Friday, December 03, 2010

my druthers

"I can't even enjoy a blade of grass unless I know there's a subway handy, or a record store or some other sign that people do not totally regret life. It's more important to confirm the least sincere. The clouds get enough attention as it is..."
— Frank O'Hara

I have been haunting the mls for 5 years now, and the time has come that it is really my turn to really get serious. And now that it is here, I am a little bit afraid to act. It is just my way.

The housing market here is rather depressing to those of us who are beggars that cannot be choosers, but if I could choose, these are my druthers:

1) I love a kitchen with white and glass-doored cabinents and dark granite counter tops. I'd love an island with shelves. Subway tile on the walls and stainless, too, please.
Here is the "after" of the kitchen we remodeled ourselves (Brigham was the laborer) in our little bungalow in Salt Lake.

2) A back deck off the kitchen or dining area.
This one is almost a must. We looked at a house that was way too small for us (and the $$), but I could have been foolishly talked into it because of that tiered back deck and fenced, level yard. I want (need) to be able to look out the kitchen window and see the boys playing outside in the back.

3) A front porch.
This one is silly, I know, especially in this part of the country, but my heart is mightily tugged when I see a front porch on a property. Were it not for my more level-headed husband, I would trade a 4th bedroom or a 3rd bath or physical safety for a front porch in just about a second. There was a house in 16th street heights (DC) whose front porch sang a siren song to my soul; Brigham noted that the front porch could fit almost an entire gang of neighborhood thugs.

4) A neighborhood with treelined streets, a bike trail and lots of children for the boys to play with. I am willing to negotiate on the bike trail, if I must.

5) Big windows. Many of them. My mother in law disagrees, pointing out that she does not like "the sun beating down upon [her]" (I loved that conversation!), but I welcome as much abuse as that sun can dish out (in?) through my windows. The better to look at my large, fenced and level backyard where I have locked my children until they get in better moods/get their energy out/are ready to not act like wild animals.

These are my druthers. I will give up a garage (I have never had one in my entire life, anyway); I could do 3 bedrooms if at least one was big enough for the boys to share; I can buy a house that needs to be remodelled (but not added onto); the basement doesn't HAVE to walk out. I don't need a formal dining room, either. Just let me eat in my kitchen, let the light pour in, give me a master bath of my own, keep us on the same level while we sleep, a working fireplace (as many as you can spare), and a garden where I can grow veggies, herbs and flowers and fit a trampoline.

But I try not to dwell upon these prefences too much, though, since at the end of the day the best I can realistically hope for (and which will bring me joy) is a clean, well-lighted place we can call home. Though that means a cleaning service.


Jacqueline Auna and family said...

I miss you Allie! I love all of your druthers, and agree most whole-hearted with all your choices. I am so envious but more happy for you all - it's so exciting that you are looking for a home to call your own.

Allie said...

I am also a big fan of porches. I saw a fabulous house in Purcellville. I liked everything about it but the price:

It doesn't have white cabinets, but it is fabulous and charming. I can't wait until we get to seriously house hunt. We love Ashburn. I'm sure Brigham's commute is a big factor, but we love it out here.

Sarah said...

That's a great list! I am so excited for you guys to find a house! I loved Brigham's comment about the front porch on that one DC house. I miss you guys!
It's funny how my druthers have changed over the years, like how I really didn't care that we only had one tiny bathroom on the main level to share with the kids. I will always feel overwhelmingly blessed to have ended up where we are (the location is perfect) but I don't think I will ever miss this house when we leave, other than for sentimental reasons like having two of our kids born here.

Ie Li said...

All of those pictures are so charming. A yellow house with a front porch is so dreamy to me. We need to talk and catch up!

Monica Rich said...

I love your druthers. Mine were very similar. I didn't get them all, but most of the ones I really cared about. In retrospect, I probably should have paid more attention to things like the roof, the age of the windows, the state of the gutters, quality of insulation, etc. I would keep those very unexciting things in mind while you drool over great tile and wraparound porches.

Alisha said...

Someday Brigham will make millions and you can move to the country and build your dream house...maybe. At least, that is what I tell myself.

It's okay to have high expectations and to know what you want. That is better than buying some random place with weird features and realizing that you hate the place. If you know what you want then you're better equiped to compromise.

Happy House Hunting!

Eliza said...

I love your list. I got some things I wanted with our house but didn't get several others. Most of the things I wanted but didn't get were on your list. :) Maybe someday! (maybe even someday in this current house if we save our pennies.)

My number one thing now for the future is that I want a house all on one level. I really didn't appreciate the ease of life and laundry and supervision in the dinky place we lived before. So sick of stairs now and my laundry never gets done.

It really is fun to wish and dream. Actually a lot more fun than the reality of compromise...but there is always something new to wish for and sometimes the necessity of compromise makes you realize what you really, no REALLY want. A clean, well-lighted place is something not every child has and it is so important for them and for us.

Luckily there's always the option of multiple lamps if you don't have enough natural light. And a silver lining: if you don't get big windows just think how much you might be saving on your utility bill. :)

Momo Cannon said...

Hope you get all you wish for! Can I come visit?

Momo Cannon said...

Hope you get all you wish for! Can I come visit?

Erin said...

I love your list! It reminds me of when we were house hunting. Lots, and lots of windows is always a must. John and I have even talked about a retractable roof! The more light the better as far as I'm concerned! Good luck, can't wait to see what you find :)

Michelle said...

I love this post. You're so much fun.