Friday, February 9, 2018

Let the Renovations Begin

I'm not sure what I was thinking the day we pulled up in front of the orange adobe. A pocket listing on Zillow led us there. Basically, that means the website said "for sale" and gave an address, but the listing wasn't actually active on the MLS, so it didn't show up on our realtor's searches. There was no sign outside, but there was no doubt it was the right house. You can't mistake a sprawling orange adobe for anything but what it is.

I remember saying to Dave, "What the hell is this place?" Then I followed with, "I'd live here, look at the land!"

We sat in his truck outside for a bit and combed through the pictures on the website. Without much hesitation, I opened the car door and started to get out.

Dave asked, "What are you going to do?"

I answered, "Well, if they want to sell their house they wont mind me knocking on the door and asking for details."

I heard him say, "You're crazy", as I walked toward the front door and rang the doorbell.

Carl, the homeowner, answered the door. Before he had time to worry about why I was there, I explained that I had found a listing online for his house and wondered if it was for sale. He seemed curious, and explained that a realtor friend was getting ready to list the house, but it wasn't active or on the MLS yet, because they weren't really ready to sell until after Christmas. I explained that we were ready to buy now, and wanted to see the inside, and right then would be good. He must have realized the opportunity, because he let us in. I ran back to the truck to get Dave.

"OK, Honey. The house is for sale, but it's not active yet. They said we can come in and take a look. Let's go." I think I remember hearing another, "You're crazy". But he followed me in.

Carl was a former construction engineer. We could tell by the attention to every detail of the house, that he was meticulous. I love houses in general, so I was excited for the tour. I had never witnessed adobe style, and although it was not my taste in the least, I found it interesting; the orange Saltillo tile floors, copper sink, exposed wood beams supporting what felt like ridiculously low ceilings. The house was dark, and small, but very cozy, not worthy of excitement, but felt very comfortable and loved nonetheless. The guest house was a mini version of the main house, one bedroom, living room and a kitchen. Underwhelming. The pool was pretty (but no spa). It would do, I guess. But then we
got to what I was most excited about, the outdoor space, which was what prompted our search for a new house in the first place. (Remember I said I was able to see past the house in the beginning?) Carl started explaining things. In addition to the three car garage on the main house, there was an additional two car on the guest house. (Perfect workshop space for painting furniture.) And then, there was the tack house and stables, the gardens, and the surrounding mountains, and the horses next door that peeked their cute heads over the fence.

This photo courtesy of Zillow listing.
We made our way to the back side of the property toward the tack house that had been converted into a tack-pub. There was even a hitching post outside. This little room was the perfect, tiny little man-cave. I already imagined it decorated with all of Dave's Navy memorabilia, and him and the boys bellying up to the bar for late night conversation, and maybe a little whisky.

Behind the tack house sat five fully outfitted horse stables. And in the last one, just before a goat pen, (yes, a goat pen!), was a cute little chicken coop. For years I had been whining to Dave about wanting to get chickens. In addition to the stalls, there was an open area for horses to run, (or in our case, our kids to run), fruit trees surrounding the perimeter with ripe oranges and lemons, and raised garden beds for growing vegetables. I had totally forgotten about the house by now, and was in love with the property. "I'd totally live here." I said.

If I were to make a list of every house style that existed, adobe would probably be at the bottom. So, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that buying this particular house was not at all in the plans. Not only was the color a huge turn off to me, (orange inside and out), I had made a list one day when I was thinking clearly, of all of the things that our new house had to have if I was willing to move the family...again. The list included such things as:

  • a house that required very little work
  • completely open concept kitchen, dining, family room
  • space for each kid to have their own room, and a dedicated guest room
  • a huge laundry/utility room
  • a pool/spa with a storage closet for chemicals and floats
  • at least a four car garage
  • a good sized lot
  • no HOA

...and did I mention, we didn't want to do any work?

That day I was blind to all practicality. We left that tour thinking this might just be the house for us. After sleeping on it (which was more like me laying awake all night stressing about it), I came to the realization that the orange adobe house checked off very few of the the things on my list. As the days ticked away and our contingency time was almost up, I expressed my concerns with Dave.

  • The house requires a lot of work
  • It didn't have the open concept we wanted
  • We'd have to add a three bedroom addition at the least
  • The laundry room was only a small closet
  • There was no spa and a plastic trunk for pool storage was not the closet I had in mind

However, my initial excitement was too convincing, and Dave was hooked. There was no looking back. We were soon to be the proud new owners of an orange adobe.

"When its all done, this is going to be the perfect compound for our family," he assured me. 

Let the renovations begin!

Welcome to the tack room.

Our next door neighbors.
Some days orange is actually pretty. (Like my positivity?)
Fresh oranges and lemons too.
We don't have these in New England, or Florida.

This photo courtesy of Zillow listing.

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