A Place to Call Home
I bought an old house while my husband, Frank, was away on a business trip. I faxed the papers to him and the first time he got to see the house was at the inspection. He hated it. Well, hate is a strong word. He admits that. But, he was not happy. Now that time has passed, he claims his reaction was due to jet lag... but I'm not so sure. First of all, there was no garage. Second of all, it was falling apart at the seams and foundations and was, over-all, just in pretty bad shape. It was infested with rats. The galvanized pipes were corroded so badly you couldn't see through them and you certainly couldn't drink the water, never mind turn on the sink if anyone was in the shower. The wiring was iffy. One of the shower's leaked into the wall. The furnace was thirty years old... the yard was an overgrown disaster. The list goes on and on and on.
But, I loved it. It was adorable. Built in 1933, it was originally a summer cottage. An addition was built on in 1954 (or so). In an adorable little sea-side town, called Edmonds, WA. Just north of Seattle. Close to everything, but in a world of it's own. It had a fabulous-looking rock fireplace and two more fireplaces in the bedrooms. Mostly all hard-wood floors, even if they were old and crooked. The tiny kitchen was redone to look like a farm kitchen. It had old single-paned windows with wavy glass and lots of panes. It was on half an acre, in a great neighborhood, right next to a school, where we could walk my son Luke to school, and with sidewalks even. Loved the sidewalks after living for 10 years in a place without them. It had a big huge magnolia tree in the back yard. It was as close to what I wanted as I thought I’d ever find. After all, I’d been looking for almost a year and had not found anything that came close to being “it”. This was it.
So, he could have gotten out of it at the inspection. I would have let him, after we got the report and it just kept going and going… though it would not have been pretty if he had. I’m sure he thought it would cost him a veto on the next place I picked out, assuming I included him at all on that decision. Whatever, he went with it because he loved me and as he says his one goal in life is to make me happy. Yeah, ok. I could have kicked him later on once we got into things, if I wasn’t already kicking myself for buying this place - it's been a rough year with this place so far - but it's getting better all the time.
We've made quite a bit of progress, though most of it is not very obvious at first glance - things are still quite a mess. We evicted the rats (phew!), installed new PEX water pipes (Frank installed himself! Whoot Pllumber Frank!), new furnace, new water heater, new fireplace inserts for two of the firplaces, new faucet in the kitchen, one bathroom completely torn out and on it's way to being rebuilt (with a powder-room added), fixed the drain in the laundry room so we can do laundry, and lots of yard work done (though that is never-ending, isn't it?), a couple rooms painted, or at least started. It’s been an adventure so far, and there is much more to come. And truth be told, I think Frank now loves this place more than I do. Or maybe it's just that I like it less than I did? Not sure, but either way, it's feeling a LOT better now that we have clean water. And reliable heat. And no rats... though it seems we always have to be on the look out for them.
Here are the "before shots" - the previous owner's staged selling photos. Aren't these beautiful? A good coat of paint and lots of furniture can hide just about anything. Well, ok, it fooled me. But then, I was sold before I ever walked into the place, and I blame these photos - lightened and digitally enhanced though they may be.
Enjoy my cottage blog!
(September 14, 2006)