“We bought it for the lot.”
These are the words we utter each time someone visits our home for the first time, our constant refrain (i.e.… apology) for the uniqueness of our dwelling, a 1963 split-entry house. The irony of it is, when we began looking for this, our second home, we told the real estate agent, “We’ll consider anything – except a split-level. We hate them.”
Guess what we bought? But knowing what I do today about setting intentions and the Law of Attraction, I am certain we have no one to blame but ourselves. Here’s how it happened…
We were looking to move from our urban locale, a quaint and charming 1941 bungalow we had restored and adored for over nine years, and our wish list was long: among other things, we wanted more yard space for our three dogs and the baby we dreamed of having, a shortened commute to my husband’s new job, and a place where the neighbors would invite us to cookouts instead of swearing loudly at each other at 6 AM, necessitating police intervention. We must’ve toured at least 25 homes in more than five different suburbs of our Ohio city.
One Sunday afternoon, as we walked our dogs in a nearby park, known not only for its fabulous view of downtown, but its rolling hills and ancient, towering trees, we’d mused, “Wouldn’t it be cool to find a house with a yard like this, one that felt like a park?”
And there you have it – that was our intention, and though we thought at the time it was just between the two of us, we’d said it out loud – for the whole freakin’ universe to hear.
When our agent proposed a “just have a look” trip to see our current home, we grudgingly agreed to go along, because the price was right, as were too many other things for us to ignore:
• a cul-de-sac lot in a no-outlet neighborhood, with plenty of open space on either side (from the staircase of our bungalow, we could see the neighbors using their bathroom)
• nearly 3000 square feet, including a first floor that could fit most of the other houses we were contemplating
• two lovely parks and a nature preserve within walking distance
• close proximity to the highway
• one of the most desirable school systems in our city
• that park-like yard we’d asked for
So, in spite of its desperate cry for updating, its quirks, its horrifically neglected and overgrown yard, its nonexistent curb appeal and its 2’x 6’ entry ‘foyer’ that demanded, “Up or down? UP OR DOWN??!” the second you walked in the door, no other house we looked at called to us the way this one did, so we ate some crow and made an offer.
Fifteen years later, there are now two beautiful children sharing our space, our beloved dogs have all moved on to greener pastures, my husband’s new job is now his old job, and we are still trying to turn this house, which I’ve dubbed Sistine (blank canvas, eventual masterpiece,) into the amazing home we know her to be beneath the ugly exterior. She is a perpetual work in progress, one we sometimes regret ever taking on in the first place, but we regard our house sort of like one might regard an eccentric relative – they embarrass you sometimes, but they’re yours, they’re comfortable, and you love them despite their oddities.
Life has been complicated the last few years, and Sistine has been a stoic constant for us, our quirky shelter from the storm. It seems every improvement we make to her has an equally positive impact on us, and I’m eager to see what comes next. Care to join us for the ride? It’s getting more interesting every day…