Monday, August 9, 2010


Okay, so most likely by the time many others read this, a decision will have been made, but I wanted to write this out anyway to a) think outloud and 2) have a record of our options, pros and cons to look back on years down the road. Oh, and others' votes would be nice!

I did blog our final four house choices when we moved just over three years ago as well and I not only loved getting feedback and seeing what you all thought, but I love looking at it now, having chosen the house that we chose and seeing what we thought about everything way back when. If our pros are still pros and our cons are still cons. :)

So we narrowed it down to four houses yesterday, and I think we're down to two today so I'm just going to rundown the two.

Option 1: 2960sf, Traditional floor plan (what we have now); all (4) bedrooms upstairs; main floor has office (we'd make it a playroom); formal living room (we'd use as piano/computer room); big dining room; about the same sized kitchen we have now with a smallish pantry, corian counters (LOVE), nice maple cabinets, stainless steel apps including gas stovetop and double wall oven; HUGE family room off eat-in kitchen; florida room behind kitchen (added on to house with brick and windowed walls and tiled floors). Floors on main floor are beautiful maple wood in great condition, and all carpet in the front room and upstairs is newer in great condition.
Fenced backyard and the lot is almost 1/4acre. Great, flat, big backyard. Which is rare in Nashville.

Our feelings: Bedrooms are smallish... we've always said we'd rather great living space than lots of bedroom space if made to choose, but we're wondering on this one. The fourth bedrooms is teeeeny (10x10 is what they say, but it's an odd shaped space and doesn't really have a wall that would really fit more than a crib... maybe a twin bed. maybe) and it's attached to a walk-thru master closet, so really it'd make a good office/nursery, but not a legitamate bedroom. The other secondary bedrooms are 12x10. BUT there's a bonus room upstairs that is too small for what we want to use a bonus room for (pool table/big couch and tv)... it's 14x14 so it'd make a great 4th bedroom, leaving that teeny one for an office space or whatever.
The Florida room off the back of the house would make for an awesome pool/game room. It's just on the small side as well. It'd fit the pool table and a little bar table or something now, but no couch and big tv.
So. In the big picture, what we would hope to do would be to add on to that Florida room, making it a big bonus room large enough to house the pool table, bar area, our ginormous comfy couch Ryan will not part with and the big tv. Having such a great bonus room on the main floor would free up the "bonus room" upstairs to be a legitamate bedroom and giving us the sleeping space we need for more kids/houseguests.
This house has the biggest and flatest yard we've seen, while being up on a hill and there are beautiful views from all sides of the house. It's in a good neighborhood with a pool, but it's on one of the main roads of the neighborhood so there's a bit more traffic and no sidewalks, meaning the kids can't play out front and in the street like they do now. There is a culdesac one house over on our side, but I wouldn't be able to see them riding bikes or playing over there from the house.
The one thing we don't like on this one is the curb appeal is ugh. If I could know that someday we could add on a front stoop or porch or something, I'd love it, but as is it's rather blah. As in probably the most unappealing house on the block.
The only other thing I don't like is the main bathroom upstairs (for the kids and guests) is tiny. It's doable, but just small. Wondering if we could remodel that someday.

Option 2: 2916 sf, on a culdesac in a great neighborhood with pool, playground and tennis courts. All rooms are very big -even the bathrooms are huge- with tall ceilings and there is tons of storage; HUGE walk-in pantry in the kitchen, very spacious side entry garage, cabinets in the laundry room and very large walk-in closets in all the bedrooms. It's got a beautiful little stoney creek running right behind the house, but still a good enough yard to play in with a deck and a patio and a playset.

Our feelings: I was initially worried about the creek, because the yard kind of comes to a ledge and then it's a stoney drop off to the creek a few feet below. I'm not worried about our kids, but about friends coming over with toddlers and we'd have to be out in the yard with them constantly rather than kids playing and moms lounging on the deck, etc. When we went back and looked yesterday though, I realized there's a small stone border outlining the grass before the rocky ledge and we could follow that border and build a little "fence" or low wall of made up of stacked stones that would give even small kids a definite boundary and no one would be able to accidentally fall into the creek. It would actually be quite beautiful with the stone like that and the creek and all the big trees. So even though the other house seems like it has a bigger backyard and views, this one would definitely be more beautiful to be in. Plus its on a quiet culdesac and the kids could play and ride bikes out front whenever they want. I love the outside and the location more than the other.
The house however is the question. There are fewer rooms... where with the first house we have an office, living room, dining room, eat-in kitchen, family room and florida room on the main floor, this one simply has family room, dining room, eat-in kitchen. And the master bedroom. I'm not a fan of the master bedroom on the main level. So there's no main floor space for the kids to play except for the main family room. There's a good sized bonus room upstairs; it would probably fit (tightly) our pool table and couch, but not much room for kids playing. And it's right outside the kids bedrooms. Boo. These bedrooms are HUGE... with the biggest walk-in closets I've ever seen. They have desks and lego tables and things INSIDE their closets in the bedrooms. So technically the kids could store toys in their rooms with plenty of space. I've just never been a fan of toys in the bedrooms, I like having a seperate community playspace in the house. Especially for having friends over.
So. No main floor playspace, tight squeeze for the stuff we want in a bonus room, bonus room right next to the kids rooms.
And with this one as well, I don't love the exterior of the house. It's got columns. As in Gone with the Wind, porch to roof white columns. On a red brick house. Me no likey. But like I said, love the backyard (with the addition of a stone wall), love the culdesac, love the neighborhood.

So there you have it.
Option one has the completely attainable potential to be everything we want in a house with plenty of room. And a good big yard in a nice neighborhood.

Option two has a house that's beautiful and spacious but is not our ideal layout and has no potential to be anything different. It would work fine, but it would never be exactly how we'd wish it. But a beautiful yard in a good neighborhood on a culdesac where the kids could ride and play besides just our yard.

Also; houses are basically the same lot size, essentially the same square footage, and priced less than 3K apart. They go to the same high school and middle school, but different elementary school which are rated and scored essentially the same.

I hate tough decisions.



Nicole said...

I vote for house #1. I think the bones of the house are the most important thing... having the ability to change and remodel things to be the way you want them to be. I don't know the exact layout of the house, but what about making a guest room downstairs in the "office" and making the formal living room a playroom and then make the 10x10 room your office? I feel like this one will be your choice. I just have a feeling. I think, just by reading what you wrote, that this one makes more sense for your family and for what you are used to having in your house.

Anonymous said...

i also vote #1. Reminds me of your house in St. Louis and seems like it has more of what you want as far as rooms go.

I do like the yard and inside of the house of #2 though. You would just change the way you live inside a little bit.
Amie R.

monkeysmom said...

I personally like house #2 the best, but it sounds like house #1 might work best for your family long term. Have you asked your realtor which layout resells easier in Nashville? I'm not sure if you are planning to stay in the area for a long time or not, but I know in SC houses with the master on the main floor typically sell faster. (Ours isn't, but I wish it was.)

Anonymous said...

I like House #2. It seems more open and inviting. Plus, it's in a culdesac and you'll have the pool:)


Julie C said...

I like house #2. I find that in most houses people hang out in one main room most of the time so having lots of different rooms isn't always that important. I also know how much you like to have your kids outside playing with neighbors and the busy street with no sidewalks will make that tough. BUT it seems like you might be leaning toward house #1 and you know your family and how you operate. Either way, it's so exciting that you have narrowed it down to 2! Both houses are BEAUTIFUL!

lina said...

I adore #2. The whole appearance looks inviting!
Good luck on your decision

Ferris Family said...

House #1, seems to have the most useable space! If I have space, I want to be able to organize it and use all of it (especially with 4 kids).

bristowmom said...

For me #2 would be IT without a second thought, but I'm guessing you chose #1. Your story is great, God's timing amazing. And (from a newer post) I am happy for your daughter that she got to be at the first day of school. We've moved a bunch so I know what you're going through. I think it is so important for our kids to be there on the first day, with everyone else.

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