You guys probably remember us mentioning “the bed & breakfast” house around the corner from us a few times. We’ve admired it for years. Not just because it has an in-ground pool, a tennis court, and a picnic area, but also because it’s just about the most charming exterior around. Here’s a pic we snapped during a snowstorm last year:

In fact, when Sherry and I started our house hunt this fall, we secretly schemed about knocking on their door and begging the owner to let us buy it. But before we could muster the confidence to march up to their doorstep we learned that someone else had beaten us to the punch. The nerve. It had already been sold privately (just a few weeks prior), with nary a “for sale” sign in sight.

So when the lucky bast-, er, people who snatched up our dream house from right under our noses introduced themselves at our moving sale last month, it was a little bittersweet (sweet mainly because they were buying about $100 in patio furniture and rugs from us). But sweet also because they were amazingly nice, and they even invited us over for a tour. Sherry had been grumbling something about not being able to die without knowing what that house looked like on the inside, so I was happy that my not dying wife (well, I guess everyone’s dying…) would get her odd home-related wish fulfilled.

And sure enough, like a celebrity who’s shorter in person, the house failed to live up to our intensely high expectations. Which made us love our future house even more for being so perfect that it inadvertently surpassed even our “dream house” once we had seen the inside. Don’t get us wrong. It’s not like it wasn’t a great house. Because it was. It’s bursting with makeover potential, and is actually a much uglier “before” than our new one (you’ll have to trust us since we couldn’t snap pics, but there was harrowing flowery wallpaper, old blue carpeting, decrepit light fixtures, red laminate countertops, etc). And the new owners knew it. In fact, they were painting and stripping wallpaper while we were there getting the tour (gotta love that they’re fellow DIY enthusiasts). We have no doubt that they’ll do some pretty amazing things to it, especially since they shared some of their plans as they gave us the tour.

In the end we both walked out knowing that it wasn’t the right house for us and the fact that it had sold before we even had a shot at it was how it was supposed to go. It wasn’t the open-floor plan, single-level, and growing-family-friendly home that we need right now. Plus maintaining that lawn… and pool… and tennis court is probably not the easiest thing for parents of a six-month old. So not only did we get closure when it comes to wondering “what could’ve been?” if we’d knocked on that door a bit sooner, we’re also really excited that it has owners with big plans for that sweet house that we’ll always refer to as “the bed and breakfast.” Which definitely sounds better to us than “the one that got away.” Whew.

Pssst- We announced this week’s giveaway winner. Click here to see if it’s you.


  1. says


    That’s great! Now Sherry can sleep well at night (and I guess you too, if she talks you to death like I do my husband). I would have figured a way to see the inside too before moving.

    Thought…you should consider “house crashing” them when they finish some of or all of the remodel on the home. You DIY people should stick together.

    • says

      Walls couldn’t be knocked down to make things feel open (which is what we love). The layout pretty much made it impossible to create something with lots of flow since structurally things like fireplaces and load bearing walls couldn’t be moved. The bedrooms were also separated which we didn’t prefer (two upstairs, one master downstairs, one across the house and upstairs on the other side) so it was perfect for older kiddos (which is what the couple who got it had).


  2. Page says

    We looked for our present house for way too long—about two years. BUT, the good news is that we are in the PERFECT house for us. We drive through all the neighborhoods where we looked before, and all we can say is how glad we are that we didn’t buy another one of the scores of houses we looked at.

  3. says

    So glad you got some closure! I truly believe we all end up with the right house! When my husband and I bought our apartment in Brooklyn, we lost out on two apartments before getting the one we live in now. We were so bummed when we lost the second place – couldn’t imagine finding one we would like better, but we did. It really does work out!

  4. says

    Isn’t it grand when life works out on it’s own better than if we tried to force it? We thank our lucky stars every time we drive by the house I was ‘dying for’ but didn’t get. We ended up right where we’re supposed to be!

  5. says

    I’m glad you guys got to see inside and have some closure. It really is picturesque from the outside, but I guess you can’t judge a house by its cov… exterior. I can’t wait until my husband and I can buy our first house. I hope we are as happy as you when we find our home.

  6. Elizabeth says

    After working in the film industry I can confirm that most celebrities are more slight than they appear on film or television. However, some of them are also even better looking in person…Richard Gere and Dennis Quaid specifically fall into this category!

  7. says

    I just had a similiar experience. My favorite house on my nightly dog walk just went on the market. In fact, I gasped so loudly when driving past it my husband almost got in an accident. Then I looked online at the realtor’s listing. YUCK and weird. Maybe its worth an actual look inside, the pictures I saw did not match up with the exterior at all.

  8. jAG says

    Just curious as to why a single-floor plan is more preferable to you? I find with a baby that having my family room, kitchen, etc on the same floor as my baby’s has made it difficult to entertain. We feel the need to whisper once we have put the baby to bed. Is this something you considered? I love my house but am looking forward to not having to worry about disrupting sleep.

    • says

      Hey JAG,

      We’re big believers in not tiptoeing around a sleeping baby. John’s sister taught us to vacuum right in the room with a sleeping baby and get them used to noise- now Clara can sleep through anything and even though our house is all one level and very small she sleeps like a champ. Thank goodness. We also just love a ranch- can’t help it! We think not worrying about stairs and baby gates will be so nice! And not having to carry clothes upstairs after doing laundry or devoting lots of floor place to stairs and hallways which usually happens in two level houses makes it feel like it’s a great choice for us. But of course it’s totally a subjective thing!


  9. Kay says

    It was the “pssst” at the end of this post that got my attention. Thank you, thank you for not inundating your readers with 1)this great giveaway, 2)why it’s great, 3) what you have to do to enter, and 4)who won. Honestly, I have unsubscribed from some design blogs that were great until they got caught up in promoting their sponsors to the detriment of content. Reading those is like a magazine with nothing but ads. I understand that some people make a living with their blogs, but please, not so in-your-face with the give-aways and ads. You guys at YHL are continuing to do a great job–keep it up. Can’t wait to see the new house!

  10. says

    Fate took you to the lovely space you share. You landed there for many reasons. And thankfully all of your followers are glad that you were.
    But it is SO much fun imagining and drawing up in our minds what we would do with a space to make it special. The only limit is your imagination. Keep dreaming.

  11. says

    Whew! Isn’t it great when you finally find *your* house? We did the search 3 years ago, well, four if you consider the year we actually spent searching.

    The first house we saw was not only above our price range but “U.G.L.Y you ain’t got no alibi” ugly…but in the town we wanted to live in (that rarely has houses for sale).

    So, we gave up and looked at a few more. We put in an offer on two others, and lost them (obviously at different times). I can’t say I wasn’t upset when they fell through. I was actually fully relieved when one of them did.

    Back to the drawing board we go and one day I get a call from the fiance, then boyfriend and he says “Remember that really ugly house in (name of town), yeah, you need to see this”. We went there, and it was almost as horrible as it looked online. The grass was roughly 6 feet high in spots, the owners didn’t take care of it…but you could tell that at one point, a long time ago – someone had loved it. It didn’t hurt that there is a roughly 40 acre field behind the house which can never be developed due to town ordinances. Then, then the little old lady neighbor stopped by and talked to us all about the history of the house. Her and her husband had helped build it with four other couples decades ago (way before the current owners).

    We loved it, and the price had dropped significantly. I had this thing about needing to love the neighbors – and I did. I loved everything about it.

    We have lived in this house for 3 years. You would never know it was the same place. The yard is completely overhauled…and we haven’t even landscaped it yet. We found rock walls that had been neglected, and built new ones from all the rocks my fiance and I excavated with our tractor on countless nights. The house is going into renovation mode next summer – right after our wedding.

    We’re going to fill it with love again.

    You always get the house you’re meant to. :)

  12. says

    Too bad it didn’t live up to your daydreams, but at least you weren’t sad that you didn’t get to buy it after seeing the inside?

    I second the “hopefully you can house crash it when it’s closer to being “finished”!

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