It’s 80% official…Husbie and I bought a 1/2 duplex! We’ve got the signed paperwork in our hands, and now all that’s left is the removal of conditions in the new year. After a long and exhausting house hunt that began in August, we found our new home in the most unlikely way possible. But first, I thought I would recap some of the fun stories from the houses we saw along the way. Fun tidbit: we saw 17 properties before we saw the one we will call home!
Our very first viewing was in a tiny little bungalow in the Highlands area of Edmonton that needed some serious upgrades, smelled musty, and had a room listed on the stats sheet as “a cozy room downstairs for reading a book in” that looked more like a cement prison cell with 6 foot tall ceilings and no light fixtures whatsoever. Husbie swore it was haunted. The upside? This house was steps from historical Ada Boulevard. We were not the right people to buy it and renovate it into an adorable character home in a beautiful neighborhood. Someone did, and I know it will be just lovely.
The second house we walked through was the first house that I fell in love with! It was another small bungalow in Bellevue with a beautifully renovated first floor complete with unique architectural details, a fireplace and hardwood floors, but a completely unusable basement due to the fact that the house had been raised up in the 1950’s and there wasn’t much we could do about the amount of cement down there. I really wanted it to work, but ultimately the lack of extra square footage and a backyard that faced directly onto the berm along 75th street (major road noise) was too much. We went back to see this house a few times but ultimately I had to admit that it wasn’t right for us.
There was a house in the same area that looked really promising online, but as we walked up the front walkway someone sitting on the front deck bolted inside and slammed the door, which was rather off-putting. After knocking on the door, a scraggly half-clothed gentleman answered the door, swore he knew nothing about the scheduled real estate viewing, told us not to worry about the girl passed out awkwardly on the couch (it was the middle of the afternoon), said his buddy that owned the house was just “taking a shower”, but no worries! Come on in and take a look around! Our realtor looked at me and I shook my head violently and we got the heck out of there. It sure didn’t smell like roses in there, I can say that much…
We saw another house that was “THE house” but as soon as we walked into the unfinished basement and saw the 14 mega Frankenstein cracks running from floor to ceiling through the foundation, we knew it would only end in disaster. Another house had an “extra living room” that was really just a plywood box jutting off the back of the house with a makeshift wood burning stove lurking dangerously in the corner, just waiting to light the whole house on fire. A few houses had extremely promising bones and huge lots, but would have ultimately been too much work for us in renovations. We got our parents to come and see a loft style townhouse in Mill Woods that was a serious contender, but we didn’t get the “this is IT” feeling, so we kept looking. Many houses listed in our price range and ideal neighborhoods had 3 offers on the table the day after they were listed, leaving us without a chance to even see them. There were many moments of disappointment and discouragement as we saw house after house get snatched up. I was close to giving up a few times.
Then, a co-worker casually mentioned that she had a family member selling a duplex with a lot of the features we were looking for, in the price bracket we were comfortable with. It wasn’t listed (no competition on the market!), as they had planned on listing it in the spring once the basement renovation was complete. So we started emailing back and forth, went and walked through the duplex, and fell head over heels in love with it!
I am so very excited to call this brick-faced 1/2 duplex home next spring. It’s just over 1300 sq. ft., with 2 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. The basement renovation has currently been stopped at the framing stage and we will finish it on our own time and to our tastes (YAY PROJECTS FOR MEEEE!). We’ll get an extra living room, bedroom and bathroom when it’s done! There’s a nice deck off the back, with just the right amount of grass and flowerbeds for us condo-dwellers to whet our whistles at this whole “make plants and grass grow and stay alive” thing. The duplex faces a beautiful green space and park, and the community is filled to the brim with young families, which is perfect for when we decide to have kids. The community league often organizes events that include BBQ’s, fireworks, sleigh rides and other fun activities. There are walking paths and bike paths nearby, and a lot of the people I’ve talked to about this community know someone who lives there and LOVES it, or want to live there themselves! I figure that’s a good sign :)
So, in the end, Santa really did fill our stocking with a duplex! As for the checks – well, none of those were placed in my stocking, but plenty of them will be leaving our wallets in the new year! Starting in the spring, you just KNOW I’ll be sharing the entire decorating process with you, but until then, you can see some of the inspiration for the place here. SQUEEEEE!