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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

House hunting

More adventures in real estate. This is a whole new world, and one that makes the head spin.

Last weekend we saw some amazing places, and by amazing I mean the full spectrum of 'oh wow' to 'WTF?!!?'

Best WTF was a place down the road that was completely unrenovated and still furnished. Best Beloved stood for ages in the loungeroom, gazing open-mouthed at a reproduction of a painting of a man teaching his son to shave, witnessed by a beagle. Later he said to me incredulously, 'It wasn't just the subject matter that was awful; it's the fact that [a] someone decided to paint it in oils and [b] someone else thought it was good enough to reproduce it!'

Bumblebee ran down the hall, past the pink & green bathroom with lime green shag carpet, and called for me to come & look at the cupboard in the spare room. When I got there, he opened the door onto a whole other wing of the house with a 'rumpus room', cocktail bar and home office full of lion kitsch (the owner was a member of the Lions Club of Australia, judging by the number of certificates on the wall telling us so). So I quickly stood behind the bar and B called BB down and said the same thing, opening the door on to me doing my best 1970s housewife pose, asking, 'Hello dear, had a hard day? Would you like a cocktail?'

Given that we're not interested in any renovations, I don't think that was our dream house. It may be someone else's, especially if they don't want to renovate, but live in a retro heaven. You'd have to get rid of the smoker's fug, though, which lingers in the drapes and walls and shagpile.

The best house we saw I'm going to hug close to my chest, because we've shifted from what an agent called 'passive clients' to what they probably call 'emotional suckers' and I don't want to jinx anything. Suffice to say that in the past two days we've interviewed a few agents with a view to putting our house on the market after Christmas, and we now have a long and daunting list of things to do to our place over the next four weeks. These agents, they don't waste a second. They seem to work all hours, and their enthusiasm is amazing. We have a shortlist of two really lovely women to work with, and it's a tough call, because they've both got really good qualities in their own very different ways.

But the speed at which this is happening is doing my head in. If we don't get this house, we're ok, I'm sure something will turn up, but the whole family is in love with it, and no matter what else we find, this will always linger in our hearts as a ghost house. I'll tell you more as things firm up, or fall through... and I'm starting to declutter. I don't have the energy for huge tasks at the moment, but Best Beloved is a very goal-orientated person, and now that he has a concrete reason for doing things, he's powering along. I'm just going to move around the house putting things into boxes and doing little jobs like touching up paint scratches and repairing door handles etc. I think I'm going to tell the family that any help in lieu of Christmas presents would be much appreciated.

In the meantime, I've written a post at Book Art Object about the Claire Beynon piece I've finished.

folded the second part

14 comments:

birdmonkey said...

ah house hunting- we got gazumpted on two places which we thought where amazing- but in the end the house we got we love better. goodluck!

birdmonkey said...

the retro heaven looks not too bad in the photos... but you can't smell it.
always interesting to see how the Canberra "box" gets extended

lucytartan said...

I think it pretty much always works out the way birdmonkey says. But personally, househunting is not something I can do for too long - it's too draining, how you get so invested in each place.

I kind of liked the WTF house, especially the pink and green bathroom. The smell would put me right off, though, for sure. I love how you have to walk through bedroom 3 to get to the rumpus.

Ampersand Duck said...

The weird thing is, looking at the photos of the WTF house (which I hadn't before), that they'd decluttered for the photos, and then put it all back for the walk-throughs! The house we saw on Saturday had SO MUCH stuff in it, but the photos make it look great (of course!). Even more WTF!

But yes, it's not as odd as a house with a gimp cage...

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

The only house-hunting I ever did (a month before I found this one, about which I was sure as soon as I pulled up in the street outside) was fraught with sadness: nearly all of the sellers had either died or their marriages had broken up, and you could see the signs of those things everywhere -- either the houses hadn't been touched since the 1950s, with people on pensions in them getting older and older for decades, or DIY projects that had been stopped in mid-flight -- half-painted walls and half-bricked paths. It was just after Christmas, which was probably what had brought on the death and separation crises. The woman I bought this house from, on the other hand, needed a place more suited to keeping her dogs and running her business. Different feeling altogether.

shawjonathan said...

You evoke the experience so well! My partner and I have just bought and sold houses in the last month – bid unsuccessfully in three auctions, stared openmouthed at one house in particular that the agents described as charming, but looked like the set for a psychological horror movie. We have somewhere we love. and our former sufferings are fast fading from mind.

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KJM101 said...

Well,duck. Looks like you may have a good time in houses. And,of course, you saw amazing places,met with some lion kitsch and, most of all,shifted from those passive clients.

Cathy said...

Good luck. Fingers and toes crossed.

Mummy/Crit said...

Wow, yes. The WTF houses. We saw one that had a toilet directly off the living room once. Most peculiar. Not to mention the one that had turned the living room into the main bedroom with a cedar-lined walk-in wardrobe, but the kitchen had obviously been slapped together at the last moment.

Good luck with the hunt. lmk if you need hands later. With any luck D will've stopped barking by then.

bonnie said...

I have to start house hunting soon. I like whatevers cheap. I want a garden and more than 1 bedroom, but I guess normal people with proper paychecks want something better, I hope yous get it. A friend of mine is getting their house built and they get to design it with an architect to be exactly like they want. That sounds fun, maybe you should ask about that?

Rhubarb said...

ho, ho, ho, he, he, he... I've laughed about your post and about your comments! Sounds like you're feeling better, Duck, and enjoying the process. Just take it easy on yourself!

Ampersand Duck said...

That would be amazing fun, Bonnie, but way out of our budget, since we only really have one proper paycheck in the family!

I am feeling better, but awfully run down, although everyone I talk to says I look like I've had a very good rest, which I guess I have! Now have to regain fitness and energy levels...

Mrs B said...

Gotta love the WTF houses, and the OMG-my-eyes-hurt ones too.
We've just passed into the next phase.
The house moving one.
Good hunting!