Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dream home viewing

This afternoon, we enjoyed a thorough viewing of my (formerly 1.25 Million Dollar) Dream Home.  Ridiculously, it didn't occur to me to take pictures until after we left.  I apologise.  I truly wish I had, because I don't think that Dream Home will be mine.  Sigh.

Ever since I was old enough to care about such things, I have said my dream home would be a nice house (perfect would be an old farm (?) house with big windows, high ceilings, lots of light, and big porches) with lots of land.  Ideally, it would have (or we could build) a guest cottage.  Even better, the lot would have an old barn.  This house today had all of that.

It is a historic home.  The former owners were seriously flush with cash (their previous hunting and game lodge is now part of Grand Teton National Park), and this was their winter home.  The house is over 100 years old.  The construction is completely solid.  The windows are original (wavy glass, some small bubbles in the panes).  There are porches on both floors, front and back.  Immediately behind the house is a tiny, one room guest cottage with full bathroom.  It is all timber and stone, dark and luxurious feeling.  Behind that is an original barn with large storage rooms built in and enclosed on either end.  Even further back on the property is a guest ranch house: 3 bedrooms, one bath, a kitchen, living room, and 4-car garage underneath.  Crazy.  Oh, and there's a six acre property.  Swoon.

The catch?
The entire place was in need of some serious cosmetic loving.  Apparently, rich as she was, the former owner lost all interest in updating the decor after 1968.  The wallpaper in every room is retro-awesome, as long as you remember to photograph it before you rip it down and burn it.  My favourite was the powder room wallpapered completely (even the ceiling!) in a red and white trellis effect.  Fabulous!  The gorgeous, wide-planked wood floors had long since been covered with manky carpet that was threadbare in many places.  There was an elevator (!) that someone had simply tacked on to the front of the house where you could have accessed the porches.  Down in the basement laundry room, there was an original typewritten notice about how to properly launder the girdles (I would keep and frame that).

The truth is, I could live with all of that.  I really could.  I could see the beauty and the potential under all those years of neglect.  The structure was still very solid.  It needs a new septic system (joy) and possibly, though not definitely, a new roof.  The stripping and painting (outside and in) and sealing of floors etc. could be manageable, though we'd need a contractor to manage the size.

So, what's the problem?
It's on a busy road.  Sigh.  As soon as you step outside the house (even onto the back porch), you hear road noise.  All of the six acres front the road.  What must have once been a tiny, back lane to hunting cottages is now a two-lane direct line from the village to the interstate.  Boo.  I can fix all the other stuff, but I can't fix the road.  Oh, sigh.  Oh, sadness.
Because I still want that old house.
I wouldn't be able to resell her for what she'd be worth to us, so I can't have her...but I still want to fix her up and make her a home anyway.


  1. Not to fan the flames of your desire ... but what about hedges, tall trees (oooh like Norfolk Pines), shrubbery, fencing, etc to buffer the road?

  2. You are not helping! Yes, I've thought of this. I honestly don't think I would care enough about the road to stop me if I knew we'd be here for at least 10 years...but as I've never done that anywhere... Sigh.

  3. I truly wish you took and posted some picture of the house for us to see. Based from your description, I think it is a stunning house. Anyway, have you bought the house already? In my opinion, one thing to consider when buying a home is the neighborhood. The area should be safe for the whole family, and having too many cars around at all times can really be a problem.
    Sage Leung

  4. That’s the spirit, girl! It’s good to know that despite the unconstructive features of the house, you’ve had big hopes of making it wonderful again. Well, I have faith in you. Once you have conducted all the renovation, your house will be back to its magnificence and many will love it for sure! ;)

    Genny Stutesman