Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Will I ever move?

In 10+ years of looking at some of Portland's most beautiful neighborhoods and enjoying the luxury of seeing people's most intimate spaces, their homes, I am often drawn to the question of whether or not I would give up my home for theirs. Certainly, and without doubt, I have seen houses worth a heck of a lot more money and way more beautiful than mine. And without the quirks of mine.

Next door to an elementary school? The kids arrive and start playing in the yard at around 8. I never realize how much sound is generated until summer vacation begins.

But it's a happy sound that I love. I can look at them from my kitchen window. From there I can also see the trees planted in memory of two dear friends whose children attended the school. It's where my little kids were whisked in the winter of 1993, and where they found that it's OK to transfer cross-country to a new school when your mom is right next door. There is more of an emotional tie to that place than I've ever really put into words. And the sunsets over the fields and the wetlands are spectacular.

5600 square feet? For two people and a dog? There are four bedrooms upstairs, and two bathrooms. That leaves three bedrooms that are only used on holidays. They are still shrines to the kids' school years, and Cam's room holds the large bookcase that contains ALL of their children's books. Am I ready to get rid of those? Nope. Where would they keep all their precious junk if we had a smaller house? Should I decorate one as "the sewing room" and the others as "dens or guest rooms?" For now I want them to remain Claire, Whit & Cam's rooms. Easy.

The main floor is perfect. A medium sized living room, with two pianos that hardly get played, and a nice wood-burning fireplace. It's the perfect room for the perfect Christmas tree. And everything is about the Christmas tree, so forget about a living room with a lower ceiling. The dining room could be much larger and I'd be happy, but we can swing the table all the way into the living room and we served 18 at Thanksgiving, so it works. Now the kitchen - here's a room that needs some attention. 1991 tile counters and oak cabinets are so not glamorous. I'd like a sleek, sexy kitchen. We're working on ideas for that and Norris would like to pull the trigger, but wait until you finish reading and you'll see where the money is going. There's a large, square family room with a huge wall of bookshelves, a big picture window and another fireplace. We live in this space and it's very comfortable. One utility room, a guest room and bathroom and my home office complete the first floor. Can't improve on this layout.

There's a great big finished basement for the kids' parties and there's a little kitchen, a bedroom and another bathroom. We could really rent this whole part out, if we could stand having another person in the house. Which we can't. Too bad, because that could pay for the kitchen remodel, LOL.

Now here's the expensive part. The outside. It seems like acres of siding that is dirty, old and desperately needs replacement, or to tide us over for the next 8 years, a really good paint job. The deck was poorly constructed out of inferior materials, and needs replacement. The landscape in the back yard has to go. First, we don't need a yard, and second, we would like some taller evergreen trees that block the view of the school building. That's priority one, and the deck is priority two. Painting - priority three. (Because the deck can be put on in the rain so we can get it done before dry weather arrives)

Last, but not least, we are working on plans for a courtyard in the front. There is too much garden for me to handle in spite of my love of flowers - I hate to weed! So we're hoping for large cement squares, with wild thyme or some dense grass in between the squares, a beautiful palm tree, and lots of soft, easy care plants and grasses, and a cutting garden. And a big fence to keep the neighbors from getting a shot of me in my pajamas on the laptop.

So that's a little tour of our house, and I think it's pretty clear that we're here to stay. I'm not ready to go! Maybe if I get energetic (or do some spring cleaning) I'll post a few pics.

No comments: