Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Wood Paneling, Brick Backsplash and Overly Decorated Homes

Where has the time gone?  Let me apologize to the 4 readers I have for the recent absence. Things have been busy with Brandon and I.

We have begun the house hunting process. We took a trip out to the Niagara region last week and toured around eight homes, ranging from total gut jobs to nearly done homes. We both had a favourite, until we found out a subdivision is being built right next door to it- which we are trying to get away from, not to mention the mess and noise that will go along with all that construction in the next 5-10 years. So, although the house is wonderful and ideal, it just wouldn't be the right location for us.

The first home we saw was 600 sq ft on half an acre of land, with a barn in the back. Yes... 600 sq ft. But we figured since it needed work (described in the listing), we could perhaps put an addition on and make it wonderful. Unfortunately the listing failed to mention the holes in the roof, the slanted floors and also the family of feral cats living in the barn. We decided the cats could stay.

The second was a very tiny, old farm house. OK, so it was bigger than the first, and finished and fairly liveable, but it really only had one bedroom...and then a very small room that would be better suited to a closet.

The third also needed a lot of work, but again was more like a fun house with the slanted floors and roof, the many different rooms with no definition as to what they were because some lacked doors where you thought it may be a bedroom, while others had doors where you may have guessed it was a living room. The land was amazing on this one, but just too much work for us to take on at this point.

(we didn't take pictures of those homes, mostly because we knew we wouldn't be getting into that much work)

Then we got into what I would say are more liveable homes. As in you could live in them while completing renos or upgrades. The yellow home we saw first was nice, decent yard (not like the ones we had seen, but still a good yard for Sarah & Hudson) and it had amazing wooden beams in the ceiling.

We love wooden beams and vaulted ceilings, and never considered a home in our price range to have such a feature. But this home was great. Except.... it didn't have a big enough Man Room space. Yes that's correct folks. We must have a space for all of Brandon' collectibles. You remember them, right? If not, feel free to check out what I'm referring to here, here and here (and I'm sure many other areas within this blog!)

We moved on down the neighbourhood and saw one that had some great bones and space, with absolutely the best land space we ended up seeing all day.

This one was 1.25 acres of flat, wooded with some cleared land and had a decent sized fenced off area right off the kitchen so if we quickly had to let Hudson & Sarah outside they were contained, but if we wanted to let them run they had 1.25 acres. Another plus of the fenced in area, Brandon pointed out, was that we wouldn't have to wrangle poop. All poop would be contained within an area. Leave it to him to find those small positives in a situation :)  This home had a great Man Room area right off the kitchen and even had wood paneling. Oh, what's that? You don't like wood paneling? It's dark and out of date and everyone else in the world is trying to get rid of it and paint over it?  Yup- me too! But Brandon? No way! He loves it! That and brick backsplash in the kitchen. What?! Ewww! The things you learn about a person...  This one was probably higher in the running for a good part of the day, but Brandon really hated the car port and how it made the front of the house look. Even though it would be a simple fix to put in a garage and new front door, he wasn't so sure he liked the idea of it. So, goodbye to fantastic land. We moved on.

We saw a smaller cute home next, with a metal star on the front of it that we would surely be removing in fear of some people mistaking us as swingers. But as welcoming as we felt the major dip in the floor was, it just didn't make the cut.

Next came the amazing home, we both really liked.

We walked in and felt like we'd found it. It was 100% open, had a great Man Room, huge kitchen, vaulted ceilings, a basement for storage (the others up until this point, had no basement) and a great piece of land, which opened up nicely to a great 6 acres of wooded land. Actually, we even saw 2 deer frolicking through the woods while we were there. Unfortunately, that 6 acre parcel of land is the land that will be developed into 80 townhomes. Sigh. BIG sigh.

We moved on, feeling a bit defeated, to the only 2 storey home we saw. I'm not a big fan of 2 storeys, but Brandon really liked this place.

It was nice, and of course I was comparing it to the previous home I had basically already sold myself on, but it was mainly the land that blew it for me. The home had lots of wooden beams, much more rustic, with a great wood burning fireplace. It was fairly open concept, and double the size of the others we had seen. But let me tell you, the people/person who live(s) in this house LOVES Christmas! I love holidays- and love decorating my home for any holiday. But this was extreme.

My biggest issue with the 2 storey was the steep, open stairway that would be tricky for Hudson to navigate. As Brandon mentioned, the dog will only be around for so long and we obviously can't pick a house based on him and his physical abilities, but I just wasn't overly excited about the stairway myself. The upstairs had 3 bedrooms and a Man Room- which could also be a bedroom. The backyard had an above ground pool (we aren't swimmers, so this was a deterrent for us not a plus), a garage that was placed in the middle of the land and was very narrow at only 34' wide. Which is a typical width for a suburban home...exactly what we're trying to stay away from.

We felt like it was a pretty good day, and gave us an opportunity to see the things that are actually important to us and what features we can expect within our price range. I would consider us fairly simple first time buyers, because our expectations are low, we're willing to do work and renos and we're open to location. Our real estate agent may say otherwise, but being open to lots of different kinds of homes means we can see all sorts and find something that just feels right.

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