Our House: Buying The Before

That’s Our House. Or as John Mulaney says, that’s the bank’s house, but they let us keep our stuff there. Despite this bit of technicality, that is Our House, and I love it. I loved it from the first time I stepped foot in it. Which according to John, my John, was part of the problem.

He wasn’t wrong. I had fallen in love with other houses all from the safety of my Zillow app, only to find them too small, too old, or just too much work. We had looked at some cute 1930’s bungalows for a while but then realized that these bungalows were not created for 6’4″ men. So I decided to take a chance on a 1960’s ranch. I looked at the pictures on my phone over and over, determined not to fall in love with it. I even told John as I went to meet our relator, “I will not love this house. I am hardening my heart.”

Spoiler alert: I did. I really did. I loved the hostas by the front door. I loved the hardwood floors. I loved the imperfect but charmingly dated kitchen. Most of all I loved the house I could see in my vision.

The problem with falling in love so easily with frogs is that your husband doesn’t believe you when you say this one is a prince.  So, it takes some effort to get him to go see it. (He loves it too by the way. He just doesn’t want to spend more than a year’s salary all at once.) And after weeks and weeks of pushing him (he’d be the first to admit that he doesn’t like change OR spending money) we agree to buy our house for just under $87,000. (A deal for a 3 bedroom, 1 and a half bath house if you ask me.)

It takes almost 2 months to close. And in that 2 months I looked at the real estate pictures of Our House like magic eye puzzles, searching ever pixel for clues about what to expect when we find when finally move in, gleefully planning out my designs and DIY plans.

Here’s the living room.  I knew I was going to turn that one alcove into some kind of library. And I wanted to create more coverage for that big picture window. John and I are probably one of the few people who would prefer smaller windows, and this house has two big picture windows.  I also knew that I wouldn’t put my tv above the fireplace. I’ve always felt weird about lighting a fire under electronics.

Taking a right from the living room we have our dining room. I knew that I wanted to one day enclose the screened in porch, just outside that second picture window, to become a four seasons room/art studio. So one day, I’d like to turn that window into some darling midcentury double doors.  For now though, I knew we needed both a place to eat and a playroom. So that became the plan.

The kitchen. The kitchen was the room I was most excited about. Sure it was the room that needed the most work but just look at that adorable oven. It was in near mint condition. And the cabinets were strong. The pulls, although located in the wrong spot on the cabinet doors, were made of copper. There were built in shelves around the fridge and frankly, just an absurd amount of potential for an adorable vintage kitchen. (There also was, still is, an ugly fluorescent light that I plan to tear down with impunity one day. But not yet.)

There’s a laundry room/closet, half bath, and back door all in about ten square feet behind the kitchen wall with the dishwasher. BUT the half bath has a really adorable pocket door that all the female members of my family love. John says that pocket doors aren’t anything special. We say he is wrong.


There is another pocket door off the kitchen across from the foyer. There were no real estate pictures of the foyer so I had to rely on my memory for those. Which meant that there could have been anything over there but I was pretty sure there was some exposed brick from the fire place and a little bench seat of some kind. (There wasn’t any brick but there was a bench seat, that had some of the original vinyl tile inside. Most likely asbestos so that will be staying there forever. Fortunately, it’s a cute seat.)

The three bedrooms. I know that they’ll be my husband’s office, our bedroom and the Little Prince’s bedroom. It takes all of the two months and a few weeks in the house to decide which is which. (From the pictures I decided that those lighting fixtures must be awful plastic but I am delighted to find out that they are the original mid century glass. I still haven’t decided if I dig them but they’ll do for now.)

Then there is the full bath. You can’t see it but there is a lovely vintage cast iron tub behind that outdoorsy moose curtain (which I replaced with a midcentury style gray weave curtain immediately. It was on clearance. Score. I also painted the yellow cream walls a very light gray-white to offset the peach tub and sink. The sink— is a nightmare. So, I will eventually replace it. But at the time of my photo obsession, I found its midcentury utility adorable.)

And finally, our screened in porch. One day, I want to make it into a four season room and then my art studio. (But that’s a “One day” list item for sure. Right now, the porch is mostly full of the baby’s toys.)

Of course, when we did finally move in there were things I found I didn’t like. The paint jobs were occasionally rough and there were some hidden surprises (like the bathroom sink not working very well.) But I still love it. It’s my second favorite prince, after the Little Prince of course. And I can’t wait to spend the next 30 years (if the bank is right) making it our dream home (between our budget and my ADD is might actually take that long.)

Seriously, I can’t wait.

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