When we started looking for houses in Big Rapids we quickly found what we were sure was the perfect house. It needed some updating and wallpaper removal, but it wasn’t too overwhelming and there was a ton of charm hiding just beneath the surface. I was certain with a little sweat and creativity this could become our dream home.
Then we did a little number crunching and realized how much equity it was going to take to make this fantasy a reality. And once you added that to the asking price, we realized that it just didn’t make sound financial sense. We’d most likely never recoup that money upon selling and the current owners wouldn’t budge. We walked away.
Months and months of more searching. Winter was quickly approaching and very few new houses were being added to the realestate market. In my perfect world, there was a two story old farmhouse with handcarved woodwork, crown moldings, original hardwood floors, an old claw foot tub, a grand staircase and woodburning fireplace, on a couple acres of land. It would be rustic yet charming and was just sitting there waiting for someone like me to come along and wipe off the dust. I am drawn to anything cottage style, farmhouse chic, I find craftsman style very appealing and I could even see myself in something from the Victorian era. But as reality was calling, I would settle for anything built prior to 1960 and was even considering some 70s options. This elusive country home simply didn’t exist.
In all our searching, I never saw a single home with with my dreamy white painted cabinets . It was only an hour away from our other house but it felt like a whole different world. The amenities being bragged about in home listings were things that made me shutter when walking into a house. The term “updated” took on a whole different meaning and it almost felt like I was in a time warp. Things like granite countertops seemed like a pipe dream. And I fear that no one cherished anything original from an early 1900s home.
We wanted to embrace country life but it was seeming more and more like we were going to move into a modular home to do so or compromise by settling for a historic downtown home in a college town. There were some 70s chalets and a couple options in between but nothing felt like home.
For five months my husband commuted an hour each way to and from work and I began feeling like a single mom. Blizzards and long days meant he would often stay in Big Rapids for days at a time and it was a pretty dismal period of time. Not to mention that our house sold within 48 hours of being placed on the market, so much faster than we ever anticipated and the pressure was on.
I realize that last sentence could be interpreted as though we settled. And maybe there’s a small part of us that did. But when purchasing a house there’s more to consider than just dream qualities and aesthetic features. There’s availibity on the market, money, location and if you don’t act quickly enough, you will miss out. I get knots in my stomach just thinking about it. Not only did we need to consider the ultra picky tastes desired by a designer (ugh, me), we also had to consider the function and design for our family – number of bedrooms, play space, kitchen (I’m married to a chef after all), storage, the property and the list goes on and on.
So when this house popped onto the market, it had potential. My sister’s reaction really hit the nail on the head, “it’s really nice, but it doesn’t look like Shelby.” She was so right. I’m not an espresso cabinet and tile floor type of of girl. I like soft lines and airy colors. But I know how to paint a wall and everything in this 1950s ranch was brand spanking new and the idea of not having to completely gut a bathroom or kitchen to make it liveable was extremely appealing. The previous owners did a really great job of remodeling and put a ton of care into the space, I just wish they would have consulted with me on a few of the finishing details ????.
So here we are. I’m learning to love this home. I do love the property and little by little I’m adding my mark and customizing little pieces along the way.
Picture from last fall, by Katie Grace Photography. I promise to share a few pictures of our new home in the near future, but if you need a refresh of my “style” you can see our previous home tour here here and here.