Wednesday, April 21, 2010

How I Met My House

Five years ago I decided that I was going to stick around SE Michigan for a while and in order to make this a permanent move, I wanted to get out of my excessively priced apartment and into a home I could call my own.  I was sick of white walls, loud neighbors, zero privacy and landlords who never fixed things…I wanted a real house! 

The hunt began online as I slowly made a checklist of things I wanted and things I had to have.  My had-to-have list included: must be at least 1000 sq. feet, have a garage, have a basement, three bedrooms and updated windows/pipes/roof. Pretty small list, right?!?  What I didn’t expect was the difficulty in finding a house that fit that criterion.  Most houses in SE Michigan are bungalows and I really wanted a ranch since I didn’t want to deal with an upstairs bedroom that was too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter (most bungalows around me have terrible HVAC leading up to the top level) and bungalows generally have terrible flow on the first floor (cramped spaces, no dining rooms, etc). What I regret not looking harder for were actual two story houses.  See, I grew up in two story houses and I love the separation of bedrooms from living space but back then, there weren’t any two story houses in my price range (while I qualified for a heck of a lot of $, I wanted something less than $200K).

I looked for a couple of weeks and saw some houses that were too expensive, some that were terrible, some that were okay but would require a LOT of updating and some that I really liked.  I narrowed it down to two houses in the same city but the back patio and charm of my home won me over in the end.  I put in my offer while I was on vacation visiting my parents and closed less than a month later.  Buying a home as a single girl was terrifying – what if I really couldn’t afford it (even though I crunched the numbers numerous times), what if it needed repairs that I couldn’t do myself, what if I end up hating the neighborhood/city, what if I lost my job and really couldn’t afford the house?  The day I signed my life away and was given keys was probably the happiest day of my life.  I immediately drove to the house, unlocked the door, and wandered through the house touching every wall and sitting on every floor.

IMG_1269bNow, five years later, the house has gone through changes with me (remodeled kitchen, remodeled basement, new bathroom floors, new trim throughout, new light fixtures, painting and more painting, etc) and I love it a little more every day.  J and I have discussed where we would live when we get married (for my RL friends – no ring yet so don’t ask!) and neither one of us wants to give up our houses so I see a battle in our future but I think I could make anywhere I live into my home with a little creativity and TLC.

Gallery: House Before

Gallery: House Now

Join the How I Met My House Party over at Our Suburban Cottage!


  1. Your house is adorable! I don't blame you one bit for not wanting to give it up! Especially after all the hard work you've put into it.

  2. What an adorable house, and how BRAVE you were to buy it. Brave and smart, too!

  3.'s a "when" and not an "if"???? :)
    Are you guys talking wedding plans!!!?!?!

  4. I love your house! It's so cute. And I know what you mean about that fear of home ownership as a single gal. For the first few months I remember lying in bed and thinking "OMG what if I can't afford this house! What if something goes wrong!". Fortunately, it's all worked out though.

    Thanks so much for linking up to my party!

  5. what a charming home you have! I loved seeing all the before and after reno's that you have done! We recently purchased a bank repo (also in SE Michigan) and have been remodeling it. Hope to add all the updates once things are settled down (we have been here six weeks tomorrow)...your house gives me motivation! :)

  6. You house is so cute! I bet that would be pretty frightening to buy one as a single person.

  7. What an adorable little cottage! I love your red door. Your kitchen is very similar to mine. I've been trying to redo mine on a very limited budget. Thanks for the inspiration.


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