trade-offs

As far as land size and the amenity of inner city living goes, its looking like I've been having my cake and eating it too. There just aren't that many homes in my area with backyards, even fewer with backyards this big. And even if we were to find one, I doubt whether we could afford it. Or if we could, it would be so derelict that really we couldn't afford to make it habitable. Even some of the houses without backyards are pricey. So we've started to look a little further out. This weekend we looked at three houses in Pascoe Vale. And we saw one house that we really liked, like really, really, roolly liked. It's at the quiet suburban end of a larger street. The block is huge. Bigger than we have now even. Northerly aspect. There is a fabulous shed (not that we'd buy a house for a shed), a greenhouse, concrete tubs for goodness knows what and even a hills hoist. Not much garden, but I quite like the idea of a blank slate. The house is post war solid brick with concrete render. It hasn't been painted in a very long time and there are one or two minor cracks, but nothing indicating major drama.  Brick houses make me nervous this way, but I guess you'd get it checked out. There were also a couple of stumps that might need to be replaced but all in all it felt pretty solid. Immediately habitable.





The layout was good. Nice room sizes, a good hallway with a linen press (oh, still my beating heart), some cool features including chandelier light fittings. Mostly just a bit of painting and repair needed. The only thing I didn't like was the location of the dining room. But I could see how it could fixed, by removing a small brick wall, which I know can be tricky but again you seek professional advice before getting out your sledge hammer. The removal of this wall was something G so didn't want to discuss. I know that we'd live in a house before we altered it significantly. To me, that just makes sense. But, I have to know that a feature that is mandatory in my view is possible. It's interesting seeing what things I am immovable on and this is one of them. I want a layout with only one eating area, adjacent to the kitchen. Not in the kitchen, but open to it. No kitchen meals area and separate formal dining area for me. And it has to be light and big enough for the table to be fully extended on occasion. I see this as where a lot of the family action will happen, newspaper reading, hanging out and drawing et cetra. A major social space in the house. Anyway, I guess that's a conversation we'll have to learn how to have.

There were also two story dwellings on the west side. I'm not sure how I feel about that. It sort of comes with the territory of increasing urban density which I think is a good thing. My biggest issue with the house is location. It's an easy (with a hill) walking distance to a train station and close to two reputable state high schools and several primary schools but I don't know about shopping or libraries or parks. Or whether people would still come and visit. Is it too far away? Would we be happer in a smaller house and no yard but closer to where we live now? It's a hard question. A lot of what we really like doing; gardening, building, making stuff would  benefit from the space. I can see the permaculture paradise lifestyle we could build in this house. Many of the things I've wanted to move to the country for, we could have here. But in an area with bigger blocks, you loose some of the vibrancy, some of the buzz that makes living in the inner city attractive. There were some other houses I looked at in the afternoon while Grace was sleeping, even further out. One of them was in an area near Merlynston train station that had a pleasant village feel. But I think if I'm going to move further out, then I want a big garden. If possible.  Ah, trade-offs.

14 comments:

  1. I used to live in Pascoe Vale. There are libraries at Glenroy which is part Moreland City Council, but the better library is the one at Moonee Ponds, which is relatively easy to access from the train line, and there are lots of coffee shops along the way along Puckle Street. I can't talk about high schools, but my son went to Pascoe Vale Primary School for a while, and I thought it was a pretty good school. Of course, it could have changed since then..who knows!
    There are a couple of parks not too far away as well, or we used to drive to the park near where Pentridge was because there were three different play grounds and a little pond/lake there as well. Going back to Moonee Ponds again, there is Queen's Park there which has a playground and a lake, with fountains and things too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think a fantastic shed would be a huge buying point for Fixit. I have a dread of living 'further out' though. Even though I love my backyard if I could afford innercity rental prices I would ditch the big backyard in a shot and just take the boys to the park more. I think it's because I lived in Canberra so long! All those big backyards and space, and no sense of community.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It reminds me so much of my own home, and this was our first brick too ( I'm romantic abotu weatherboard ) - well, brick is SOLID, darling - no termites ( which are moving into all Vic suburbs now at an alarming rate ), and this is our first home that isn't held up with repair plasterwork ...
    You seem like a bit of a 'homey' to me ( ? ), so I think once you had your garden and your home to fuss over, you'd be as right as rain. It's pascoe Vale, FGS, not um .. Diggers Rest. Wherever that is, I know it's a long way out :)
    Plus, you sound excited ;)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Marg forgot to say that Queens Park has a playground and a fountain and a lake and A CAFE.
    It is, as she rightly points out, next door to the Sam Merrifield Library, which is a roolly roolly good one. Almost as good as St Kilda library, and heaps better than the Flemington and even Eltham libraries. Also, Son #1 likes its name.
    And I believe I just gave away to the internet a whole heap of information about my past and current locations and children's names, yes?
    Anyway, it's all very exciting, watching someone else househunt. I love the look of that large, blank garden. I dream about having one of those (large and blank that is, as opposed to large and blackberry filled).

    ReplyDelete
  5. I wish you well in your search. It's all very exciting and nerve wracking. I think finding the right house is kind of like getting together with a partner. When it feels right, you'll know. When you can't get it out of your head and the quirks start to seem endearing it will all fall into place. Good luck and good fortune.

    ReplyDelete
  6. pascoe vale would put you seriously on my breakfast hit list.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I hope that your search is fruitful! It is difficult to decide on location versus size! If what you really want is a yard and good schools then perhaps you should move out a little!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm in Hadfield which is just on the other side of Boundary Rd. I reckon go for a big backyard in Pascoe Vale! I understand the fear of the suburbs but I actually really really love my neighbourhood. If you like, you're welcome to come and visit one day and check out the west street shops, which would be the most convenient if you were in the Merlynston area. It's a great little strip of shops. There's a safeway, fantastic fruit and vegie shop, an Italian deli and cafe, another Italian bakery and cafe, a commonwealth bank, pharmacy, Arabic grocery shop, a couple of butchers including one that sells nice organic looking stuff (although I haven't tried it cos it's not halal), laundromat, hairdressers and Italian fashion shop, some cheepo two dollar shops, a doctors surgery and so on. It has a very nice feel, kind of like an Italian village without the nice architecture! Hadfield is cheap with huge backyards but probably too far out, so Pascoe vale is a good idea. There's still some nice old houses. Glenroy Library is good. And Sussex st neighbourhood house is good too. It's still not that far to Brunswick, I'm considering sending my kids to Brunswick Nth West Primary, but even Coburg Nth has a good reputation. The downside is that it looks suburban and not pretty like Brunswick, but if you're gonna hang out in your back yard a lot, it's definitely worth it!

    ReplyDelete
  9. It's a tough decision. We live mid-suburbia, with a smallish courtyard, but we're 100 metres from a huge park, and the local library is within walking distance. I'm still planning on having a vege garden, but having seen evidence of your green thumb in your photos, a small patch may not be enough for you. It is possible to have a community spirit in the suburbs, but I don't know that side of town at all. Good luck! The house sounds great though.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm worried. Is Pascoe Vale in the Bombers recruiting zone?

    ReplyDelete
  11. the first thought that came to me when seeing the photo was "oh, that's a house you grow up in". If that makes any sense.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love and hate househunting. don't we all? Fully understand the dramas of being torn between space and convenience/amenities. We went about 5 ks further out than I ever thought I'd be when we moved last year, so we're still pretty close to the city but now have a massive backyard and a good sized house. Now that we're here? I could probably have gone even a little further out without too much trauma... but it was still important to my formerly inner-city sense of self to be within a $30 cab ride of the CBD!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Location location location. You have to think about what will have more impact on your day to day lives. It's hard to figure out sometimes.
    Looks like a great layout- and the blank slate yard sounds like fun!

    ReplyDelete