Monday, April 20, 2009


On Saturday Nathan bought us a house.

Actually, the story starts long before that, back in the fall when we started looking at houses together. We saw a lot of really terrible houses, and we sometimes despaired that in our price range we wouldn't be able to find someplace livable, with space for two musicians, two Steinways, and a few dozen little violin students who need space to traipse in an out of each week.

Shortly before Christmas we found a four-bedroom, two-bath property that seemed workable. We looked at it again on December 23rd and said to ourselves, yes, this has potential. We'll refinish the floors, repaint all the walls (that looked as though someone had enjoyed a couple of six packs and then decided to paint), re-do the electrical, put on a new roof, take a sledgehammer to the disintegrating upstairs bathroom and start over... etc... etc... and we'll be happy here. We can overlook the rusty trailer in the neighbor's yard. We'll somehow remove the tree that's growing into the side of the garage before it does any more damage. And we'll put up curtains to disguise the fact that only a few feet of space separate our windows from neighbors on either side.

So we made an offer on the house, and we were excited because it had enough space for us and our pianos, space for lots of cooking and having friends over and having a sewing and craft room and even space to store all my bargain coupon purchases.

It was a short sale, which actually means that the process is anything but short. So we waited for three months, and just when we thought we were going to close on the house, instead we found out we weren't going to get it after all. The sellers' financial troubles had been getting worse and worse while we had been waiting to buy their house and save them from foreclosure. There were multiple liens on the house as well as attachments for other debts owed. The family was going bankrupt and they'd be foreclosed on after all.

So we got our deposit back, and we were sorry we had wasted three months waiting on this house that wasn't going to be ours after all.

Nathan was particularly sad to see the two-car garage slip through his fingers, where he had hoped to put lots of manly tools and set up a woodworking shop.

I felt pretty optimistic that something better would come along, or at the very least, that there was some reason we shouldn't be in that house after all.

So that is the story of the property on Swan Street, and how we thought it would be our first house, and then found out it wasn't to be.

Now here comes the wonderful part.

We started looking at properties again. We saw a few online that looked promising, but our realtor told us there were already offers on those homes. We looked at a place or two that, like most properties we'd seen in our price range, were a little bit horrible, and definitely much worse in person than in online photos.

Then we saw a property in our online updates that looked really promising. Our realtor told us it was generating a lot of interest. We wanted to see it, but my schedule was opposite Nathan's from Friday through Sunday, and finding a time we could both meet with our realtor proved impossible. So Nathan went alone on Saturday morning while I was teaching violin lessons. I had a good feeling about the property and told him that if the place was perfect and there were other offers on the table, he should make an offer. I trust him, and we've looked at lots of places together and we know what we're looking for. Around 11:00 am I got a text message from him stating,

"It's done. I offered $XXX. Don't worrry; you're gonna love it."

When I was finished teaching, I called him and he told me, "This house is beautiful." Now, "beautiful" is not among the words we had used to describe any other affordable properties we had seen, so I knew this house was something special.

We squirmed with excitement all day until we found out at 6:00 pm that the offer had been accepted.

Yesterday after church I got to see the house. The seller's agent met us there and said to me, "So you're the very trusting wife! Welcome to your new house; hope you like it!"

It is perfect. I love it so much I can hardly wait to move in, so much I could hardly sleep last night imagining us living there and making it our own, so much I smiled the whole time I walked through the house yesterday seeing it for the first time.

I love the cheery white kitchen cabinets, the hardwood floors downstairs, the wooden bar and open beams that separate the kitchen from the living room, and the beautiful backyard that is almost a quarter of an acre. I love that it has three bedrooms and an office, a living room and a dining room, closets, a pantry, and two bathrooms. I love the built-in bookshelves in the living room.

I love the historical district sign on the front stating the original owner's name with the date "c. 1852." I love the quaint New England-ness of it. I love the stairs up the back leading to a second-story deck and a separate entrance to the upstairs, where there's a guest bedroom, a second bathroom complete with a shower, a sitting room with a skylight, and a sink, counter, and mini-fridge.

I love the unfinished basement that's nevertheless divided into separate storage rooms so everything looks neat and organized, and I love the old-fashioned soapstone triple washbasin in the basement by the washer/dryer hookups. I love the backyard door to the basement, so in the summers I can carry the laundry straight out to a clothesline in the yard.

I love that it's in a nicer town than the first property we tried to buy. I love that it's imperfect and will provide us with many projects to work on together. I love the detached garage, so Nathan can have his tool storage and workspace after all. I love that while the upstairs ceilings slope with the roof, most of the rooms have ceilings so high my very tall husband can't even reach them, so he feels comfortable.

I love that it isn't a short sale or a foreclosure, just a nice regular family moving somewhere else, so we can be fairly certain that we will in fact own this house in the near future.

I love, love, love this house.

(I do not love the hospital green shade of most of the interior walls, but that's what paint is for.)

If all goes well, it will be ours by the end of May.

Isn't God so incredibly good to us? We couldn't have known that something so perfect for us would come on the market in our price range, but God knew, and when He said "No," to the Swan Street property, I trustingly believe that it was because such a wonderful "Yes" was right around the corner.

The view from the front:

The kitchen:

The living room:

The living room again, which opens to the kitchen:

The dining room:

One of the two downstairs bedrooms:

The little "sitting room" upstairs:

Another view:

The upstairs bedroom:

The backyard:

The historic district sign:

Dear old house, if you could talk, what stories would you tell us?

I really, really want to live in this house.


  1. CarolMom and I prayed this would be the case when the Swan property fell through. Thank you, God.

  2. Dad and I will stow away in Jenn's suitcases and be glad to help paint too :-) It's a beautiful house. Think of all the experiences you will add to its history!

  3. Oh how wonderful!! The house looks beautiful and charming (and no, I do not mean that as a realtor euphemism *grin*). I am so excited for you both. And that's wonderful that it is a regular sale, and that you don't have to wait on pins and needles wondering what the bank is going to do! And a nice sized yard and a lovely kitchen and everything - this is just fantastic! Now if only you were a tad closer and we could lend you some tools (because believe me, at this point we have just about everything!) and help out. :-)

  4. Congratulations, Sarah! It looks like such a cute house! Nathan did a great job. :)