Photography: Hetler Photography
I’ve had quite an adventurous week. I jetted off to NYC and experienced the wrath of winter storm Jonas. I ran through the airport like a mad woman being chased by angry bees and plowed through the airport, nearly missing my flight. I made it home to only to leave a mere 8 hours later to continue our quest for the perfect new home. I’ve been up to my elbows in emails and ridiculously gorgeous linen swatches, invitation samples and room layouts. And my quince, which I bought for a project two weeks ago, finally decided to bloom and is displaying the most exquisite, dainty little white blossoms. Yes, I’d say it’s been a pretty good week.
Most notable on that list, or at least on the forefront of my mind, is the continued housing search. It’s all I can think about. We found another house we like. The number of houses that we have even come close to considering has been slim pickings. This is #2 in the past 4 months of looking. But is it truly “the one”?
I am that person who finds value in old things. When I see an older home being torn down, it’s all I can do to stop myself from knocking on the door and pitching a fit, throwing myself in front of the crane and wondering why in the world someone would rather throw a treasured piece of history away than try to breathe new life into space and return it to its former glory. If we continue on this path, one day there won’t be any history left and no one will know the ornate detail of a hand carved mantle, the allure of coved ceilings or recognize the creak of an old wooden staircase. So to purchase a house without these things feels untrue to myself and hypocritical. I want an old house. I want to know what the walls would say if they could talk. I want to think of what is was like when Mr. & Mrs. 19th Century walked through the doors of their brand new house for the very first time. It makes me sick to my stomach to consider purchasing otherwise.
Other thoughts that keep me awake at night include the nightmares of remodeling a room, or worse – an entire house, again. It took months of living in filth, having furniture chaotically spewed about and not being able to cook in an oven, sit at a kitchen table or use certain rooms. Painting takes hours. Shopping is time consuming. And now we have two little girls who would be shuffled in the midst of it all. It took us 5 years to get our house to its current décor state and my to-do list isn’t even finished.
On the other hand, if we purchases something that is “move in ready” I won’t get the pleasure of making it my own. I can’t take pride in the design or know that I have truly found the very best chandelier to display proudly over my dining room table. I’m really picky about the finishing touches (in case you couldn’t tell by now) and often when I think I can deal with something and live with a space as is, later down the road realize that I can’t and these quirky little things drive me bananas. I despise modern touches like vaulted ceilings, can lighting and other nuances that seem to be perks to other buyers and heavily advertised in home listings. That’s not to say I won’t or haven’t ever lived in a space with these items, their simply not what I would choose for myself and they definitely don’t add value from my standpoint. I’d rather head to the flea market and find a rusty little gem to spray paint and pop on the ceiling. I love the idea of designing a space from scratch.
So have we found “the one”? Heavens to Betsy, I don’t know. It’s a nice blend of old and new. It sparkles and has lots of land. But there’s always the nagging thought in the back of my mind that perhaps I should loosen my purse strings and purchase the 1875 farmhouse that we originally put an offer in on. We could polish her up and make her shine again. Or we can just keep on looking, we’re not being kicked out of our current home, yet. Or perhaps the best option out there has yet to be listed. Value can be measured in many ways, I’m just trying to figure out which increment we’re going to use.