House Hunting: The Cottage In The Woods

We’ve been passively house hunting for a few weeks now (driving around different neighborhoods, checking out pics on MLS, and popping into a few of them every now and then) and are finally getting around to writing about it. It’s amazing how frantically cleaning your own house and scheduling showings can distract you from actually blogging about the thrill of the hunt for a new place.

Part of our delay has also been deciding the best way to share this house hunting journey with you guys. We’d love to show every nook and cranny of each place, but at the same time we want to respect the privacy of each home’s seller (after all, unlike HGTV’s House Hunters these folks haven’t signed up to have their homes pluses and minuses publicly dissected for all to see).

So after much debate we decided to only share a (slightly doctored) exterior photo along with a description of the house’s pros and cons with thoughts on whether it’s a good fit for us. With that said, let’s start with the place we started calling “The Cottage In The Woods” that we recently toured. We found this one driving around getting lost in a nearby neighborhood and got crazy excited about it before knowing anything about it.  Almost “we don’t even need to see in inside” excited. It really was that charming from the outside.

THE STATS:

  • Age: 1953
  • House size: 1,905 square feet
  • Lot size: 1.4 acres of land
  • Bedrooms: 3
  • Bathrooms: 2

THE PROS:

  • Old, modest and in need of some TLC
  • Amazingly private lot that’s bursting with charm (you drive about 150 feet through the woods before you even see the house)
  • Great neighborhood and schools
  • Nice open living and dining room

THE CONS:

  • No master bathroom
  • Cramped kitchen (about half the size of our current one) with no room to expand
  • 2 bedrooms on the main floor, one in the basement
  • Low ceiling in basement (like I-had-to-duck low)

So despite having been won over by the exterior, the interior left lots to be desired for our open-and-airy loving hearts (and our I-don’t-like-to-touch-basement-ceilings heads). We’re all about taking a small compartmentalized house and blowing out some walls, but this specific layout didn’t seem very conducive to those kinds of changes as all. And the fact that one of the bedrooms was in the low-ceilinged basement complete with a dehumidifier (while we’d prefer to keep all the bedrooms close together and above grade so we can be near Clara and future kiddo(s) in their earlier years of life) left us feeling like this house would be “settling.” Thus our dream of living in this secluded little cottage in the woods came crumbling down. Oh well, on to the next one!

Altered exterior photo taken by us and edited thanks to our friend Photoshop.

Psst- Don’t forget about our big nerve-wracking appearance on The Nate Show this coming Monday the 25th (more details here). Fingers crossed that we don’t look like big starstruck geeks.

Comments

  1. says

    We found our house via drive by. It’s definitely something I now recommend for my friends who are house hunting. We would spend Saturdays just joyriding all over the place, popping in open houses and getting an idea of what we wanted. At the time we weren’t even ready to sell our condo, so we didn’t have much pressure attached. It definitely helped us when we were ready to buy!

    • says

      Hey Lauren,

      Haha, yeah the space is one of the perks of staying in Bon Air (our current house is on nearly an acre of land). We love the idea of having tons of outdoor space for Burger, Clara, and future beans/beanettes!

      xo,
      s

  2. Nikki says

    I am so glad to hear you guys say you don’t want to “settle”. You should really LOVE-LOVE-LOVE your home…especially since you probably spend 90% of your time there.
    PS. Your ‘doctored’ photo looks like it could be a canvas painting. Are you guys channeling George Seurat?

  3. Julia M says

    We have been house-hunting since JULY! We have seen over 60 houses (our poor realtor), I am looking for all the charm of an older home in a place where new homes are popping up everywhere. What gives?

  4. Patti says

    I was wondering how you guys were gonna let us in on your house-hunting adventure … this is great! I respect the fact that you won’t settle just because you loved some of the house. I settled for my home 14 years ago and I’m still regretting it!

  5. says

    What a fun journey for you guys to be on – will all of your remodeling/design experience! It’s gonna be fun to see what you end up buying and what you do to it. :)

    Have a great weekend!

  6. Kim says

    Our previously tiny (as in before we bought it 1100 sq. feet) rancher, had a really big master bedroom with 2 closets and modest but great sized bathroom with 2 sinks added before we bought it 10 years ago. We had a 1 year old and 3 year old at the time (still have them, they just grew!) That bedroom got us through 10 years of living in an otherwise small house. Kids don’t need as much space as you might think when they’re little. If you love a house, a small addition like that can be great. Now we have bumped out the back just a little, added a really big screened porch with fireplace, and a modest addition on the side with a bedroom, bathroom, and office. We have also reconfigured the inside. It’s going to be very very awesome when we are done.

    • says

      Hey Julia,

      We don’t believe there to be a legal issue with showing more of the house (assuming we got them from MLS or Realtor.com and linked back), but we’re choosing to not share more out of courtesy to the sellers. We know that we wouldn’t appreciate someone blogging about all of the “cons” of a house we’re trying to sell so we thought we’d just do things this way instead.

      -John

  7. Martha says

    I used to work for a real estate appraiser in NJ and bedrooms (or any finished rooms for that matter) in the basement are not included in the room count. Value is given for a finished basement but technically the house you looked at is a 2 bedroom, 2 bath. Unless appraisals are different in VA!

  8. says

    That house looks really cute, but I’m glad you guys don’t want to settle. We found our house (with some help from my parents) driving around in a neighborhood we knew we liked and then we begged our, so here’s hoping you stumble upon the perfect house soon!

  9. says

    Wow, from your description, it sounds like it would be more than settling. The cons seem to far outweigh the pros, and those pros are kind of easy to come by in many houses (except maybe the very private lot, which is a dream of mine to one day have, too.) Great compromise on showing us the house without actually showing it.

    We were kind of lax about our house search and got the flavor of them from the photos on Zillow. If we liked what we saw enough there, we made the pilgrimage (from NY to NJ) to look at the places in person. Funny, the things the original owners leave out of the photos that you discover when you get there :)

  10. says

    We looked at so many house last spring! It was fun at first, but I was so glad when we finally found something that we actually liked! We were so sick of houses after a month or two!

    Enjoy the hunt!