Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Long and Obstacle-Littered Homestretch

We completed the final walkthrough earlier today, during which we got to meet one of our neighbors (we got his dog*'s name but not his, unfortunately), and saw another one from afar. The house looks good. The sellers didn't leave too many extraneous items behind, and a lot of the rooms are much bigger than we thought they were at first, especially in the annex. We also found a mysterious pit in the back patio, what looks to be a heretofore undiscovered attic/crawlspace above the annex, and a tiny closet in the second annex room. We didn't find anything serious that had gone unnoticed during the inspection, so I'm happy. If all goes well, we'll be closing in about twenty-seven hours. If all does not go well, then problems will continue to happen with the sellers receiving the closing paperwork they're supposed to sign (they've already moved across the country), and we'll have to postpone. I'm going from the assumption that everything's going to come together at the last minute, though; that's been a frequent theme in these proceedings. :-P Between the uncertainty about the closing paperwork's location and the fact that our mortgage guy thought we were closing on Friday, there have been a few frustrating moments this week. But once again, we're hoping for no more problems.

Then, after tomorrow afternoon and a great many signatures, the house will be ours--and with it, a great many decisions about what is good the way it is, what needs to be changed for our own health and safety, and what we want to play with. In the short term, we're using the inspection report as our to-do checklist, but once the urgent and/or fairly inexpensive issues are dealt with there, then I fear we're going to begin to get creative.

The house was built in 1900, and as much as we can, we want to reflect that in our changes and decoration. That plan is slightly complicated because we don't have good examples to follow just yet. I've seen plenty of other houseblogs dealing with turn-of-the-century homes, but ours doesn't seem to be any particular style. It definitely isn't Victorian, and it isn't Craftsman either; the listing named it a "farmhouse," but it's in a former steel mill working neighborhood, not in a particularly agricultural area. I gather from my Internet research that farmhouse is often just a fancy word for "two-story house of undetermined style," so I'm not entirely sure what sources to look to for historical accuracy. So wherever possible, we're going to try to uncover older aspects of the house, and are going try to make our renovations not too contemporary.

A further problem is that we have nearly no experience with being handy; we can paint with not much mess, and I can hammer a nail pretty well and like stripping paint from wood, but other than that, we're learning as we go along. I understand that undertaking a historically sensitive renovation takes skill and talent, at least one of which I know we don't have yet. So it's going to be a balancing act making the place livable and enjoyable without potentially messing up its historic aspects, but we're going to try. We may end up indulging in some harmless stopgap measures until we're ready to tackle more serious projects. At the very least, for the moment, we can paint.

Twenty-six hours and forty-five minutes until closing. It's going to be a long day and night and morning.

*The dog in question is a mastiff puppy that currently weighs as much as I did when I graduated high school, and whose head comes up to my waist. She's ten months old and has a good bit of growing left in her. I hope she's friendly. O.O

Well, if nothing else, the neighborhood will certainly be well guarded.

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