The good news is that we finally sold our house in Georgia. Remember? It was the house that we were so confident we could redo and then sell, as a good investment. So much for good intentions; it was a bad time for the housing market, and we bought just before it all started to plummet. We are actually very thankful that the house finally sold; it could have been much, much worse. But now, we find ourselves in a similar position we were in about 7 years ago when we bought our very first house. We have no money, and would like to live in a house that won’t fall down around us. It’s a huge blessing that we ended up in Indianapolis, a city with some of the most affordable housing in the country.
So we’ve started looking at houses. Since this is the third house we’re buying, and since we now have a good bit of experience with renovation, we have a much better idea of what we want, and I usually know from the minute I walk in the kitchen house if it will work or not. If I were to ask my general blog-reading population (you and 15 of my closest friends) to guess what might be my non-negotiables in a house, gleaned solely from information I willingly and somewhat narcissistically share with whomever happens to land at this web address, I might get a list of answers ranging from “big kitchen” to “gas range.” And those are really good guesses; right behind 3 bedrooms and at least a half bathroom more than one (please?). But at the very tip-top of my list — the one thing I absolutely cannot do without — is light.
My kitchen now has it. The house we’re renting is a meticulously restored historic craftsman bungalow. It’s probably the nicest house we’ll ever live in. But — it being a historic bungalow and all — it’s a very dark house. Dark wood trim, dark floors, muted wall colors, and a large, deep porch make for a constant battle for more light. Sometimes I feel like Mary on Little House — in the episode where she’s going blind? I walk around turning on every light in a room (thankfully I’m not lighting candles under threat of falling asleep and burning down the house), just thinking, I can’t see anything! The only thing keeping me from ordering my own personal sun light is the kitchen — a pale-yellow, white-trimmed room with huge windows and french doors opening to the stone patio. It’s a bright, cheerful, warm room, and I spend all of my time here, be it time spent cooking, writing, reading, or all of the above. I can’t help but wish that the rest of the house had the same feel. On the one hand, it’s a good thing we’re renting; on the other, I doubt I’ll be buying a house with a kitchen this nice. And that is, after all, where I spend just about all my time save sleeping.
And I’m not sure our realtor is going to understand these needs. I’m guessing she’s heard just about every request imaginable; but I feel like I’m just shy of claiming that our house needs good feng shui. I can hear Tim now: “Katy just needs to feel light and warmth when she walks into a house, especially the kitchen. Because she cooks. A lot. And, how’s the borrowed view out the kitchen windows? These are the things we need to consider. Oh, and do you think they’ll take a low-ball offer?”
Is this ridiculous? Maybe. But — and here’s where you will be able to see that I’m serious — for the right light and ample-sized kitchen, I’d even be willing to cook on an electric coil stove for a while. All the while, sleeping with this photograph under my pillow: