::Trying to Keep the Faith::

Well, we saw it.

And, dear readers, it was plain awful.  

In the eeewwww-awful-est sense.

We learned upon entering, after maneuvering around a ripped up filthy sofa in the middle of the breezeway, that it was a bank owned/short sale.  Which explains the low price for that area and the extreme yukkiness we met as we toured the home.  Including space heaters as they'd turned the heat off.
Clearly these owners wanted to make it hard for the bank to kick them out.

(all pics are from the listing....it wasn't this clean when we walked thru)

(what you can't see in this pic is crooked cabinet doors, layers-upon-layers of grease on the stove, and peeling laminate floors that sit 3 inches above the hardwood in the ajoining rooms)

I kept heart and continued walking thru, noticing horrible paint jobs, dried spaghetti sauce on the cabinets, a sink full of dirty dishes, broken doors.....and a miserable looking dog just outside licking the door begging to be let in.  (*please see update about the dog at bottom of the post)

We steadied ourselves  while tiptoeing down to the basement using cellphones as flashlights since there was no power down there, which revealed walls covered in graffiti and tacky strings of lights.
Dirty laundry all over the floor.  Musty, dirty smell.

(One of two decent rooms, this dining room passes muster except for a slip-shod job with the molding and some cracks in the ceiling plaster)

Upstairs we braced ourselves against the onslaught of ickness we faced...yet still trying to remain positive.  There had been water damage to the wood floor just outside the bathroom, creeping insidiously under the new-ish tile floor.  The stairs had been treated to a half-a-- job of refinishing, wallpaper was half painted, banister hanging by a thread.  Closets painted closed.  Beds unmade, clothing (including men's underwear) thrown around.....and cold...the whole house was freezing cold.  
And it had begun to wind it's slinking tendrils around my heart.

(the living room was also decent, but that mantle is barely connected to the brick and they drilled into the brick to hang the big black eye)

My daughter's FIL is a police officer, and mentioned the owner was a mean man, and had been arrested a few times.  There was a messy divorce.  I'd say Mean Man had taken his frustration out on the house via sheer neglect.  I saw signs of a loving homemaker's touches here and there....but just shadows.  Even in foreclosure, a woman would never let people walk thru her home in that state.  My guess is that no woman lived there now, and hadn't lived there in awhile.

(just out of the shot, but a bit noticeable is the graffiti SPRAYPAINTED all over the ceiling and walls of this boy's room...just like in the basement...the hardwoods upstairs were in terrible shape.)

Hubs then noticed the pool hadn't been winterized.
Just frozen over with black moldy leaves stuck in the ice. 

These folks just ran.outta.money.  

(this room has great potential, so long as you can make it up the nasty staircase to get there.)

The house reverberated with tension, silent cursing, and signs of outright rage.
It was stiff, leary, holding its breath. The air was heavy, and the place was bone-tired.  

We left the place dejected and outraged that someone could be so cruel to such a beautiful home.  
I had lost hope I'd ever find a house so perfect, then there it was, and the pictures were so deceiving.... WHY OH WHY did it have to be so trashed?!

I sensed Hubs just didn't want to go down the 'fix it up' road again.  He couldn't shake the awful feeling he got walking thu it.  He couldn't envision it's potential, and worried about all the repairs...horribly disappointed.

I withdrew into myself, came home and got busy doing other stuff that needed done with a lump in my throat, fighting hard to cling to that newly recovered trust in my cottage instincts.  It was hard.  

It's still hard, folks.

(Tiniest room at 10 X 8....no door, just hanging beads)

I arose early this morning with THAT HOUSE on my heart.  It truly had everything I wanted.  Even a corner sink, for goodness  sake!  I kept thinking if it was all cosmetic, if the bones of the home were still ok, we could hire out any work that needed done....even the cleaning as the price is so far below what we were considering previously.  

(this room looked like the owner had just threw back the covers and jumped outta bed...junk laying on the bedside tables, shoes nearby.)

Talked with hubby about it....took a drive thru the neighborhood and those surrounding it, even called on a for-sale-by-owner nearby.  We decided to continue to work on our house, keep our eyes peeled (and our friends' eyes peeled) for newly listed homes, and....

(didn't even make it onto the front porch, but doesn't it look like it has great potential?)

 ...called a contractor we know to walk thru THAT HOUSE with us on Monday.  :)

I feel I can't let it go til I get some straight facts....is it structurally sound and how much and how long to bring it up to my (very reasonable) living standards?

I had hoped we'd get a definite feeling one way or the other when we saw the house.  I leaned in hard to my gut, turned my inner ear to my heart, tried to see it as 'my house'.

Instead I got a jumble of 'yikes' and 'oh! there's beadboard ceiling in here!' and 'ok, um, no.' and 'ooooo there's buildins!'  Reading my feelings was like reading chinese.  
In the dark.

(at least there's granite counters, custom shaker cabinets, and all the appliances stay)

Hubs just got more agitated the longer we stayed.  His dark mood affected mine, as I'm the eternal optimist when it comes to crappy homes.  Though even I was overwhelmed with the work that would need to be un-done before we could even start getting the fun stuff done making it look all cozy-cottagey.

(other side of the kitchen behind the bar stools.)

But oh my heart.  My heart has to follow the emotional trail until we hit a brick wall.  And a dirty house with shoddy work isn't a brick wall.  A broken foundation would most definitely be a brick wall. Literally.

  And I figure the least we could do for the poor house is give it a fair shake during daylight hours wearing     down coats and knit hats, armed with flashlights and someone who knows what they're talking about. Yeah?

So the saga continues, even as we walk thru some open houses tomorrow.  None old, most too far out of town to please me, but just honing my instincts.  And it will help get my mind off THAT HOUSE until we visit again on Monday.

I'm ready for the game to just be freakin' over, but evidently I haven't played my whole hand yet, and I can't deal with the regret of folding without seeing my opponent's hand.  I'll call his bluff for now.  I'm holding a full house of vision, ingenuity, and cold hard cash.

And honestly, I don't want Mean Man to win.  

That house deserves better.  It deserves a cottage chick with loving hands, experience listening to what a house really wants to be, and respecting it's integrity.

That chick just may not be me.  If it comes to that, I'll fold graciously, knowing there's something even better just around the corner.

And besides, Robyn Rose has faith in my cottage instincts.  She told me so.

*Edited to add: I've received some comments/emails/fb comments about the dog.  Yes, he looked pitiful, and yes I wanted to let him in.  No he didn't look abused, maybe he was scared of us?  He also had one of those strap-on blanket dog coats on, so I don't think he was cold.  He was fat and groomed.  He just looked sad to me, and seemed to match the mood of the house.  If I see signs of actual abuse on Monday; I will report it.  I love how tenderhearted my readers are!


Anonymous said...

Sorry the home was in terrible shape, but most bank owned are. I am upset about the dog....someone needs to report this abuse. Hope you do...vera

Sharlotte said...

I am so with you...always looking for the good things and trying {very hard} to overlook the bad. Here's my suggestion for what it's worth...listen carefully to what your professional says Monday and get some real numbers as far as costs for repair. Think about the time factor too and whether you and hubs can hire or do the work yourselves.
On the other hand, it sounds like your heart is already sold on this lovely home and yes, I think it's calling your name!
Keep us posted!

HeatherF1 said...

I am always looking for our next house.The problem is that when you need to be in a certain area for schools, it tends to limit the houses. Then trying to time everything. Anytime I find something with potential in my price range it sells right away.The side of town we are in doesn't really have old homes with character, which I love. So my 70's house with the added bead board, built ins, etc. are probably the closest I will get for awhile.
I think when it comes to houses it is safest to say, "if it is meant to be, it will happen."
Good luck. And if this isn't the one, hopefully another one will show itself to you.

JunkStuffTreasures said...

What a disappointment. Perhaps, it will work out... eventually, you WILL find the right home for your family. Thanks for the dog update- imagine how that pup feels living with "mean man." Poor thing.

Sue @ A Colourful Canvas said...

I think you are doing the right thing in bringing in a contractor to get a better idea of the bricks and mortar condition of the house.

It feels as though there is a lot of negative karma going on in that home. That can and should be cleared before you move in...well if you move in. Personally, I think the feel of a home is more important than the look of a home. It seems as though you are feeling some of its goodness. If at all possible, talk to a next door neighbour. That might be your biggest aha as to whether this might be a future home for you. What am I saying? I'm sure you know all this Cindy.

Good Luck, and can't wait to hear how things progress.

Monica Adair said...

Changes can be made. You can make it your own. If it's in the area you want, has the square footage you want, and speaks to your heart, I say "Go for it!"

Cathy Cobblestone said...

Just pray about it and have faith -if it is meant to be yours - it will - and if it does become your home - you WILL make it beautiful 'cause that is what you do. Don't get discouraged - it will work out the way it is supposed to! Good luck!

Okio B Designs said...

I can't wait for your report on Monday! We've been in that boat before. Going back and forth on moving out of NY or staying. Looked at some houses that looked stunning on the internet, only to find they were woefully lacking when we got there. I hope the contractor has good news for you. If the bones are good, everything else will fall into place.


Jennifer said...

We did the exact same thing and looked at a similar house. It didn't have the potential that yours has though! I can see why you can't get it off your mind! Can't wait to see what Monday brings!

Jacqueline~Cabin and Cottage said...

Wow! I'm all knotted up for you. But you should be able to learn a lot on your next visit. What will be will be. Nice to see you about again! Crossing my fingers for you!

Fibro Fog and More... said...

I am really anxious to hear how Monday goes! The pictures of the house look like there is SO MUCH potential!! A few years ago, we were looking for a home in a new area. What I had in my mind and the house that spoke to me were so far apart!! We worked and worked on that house, loving it every step of the way. It turned into one of my very favorites homes!! Every room was exactly what I wanted!! My husband and I had always planned to build our "dream home" and when it came time to do that, we were very torn. We did go ahead and build a beautiful home in which we now live but we will never forget just how great that little house was! The young couple that bought the home from us moved right in and it was so rewarding for them to tell me just how much they loved every room! Good luck to you with your house. I can't wait to hear!!

lala said...

Oh, how my heart goes out to you. I know from experience the jumble of emotions you are going through. I will tell you that if it is structurally sound, and everything else is simply cosmetic - go for it. My husband could not see past the filth, destruction and ugliness of a home I fell in love with, but I could - and with lots of arguing, crying and pleading I finally convinced him. With just new paint (walls had to be chemically cleaned by professionals), flooring and decor, it became the house we loved the most. Trust in your heart, instincts and a good house inspector. I wish you luck and praying it all works out for you & family.

Tina said...

I see what I think you are seeing with potential here and there. I know what a journey it is to find a home. How sad people let homes go downhill like this. We did benefit from a lousy previous owner and after quite a bit of work this passed year, I think we have a gem. Blessings on your decisions. I'm sure the right one (or maybe this one) will present itself to you.

Susan said...

I agree with you. You can't let it go until you've hit the brick wall. Filth can be washed away. We bought a simalar house and I feel for us we made the right decision. It got us in the area that we wanted in a house we wanted, within our price range. Repairs can be made as you are able to do them. But take my advice and at least hire a full cleaning by a professional cleaning service before you move in, if you decide to go for it. Its soooo worth it.

Dana @ Cooking At Cafe D said...

I'm so glad you're going back to really get the "down and dirty" on the house. Paint, floors, and other things are do able. Structure, of course is different.

Who knows. Perhaps it's in your future. Perhaps not. But, yes, more info, from an expert, can only help :)


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