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.


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


  • 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


  • 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.


  1. Barb says

    For a second I thought you guys were announcing you were going to be on the show House Hunters… that would be so much fun to watch.

  2. says

    This is probably a dumb question, but what if you find your DREAM house for an AWESOME price? Will you jump on it, even if your house hasn’t sold yet? And what if you get an incredible offer on your house and you haven’t found your next one?

    I’m still living in my first condo, but I sometimes wonder how people accomplish the transition.

    • says

      Hey Ashlee,

      We would pounce, baby! We can’t technically close on a house until we sell ours (since we need to out the equity in our house towards the new one) but we could make an offer on a possible dream house with a contingency in it (basically a clause that says we must sell our house in order to close on that house). Then we would have to cross our fingers that the sellers of that home would accept our offer instead of throwing it out in favor of an offer that doesn’t have a contingency.


  3. Katie says

    Ok. I can’t help but notice that you both keep saying future kiddos, beans/beanette, etc. Are you hiding something?..specifically in the mid section?? I know Clara is young but ya never know. I’m sorry to sound nosey I’m just dying to know! :)

    • says

      No!!! We actually have medical advice to wait at least two years between beans. I had some complications with Clara and we’re more than happy to enjoy her for a while before adding to the pack.


  4. andrea says

    I saw Martha’s post re the basement bedroom. Do you know the rules regarding using finished basement areas in square footage? Could it vary by state regulations?

    • says

      It definitely could vary by state, although here we thought basements had to be “above grade” but perhaps it has to do with windows and emergency exits too!


  5. Melissa G. says

    I love house tours. We aren’t moving for at least 2 1/2 more years, but I still love browsing home on It gives me an idea of what I should expect for our price range. We’re trying to narrow down where we want to live, right now we’re thinking Tennessee or Florida. Then we have to narrow down the neighborhood by school performance.

    I loved that link you posted for finding good schools, it’s definitely helping me decide which city and state would be best.

  6. Jennifer says

    We are house hunting right now too. And let me just say that a “large yard” is on our list and we are hoping for more than 0.12 acres. Hahaha. Yes, we live in New England. I would die for over an acre! :-)

    Good luck with the search, I think you are doing it all the right way (not showing people’s houses, etc.).

  7. Leeann says

    Hey, Meredith KA- My mom used to take my brother and me with her when she was house-hunting. The sellers’ realtors always got a kick out of hearing a 6- and 8-year-old ask questions about square footage and the age of fixtures! We used to set up “open houses” in our garage and invite the neighborhood kids to come visit our house that had a skateboard for a bed and plastic crates for living room furniture. I wish my imagination were still that great! :-)

  8. says

    What an adorable house – Too bad it wasn’t perfectly fixable! My husband and I bought a house a year ago so we’re not going to be looking at any new ones anytime soon, which bums me out a little! My husband’s sister and her fiance just went through a house hunt so it was fun to live vicariously through them, and now you guys! Thanks for sharing, and best of luck :)

  9. says

    wow this is my dream house. My husband and I are also looking to buy a home, newly weds :) this one is so charming
    @ Melissa….i browse too, but haven’t been finding much, do you know any other good sites?

  10. Jen says

    I totally agree with the method you’ve chosen to show the houses. I can see where some homeowners might not want to read things on the internet about the homes they’re trying to sell. This way, your readers still kind of get to house-hunt with you but the homeowners’ privacy is intact.

    Good luck with the house hunting!

  11. john says

    regarding square footage and basements…
    a realtor can market or advertise a house how they choose (or at least that is what they do)
    i would say a large percentage of realtors include any finished basement square footage in the total square footage amount…that is misleading in some ways.

    for SF to be considered it must have heat source and be “above grade”…..split levels and tri-levels have living square footage on slab and on crawl…both spaces are considered above grade…

    in richmond, especially older neighborhoods alot of homes have basements. the general rule is 3 of 4 walls need to have windows and be a certain footage above the ground level to be considered above grade….most would not meet this requirement…some ranches on sloped lots do.

    this house in particular is a 2 bedroom home in the eyes of an appraiser

    finished square footage is not all calculated or considered the same, but if a basement has been finished to the same quality as the main level, has windows, and normal ceilings, it is obviously still usable space….this can also be an issue with finished attics, which is common in older homes.

    in any market, with potential resale kept in mind, i would be wary of buying a 2 bedroom home….unless of course that is typical in your hood,area……2 bedroom condos, townhomes are much more typical

  12. Jaime says

    In last Sunday’s New York Times I came across the 2010 concept home of the year, which I think you would love. The 2010 version reflects the a modest footprint — just 1,700 square feet. I really enjoyed looking at it and it helped me think about what kind of layouts my fiance and I are looking for. If you haven’t yet seen it, take a look!

  13. Lauren says

    Thanks again for including us on your process of finding a second house! My husband and I definitely fell in love with the outside of a few houses only to be very disappointed with the inside.

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