Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Elephant in the room..................

Good morning everyone !!!

I should start this off by saying I have read every one of your comments - but I just don't have the time to reply to them - you're amazing - each and everyone of you - with your positive caring comments that you
almost lift me out of my complete panic and exhaustion and overwhelmation ( you all know that I love to invent words right?  AND overwhelmation should be a word don't you think?
You all lifted my spirits like you can't imagine.

We went yesterday to look at a few houses.....................and here's how it went
Remember the house on the river?

John gave it a big fat " Uh Uh - no way - fuggedaboudit "
I saw potential - but to be very honest with you it was in pretty rough shape and would be a complete gut and for all that it entailed it was definitely overpriced.

So we went to see the next one - but honestly we never went inside because it was right next to the highway
If John and I were having one of our " conversations " in the front yard, he could simply nudge me a little and throw me into traffic that's going 100 miles an hour.................

So off we went to the next one..............

John gave it a big fat " Uh Uh - no way - fuggedaboudit "
Again I saw potential - actually I saw a lot of potential because there was an unfinished basement in this one.
You see that tiny space between the garage and house?
That isn't as tiny as it appears and would be the most ideal little studio for me -
The house is tiny and quirky and I think I could make it absolutely adorable...................
( it's not fun  house hunting with some who has zero vision - I can tell you right now )

Ok - then off to this one which stole my heart........
I refuse to put an X through this one yet - it's tiny but there's room for expansion - we could definitely add a huge master bedroom to one side of it and the seller is very motivated - the photo does NOT do it justice because it's SO charming inside...........
But if this were John's blog he'd insist on an X through it as well

The only one John approved of - wanted - sees us living in is this one - LOVED actually  - is the one I'm about to show you - and here I'll show you all the photos so you can see for yourself and understand where he's leaning towards.
Before I do - I just want to say that it DOES have potential - it's just that it lacks charm completely ( well it has a very charming solarium - but that's where all charm starts and ends ) it's a cookie cutter house - a very typical suburban type home and nothing at all like what I've been picturing myself in.
You could do wonders with it - I have no doubt of that - but it's never going to be quirky - and how do you fit a quirky person into such a place?  There's no nooks and crannies - no little delightful surprises that you find in century old farmhouses - no dormer windows - just square rooms - with square windows - and perfectly even straight walls and even more perfect ceilings -
It's like trying to fit a circle into a square, don't you think?

I'm going to point out ( with half a heart really ) the positives here
( you've got to accentuate the positive ) 

I do like the fireplace - maybe even love it
and I do like the bow window

I really don't like the floors - at all -
but I'm trying to eliminate the negative 
and floors can be changed

I don't like the floor - and I don't like the counter tops  oops I forgot about eliminating the negative
Sooooooooooooo - it's an eat in kitchen - facing the back yard - and there's a ton of cupboards - and we're bringing our own appliances which I much prefer - and again we could change the floor and the countertops.

There are 3 good sized bedrooms - 2 of them have king sized beds in them
Here's the master

accentuate the positive ( I've never had a master bath - so even if it's small - this is HUGE for me )

and the last bedroom

and if I had to latch on to the affirmative
this would be what does it for me - ( and yes - the panelling would be painted - but you already know that, right? )

It also has a HUGE basement - unfinished so we could add value by finishing that I suppose - AND an immaculate garage - so there's tons of space where I could paint furniture from................and the back yard
is massive ( well massive for a city girl's standards anyway )
It's almost perfect - if only there weren't so may miles between almost and is

And that's where we stand as of Sunday night -

Tomorrow we're off to see these

Later on at home.
Suzan says - are you going to find something wrong with every house I see potential in ?
John says - not at all - I'm pretty easy
Suzan says - that's easy?  good grief John - you vetoed everything except the last one................
Suzan says - and you know what I can do - you've seen it - I've pulled rabbits out of hats.
John says - maybe so - but you can't pull an elephant out of one, now can  you?
Suzan says - now that may be the most ridiculous thing you've ever said.
Suzan says - it makes no sense at all
Suzan says - don't you know what the expression means?
John says - It MEANS that those homes will take more then a rabbit - there's huge work to be done
Suzan says -YOU'RE THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM!!!!!!!!!!!

This is going to be FUN FUN FUN guys - roll out the barrel...................
Out early tomorrow - probably back late
You all have a great Monday :)

You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium's
Libel to walk up on the scene
( in the form of an elephant I presume )

Much love,

Sharing with!
The Savvy Southern Style


  1. At the risk of annoying John, our present house is of the same type. Regular rectangular rooms, no nooks or crannies, no character. Over the years I have tried all sorts to try to give it that cozy feel, but failed. Consequently, although we have lived here longer than anywhere, it has never felt like 'home.' Boring box-shaped houses will be dismissed without consideration when we come to move.

  2. Well, it is pretty boring but you could charm the pants off an elephant (I am laughing as I typed that!) and at least the kitchen has white cupboards! New flooring would make a world of difference. I was looking at the view from the solarium. Is that space large enough for a charming workshop/studio to be built for you? You could start with a large, pre-fab storage shed and make it fabulous. I have seen it done. If the seller is really motivated, perhaps it would make it more easily affordable. You would have your space and John would have his traditional "safe" house. Good luck hunting today!!

  3. We looked at so many homes before we purchased. I wanted an executive home like I'd had in Palm Beach, hubby wanted man-cave space. I didn't get what I was looking for, but I like what I got, and hubby got a 6-room man cave, lolol. We're not handy and bought a huge fixer upper. There are STILL so many things that need fixed but we knew it was the right home for us, and it's always felt like that (still does today). Looking until it's right for you is totally worth the effort. So long as you don't kill each other in the process. :) GL!

  4. John is not a kindred spirit. He doesn't "get it," bless his heart. Whenever my husband and I looked at houses (and we looked for THREE YEARS), he would always say "we can add charm." Not the kind of charm I want. I feel ya, sister!

  5. Suzan,
    House hunting is never fun. Well actually it is fun unless you're under the gun and needing to find something now. I sure remember the days me and my hubby were house hunting, that's why we've built our last two homes. Nothing ever did fit us to a tee so it was easier to build. Oh, how I would love to build again but the hubs just gives me "the eye" every time I mention it...which has been a lot lately.
    Good luck on house hunting again today.

  6. I would be less than enthusiastic about John's pick. I am sure you could make it nice, but I am with you, I like a house with character. This is a very cute house here. Not sure what area you are looking in, but it is near the lake in Senneville.

    1. That's a very cute and charming house! Looks like something Suzan would like!

  7. Ugh... that sucks for you both, but I'm sure you'll find the home that you both can love. Good luck I hope today is successful!

  8. The joy of house hunting! It's not an easy task, for sure. I think we looked at about 20 houses before we finally settled on this one. I really like the home in that last photo. It looks very charming!

  9. No matter what home the two of you agree on I know you'll make it fabulous. Hopefully you'll find the one that just feels right the second you see it. Good luck today!

  10. Don't get too discouraged. The gem in the rough is waiting out there for you. I am sure.

  11. I think it is really cute. I know that wherever you land, you will paint and fix and make it amazing!

  12. I can see potential in it, Susan. My radar went up over only one thing. It has baseboard heat. Is it gas? Is it electric? That also means there is no way to install air conditioning (I don't know how important that is there) and it is also hard to place furniture because every piece has to stand about 3 or 4 inches away from the wall. Not so bad with sofas, etc., but not so good with wood pieces. Just a thought from a person that has moved into 15 different houses. - xo Diana

  13. Sometimes it's hard for me to see through the bad decorating and out of date stuff. But it sounds like you both know how to make things the way you want them. So location....and layout of the house will be most important! Enjoy your day! Hold hands! heehee!

  14. I love the size of the rooms and if the price is right wow could you work magic with this one, the lot seems really nice, I wouldn`t x this one out,

  15. I have the typical suburban ranch fixer upper....and it has been our family home for so many years....I would sell except!!! The yard. Over the years I have invested in plants and shrubs and they are my "babies" now that my children have flown off. I couldn't leave my yard. So while you are seeing the inside living space, I am envisioning all the potential you have in those houses - outside. And you got some beauties. Good luck deciding. When you are ready to plant...let me know. LOL

  16. Oh Suzan!! You can paint those parquet floors - just look at what Jessica did with hers! and you can rip down those overhead kitchen cabinets, too. I think the house that John likes would be a great challenge for you. :)

  17. This will not help you with your decision, but I feel it's important that I tell you that you have absolutely enchanted me with your tale so far. I am caught up in the drama and suspense. There has GOT to be a house out there with some personality that John can love. Conversely, I know you can add personality to any home, regardless.

  18. Although I think you can make something out of John's pick, you need to really love the house you choose to buy or you will forever be annoyed at it in some way. Keep looking, something will fit for both of you.

  19. Suzan, I know how difficult it is to find the right house - usually it's the one that feels like you are home the minute you walk in... As for this one - I see an awful lot of potential in it... You can always add charm and we know you are magical with adding charm... think of painting the floors, adding crown moldings, architectural design pieces, your doors, and shelves etc. I love the porch, the rooms look like they are good sized and that yard could be made so charming... but, in the end it's what feels good to you.... good luck on your hunting - take it one day at a time and don't let it overwhelm you.... think of it as a journey not a task.... can't wait to see what you decide on....Cathy

  20. It's not easy choosing a house, but with your talent, I bet you can turn any house into a dream!

  21. My only experience with living in a house I didn't like the looks of at all (because on the outside it looked like giraffe skin on steroids, but paint fixed it!!) was that it turned out to be my favorite house. So don't let some issues inside shutter your eyes from possibilities. You would make it feel like "home" and that could be such a good adventure, instead of struggling with fixing this and that all the time. You will find one that is perfect for both of you!♥♫

  22. I have no doubt you will find THE house :) its never easy trying to look for somewhere to live and imagine being able to call it home after you add lots of touches to it. good luck!!

  23. LOL, you and John sound like me and my Ern last January when we went through the same process looking to buy an older townhouse. Every last one we saw need SERIOUS work and he said nope to all...and the prices were GREAT!. But he started thinking about how much money they would need put into each, just to move in, and put his foot down on my awesome visionary side, lol. I am now so grateful because the one we bought had been gutted and remodeled and the minor things that I am changing are just cosmetic for our taste.

    That suburban home does have potential and will be wonderful with cosmetic changes. I can see that from way down here in Texas LOL!

  24. You have such a challenge on your hands. I don't think it's ever easy to house hunt, no matter what the budget one has.
    Mary Alice

  25. I SO feel your pain. We live in the Midwest where there are a MILLION (at least) lovely, quirky, beautiful old houses with big mature trees in the yards, but we live in a house that was built in 1995 and looks like it belongs in a suburb. It's actually quite a nice house inside, but it's new and there is no way it looks cute from the outside. (I've been doing my best to turn it into an English Cottage, in spite of that.)This is because husband won't take on an old house. Too much work. So, we've been working on this one non stop instead....sigh. Still, two things to note. I clean houses and so I've cleaned a bunch of old houses week after week and I have to say PLUMING and WIRING. There is something to be said for a newer house in those areas. Also, while I still grieve at not having an old house, and still wish I did, I'm making a lot of progress with this one. Just put in wood floor and a 1937 shorty claw foot in the bathroom, looks WONDERFUL! All the better for replacing that stupid, giant, jetted triangle thing surrounded by ugly white tile the house came with....
    I personally want an English Cottage more than anything, so this big suburban home on a country lot is turning into one, and husband is gradually growing a forest on what used to be a three acre LAWN outside, we probably have 100 baby trees now. You CAN make it what you want, more or less. Though, it would be easier if you were into mid century modern if you actually end up with the house pictured above. Good luck, please know you are not alone......

  26. Cosmetics can always be fixed. Make sure it is structurally sound and that the repairs to electrical and plumbing are not too bad, so that you have money to fix the ugly. Professional inspection.

    With your gorgeous style you won't have any trouble making it pretty on the inside.

    I think you have to shop with your spouse because he is opinionated.

    I was lucky. My spouse let me do it myself, because he knows he is clueless as to artistic vision, but completely good at fixing and following my ideas.

  27. Hang in there Suzan the right thing for both of you will come along. I know that it is hard and very tiring but I swear you will find a home you love and make YOUR home and add tons of beauty too!!! Hang tough girl!!


  28. I actually really like the one house that John liked! It has a lot of potential and you could do wonders with it. Whatever you purchase, you will make it your own and add all the charm it currently lacks. There is nothing that cannot be achieved with paint :)

  29. Good luck with your next visits! I'm just dying to see what you end up choosing. :)


  30. I don't see you anywhere in that last house that John likes Suzan.

  31. Dear Suzan..if you wrote a sitcom I swear I'd get every person on the planet to could even use your amazing talents to 'style' the sets :) So love reading about your escapades. A ranch has so much potential....does it have a humongous basement??? I went from a teeny tiny cape to a split which we renovated adding alcoves and character. Actually hate splits...lots of stairs. (We didn't consider the forthcoming old age knee issues when we bought...:/ ) I so look forward to hearing your tales as your house hunting adventure continues! oxoxoxo Susan

  32. Well, girlfriend, it is so evident by the photos (no John/Suzan said needed) that you find the charming and unique houses....John likes the standards, the ranch style, etc. :)

    I know that whatever you do choose, you will have it in impeccable shape + adding charm & quirky to it! Good luck with all ~


  33. If that is the house you end up with Suzan I know you will make it into something lovely. But I'll be honest I'm hoping you end up with something that has a bit more 'quirk' to it!

  34. After reading addicted 2 decorating's blog and her issue with big, big trees that have to come down, be sure to have the inspector include the trees in his inspection. You don't want to buy a house and then spend another $10,000, plus to remove old, ie mature, trees to prevent the house from being flattened. Trees are beautiful, just not close to the house. Been there, paid the bill.

  35. If a house has good bones...I just know that you will work your magic on it and whatever house is your new will be beautiful!!

  36. I firmly believe that YOU could pull an elephant out of his hat any day! Better luck today!

  37. Hang in there~ I miss you! There can be beauty in anything but you have to love it. The last house looks so sweet. Remember you have lots of talent to make these wonderful

  38. well, i'm not going to lie the house shocked me. IF you go with it, I know you will make those square rooms sizzle. we may all need to pitch in a weekend to help you ;p oooh and I adore the last home you showed, hope it goes well tmwr!!

  39. Not crazy about the ranch.....just don't settle! You will know when you walk in that it is home sweet home....

  40. Definitely not the one by the highway. I'd hate to see you squished. I am sure you could charm and quirk anything up.

  41. I pick house #3. John's pick? No way!

  42. i enjoy looking for houses with you! the house that john is going for...well...hmmm. if you need to make so many changes, i wonder if the cost of those changes might price you out of the neighborhood. perhaps when you are ready to sell, the costs of improvement will not be realized in the end. you can only get what the market will bear, and it also depends on the price of the houses being sold in the neighborhood. keep looking. you will find a home that you will both be happy with, i'm sure.

  43. Lol I like johns pick, huge rooms too. But really it's a pain but there will be a place you both love, it's out there waiting, I hope the one you mentioned I. Today's post works out.

  44. Sara Marie has a point...condition of wiring and plumbing are VERY important. I would add, is there asbestos anywhere? what's the condition of the roof? And how will you accommodate the wiring for all the electronics?
    I can picture John's choice done up as a cottage. Really. And wouldn't he be so happy to have you agree with him? That happiness would be worth its weight in new-old bathtubs.
    I'm old enough to value character, but now value condition more. If I had a blog, I could tell you tales about character.........

  45. Hi,
    My 2 cents worth.
    Too bad about the first house - great wrap-around porch; cute from the outside; smaller lot. But a complete gut - I don't think so.
    2nd House - huge porch, so-so from the outside; very small lot (easier to maintain); huge bay window. But by the highway - yuck! all that noise (though people do get used to it and it becomes white noise) and the exhaust fumes and extra heat. Nope.
    3rd House - oooo, major cute outside; huge potential of quirks; like the extra bits (any pictures?
    4th and final house - I lived in something similar for two years but this one has much bigger rooms; I like the kitchen; floors - prefer hardwood or even parquet; would rip up the carpet (do you know what's under there); as for parquet - it can be painted (check out the link someone gave you). It might be something to start with rather than replacing it; for me there's too much lot to take care of (pushing 60 is not the time to be worrying about keeping so much grass cut). Of course, riding a lawn mower would be fun; like how the driveway curves around (get someone to come in in the winter to plow it - not a time in your life for worrying about heart attacks from shovelling that much snow); the sunroom - yep for me! If those windows have screens that would be a 3-season room; painting the panelling - yep. Buuuuut, no quirks, though knowing you, you could make quirks. Baseboard heaters - very expensive (here in London January and February's bills were roughly $400 per month); no central air but you could put in ductless AC.
    I read all the comments and one that came to mind was with older homes you stand the risk of having to replace all the wiring and plumbing. If that doesn't bother you or the expense isn't too high I would go with an older home. It's a personal choice for me. Check out the blog, Southern Hospitality. Her new-to-her home was built in 1979 (I think) and she added moldings and board and batten and all kinds of neato things to make her home more vintage-looking.
    That's it for me. Can't wait to hear the next installment in the John-and-Suzan Saga. Thanks for inviting us. One last comment, do not move into a home that you absolutely don't love. Take it from one who knows - you will regret it. Sit down with John and find out what his wants and needs are. Make a list grading what you can't live without first down to what could be potentially fixed or added later. You've mentioned before about the age difference between you and John; he is probably seeing this from an older person's point of view (no stairs, lawn but not too much, etc.) (I can say that as he and I are the same age.)
    Take care,

  46. I agree, "John's" house is a dime a dozen. The second house you're looking at today appears to have some potential. I just got back from my two week trip to Vioux Montreal and Vioux Quebec. I'm all gushy over exposed stone and brick. Loved both cities!!!!!! And all the people were very warm and friendly, which made the trip that much better.

  47. Yikes. Sorry, John but I'm with Suzan on this one. That house is plain boring! Yay for Quirky! I hope you find one you're both happy with! Good luck!!

  48. If anyone can make a cookie-cutter house quirky, I bet you can. But, don't settle!!! I bet you'll find the one that you both love soon!


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