Tuesday, November 10, 2015
The story of a home
A year before Rich and I were to be wed, we purchased our first home, which was an antique Victorian. Flipping houses was all the rage back then and while that wasn't our main motivation in choosing that house, it was in the back of our minds as a possibility. This particular house was the least expensive single family home listed in the area - for a reason. It was built in the late 1800s and while the current owner had made a few updates twenty years earlier, the house was in need of some major TLC.
I'd always loved the character and history of older homes and we jumped right into restoration and renovation, preserving as much of the original detail as possible. We replaced the roof, electrical system, front porch, and horse hair plaster walls. The kitchen and bathrooms were ripped out and updated with new meant to look old. The radiators were detached, wheeled out of the house and sandblasted to remove years and years and years worth of old, crusty paint. Original wide pine floors were uncovered and brought back to life. Everything (and I mean everything) was repainted.
While we didn't consider it our forever home, we had no definite plans on how long we were going to live there. With one kid? Sure, it works. With two kids? Maybe, while they are little. We intended to be there for some time so we went all out when it came to quality, purchasing higher grade wooden windows, using mahogany for the front porch and installing beautiful light fixtures throughout the house.
I hate to think that we moved out simply because we had triplets but that is what happened. To say that we were overwhelmed after their birth is an understatement and the sudden addition of cribs, strollers, clothes, all the gear that comes from having three babies at once created space issues. I know that many make do with far less space but we made the sleep deprived decision to move to a slightly larger, much newer house where it would be easier to live with three babies.
The antique Victorian went up for sale and the real estate market proceeded to crash.
With two mortgages and an outstanding line of credit, we opted to take the house off the market and rent it. We knew that the market would eventually turn and by renting, we could build equity.
Eight years later . . .
Our most recent tenants moved out a few weeks ago and with the real estate market strong, we've decided to list the Victorian cottage for sale. Once again. In order to get the house ready to list, I spent the better part of the past two weekends cleaning. The front hall saw such a transformation that the girls asked if I had put a new floor in. By the way, when we did have the girls there while both Rich and I worked on clean up/repair, the girls played House Hunters. Like it was a legit House Hunters episode.
I ended up spending a lot of time there by myself as it was easier for me and Rich to take shifts and I had assigned myself the burden of cleaning everything. I returned home one evening and just felt sad by the whole thing. Our first tenants really cared for and respected the house. Unfortunately, I can't say that for all the tenants and when you do a deep dive clean, you notice things that you wouldn't on a walk through.
And then there's Abbey. I know when you move, you should think of the new memories you'll create, not what you are leaving behind, but for us, that was the only physical space where she ever existed and it feels weird knowing that it will probably be out of our hands soon. Maybe if we had sold the house sooner, I wouldn't want to grasp at it like it's the only thing I have left.