Where the road begins…

It’s kind of perfect: an incredibly long journey—all without leaving the comforts of home. Adventure! Peril! Courage! Pajamas!

You know I’m all over that.

Apart from a surprise attack by the bandits at our loan company, it looks like we’re going to take possession of the castle some time in November, moldy paneling, tarred windows, broken gutters, and all.

Yes, but it will be OUR castle.

Carl and I have compiled a long to do list, divided by priority and whether or not it’s something we can do ourselves or will have to hire out. I abhor speaking to people on the phone, so that means Carl gets to deal with most of that, and since I can basically clear my schedule for the two weeks after we close, I get to be the slave labor.

I’m kind of excited about that, but maybe to understand it you would also have to know that when I was little I used imaginary games to complete most of my chores. Putting away clean silverware was counting votes (one set was Republican, the others was Democrat. I’m not entirely sure I knew what either term meant, but it definitely made things more interesting). Cleaning and laundry projects involved being a maid. I used to spend a lot of time thinking about what it would feel like to be a maid. Generally in Victorian England, you know, because I don’t think I realized yet that some Americans still have servants. I’m suddenly curious whether this would have changed my interest in American literature (which I still don’t like very much), since what I really deeply truly madly love are issues of class.

ANYWAY, the house.

I took tons of pictures a couple of weeks ago to document the before stage of the project. Here’s the brief tour:

The front door and living room. Those big windows are the only original windows in the house, which means (thanks, 1957) that we probably have some lead paint issues. Otherwise this room’s in good shape. Carl’s not a fan of the, heh, FAN, but that’s a fix for another day.

The steps on the right lead upstairs to the 3 bedrooms and the full bath.

Here’s the second bedroom. Our plan is to strip it of all the pink and ghastliness, and go for a studious slate blue below the molding and a warm neutral on top. This will be the study.

Back on the main floor we have the dining area right across from…

The kitchen. Which will not be that color. We’re still crossing our fingers that we find a good stainless steel fridge and stove in our budget. With the dishwasher and vent in that nice brushed metal, it would be a shame to deviate.

Here’s where the real work comes in. This is the lowest level of the tri. The carpet is ruined, and our house inspection shows a high probability of mold behind the panelling. So basically, the whole room needs to be gutted. But it has a fireplace, and that’s cosy. And there’s also a half bath and…

A laundry/craft room with lots of storage. The non-bonus is that, of course, there is neither washer nor dryer at the moment.

Problems for another day, right?

In a similar vein, outside we have what I like to call problems for another season.

The house is a tri-level. And so is the back garden. The basement walks out onto a nice brick patio that runs into a tiny green alley.

With a lamp post! Tumnus! Do you not swoon just a little inside?

Oh, but the tangle of dead brush to the right is a large tree that fell over and totally obliterated the top level of the garden. That will take some removal work. To the left is a stone wall with a long flower bed built in. Right now it’s full of struggling peonies with a lot of Boston ivy dribbling down the wall. At the base of the stone wall on the right is another long bed, but it doesn’t get much sunlight, so I’ll have to do a little research on that.

Just beyond the lamp post is another set of stone steps.

With flower boxes on either side that leads down to a little oval grassy lawn. There was originally a round flower bed in the middle, but I think we’ll plant grass and go the croquet and picnic route.

Although since it backs onto woods, it probably gets really buggy in the summers. We’ll have to see. The nice thing is that with the garden basically lying in this scooped out hallow—invisible from the road and neighbors—there’s very little wind or noise. And it’s south-facing, so yesterday when we stopped by to bandaid one of the drain spouts, I popped back into the yard and it was like this idyllic bowl full of sunlight.

It could be something really lovely someday.

When the dead tree and the runaway squash are gone, for sure, but that qualifies as someday I think. This is the top level of the garden, and there’s a nice cement area (uneven and a bit cracked) and a door that leads into the dining/kitchen area. So the perfect spot for grilling.

The only thing I don’t like about it is the fact that there are approximately 14 different ways a child could fall and crack her head open, but we’ll… think of something. Like raising early walkers. Very careful early walkers.

One can dream.

One can and one does, and sometimes things even work out.


6 thoughts on “Where the road begins…

  1. I also think it is a lovely house. I love the room, that backs out on to the garden. And of course I love the garden itself. I can also see the work in it, but the house and garden are so full of possibilities. (Now isn’t that a nice way of saying “work”?)
    Better be careful about that mould in your present condition, but I’m so happy for you both that you have found something, so nice.

    • Yes! I think “possibilities” is a much nicer word. 🙂

      I should have said something more about the mold in my post since I got a similar email from a concerned family member. You’re absolutely right about not being around mold while pregnant! We’re having a family friend do the repairs for us, and he said he can seal off the basement and the furnace vents while he works so the mold won’t get into the air and cause problems.

  2. I’m so glad it looks like it’s going to be a go for you! The house is “Just Perfect” as Grandpa would say. I fell in love with it even from the outside, and I think it’s really a wonderful house. Don’t forget to tell them about the half garage/cold storage, the half basement, and the car port. The house is full of cool spaces and possibilities!!

  3. WOW! It’s wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing all these pictures! What excitement.

    I really love: the back garden, (lots of great architectural bits and secluded romance…hello lamp post!), your shining wood floors, those multi-paned windows and doors, fireplace and all the beautiful potential. Feels like a great floor-plan. Can’t wait to see you work out all the decorating bits. Have you followed Young House Love at all? Great home renovation blog by a young couple.

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