“You have to go wholeheartedly into anything in order to achieve anything worth having."
--Frank Lloyd Wright
Though I'm sure it's cliche to begin this type of discussion with a quote from an industry icon, I just can't help myself! Wright's words neatly summarize why I believe daunting projects aren't always a stupid idea. The "anything" in this case is a renovation on our family's pseudo-child, also known as the white house at the end of the laneway. We think it's destined to be our forever home.
a way, the whole 'forever home' notion is right up there with 'soul
mate' in the hierarchy of dreams or desires we, the starry-eyed (or
self-deluding!), believe are worth chasing. I'm pretty sure this has
little to do with white picket fences or sprawling estates; rather, it
is the simpler idea of just carving out your
own special nook somewhere--a place to build memories.
thing about nooks in Victoria? They don't come cheap. Wherever you
choose to buy in this city, it's inevitable that plenty of time,
patience, money (and some wrinkles!) will factor into the process. We
searched for nearly two
years--casually, at first, and then with the kind of unapologetic
aggression that makes Tonya Harding seem ladylike. I couldn't even tell
you how many days we spent refreshing the real estate listings an
embarrassing number of times, or phoning our poor realtor at odd hours
because 'a new one just came up!' I'd sometimes catch myself muttering
profanities while reading the slew of
news articles about Victoria's supposed shift to a buyers' real estate
market. That was one party to which we were not invited.
long process was frustrating and thrilling in equal measure,
particularly the emotional highs-and-lows of our three bidding wars.
Losing out--or, as in bid#2, winning and then uncovering too many
problems with the house--left us as deflated as our daughter's week-old
birthday balloon in the corner of the living room. We wondered if it
would ever happen for us and hoped that our growing impatience wouldn't
result in a hasty decision (and subsequent re-naming of this blog to, "WTF Were We Thinking?")
But then--at last!--she arrived. The house quietly hit the market one morning last December. We were among the first prospects to view it and, oooohhh boy, what a different duck she turned out to be.
marrying original 1930s cottage charm with the brute minimalism of a
1960s reno is no easy feat--and the house failed miserably in that
regard. Elegant copper embellishments and quaint, up-turned gable roof
lines clashed disastrously with endless fields of mint green and red
carpet, a blocky sunroom cantilevered off of the left side of the house,
a maze of ill-positioned closets and hallways, and heavy-handed
application of the purplest wallpaper you've ever seen. In your life. Ever.
actually glad that the house hadn't been touched in 50 years, for
despite its oddities, it was well-built, well-located and hadn't been
structurally bludgeoned by overly-ambitious do-it-yourselfers. As
they say, she had 'good bones.' We're
also pretty sure that the nastier aspects of the house helped our cause
by scaring off buyers leery of a big project.
Somehow, some way, we won bidding war #3 (thanks, realtor Ross!) and now, the house is ours. I hope you'll follow along on this little reno journey and share in our ups-and-downs. With the help of the immensely talented team backing us--and perhaps some luck--our forever home awaits us in the coming months. For now, I choose to be optimistic about our chances.