We looked at three houses this weekend, and I visited a fourth in the afternoon while Grace was napping.  Gosh, what a production. Two houses were OK, if the price is right. One was a nightmare, fantastic location, great block, northerly aspect but the layout of the house was such that the laundry and the bathroom completely blocked the light. And the ceilings were really, really low. Which alongside an almost total lack of charm, made me think about how the (non) design of a house might affect how one lives. This one looked like the kind of place where people sat inside watching telly and smoked. Or cooked. Or tinkered in the shed. Which was massive. But one does not buy a house for a shed. Even G, who loves his shed, says that. All the spaces were separate and unconnected, with no view to the fabulous backyard. Yuck.

The other house that I really hated was also in a fantastic location, but it made the tumbly down house house look generous. The same tumbly down house which sold at auction on saturday for a ludicrous amount of money. Especially considering the degree of deciptuitude and that you could hear the hum of freeway in the backyard. Anyway the roof on this other house was still watertight, just. People were living there, but the rooms were small, the back of the house rested on the dirt, the so called third bedroom was barely big enough for the single bed it contained. The bathroom was unbelievably small and the back yard was tiny and dark, despite a promising orientation. And I wondered, who would pay the asking price? I really couldn't see it at all. But as the gleeful looking agent said, this area is showing a lot of growth. Yes, well it is.

So on to the good houses. The best one was small but had an air of integrity. It was in a nice street in a desirable area. In fairly original condition, it had been well looked after. The roof was in very good nick. There was good side access and just enough backyard. The carpet was horrible and there was no shed, but I could see how the layout could be worked and opened up a bit over time. The bathroom (above) was also a fairly startling shade of blue. Smallish but not impossible. And kind of charming. Lots of interest in this house. Definitely a sleeping beauty. You could tell.

The other house I liked was scruffy but charming. It was more immediately livable than the best one but I couldn't quite see how the layout would work for us in the longer term. Still it looked like people enjoyed living there. Lots of light. Flow from inside to outside. A lovely street. Possibly within our price range. I don't know, I feel like I'm kicking tyres. So I've started a book, with the floor plan brochures and scribbled notes. I'm guessing what I think they're going to go for and making a note. Next weekend we'll look at another two or three in a slightly different area.

I lay in bed last night thinking about every house I've ever lived in; the good points and bad points of each. And I've also spent a fair bit of my online time this weekend looking at realestate. Yep, I am now obsessed by houses.


h&b said...

I get listing emailled to me every day - my area, areas i've lived, now your area, and whoever else is in the market, I look for them too.
So obsess away ...
I'm actually pretty excited about that startling blue bathroom. I know exactly how to work it for my stuff. Love it.

suse said...

That bathroom is exactly the same layout and size of our bathroom at our Flemington house, prior to it falling down and forcing us to renovate.
Ours was pink tiles though, not blue paint. I can see the charm in that blue if I squint hard.
Oh and h&b - obsessed!

Susan Morgan said...

Must be a common bathroom layout in old houses. Exactly the same as ours was, except ours was canary yellow. I painted it white and stencilled a great school of fish swimming all around the walls. It stayed that way for about 8 years before a complete reno. 3 yrs ago

Stomper Girl said...

Good luck with all this Janet, the research will pay off! In my next house, I so want a decent size bath! We have a short bath - long enough for a 3-year-old to lie down in, and consequently I have not had a bath since we moved in. (Except for 3 months of salt hip-baths following Cherubs' birth. But you probably didn't want to know about that.)

Penni said...

I am a strong believer in occupying small spaces - I do think smaller houses are more environmentally friendly - efficient to heat. I also think families are more cohesive when living in a smaller space.
We've currently got a hip bath too...I console myself by thinking it makes for good water economy bathing the kids. But I can't wait to move into the house with the big bath. Though we will be on tank water, might have to reintroduce the Sunday night family bath! (bags be first though).

VictoriaE said...

I like the blue bathroom. Although my taste in houses is not to be trusted, you know when in a house magazine they show a Before shot and an After shot for a reno job? Yeah I almost always like the Before shot better.
Glad you're taking photos in this process, it's fun to see.