Saturday, April 14

Musical Houses

Lately I've felt like my family is playing a game of musical houses. My brother left for basic training in November, my dad moved in with me after his lease was up, my mom bought a new house and moved and my dad moved into the house I grew up in.

I had almost forgotten what a huge ordeal moving is--especially when it involves sifting through 18 years worth of accumulation. Helping my dad pack his apartment was a job, and he had only lived there for a year. Helping my mom pack for her move was unreal. We had to unload drawers and cabinets full of china, pictures, clothes. There were boxes from the attic that were never unpacked after we moved in. We were only packing what Mom was actually taking since Dad was moving in, but the amount of stuff designated as trash or giveaway defies description.

I suppose that is one benefit to moving regularly, it forces you to save only what is truly important.

When the movers came my sister kept saying how empty the house looked, but I'm old enough to remember when we first moved in. Even after the movers were finished the house looked far from empty.

Luckily the moving is done, but the whole experience reminded me of how stressful househunting and moving can be. I'm glad no one has any intention of moving again in the next couple of years. Now the fun part can begin. Setting up Mom's new house, fixing up Dad's house and continuing the list of projects for my house! Check out the pictures from our house hunting adventures with Mom.

House Hunting Again
Mom's new place!

Dining room
Dining room, blue shutters were one of the first things to go.
Kitchen, fake greenery was taken down.
Living room
Living room
Awesome sunroom
Screened in porch
It's been two years since I've looked at houses, but I'd forgotten how exhausting it can be. The sheer number of possibilities can make the process overwhelming. And of course, we saw several other houses before Mom found the one she bought. Check out some of the highlights.

The Good...
Italian tile in entry.
There were several houses we really liked. But some of my favorites included this beautiful Italian tile in the entry way. The front of the house is set up just like my grandmother's with the long front porch and the big front windows in the living room.

Front of house is set up almost
exactly like my grandmother's.
Other highlights of this house were the beautiful backyard, a great size kitchen, a shed with electric and plumbing and new carpeting throughout the house. Plus it was the only house we looked at that had a shower and a bathtub in the master bathroom.

My grandparents came to visit to help my mom look at houses. She didn't end up buying any of the houses we looked at while they were in town, but it was nice to have their opinions.

Really nice covered back patio.
Now for a look at a few of the less ideal places.

The Odd...
This master bedroom had the oddest layout. The door to the bedroom led onto this short hallway, with the bathroom on one side and the closet on the other, all within the room.
Standing at bedroom door, bathroom
on right and closet on the left.
Big pantry, trash compacter
in the pantry.
Another house my mom looked at had this enormous pantry. But the trash compacter was in the pantry. I found this strange.

But both of those houses were great overall. The main downside of the house with the pantry was that all the rooms were small and my mom wouldn't have been able to fit a lot of her furniture (bought to fit in a larger house).

The next house didn't have any truly redeeming characteristics. The entryway had this vintage wallpaper. I kind of liked the wallpaper, but it is definitely an acquired taste, and my mom hated it.

Then in the garage there was this storage loft, but it blocked the door to the backyard. So whoever built it came up with the solution of cutting a big hole in the loft so you can still open the door. Creative, but weird.
The loft had a cutout
so you can open the door.

Overall, the house was dated and would have needed some work. But most of those things were just quirks. The truly awful aspect of that house falls under our next heading.

The Ugly...
Check out this living space. They enclosed a breezeway between the house and the garage which means the space was already awkward. But then they decorated it to look like a dated funeral home. I teased my mom that she could put her piano in that room and start a business hosting wakes.
Built in funeral parlor?

This house Mom actually put an offer in on. The home was beautiful, but the double decks were only the beginning of the issues I foresaw.

The backyard was terraced, which would make yardwork a nightmare. The house was two stories with a steep curving staircase. The spacious garage enters on the bottom floor and the front entryway is on the second floor. The kitchen, dining and all except one bedroom are on the second floor. The laundry and casual living room are on the first floor. Not a huge problem, but it does mean all the groceries, etc. would have to be carried upstairs and laundry would always have to be taken down and back up. Rather inconvenient in the long run.

Exposed hot water heater off the kitchen.
This last house was fairly nice overall, the kitchen was spacious and you can see that there's a good size laundry room. However, that hot water heater is sitting right in the laundry room doorway off the kitchen. Because of it's location there would be no way to build a screen to conceal it. Not cool.

What were some of the worst things you found while house hunting? Did you look at any "dream" homes that were way out of your price range?


  1. I've seen some doozies while out apartment hunting here in Korea. They have a very different concept of housing here and it took awhile to get used to. Like having the washing machine in the bathroom and no dryer. No oven. Fake wood flooring (as in, it's a linoleum type of material that is made to look like wood panels) that tears too easily.

    But they do have some unique and interesting quirks to them. Most apartments don't have a lot of storage space in the apartment, but they do have large verandahs that you can use for storage and air drying clothes. My favorite part though, is ondol heating. Basically, they don't have central heating and air here, but the heating system is made up of water pipes in the floor. Makes home nice and cozy in the winter time. ^_^

  2. That's really cool. I've seen the washer situation you mentioned on some of the HGTV shows where the couple is house hunting in Europe. I like the sound of cozy in the winter!


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