New House Nerves

I know, it has been weeks since I posted. If it makes you feel any better, I haven't written any email either. It's not so much that I've been busy as I've been in a state of frozen panic, afraid to do anything that isn't related to real estate lest I break the fragile thread that is holding together all these transactions and agreements and unimaginably large sums of money.

But our real estate agent just called to say that all the documents and amendments and waivers have been signed and everything is going to go ahead, really truly, pinkie-swear. It's real.

I'm not excited about the new house. Actually, there is almost nothing I am looking forward to about the new house; I am not looking forward to climbing up and down stairs, I am not looking forward to doing laundry in the basement, I am not looking forward to hand-washing dishes, I am not looking forward to a bathtub with no shower, I am not looking forward to being miles (okay, blocks) away from the nearest Starbucks.

It is almost comical how this house doesn't add up. We made a wish list before we went house hunting: big kitchen — not really; two bathrooms — nope; big deck — nope; detached — no; shower — shower?! I didn't put "shower" on my wish list, because what house doesn't have a shower? Well, mine.

And yet I still love the house, our little tiny dark house, because it is ours and we can do whatever we want with it; we can reno the kitchen, we can add a room at the back (if the neighbours don't mind — please don't let the neighbours mind), we can dig out the basement and put in a laundry room and a den and a nice bathroom with a crazy Japanese tub, we can fix up the bathroom upstairs, we can add a big deck and a patio and do beautiful landscaping in the front.

We're planning, soon after we move in, to add about fifteen feet to the back — the kitchen is now at the back of the house, and we are going to move the kitchen into the additional space and put a kind of office slash play area where the kitchen is now. (That's if we can afford it; we haven't had a quote from the contractor yet.)

We're going to put in new pale wood fifties-style fitted cabinets, a modern gas stove (sorry, but the old stove is going; I will try and find a good home for it), a new fridge, a dishwasher, a forties-inspired white subway tile backspash, fifties-style blue countertops and blue linoleum on the floors. We're keeping the original sink and the white painted cabinet with the amazing handles and hinges. The office will house our fifties metal desk and a set of fitted cabinets, matching the ones in the kitchen, to house jackets and boots and things, as well as providing more pantry space.

Stylistically it's going to be, frankly, a retro pastiche combining Deco elements from the forties with Moderne and Contemporary influences from the fifties, and of course a few current pieces like the appliances and lighting. Since Moderne and Contemporary are (ironically, linguistically speaking) pretty much opposite, I have no idea if it will work. I am hoping it will kind of blend, organically. I mean, if it were 1956 and you had been living someplace for a while, you would probably have all those elements in your home. We'll see. I figure after it's been there for a few years and gotten bashed around a bit it will look fine. And I will be used to it and won't care.

What I am looking forward to is the location, which is the one thing you can't add to a house. The new house is halfway between the street with the library, two patisseries, a bulk food store and a really nice kids' clothing store, and another street which houses bakeries, butchers, a cheese store, a second-hand kids' stuff store, a new kids' stuff store, two ice cream parlours, a drugstore and of course Starbucks. And by halfway, I mean less than ten minutes walk to either street; maybe five minutes.

The bus stop is right on the corner, about three houses away, and the bus comes every ten minutes. And if you can't wait, it's only about a ten or fifteen minute walk to the subway.

The block is also thick with children; there are about a dozen houses on the block and all but maybe one or two have children. The school is an easy walk away, and it's one of the best in the city. So, you know, it could be worse.