Sunday, June 1, 2014

Love At First Sight

I first started looking at houses online two years ago just for the hell of it, and instantly fell in love with this beauty.  It was built in 1930 on what is now considered a main road to get across town.  It was listed for basically nothing and as you can tell by the photos it doesn't really look like much needed to be done.  So I called the agent.... Who was so mad that yet another person was calling about the property.  To date I still don't quite know what was going on, but because of legal issues the agent couldn't actually speak about the property... aside to say that the property could not be sold and that I should know that the property no longer looked anything like what was in the photos.  I asked him to put me on his email list anyway, believing that I would never hear about it again.  

Two years later - and once I was serious about buying my own house to renovate - I received an email stating that the house was up for auction for 24 hours, midnight to midnight, EST.  Unfortunately I had been in class all day and didn't receive that email until what was 10pm EST, but I was so excited that I finally had a chance with that house (site unseen, mind you!) that I scoured the internet trying to find an agent who would pick up their phone, since I was still in Denver and had no other way of bidding on the house.  And one finally did.  We both thought the house was set as a standard auction, so I placed a bid a few thousand over the asking price.  I found out a few days later that it was actually a live auction, which means that more than likely the house went for at least twice the asking price.  But it was fun thinking that I could have been the proud owner of this beauty... even if I only got to think that for an hour.

A couple of weeks later I flew into Atlanta to look at some other properties, and while driving around I realized that we were on the part of the road that this house was on.  When I finally saw it, I told the realtor that I would be more than happy to not see anything else on my list if she would just turn around so that I could at least walk around this property.  So she did.  Another realtor and client were standing out front and told me that the house was completely open, so of course I stepped inside.  I'm still not quite sure what the listing agent was talking about when he said the property looked nothing like the photos.  What I saw was far more beautiful that what I had seen online, and the only things that were wrong were mold on most of the painted surfaces (happens when a house is locked up for two years in a humid climate), some plaster damage, and a few doors swollen shut.  But this was seriously one of my few 'kid in a candy store' moments, and since the way the auction and listings had been dealt with inadequately, I still had a (short-lived) glimmer of hope that *this* could be my house.

This house is pretty large.  A total of nearly 3,000 sf of beauty.  The exterior has a whimsical feel, in terms of brick colors and awnings.  It sits on roughly an acre of land, set far back from the street, with magnificent old oaks creating shade for all the lush green grass.
Sadly, these photos don't do it any justice.  Nearly everything in the house is original, and somehow all of the original fixtures were still in place.  All of the light fixtures were still on the walls and ceilings, the electrical was still in the walls, the 6" wide plank flooring were as solid as the day they were installed.  The crown moulding in this photo is nothing compared to the room behind the arch.  All original plaster that had been formed in place.  Some water had seeped through the walls in the dining room and some of the crown needed to be dealt with, but nothing major.

 The office.  Or workout space.  Or sewing room.

Considering the size of the house, the bedrooms were pretty small, and like most older homes this was definitely lacking closet space.  But a fireplace in the bedroom (especially one with those floors!) always makes up for lack of closet space, especially when there is an odd little room set off in the corner on the same floor, just screaming for a closet system to be installed.

 Admittedly, not much of a kitchen, but this was all original and beautiful... with the exception of that tiled countertop, which would have been the first thing to go.  I would have figured out a way to add more storage and countertop space.

Horrible, I know!  But so much potential in this small space!  The tub enclosure is arched on top, and I instantly wanted to rip the old tub in and nuzzle a claw foot into the nook.  Black & white hexagon tiles on the floor, carrara marble on the walls, and an antique pedestal sink would have completed the look.

Those trees!

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