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.
(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.
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....
...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!