Wednesday, September 4, 2013

On the House Hunt - House Number One

It seems that I've been too busy on the house hunt lately to even talk about the house hunt! We've seen some real doozies - both good and bad. Some were pretty close to what we want but just weren't perfect. Thanks to all who have sent words of wisdom about this whole thing, by the way. It has really helped. If we end up staying at the ranch, we'll be happy as larks. It's just the possibility of possibly finding another cheaper home that we love and being able to have more money every month that keeps us in the search.

 I thought I'd walk you through one of the houses that peaked our interest enough to have us out there on the very first day.  I've hemmed and hawed about how much information to give on any houses that we look at and have decided that since I truly want these homes to find owners that will love them, I won't put their addresses out there. I don't want my dislike of certain things in otherwise possibly great houses to be found in google searches for the homes' addresses when potential buyers look them up. However, if you are interested in one of the houses that I talk about at any point and want to know where they are, by all means, drop me a line or give me your email address in the comments and I'll zap the information right over to you. I believe that every home has a perfect owner out there and even though I might not be it, I don't want to murk up the waters for anyone who might be.

Okay, disclaimers are out of the way now! This home is in a cute area called Donelson. There are tons and tons of original ranches over there so we do a lot of driving around in that area.  And there is a little Greek deli where the owner always remembers that I'm the "extra olive lady". It has a kind of small town feel but is close to downtown Nashville and also has two pretty good thrift stores. When this house came on the market, the interior pictures alone had us in the driveway within the hour. Plus, it's in a really great neighborhood. Let's take a tour!

This is the front of the house. It sits way up on a hill and has a large front porch. 

Here is the view from the porch. Love it! 

It was so quiet and peaceful up there. No noise from the street and birds singing everywhere. We could picture ourselves sitting up there day and night. Unfortunately, the realtor didn't put the lockbox on the front door so that this would be the first impression. Instead:

See the little door way to the back there past the piles of overflowing garbage? The door that you have to fight biting flies just to get into? That is where the lockbox was. It was a horrible first impression. From there, the basement just drove that first impression on home. I won't bother you with photos of the basement but I'll just say that it just didn't appeal to us at all. I love a good basement but we'll let the condition of the old fireplace speak for the entire bottom level.

A basement is truly a home's foundation and there were too many red flags down there for us to deal with.  Holes in the ceiling and walls, mold, water damage and other clues that let us know that this house hadn't been loved the way that we want a house to be. The top level of the home was so pretty but we just couldn't forgive the basement. Let's take a look at the top level though!

We really liked the kitchen. It had the original cabinets with copper hardware and Nutone exhaust fan. Original stovetop too. The original countertops would need to be replaced because they had burn marks in them and we would have replaced the floor with something more period. I still think about this kitchen actually. It felt like a very happy little kitchen. Here is a shot from the dining nook:

I really love those cabinets that open from both sides and the little pass-thru. This kitchen was really large and had a wall oven inset into a brick wall. I've had a thing for those ever since I was a kid watching "The Brady Bunch".

Off of the kitchen was this really cool den:

The bedrooms all had really great closet space and built-ins:

The living room was really spacious:

And here is a shot of the mural in the dining room:

And the pretty foyer:

The bathrooms were cute too:

I really loved this one with the green trim and inset pink sinks. And this wallpaper:

Here is the other bath: 

It had fleur-de-lis patterns here and there in the tile:

I realize while looking at these photos that this house is pretty fantastic. It's about 98% all-original and that's not something that you find in Nashville very often. It's hard to explain why we didn't go for it without having you all there in person.  It was in huge part because of the basement. It was fourteen hundred square feet of "what have we gotten ourselves into?" We could just tell that having to deal with the basement issues would suck our souls out. There comes a time when you're too old and too tired (and too close on the heels of finishing a four year restoration of your current house) that you and your bank account just say a consensual "no thanks".  And the only way that leaving our current little  ranch makes sense is if we gain financially from it. 

It actually broke our hearts because we loved the upstairs part so much. If that baby had been on a crawl space, we would be under contract right this minute. I also have no doubt that if we'd found this house years ago, we would have been gung-ho to tackle it. Just not now. 

It's interesting that basements are often the stuff of intensely terrifying scenes in horror movies because they're that way in real life too sometimes. Oh, and in case you doubt me, here is where I'd be doing laundry:

Not even that cute little fabric softener bear Snuggles would be willing to join me down there in the pit of laundry doom. That door to the left there is a combo elevator and panic room.

What say you? Would you forego the basement woes and just live upstairs and pretend like the downstairs doesn't exist? Or would just keep moving on until the right thing comes along? If someone happens to buy this house, please drop me a line. I'd love to know that it's in good hands because I think of it often.

Until next time,
x's and o's,


Emma Litton said...

Ohh, it does look like a lovely house. I adore the Donelson area. That's where my husband I looked when we were in the market. Sadly, our car broke down and we had to spend the money for a down payment getting a new (read: used) one. I understand about not being able to go with the basement, that thing looks like a big job. Hope you find exactly what you're looking for!


Tami Von Zalez said...

I am with you - I would not want to go down into the dungeon of horrors to do my laundry.

If the basement is in such bad shape, it makes you wonder what other "surprises" are hidden on the main floor.

Kate H said...

Keep it moving, baby, keep it moving.

That basement is telling you to keep looking and let someone with more energy fix it up, maybe with a shuffleboard or something.

Unknown said...

Those pink sinks! SWOON! BTW, I meant to tell you- my mother is about to demolish her bathroom and so if you want some mid century looking light fixture from it, I'll put it on an eartha pile! I think its an original from our ranch.

Jodi said...

I live in Donelson and I love it, there is a lot of mid century to be had here. Maybe your dream house will come up in the future. I do love this house and all of those wood built ins are great and would be expensive to recreate. But I do understand your deal with the basement, that would be a lot of work.

The Frugal Shrink said...

I would've NOPEd my way out of that murder basement, too. Fingers crossed for something amazing for you!

Unknown said...

Urgh, you are SO RIGHT about that horror of a basement. And about the upstairs, too. I agree: the kitchen is sweet!The rest of the upstairs is, too. The laundry room, however, is NOT.Eek! But that front porch...dunno how OLD you are, but I wouldn't want to have to struggle up those steps if I was over 60!

susie said...

Dang, there was some definite cuteness going on upstairs, but geez...I've known some people who've have to deal with basement issues (floods, mold, etc.) and even though it was covered by homeowner's insurance, it was a hassle and half to get it all squared away. Plus, for a house that's only ~60 years old, why does the basement look like the cellar of an old Victorian? Seems fishy that it would be in *that* bad of shape.

Kelli Davidson said...

We don't really have basements in this state so they really only conjure up images of serial killers and giant man-eating rats for me! I must say though - that mural is perfect isn't it?

Lauren T said...

I really love the bathrooms but the murder basement is hard to overcome. Our current basement is borderline murder basement, but the basement in our former rental was so awful that I think the current one looks okay by comparison.

Becauses we are still in the throes of house renovation (yesterday's issue; all our huge trees are dead inside, have limbs that could fall at any time, are rotten, dangerous and need to be removed for many MANY thousands of dollars!), I admire your gumption for even thinking of starting over. They will just have to bury me in Green Hills because I can't stomach the thought of doing this again.

Melissa said...

Sounds like you guys made the right choice. Basements seem to be money and time hogs if they are in need of any type of repair. Those bathrooms are pretty cool though!

Beth said...

I find the Snuggles bear to be exceedingly creepy, so I think he'd love the Basement of Doom. Fit right in.

The first bathroom is gorgeous, however! That tile! The color!

Anonymous said...

I'm new here, so I missed why you want to move from your wonderful current home.

Maureen said...

Love the upstairs, but I agree with everyone else-that basement is worrisome. I think you could make it really cute, but the holes, the mold? That doesn't sound good at all. The house is so nicely situated, I would love to sit on that porch, sipping my morning coffee!

Sara In AZ said...

I feel your pain on so many levels with this house.....I know EXACTLY what you are going through. We run into the same dilemma ALL the time here.....houses SO poorly taken care of or muddled up beyond all recognition of an older just about takes your breath away - and NOT in a good way.

I'd say wait it out until your find that perfect place or just don't move at all!

Rita said...

I completely understand what you're saying about house fatigue. 5 years ago I moved into a fixer-upper. I fixed it up and 2 years ago I moved into another one. I used to be full of vim and vigor for house reno. I've been running on reno fumes all summer and can't seem to find my spark. I would've passed on this one, too, even though the upstairs is great.

cheshirecat666 said...

I'd be a terrible home buyer,I would get one look at those stairs,think about how cool it would be with Jack 'o lanterns going up both sides for Halloween,and scream "I'll take it"

Jen said...

Oh, my. What a shame the lockbox was on the BACK door, forcing y'all to go through that dingy parking and dingy basement to get into what really looks like a bright and airy home otherwise! The fixtures and original touches (the kitchen! ahhh!) and beautiful wood floors upstairs (though that kitchen floor....ew).

I do love basements. In fact, we will not buy a home without one (though that may come in part from Hubby being Ohioan and I being a Michigander—EVERYONE has a basement). And they're so wonderful to have! That one is unfinished, but that hardly makes it 'bad' or 'neglected'; finishing a basement is stupid expensive, as we found out in WV. It's too bad it suffered from issues other than ugliness that, really, a few coats of paint can do a world of good for, but mold and water

Still, it is a lovely home. I suppose you could always have A Guy go in and take a look and explain/give an estimate. ;) Love the idea of birdsong! That's always a plus!

Rae - Say It Aint So said...

what a bummer about the basement, because that house is amazing! I love that kitchen especially.
I know someday we'll probably move, if just to get off the busy road we live on, but the thought of packing up and renovating (we haven't done a TON here and it was still exhausting!) and going through all the paperwork again just makes me cringe!

SusieQT said...

LOL I can smell that basement way over here! (Damp and smoky, right? :)

Hope Thompson said...

Oh man. See I'm admittedly naive enough that I would have been like YES I'LL TAKE IT RIGHT NOW THANK YOU!!! And then realize later that oh, oh my god. There's a murder pit underneath me and it's going to take all my moneys.

That's a really horrifying basement though, so I'm with you. We once lived in an apartment in a house that was built in 1890 and that's what the basement looked like! Just spiders and dirt and nightmare material.