Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Inspired design.

When shopping for our home, there were only a couple criteria we deemed critically important: 1) We couldn't have two stories (our old dog Chelsea had back problems that made climbing stairs a painful, yelping experience); and 2) We had to have two bathrooms (our first house only had one and that was just not okay for a couple of newlyweds who wanted to maintain an element of mystery regarding all things #2).

So off Bill flew to Nashville to find and buy a one story, two bathroom house in 4 days ALL BY HIMSELF. I was stuck behind my desk in Reno, searching through real estate websites, calling him every two minutes with a perfect house he just had to see. "It's right where you're looking and it's sooo cheap! Just buy it. Buy it right now! Okay. Call me back." When he'd call back it would be to tell me that the perfect house I found had a spiral staircase to the master bedroom that partially blocked the front door and a jacuzzi in the kitchen. And it backed up to a liquor store. "I honestly don't even know how they took the pictures you sent me..."

The real estate agent showed him every available property in our neighborhood. And there were so many bad houses. It was hard to wrap our west coast brains around. We were used to cookie cutter neighborhoods where if you've seen one 3 bed 2 bath, you've seen them all. This is not the case with historic homes. (And totally explained all the screaming deals I found online.)

Time was running out and Bill was starting to feel like he was in over his head. (Not to mention it was the middle of July and he was experiencing sweat he didn't know he was capable of.) The pressure was on. And then suddenly, miraculously, he found it. Our house. Our house. He sent me the link to the listing and I immediately fell in love. After a quick tour he made an offer. It was accepted and holy crap! we were moving to Nashville.

Because he had seen a million different houses in a very short amount of time, his memory was a little fuzzy when it came to details. I wanted to mentally arrange and re-arrange our furniture in our new home yet had no idea what the layout was like. I'd press him for details but it just made me nervous. "Is the 2nd bathroom in the hall, like this?" I'd show him the listing photos I had taped together and the sheet of graph paper I was working on. "Um...yeah. I think so. I mean, that makes sense. Right?"

It wasn't until September when we pulled up to the house with all our earthly belongings in tow and hacked our way through the seriously overgrown yard to get to the front door that I could finally see what our new old house was really like. It was a pretty surreal feeling. I had imagined myself inside the house so many times and suddenly, there I was. It was just like being in the pictures!

Well. Sort of.

Because the house is old, it has all sorts of "charming details" that didn't quite come across in the staged photographs. Like...two front doors. And a random step into the kitchen. And floors that are a little less than level. As I wandered around the house trying to square what I was seeing in real life with what I had seen in the pictures (and, even more so, in my imagination), Bill followed me around saying things like, "You should have seen how uneven some of the other floors I saw were! And there were some crazy layouts, too. Like, I told you about that kitchen with the jacuzzi, right? If you think this house has a lot of doors, you should see the one down the street!" Poor guy. I'm sure he was scared out of his mind.

When I found that the second bathroom was not in the hall like I had suspected but squeezed into the laundry room as a totally obvious afterthought, it was hard to keep pretending that "charming" was good. "This is our second bathroom? But it's like a bathroom on a boat! Have you gone in there? I swear to God I have vertigo and I didn't even sit on the toilet!" I think he was just as surprised and disappointed as I was. There was just no way around it: the boat sucked.

We've pretty much been in protest ever since. The only time we admit that the boat exists is if it's an absolute emergency or we have guests staying at our house. I'm sure they're excited when we tell them they have their very own bathroom but, oh, how the boat deceives.

Until about a week ago I would have found it nearly impossible to come up with a single redeeming quality for the boat. But that was before the mud.

And the sand.

And the...chocolate.

And allll the water.

Suddenly having a shower just steps inside our back door seems absolutely genius.

Laundry room | backyard (at the bottom of a big flight of stairs...)

No matter how dirty Liam gets playing in the yard, he can just step inside, strip down and hose himself off.

Why not wipe your sandy hands on the wall?
I'm pretty sure that's why people call it a mud room.

And while my boy is getting nice and clean, I can throw all of his wet and dirty clothes straight into the wash.

Clean child, clean clothes, (relatively) clean house...God bless the boat!


Joanna said...

Oh, I so get you about the house hunt. And the...peculiarities of our historic neighborhood.

Our tiled bathroom floor can best be described as "swagged," if that makes you feel better...

ae said...

Yeah, I really wanted at least 1.5 bathrooms...what we ended up with was 2 bedrooms (assuming you count the attic as a bedroom) and THREE full baths... the original 1930 bath, the one that was clearly tacked on in 1960ish, and the one in the attic with a clawfoot. The older houses are silly and wonderful.

Sarah Lindahl said...

Your pictures (and your child) are so beautiful!

No Mommy Brain said...

swagged floors, silly layouts, random attics... these old homes have so much charm - i don't know if i could ever go back to a cookie cutter house again! (although windows that keep out the wind would be AWESOME.) you?

(thanks, sarah!)

sunT said...

oh how i feel ya. there are times like look at my house and just cock my head sideways and just stare.
and i love it!

Katie said...

That is the most perfect adorable-kid-in-the-shower picture I have ever seen!

Anonymous said...

Dude, and you can totally shower in there and chuck your towel and robe into the dryer to be snuggly warm when you step out....laundry room showers RAWK.