Wednesday, January 23, 2008

In which things get ugly. Really ugly.

After sleeping on it, MB and I were less excited about the big house with the awesome yard. He was pretty sure the dining room and living room were too small, and didn't like that one kid's room would be on the main floor while we'd be upstairs. I was okay with everything about the house, but was feeling unsure about the neighborhood.

We decided to keep looking, and so one dreary day we set out for the west side of town. (Seriously, it rained nearly every day that we went house hunting. It was uncanny.) Oh, mama...we saw some fugly houses that day.

We started at a pretty cute place:

MB didn't like the floorplan at all, and the bedrooms were somewhat small. The yard was little and slopey and there was no fence, so we ultimately had to move on. There were some really cute kittens in the house that we had fun visiting, though.

Things went right downhill after that. This house was very...odd. It was filled with an even mix of Jewish kitsch and Jesus knickknacks. It had started out as a little bitty place, and had two very unfortunate additions Frankensteined onto it.

The middle photo here is the dining room, which also had the fridge in the corner. The kitchen was basically the size of a closet. I don't know how a full-sized adult could fit in between the counter and the stove, which was wedged into the corner just out of the frame. Yikes.

Behind the kitchen, things got very weird. there was a full 90 degree turn down a teensy narrow hallway, and then another 90 degree into a bedroom. I have no earthly idea how they got a double bed back there. Magic? Teleportation? It must've been a marvel of creative manuevering.

Our next stop was this unassuming ranch, which hid horrors within:

There are no words, so let's just bask in the aqua glory for a few moments:

Are you still with me? Good. I'd hate for you to miss these built-in bunk beds with super narrow mattresses. I'm not sure they sell sheets for beds this size at Target. Or anywhere, really. This place was pretty depressing, so we hurried onward.

We were pretty excited about the next house, which was just over 2000 square feet and boasted a party house over the garage.

This place was a textbook example of really creative real estate photography. The downstairs rooms were okay, if a little bit generically remodeled. The house was a flip, and everything was apartment-colored--white walls and beige carpets. The yard was very narrow, and the party house was a lot smaller than it looked in the photo.

Overall, not terrible, until I went upstairs. The upstairs apparently didn't receive any of the remodeling love. The carpet on the staircase was deeeeeesgusting. Stains everywhere. But the best part? A total death trap at the top.

Check out that gap. I'm somewhat absurdly leggy, and I couldn't even make the step down from the doorway to the stairs. Here's the view looking straight down from the threshold of what would be the kids' room:

Uh, no. Kids are resilient and all, but I'm pretty sure this room = guaranteed head injuries. I can absolutely promise I wouldn't be in this house a week before I broke my leg.

Speaking of creative real estate photography:

I realize the lens had some rain splotches on it, but doesn't this photo make it look like there's smoke coming out of the house?

Anyhoodle, moving on:

Ooh! Cute, right? Except these people were out back sneaking a cigarette when the concept of flattering real estate photography was covered:

There's no kind way to put it, so I'll just say it:  this place was a goddamn disaster. The wood floors were in bad shape, and the master bedroom closet was a painfully cheap slap-up job. There were wires hanging out of all the places where light switches and outlets should've been. The "new paint" they boasted about in the listing was two rooms with really half-assed faux finish jobs in gold. GOLD. Oh, and there were dog pawprints in purple paint all over the carpet on the staircase, even though we didn't see a splash of purple anywhere else in the house. I have to give them props for not having a drop of death at the top of the stairs, but the artwork and the bird nest in the window kind of canceled out most of the scant few brownie points they'd just earned:

The house's only redeeming feature? Gorgeous doors on the master bedroom:

A few blocks down, we saw a basically-identical house:

This one was not so much horrifying as in need of serious, long-term, expensive TLC. I really hope it gets it, too, because this place could be breathtaking:

Okay, the scary boiler and uber-granny decor upstairs have to go. But otherwise, not so bad!

We had originally planned to see this one, too, but didn't get an appointment:

I love yellow, but this place made me want to cry. It was just so squat and ugly. All in all, I was pretty relieved that we were forced to skip it.

We closed out our west-side excursion with two decent, unoffensive houses that were on a street too busy for our tastes:

Finally, just for the hell of it, we checked out a two-bedroom Tudor that claimed to have a possible third bedroom in the basement:

Very cute, but pretty small, and the "bedroom" in the basement wasn't very appealing.

Although I had a good time documenting the heinousness of some of the day's finds, this trip really did take a lot of the wind out of our sails. We were beginning to think that we had standards too high for our price range, to be honest.

Little did we know, there was a big bright shiny light on the horizon...


  1. Anonymous3:25 AM

    Wow. Those are some truly odd houses. The one with the add ons made me think of those RV's that have slide out rooms. Nice for camping, but not for a house.

    Also? When I rule the world, real estate agents must be forced to sit in a lie-detecting machine that doles out doses of electricity for each wildly untrue and or creative exaggeration they make for each and every listing.

    And how the heck is that death trap staircase considered up to any housing code, let alone common sense?

  2. not all realtors are like that, i swear!

    in retrospect, since it was a new listing and there were tools laying about, we wonder if the new paint was something that was going to happen but hadn't by the time we saw it.

  3. also, looking at rooflines on the one with the tiny kitchen, if we including putting walls around a porch and calling it interior space, i'm going with a minimum of 5 additions.

  4. personally (and its probably because i'm house AND cat obsessed to) I greatly enjoyed your house buying posts... all 70+ pictures too! VBG girl is awesome!

  5. Wow, that death drop was really strange. I'm picturing flying kitty leaps onto the unsuspecting head of a poor passerby at the bottom of those stairs. Or, like you said, toddler concussions. Not pretty.

    Can't wait to see the light at the end of the tunnel...