She Was Lost

For years, I’ve been looking for a house. We had out grown our previous house many years and several kids ago. On my tippy toes, I could touch the ceilings upstairs. We were literally bursting at the seams.

We wanted to stay close to everything and everyone we know and love and the activities that make up our lives. We needed better school options for our kids who choose to use them. We needed to be near ‘Ethan’s life’ which included being 3/4 of a mile off a pubic bus route in order to ever utilize Access Link and near his beloved day program. There was Dennis’ job to consider. We needed So. Much. Space. We needed bedrooms and bathrooms – and a lot of them! We dreamed of a two car garage and space for my mom. Stay tuned, as our family delves into intentional, multi-generational living.

We’ve seen a ton of houses, each with their unique assets and definite drawbacks. The price points where we live are very high and discouraging. Taxes can be prohibitive. Attempting this move has been frustrating and exhausting at times. Like most house searches (that include a budget) something has to give.

I thought from reading the listing of Brook House, it was very close to all we could ask for. I looked at every house that came close to my crazy specifications just in case there were hidden assets or magical extra rooms. I went alone as Dennis was on an adventure with Sean.

I walked into the Open House at the same time as another couple. After about a minute, I heard the woman exclaim, ‘Oh, hell no.’ They left shortly after. Her comment was in response to the copious amounts of dirt and the sheer volume of tragic cosmetic issues. I know. Everyone says “It’s just cosmetic”. That would come back to us in the coming weeks.

We confirmed with the previous owner/builder (not the people who destroyed it) that this rug was circa 1978

I am not gifted at looking past certain things, but I really could see the good bones in this one. The spaces were generous and flowing. The first floor was practically elegant. The kitchen was at least giant, if not filthy. A huge, luxury Theramador range was tucked away in a corner – covered in a thick layer of grease, along with every other surface in the kitchen.

I found an extra room and then a bonus room and stairs up to plenty of bedrooms. I kept finding more space and more horrible dirt and grime. I wandered, counted, measured and inspected. The closer I got, the worse the dirt became. But I overlooked it. When I opened what I thought was a closet in the family room and found a stairway I was surprised. The realtor admitted that she knew very little about the house, as it was a bank sale. I hoped to never get involved in a bank sale.

Secret Stairway

That’s when I found my magical rooms. My mom’s space materialized like the Room of Requirement I am so fond of in Harry Potter. Other than the obvious ‘cosmetic’ challenges, it was exactly the space she had been describing that she needed for herself and I kept explaining was not going to be an option – houses in our area just weren’t constructed with these types of ‘in-law’ spaces and our price point would probably never allow for it. But it was there with all it’s 1980s carpets, lavender walls and filthy bathroom.

I exited through the two car garage hanging with cob webs and stinking of mildew, to walk the perimeter of the large, rectangular and very level yard. I needed to overlook the moss on the exterior of the house to see it. I had to look very closely.

But then I saw it. Yup, this is the one. I found it.

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