Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Could It Be?

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
under 250K
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".


wootini said...

I win!

I hope it all works out - it sounds like a GREAT house.

Bob said...

I am on my third family house in 14 years and am still learning what I need/want. Good job finding the ideal place. Is it on the river? Must be close at least considering it is near the mill.

You could wall in that carport and either have a 4 car garage or turn the garage beyond (I think I see a garage door back there) in the basement into more living space.

Gigs said...

It seems perfect for you guys - not even a compromise! And the neighborhood looks charming. Good luck with the bidding - hope it all works out soon!

Mrs Furious said...

We'll be one long block from the river. With the kids at their ages we didn't want to back to the tracks or the river... Baby is still kind of a maniac. We're a couple blocks in from Central and the mill.

We feel good about.

Mrs Furious said...

I think it should go smoothly. We're going to try and get the best we can, but it's already underpriced compared to sold comps and we won't walk away if we have to pay full price.

Mrs Furious said...

I guess "right next to the cider mill" was a slight exaggeration... I meant not the full 1/2 mile. It's on that side of town. We're really hoping that as the kids get bigger we'll be able to take advantage of the proximity to the river & park for riding & kayaking, etc.

Mrs. Smitty said...

Congrats! And good luck with the sale and closing, may it be uneventful.

julie said...

Love it.

Claire said...

The kitchen is a good size and I love the floors - does the front of the house have a screened in porch? Praying all goes forward for you all!!!

HC said...

Love it. The fact that you feel at peace there is the most important thing. Here's hoping everything goes smoothly and you guys are in there asap!

Mrs Furious said...

Yes it does. It's a small screened in sitting room of sorts. Not big enough for eating but will fit our front porch furniture easily. There is also a big shady deck off the back of the house. The only problem with this house (as is the case for the current 80+ owner) is that the house is built up into the hill and you have to walk up stairs (a lot) to get to the front door. In the winter it would be unmanageable (the steps are stone) and we'll have to enter through the garage and up the flight of steps to the house.

lucinda said...

I echo your realtor. Great decision. I honor you both.

Nutmeg said...

looks great AND I guessed right!

Dexter looks nice, and the property looks great and I have decided already I'd like our next house to be one level (or MAYBE have some sort of adult space on a different floor, but bedrooms and primary living space on ONE floor, WAY easier with kids.... and not at all what I expected I'd want.

i hope things go well!

Marilyn said...

Love the house! And the town looks just like Stars Hollows in the Gilmore Girls! What a perfect house for your family -- and you'll be able to add all the personality on the inside.

Elizabeth said...

This looks really nice!

I've got my fingers crossed that it turns out well.

Also, looking forward to fun before/after decorating pictures!

P/F said...

While I love driving past the Victorian, I'm so glad that you didn't buy it. For some reason a true historic home never feels like a 'home' when I'm in it. The first thing I wanted to do when I saw the picture was paint the wood railings.

Don't forget to mention the A&W drive-in that sits at the end of town. Glad that you found the house you wanted.

angie said...

good luck. but you know i am sad. but happy for you. we will have to meet up at Jennys in the fall and A&W on fridays.

Kiki said...

Holy Cow!!! Loving the house already and the potential you mention....is exciting. While those steps to the front are probably a pain, I have to say I LOVE the look of them!!! Plus that driveway....AMAZING!!! Wow, the kids are going to have a blast with that!!!

That lot is awesome too!!! It looks like you have a ton of room to spread out and have some fun!!!! So excited for you guys, so happy that all this is coming to fruition!!

Mr Furious said...

angie, here's the reality check: The Old West Side (the old 'hood) is still overpriced by comparison. We would have sacrificed more than one (or all) of the following: size, price, school, yard, location or quality to be there.

In our price range, we likely would have ended up somewhere in Ann Arbor that is further away from you and my job (in travel time) than Dexter. And we would probably still have been compromising on even more of the criteria Mrs F listed — we're not willing to do that. Not this time.

Making a list of pros and cons for this house is like one thousand pros—and two cons: 1. The aesthetic style isn't our favorite. 2. Are we sure we'll love Dexter?

That's it. I'm already over number one, and feeling better about 2 by the day.

Mr Furious said...

Driving into town from Dexter will be faster and easier than driving cross-town from any other Ann Arbor neighborhood. My old five-mile commute to WCC was 25-plus minutes of hell on Washtenaw Ave.

We will have four different routes into town now that will beat that.

Mrs Furious said...

Well, and regarding #2 whether we'll LOVE Dexter... the fact is we weren't moving back to a *known* neighborhood in AA after we pulled the short sale offer. We didn't know if we'd LOVE the fringe westside neighborhoods either. In fact I was more worried about those than Dexter since there was the potential to feel much more isolated... and we would have still been compromising size to boot. It feel so good to know that we'll have SPACE. And we won't be stressed about our mortgage every month for the next 30 years.

Mr Furious said...

This decision is rapidly looking like a no-brainer.

I feel great about it.

P.O.M. said...

THat looks perfecto! I love the 'hood too :)

Kiki said...

P.S House Hunters did a show there in Dexter once.....they did a blurb on how great the downtown was.....I'm sold on Dexter....now if it was only near an ocean, I'd be your new neighbor!!! heehee!!

gooddog said...

yay for the furious fam!
I'm excited to see you guys get it, get your stuff in it, and make it yours. Fun blog fodder for months!

angie said...

Mr and Mrs F, totally hear you. When we were looking last year, we were annoyed that for $150k we could move in a smaller, shittier, house 1 block away. Plus there is just nothing out there worth living in. So I totally support your decision. But I can still be bummed I won't be able to just bop across the street and grab an egg, a cup coffee, or a good chat, right? i missed mrs f bopping over when i was weeding. :-)

Deb said...

I love that little downtown! How well does a carport work for you in the winter? Seems a lot better than parking in the driveway, which my husband does (because we have too much crap in our two-car garage to fit two cars).

Mrs Furious said...

There is a two & a half car garage too. I have no idea why they put in a car port... but... we also like to cram our garages full of crap and park outside. At least now we won't have to brush all the snow off? ;) We'll leave it for now, it's a huge shady spot for the kids to ride their bikes.

P/F said...

You have a yard where you can sled in MI? That alone is worth the distance.

Mrs Furious said...

Yes, big hill in our yard. The house is up on a hill. One yard is big and flat (by driveway) the other slopes down from the house.

Holly said...

That mill is a treat! We walked there while visiting friends in Dexter and it was a highlight of our trip. I've got my fingers crossed for you.

Heather said...

Oh congratulations - couldn't decide where to comment, so I went to the beginning (kind of). That is such a nice community and I met several mom's that come to Chelsea for kid classes and they were all great. Can't wait to hear more!


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