...because home doesn't happen overnight.
03.31.11 / Not Enough

We’re in the process of downsizing.  Which means our current home is for sale and we’re on the hunt for our next.  Every once in a while, I like to share a home that we’ve looked at along the way. Today is one of those ‘every once in a while’s’, so let’s go house hunting!

We toured this lil’ charmer several weeks back and continue to reminisce about it.  It was a 2-story home built in 1930 that had been completely renovated.  This is the view of the living room upon entering the front door.

Can you say character?  With the fireplace {gas but inoperable}, ceiling beams, and original windows and hardwoods, it was hard not to adore this quaint space.  Here’s the view looking back toward the front door {to the right} and stairway.

Isn’t all the restored woodwork amazing?!  With the configuration of the room’s features – fireplace, front door, stairway, dining room doorway – I knew right away furniture placement would be tricky and tight.  Right off the living room was a decent sized dining room that probably would have doubled as an office.

Notice all the original windows.  Glorious.  Especially when they let light stream onto those gleaming floors.  The dining room led to the totally remodeled eat-in kitchen.  The door way joining the dining room and kitchen was of standard width but Handy Hubby said he would want to widen it another 8″ or so to open it up more.

You know I love white kitchens, but Handy Hubby and I both agreed that we would have left these cherry cabinets as-is.  They really warmed up the room {with all the stainless steel and ceramic tile going on} and were of great quality.  We probably wouldn’t have picked out the laminate countertops ourselves but they weren’t awful…very doable…meant to look like a solid surface countertop.  And I absolutely loved all the windows – 3 in total – and the glass paned door leading to the backyard.  They let in tons of natural light.  We were smitten with the island, too…sink, faucet, dishwasher, two-tiered top and all.

We probably would have changed out the pendant lights and upgraded the refrigerator at some point.  But all-in-all, we were very impressed with the kitchen considering the age and size of the home.  Off the kitchen {back by the refrigerator} and down a flight of stairs was a small, clean, unfinished basement with a space for a washer and dryer.  Sorry, guys, no pics of that.  The second floor included 3 small bedrooms and 1 full bath along with more hardwoods and original windows.  {That’s right, folks, only one bathroom in the whole house and it was upstairs.}  I pictured this being Layne’s bedroom and somehow turning that little alcove into a reading nook…the kid loves to read.

I love bathrooms that have their own windows!  Don’t ask me why, but one of my favorite details of the entire house was this built-in for added storage.  Darling.

The backyard was teeny {the entire lot was 0.15 acres}, housing a detached 2-car garage, concrete turn around, and storage shed.

Overall, we left this place feeling pretty happy about it.  It was cozy with tons of original character throughout.  From what we could tell with our own eyes {we never had an official inspection done}, it looked like a house we could move right into {after a lot of purging} and just start living in.  It was located in an excellent school district and nearer to Handy Hubby’s work than any of the other homes we had looked at.

However…{there’s always a but}…

We were concerned about the immediate neighborhood.  While the location in general was great {close to HH’s work, great public schools, good eating, good shopping, etc}, the house was very close to a section of town devoted to rental properties.  {The schools are so good in the area that there’s a huge rental market.  Parents who can’t afford to buy a home in the district will rent just so their children can attend the premier school.}  Not that we have anything against renters; in fact, we’ve considered taking the landlord route someday waaaay in the future.  But, typically, nearby rentals limit the selling power of private residences.  And this house was located on a busy, busy, four-lane road.  It was nearly impossible to make a left turn out of the driveway, and I wouldn’t have trusted my kids to play in the front yard.  We would have gotten a lot of street noise…especially since the house still had many of the original, non-insulated windows.  Not to mention the neighbors on either side were right there.  Not a lot of privacy happening.

Another con was the size of the home.  The images above are all via the realtor, so everything is stretched to make the house and yard look bigger than it really is in person.  It was just over 1,200 square feet and the bedrooms were itty bitty with almost zilch closet space.  I’m all for paring down and living with only what we need, but we thought we’d need more closet space than this house provided.  More than likely, we would have had to replace many of our current, main furniture pieces with smaller, more-to-scale pieces.  Now, that was kind of a plus for me.  Thrifting and shopping, yay!  But Handy Hubby really enjoys his leather sectional and plasma TV, and I’d hate for him to give them up if he didn’t have to. {But, man, I could do so much better design-wise without those big, dark pieces.  Compromise, Dana.  You’re not the only one living in the house.}  I was fine with having only one bathroom to clean, but Handy Hubby would have liked at least another half bath.

Finally, the thing we had the problem with the most was the remodeling.  Yeah, can you believe that?  It wasn’t that the owner had done a shoddy job or anything.  In fact, from what we could tell without a formal inspection, the work seemed solid.  But the finishes – while quite nice – weren’t really our style…the cherry cabinets, the laminate countertops, the ceramic tile in the kitchen and bathroom, the bathroom fixtures and some of the lighting fixtures.  Sure, they could have been replaced but the home was already near the top of our budget, so we wouldn’t have had any $$$ left to change any of that stuff.  We would have been left feeling like we were living in someone else’s house.  After all, we’re not above getting down and dirty to make a house our home.  Just moving in, plopping furniture down, and slapping some paint on the walls sounded, dare I say?, boring.  I know.  ‘Be careful what you wish for.’

In the end, we didn’t put an offer in on this house.  We found it to be not enough for us.  Not enough space.  Not enough storage.  Not enough privacy.  Not enough yard.  Not enough $$ left for making it ours. Damn, we’re picky.

If you’d like to read more about our house hunting adventures, check out these past posts:

Um, No.

Too Much

The One That Got Away

images:  all via Timothy Chupka for Sibcy Cline


Oh, I can definitely see the charm! I do love older homes. I hear you about the size though… we looked at some older ones than ours (1960) and the closets were almost nonexistant. Were the doors skinnier or shorter? We ran into that too. It’s darling (I love the potential reading nook!), but I can see that you’re definitely thinking things through and a busy road is a no-go for me.


Wow, what a gorgeous house! I wish you bought the house just because I wanted to see what you’d do with it. :)


I love American houses, they seem so different to the ones we have over here but I just have to say that the back garden is so NOT teeny! That’s double what a lot of houses have over here!


Oh, the things you could do with that porch! 1 bath, though, that’d be tough.

I wouldn’t be too worried about rentals…we have a few rental properties on our street, and they are all rented by families with kids about your kids’ ages…most are saving up to buy…

You’ll find “the one”, sometimes you have to see what wouldn’t work to know what will!


Thanks for sharing the pictures of the house. It does look very charming which I love but I agree with the points you made. Our craftsman house has 1.5 bath and we are so glad we got a house with a half bath. While you could always add a half bath in the future you can’t get rid of street noise. Good luck as your search continues at least from this end it is fun to see the houses.


Carole – Like I said, we have nothing against renters. We’ve even thought of becoming landlords someday. But this area of town didn’t just have a few rental homes…it was saturated…they were entire apartment buildings…they were big…and there were lots of them. One right after the other. Blocks and blocks. This home and the two houses on either side were some of the very few private residences. It just wasn’t what we’d had in mind, so the search continues!


Isn’t it funny how tiny closets can kill a home? We had those issues while searching as well. At least you aren’t settling though – keep searching until you find the one you can’t let go!


that is quite different from our area (the rentals on our street are all single family homes), so I definitely appreciate your concerns, especially coupled with a busy street. A lot of the people on our street are older, so I’m happy to have the young families around (college fund babysitting for our tween&teen)!


The Peach Chablis – I’m not exaggerating when I say there were tiny closets. I wish I had pics to back me up. There was one closet in each bedroom and I think the largest one was probably 2’x2′. The rooms were small too, so after putting a bed in each that would’ve left very little room for any other furniture to store clothing, linens, etc. The only other closet was on the first floor at the bottom of the stairway…a small coat closet. Maybe 2’x3′. There would have been a lot of stuff crammed in the unfinished basement, for sure!


Wow, I can visualise just how small those rooms must be as we live in a 2 bedroomed cottage that is 1184 square feet and it’s very small !! Happy hunting – I love house hunting and going to open homes – not sure what you call them there. Here in New Zealand they’re called Open Homes, while I noticed that in Australia they’re called Open To View. You can be a sticky beak and pick up some good ideas at the same time – perfect!


Glennie – Open Homes, huh? Here in the States we call them Open Houses. And Open To View in Australia? Very interesting. I never thought about what they were called internationally. Love it! Anyone else have other names for what Open Houses are called in different parts of the world??


Hi Dana, Anne from Sydney Australia here. We call them Open Houses or Open For Inspections down here. We’ve just finished the whole house hunting catastrophe (wondering what the heck to do on Saturdays now). Oh the art of compromise is a wondrous thing. It’s amazing what looking at the wrong house can teach you about what you want. And even how seeing what looks like a place that ticks all the boxes can show you that what you thought was important to you isn’t or vice versa. We made a list (as I’m sure you have) of desirable features eg. a view and deal breakers eg. must have 2 toilets etc. This list changed over the time we were looking. In the end we picked the perfect house on an imperfect (small) block. Land is at an absolute premium in this part of Sydney. So not much yard but great parks and beaches within walking distance. Love your blog, looking forward to following your travels! Best of luck.


Hello Dana,
Even when you downsize, it is so important to have adequate storage. After all, we’re 21st century families and it is hard to squeeze us into older homes that have too few closets and little or no storage. Been there, done that. We downsized from a 3200 sq. ft. home to a l00 year old farmhouse with 1 token closet under a staircase. Our one and only bathroom was tiny and haphazardly added off the kitchen. Five years later, we now have 2 full baths and a modest amount of closet space. The old bathroom off the kitchen has been converted a much needed and very appreciated pantry. Our renovation road with this house has been long, costly, and often inconvenient. You are so wise to carefully consider your need for adequate sq. footage and storage before making the plunge. Even if it means passing on a perfectly adorable house. In our case, we bought our property and the old farmhouse came with it, as is, along with a 100 yr. old barn and corn crib. For historical integrity, we decided to salvage the farmhouse and make it our home! The key to making it work is to learn to live with less. Wishing you all the best on your downsizing quest and hold out until you find a house that is “just right”!


Denise – Your farmhouse sounds lovely. Kudos to you for saving it! I think your house hunting advice is just great. I really am looking forward to living with less…less space to care for, less stuff to put in closet and never see again, and less mortgage. Thanks so much for your comment!

oh, cute! What an adorable house! I would have wanted it too… I love old houses! Smart thinking about the busy street though, that’s too bad. Good luck with your future house hunts and thanks for sharing them! I’m a perpetual house hunter, so it’s fun to live vicariously through your house hunting posts!


When I first started reading this post I swore you were in my neighborhood, (I figured that while I’m in Ohio too, up here in the northeast would be a little bit of drive for the Handy Hubby). My boyfriend and I bought a 1928 craftsman style 1,100 sqft, 3-bedroom / 2 bath house a little more than a year ago. While we got lucky and have decent closet space in our bedrooms, plus newer windows, I worry that when we start adding to our family we’ll outgrow it very quickly. I couldn’t imagine having two boys in that space! If we do have to upgrade, I will sure miss the older details, like original hardwood floors and 8 in. baseboards.

I can’t wait to see what you guys end up buying! I love your style, and am sure that whatever you buy, you’ll make it amazing! Good luck!