Hmmm… what is messier right now my brain or my life itself? Let’s see…
About six years ago we bought an Edwardian dwelling that we thought would be the ‘it’ house. D. who loves that type of buildings fell madly in love upon seeing it for the first time and against my advice signed the dotted line within five minutes of crossing the threshold. I, who rarely see him demonstrating passion (in fact, almost never) could not find it in my heart to refused his wish of acquiring his dream abode signed on the dotted line as well.
The house was and still is worth the money. Six bedrooms, a study, kitchen, veranda an immense living room with a marble fireplace, an enormous garage one can park two cars and an equally massive bathroom with a dressing and an old fashioned claw foot bath. Each bedroom is huge enough to house a bureau, a king size bed and a proper sitting room. Two of those have fireplaces as well. And if that is not enough, the place has a basement that runs through the entire length and width of the house. I don’t go there often. Too much rooms and dark passageways it resembles the labyrinth of my mind.
We renovated the place extensively, pouring almost every penny we had in the process. There is no corner I didn’t touch, paint or alter in some ways it is hardly recognizable afterwards. The only things I had left untouched are the period features. I always say that if you want to purchase a house and renovate it, please be true to the character of the building instead of slaughtering its soul to accommodate your non-existent taste. If you want a modern building, buy modern, if you want a period home, by all means; but don’t wreck a piece of history out of ignorance.
I single handedly designed and transformed the yard from a boring expanse of lawn into a gorgeous cottage garden full of beautiful flowers that bloom the whole year through. I made it happen by choosing and planting the right plants systematically for all seasons’ interests. I managed to convince D. to build a huge (it encompasses almost the entire breadth of the grounds) gazebo in the middle of the garden to break the space and create rooms outside to add mystery to the place. That way, one has to explore nooks and crannies to fully experience our little paradise. And we’re happy for a while…
Then reality hits home. Although I always insist to have my own room and always get it with or without connecting doors to D.’s, we still have four remaining bedrooms left unused except when family or my children visit. We rarely sit in the lounge for each of us has a sitting room in our respective sleeping quarters. The study aside from housing D.’s papers is also uninhabited. We don’t even cook in the kitchen for we have another one at the back of the garage. People often commented that our place looks like it jumps out from the pages of an interior magazine. A showroom piece in fact. It does not scream: “lived-in.” I love it!
But the deciding factor that made us really consider moving somewhere else is the enormous cost of heating such place. Big rooms, high ceilings and although we installed double glazing everywhere, period houses are not known for its good insulation. It’s hard to accept that your pride and joy is swallowing minimum of four thousands euros per year on heating alone. And anyone who knows about these types of houses could affirm that owning one means a never ending work. There is always something that have to be done. In short, D.’s darling is a money pit.
Another thing is: I was diagnosed with RA. I will not go into detail about it because I am still in denial phase at this moment and I cannot bring myself to talk about my condition just yet. It is enough to say that I cannot climb anymore that spectacular winding staircase leading all the way up to the third floor and don’t make me start about my beloved garden…
It took us five years before finally taking the plunge and put the place up for sale, believing it will happen overnight so to speak; it is a very beautiful house after all.
We combed the internet for properties to buy that would be our final home, the one that would be suited to us and to our needs. No more humongous museum of a place. No more period examples. No more anything to renovate and maintain extensively. A new modern property is what we after, small but big enough for us and must be closer to all amenities. We will not make the same mistake twice.
We found the perfect house. This time I was the one who put up an offer upon entering the foyer. It is everything I desired (with the exception of the location, it is along a very busy noisy road, something I promised to myself I would never do; but when you’re in love, you tend to overlook the imperfections and make do. Besides, there is no prefect house on perfect location) in accordance to the wishes of D. of course. The place is a mixture of us both.
Although we know for a fact that our country house is not yet sold and we will be taking a second mortgage upon purchasing this place, we go headlong for disaster anyway, and spent the rest of our remaining capital beautifying the place like buying furniture (the ones we have are not suited for the new place nor it would fit in with the modern quite minimalist design of our new home) and putting up fences and gate; things like that… what a colossal mistake!
Here is the situation: after almost two years trying to sell our previous dwelling and after changing broker three times, the country house is not yet sold. Could you envision the scenario? Two houses, two mortgages and everything in two like electric-water-gas bills not to mention rateable values, property insurance and the sky-high interest of a bridging loan! The ordeal of keeping two houses at once inclusive cleaning and maintaining the gardens is not to be sneer at. But what I find the most trying aspect of this whole endeavour is the demoralizing feeling of being stuck, the awareness of life on hold and the realization of the fact that every second that the house is not sold costs us money. In other words: A disaster darling!
Before putting the country house up for sale, I asked D. for worst case scenarios but this isn’t one of them. We never envisioned it could happen, not even in our wildest dreams! We never consider the fact that tastes do differ. That it doesn’t mean you love the house others would automatically do too. What a notion! We didn’t realize that if we are moving out because of all the reasons I have mentioned, others are aware of those too.
Yes, it’s a magnificent imposing property, yes it is beautifully and sympathetically renovated and the garden makes you think you’re somewhere in the south of France but it doesn’t mean it’s everyone’s cup of tea, and that we forgot to think about. What a costly mistake!
What a mess!
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