for goats. We'll have to research more, but that's tentatively the long term plan.
As far as the rabbit hutches, my girlfriend mentioned an idea of keeping angora rabbits for their wool which she could spin and use for crafts, making use of her multiple spinning wheels.
I'm not looking forward to clearing the large circle drive of snow in the winters, but I'm also not fool enough to think I'd be clearing it by hand. I might have to for the remainder of this winter though since this property is at the high end of our price range and we may not have a lot of spending money for a while ...
The two car garage will be for my girlfriend and her mother since they still commute to work and it would be nice if they don't have to clear the snow off their cars in the morning, leaving me to park outside while I work from home.