No one can accuse Art and I of rushing into buying a house. We've been on a sporadic house hunt since our "re-wedding" two summers ago. We both appreciate a lot of space (Art works from home four days a week) so we needed a big house. We wanted an old house, and naturally, we were prepared for a "fixer-upper." We wanted a single house, lest our wacky hours drive neighbors batty. We wanted a house in a relatively remote area since that's what we're accustomed to. And, of course, we dreamed of a home with a lot of character.
We couldn't seem to find anything that met our criteria AND fell into our price range, and thus, the house hunting process felt pretty futile.
In July I picked out a handful of houses from online listings and sent them to a realtor. Among the listings was an odd-colored house in Mt. Penn which was described as being "very unique." That description made me include it in my list of houses, but it was a low priority. It was the second home we toured that day (on the way to the house we REALLY wanted to see), and neither the mint green exterior nor the densely residential setting seemed promising at first glance.
The moment we stepped inside the 85-year-old home, we knew this was our house. It ruined us for all other houses. At first sight it was a mess, but it was a beautiful mess packed with potential and character. It has ten rooms, two bathrooms, and a large spooky basement. Two of the rooms were wacky additions. The paint, wallpaper, and carpeting were (and are) pretty awful, but there's a wonderful home hiding beneath the bad taste and grime.
Art and I obsessed over this house for days. Once we started referring to rooms as "my office" and "our bedroom," we knew we were sold. The only criteria the house failed to meet was its location. It's a fine residential area - low crime, nice families, good schools etc. - but we originally wanted something remote and woodsy. Then again, the stone house is such a fortress that you can't hear any traffic or squealing kids, and there's a lovely mountain nearby.
We put down a "good faith" deposit five days after we saw the house. We go to settlement on September 15th. We expect to move-in by November.
But oh, there's a lot of work to do!
On the bright side, the roof is in great shape according to the inspector we hired. The structure is solid in a "they don't build 'em like this anymore" way. The water heater is new. The furnace needs a routine service check but the inspector thought it was good to go.
On the grimmer side, the house is filthy and every single cosmetic element you can think of needs to be addressed.
See, the previous owner was an electrician and a plumber. That's good. He enjoyed starting remodeling projects, which he quickly grew tired of and completed in the cheapest ways possible. That's bad.
We expect to finish our work on the house sometime in 2008. Maybe.
The photos on the following pages were snapped on an inhumanly hot August day while the house was being inspected. They are meant to represent the house's current state, warts and all. Wish us luck!