When we set out to find our house, our kids and our particular lifestyle, were at the forefront of our search. This is our 3rd family home in 10 years and we've learned a lot along the way. We know that we care more about the easy flow of space (and love having a one floor home) more than we care about having a fancy granite kitchen & new baths. We know we need lots of basement storage more than we need closet space. We know that my immediate exterior surroundings greatly affect my mood... so it's not just about how our house looks it's about what I have to look at. I'm home all day and it does matter. We also know that if Mr F can have an office space out of sight in the basement, I want to divorce him less (for real, never again will he have an office space in a bedroom/by the kitchen/near our main bathroom... you know what I'm saying?). We also do walk, and I don't mean around the block, or to a playground. I actually do walk to the grocery store to get groceries. I will/do walk half a mile to drop off Kid at school and then hit the dollar store and grocery store & bank on the way home with Baby. It keeps me from going crazy. One thing I miss most about NYC is having a 100% walkable lifestyle, and while Michigan winters make that slightly more unpleasant, I do want to have the option as much as possible. The walkability (while also not being on a busy road) is more important than aesthetics or size.
So here is our search criteria for an ideal home...
3 bedrooms (minimum)
room for my exercise equipment
basement for storage
floor plan that flows well with obvious place to play
yard big enough for playing
not on a busy road
walkable to school
walkable to town w/real services (ie library, bank, po,etc)
move in condition no necessary updates
ultimate bonus if it has a nice flat driveway for bike riding
Well, only one house met or exceeded ALL of our criteria:
The 2500 sq ft 4 bedroom 1964 brick ranch in Dexter.
I really felt relaxed and comfortable in this home and on the property. Different homes really do have different energy, and as much as I loved that Victorian both times I was in there I felt anxious and like I wanted to get the hell out of there. This house is really peaceful. Plus it has everything we wanted and more. Big, useable floor plan. No wasted space. Big bright workable kitchen, huge family room. Big yard with awesome play space and long flat driveway (we never thought we'd get that). 2000 sq ft dry basement with tons of room for storage, Mr F's workshop, my exercise equipment, and Mr F's desk... and roller skating parties. It is a half mile to the center of downtown and schools and community pool/playground. It's a nice easy bike ride or walk. We'll be right next to the historic cider mill and a big metro park and river. But best of all is it's a house that allows the kids to have a lot more freedom. We'd be on quiet street set well back. The kids could have freedom to run and play and ride bikes and sled without being constantly monitored. And, unlike a lot of the houses we saw, this house will not feel cramped once the girls are teens, the house will work equally well then.
Plus extra special bonus... the house has small dog/cat doors and a wireless fence already. And four bedrooms means we can expand our family if, after all the stress rolls away, we think we want to proceed with that.
Oh and this is the village of Dexter:
See what I'm saying? All that and a Dairy Queen, people!
We make our bid on it tomorrow.
From then on it will be know as "Project Drab to Fab".