16 Mar

House Hunting

My newly established blogging rhythm has faltered a bit of late. It’s because hubby and I went to Portland, OR for a week to find a house. He is now officially retired from the Army and we have chosen Portland as our permanent home.

We’ve been visiting the area for years and really like it. This last visit felt very comfortable (in no small part to my “Quilt Aunt” Terry and the many more friends we have made like Gerrie too!). This is our very first time buying a house, and we appreciated the wisdom of friends and family to guide us.

House hunt

We discovered a lot during this hunt. We went into it with the parameters of a budget, a size (three bedrooms and a space for a studio), and several school districts. We soon found out that it can be hard to know when you’ve found your dream house when you really have no idea what your dream house consists of — and when you know you can make pretty much anything work. 20 years of assigned housing will do that to a person.

So, as much as we really would love to live in a cute Craftsman style cottage, a view to the floor below between the risers and treads on the stairwell was just too much project for us (not to mention all the other structural renovations needed would have blown our budget by half before we could even move in). That pink sink surround looks adorable, but let me tell you the rest of the room was a mess. Also, photos make things look better. The rooms that looked decrepit in person, actually don’t look half bad in photos — like that yellow kitchen and beautifully staged living room. But they came with evidence of a leaky roof, rotted siding and a few holes in walls. That scary bathroom with the press board and red tape in the corner was part of the same cottage with the stairwell view, though it was adorable from the outside. Many homes were just too small for us, and one was on a busy street with no parking. I couldn’t abide the move in ready house in the planned community way out in the suburbs, even though it was walkable to the MAX train. In the end, we discovered that our parameters landed us pretty solidly in one particular school district and 70s ranch house neighborhoods. The giant white tile kitchen that screamed jello molds and canap├ęs was tempting, but the house had rooms in odd places, and backed up to a freeway. We almost made an offer on the house with the vaulted ceiling, super 70s entryway, and basement wet bar (partaay!), but the bedrooms and baths seemed tight to me. In the end, we chose a place that has a central location, more space than we expected, and a great view (not to mention a price tag that allowed for immediate renovation of the bathroom held together with masking tape and toilet paper). Our fingers are crossed that the dream house we are imagining lies under the masses of furniture, wallpaper, and debris of slovenly tenants really is there.

We’ll be moving this summer when the kids get out of school. If this house deal goes through, brace yourselves for lots of before and after photos on the blog.

4 thoughts on “House Hunting

  1. I look forward to seeing the before and afters. I’m in the thick of renovations myself after a dispiriting home search.

  2. Congratulations on taking a huge leap! We bought a 70’s ranch 8 years ago – including avocado shag carpeting, tiny windows and a circular staircase in the middle of the living room. We bought it for the location and are glad we did. We did a major renovation since it had hardly any insulation and love it now.
    Portland is a great city and there are so many wonderful art quilters there. Thank you and Art for your service and sacrifices.

  3. How exciting! I’d wondered where when you said our coast. Our son is in Tigard and likes it a lot, love the schools. Bet you are going to have the most fabulous art/quilt community. House hunting for former military is interesting. We do spend a lot of years making interesting places home, one of my military wife skills I am very proud of. Congratulations and good luck with getting the house.

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