I bet you were pretty convinced I was just going to leave you hanging. Or maybe you just imagined it – I’ve actually had moments like that in the last month or so. But no – it’s really true – we’re really buying a house. I say buying and not bought, because even though we have been approved for a mortgage, the seller has accepted our offer, big repairs have been made, and our closing date is scheduled – I am repeatedly assured by fear-mongering home purchase veterans that until I actually have the keys in my hand, the whole affair can go sideways with lightning speed.
So I’m trying not to jinx the thing.
Provided the universe is a good wingman to me on this one, exactly one month from now we’ll be home owners. Let me paint the picture of the place for you with words (because the irrational part of me says posting photos really would jinx it) –
It’s a two bedroom cottage – just over 1000 square feet. Tiny, right!? We like to think of it as human-scaled. Hate the McMansions; never wanted to buy one. It’s technically a ranch style, but it really has the feel of a Southern “shotgun” style house – long, straight shot for the main living space, with a little “L” for the bedrooms. So perhaps, a “shotgun” in spirit, if not literally. It’s a single story, with a partial unfinished basement, and unfinished attic crawlspace. It sits on a corner lot nicely landscaped with perennials and other decorative plants, with a one and half car detached garage. Nice little deck right off the master bedroom – score!
It’s move-in ready with wonderful updates and comes with all of its top of the line appliances. We’ll update the wall colors before we move in (or at least, unpack all of the boxes). I’m sure we’ll change things to suit our tastes over time (not a huge fan of the light fixture in the dining room, for example) but really the house is ready to move into. Completely turn-key.
The living room is a large space with a great layout and a huge picture window. There’s a separate dining room. The bathroom is great, the kitchen has a breakfast bar peninsula, and the bedrooms are both respectably sized. Walk in closet in the master.
Now, we’ve gotten a lot of questions about being a young family and getting only a two bedroom home. Will we be able to grow into the space? What if we have more children? Well, if we do and feel the need to do something extravagant, there is space on our lot and in the configuration of the home to add a third bedroom if we need and want one down the road. But really – I think we could get along just fine even without it. Lots of children share bedrooms, and grow up to be totally functioning adults. As a matter of a fact, my sister and I did it. So I know it’s possible.
We’re also going to gain a lot of actual living space, even though the square footage of our new house isn’t widely larger than our current apartment. Currently, we have to store everything we own in our apartment’s closets – holiday decorations, camping gear, gardening supplies – now those same things will move into the basement, garage and attic – freeing up the usable space in our living areas considerably. Being able to be well organized and utilize all our spaces appropriately will go a long way to making sure we do have room to have our house grow as we do.
Of course I have lots of plans for the yard. We will need to fence it – that’s the one thing it lacks currently. But it gets good light, is relatively level and has plenty of room for both gardens and play area. All of the landscaping currently is decorative, so I plans to swap things around and add in edibles – an area for the vegetables, and a plot for herbs. And of course – I’ve got a few dwarf apple trees, mini blueberries, raspberry canes, a bush cherry and a hazelnut bush on the wish list. It’ll be a veritable homestead by the time I’m done with it.
One of the best parts of this house is the location, location, location though. It’s further from downtown Chicago, which makes commuting to work quite a bit of a PITA, but the overall improvements in quality of life will make up for it. But it’s still on the train line, so no driving. I can actually walk to the train now. Actually, we can walk just about everywhere – to the farmer’s market (twice a week!), library, several parks, and the historic square with coffee shops, thrift stores, a bookstore, a bowling alley, a movie theater and all kinds of basic services. It’s the small town I’ve always wanted to spend my life in, so we’re really lucking out. I feel like we’re going to get our lives back when we move – I haven’t posted much about it, but we spend a lot of time in the car where we live currently. Exactly nothing is within walking distance – its old school stereotypical suburbia, and I’ve found it suffocating. Yes, it’s been leaps and bounds better than an unsafe urban neighborhood on the downturn – but it’s not been my cup of tea. So even though my commute is doubling for now, we’re still getting our lives back. And for that I am happy. Isn’t it funny how a house is so much more than just a house?
Now, if you’ll excuse me – I’ve got to go pack some boxes. 🙂