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.