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The Right House

It has taken me almost exactly as long to get around to writing about the Right House, since I began this blog, as it took for us to find it this time last year. I know that I have no reason to complain of a six-week house search: it went lightning-fast for us, which is the reality of good real estate in this neighborhood. When we saw the email alerting us to a listing for an American Foursquare just blocks from our apartment, our realtor said, “That’ll go fast,” and arranged to take us to an open house the first morning it was on the market. We weren’t the only potential buyers there, either, among the realtors and the doughnuts. We even ran into friends.

The Right House in March 2010

The front door opens into a short, close hallway but three steps inside it opens into a central hall: a wide doorway frames a view of the living room fireplace; ahead lies the kitchen; and on the left an oak staircase climbs to a sunny landing. Almost overlooked, tucked between the front door and the stairs, is a small room lined with windows on two sides and built-in glass-fronted oak bookcases on the third. A local doctor built the house in the 1920’s, and the wee room was his waiting room. I stood beside a stack of children’s plastic blocks and gazed at the empty shelves, and said to B, “Let’s buy this one.”

Inexplicably, he still insisted on seeing the rest of the house.

But when he got to the attic he had the same reaction: the hipped roof kept the attic large and light (instead of the dark, oblong attics we’d seen before) and his first words were, “This will make a great office!”

Isn’t it odd how, with all our careful planning and our jaded outlook, we were sold on a couple of details? Oh, there were other things about the house that drew us in: it’s at once familiar and unexpected. It has all the stalwart charm of the typical American Foursquare, a stodgy appearance that projects solid, sensible dependability. It has the squared-off corners and geometric look of its kind, and the wide oak woodwork of its era. But it also has surprising details, like the waiting room, the shallow glass-doored pantry in the kitchen, the big window seat running the length of the dining room.

Despite our initial reactions, we didn’t accept the house lightly. After our prior experience, we were very, very careful about its condition; we spent a couple of hours there, that first morning, while B went over the basement with a fine-toothed comb and we rubbed our fingers in the new dark mildew on the attic roof. The house was not issue-free. But we knew that, in the absence of any big issue, it was the house for us. And we knew that if there WAS a big issue, we could back out. We’d done it before. We knew it was possible.

That very evening, we rounded up the asking price by $100 dollars and signed our offer.

By the time the owners actually received it, their realtor had three to show them. But ours was the first, and we’d rounded up — and now it’s our house. The Right House.

2 Responses to “The Right House”

  1. B says:

    It’s true; our list of essential features was thrown right out the window within 30 seconds of opening the front-door.

  2. Christine says:

    Congratulations! It looks like the perfect house.

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