This house... is old. Okay, not old old. In fact, not even as old as most of the other houses in this neighborhood. But in a city growing as fast as Raleigh, with new housing developments popping up all over the place, I think our house certainly qualifies as older than many, if not most, of the other houses in this fair city. Or at least my friends' houses anyway :)
My house was built in 1981, a year before I was born. Two stories, split foyer, 2100 square feet, 5 bedrooms though really only the three upstairs I'd consider to be regular bedrooms (and even then Ambrose's room is tiny enough that I'd consider it an office or nursery). The two downstairs bedrooms are attached by a door and one has a door leading outside, which means we won't be putting kids down there for a looooong time (and then we'll be blocking off the door!).
We're lucky to have a large, airy family room downstairs and a nice living/dining room upstairs, even if it does make our kitchen extra teensy. And 3 full baths is nothing to scoff at, as I'm sure we'll attest to during the teen years!
So... I love this house. I really do. And I'm loving it more and more, the more we "claim" it. We bought it as a foreclosed home, paid cheap, 0% down which was great since our whole downpayment needed to be used to fix it up! No cable, rotting carpet, no AC or heat, disgusting/stained wall paint, leaky windows in broken frames, few appliances, etc. Still haven't fixed the windows (*grumble grumble*) but we'd managed to do the rest. Our own paint and carpet colors, the fridge I was fawning over, actual new couches instead of hand-me-downs, etc.
A couple years ago we took down 14(?) trees on our lot, mostly pines, the rest dead or (supposedly) dying. Not only did this add value to our home, and make us safer, but suddenly we had a LOT more space and a LOT more sun. Also? The yard was a mess. It had gone from a pine needle coated forest to a beaten up, muddy, grassless junk yard.
Last year we had someone come and fix it up a bit, even it out, clean away brush that wasn't meant to be there, and seed the dang thing. By the end of summer our lawn was looking really nice.
And this year? A lush, green lawn with two little boys running and playing. Room for gardens, and sun to feed them. Huge, thriving hardwood trees shading the middle of our backyard and keeping our home cool. Bright violets and clovers. Sitting on the old wooden deck, feeling the wind rustle around me.
Our home is our little bit of heaven. Our little bit of semi-rural living in a sub-urban environment. I can be outside doing work or playing with the boys and suddenly I'm no longer living in one of the US's top fifty biggest cities. Suddenly I'm transported to my childhood days of running through fields and playing make believe and climbing trees and helping my parents in the garden.
Oh, sure, it's just a slice of that. I mean, it's still fenced in in the back and it's still much smaller than a field. But it's spacious and green and peaceful and ours. And I love the fact that I can get in the car and drive 5 minutes down the road and see sky-scrapers. I love the fact that I can choose to have a slow day in the back yard rolling in grass or I can go down the road to a free science museum.
I love the duality of our life here, having it all in a sense.
The chickens and the garden and the children rolling in the green grass and running around and laughing. The concrete sidewalks and multitudes of malls and movie theaters and restaurants and cars and buses and trains. You get sick of one life and you retreat back to the other, never really committing fully either way and enjoying them both.
I guess that's what urban home-steading (hehe) is all about. Your house and land aren't just there to hold your stuff, they're there to be lived in and on. But at the same time you don't have to sacrifice the city life, especially if you love it (and oh, we do!).
So I guess all this babble is to say: I think we found the perfect home. Thank goodness it's the one we've been living in a few years now :)
Lily in a loafing barn
4 months ago