The sunshine is beautiful today here in Washington. Sitting at my desk I can see my yard – so pretty with the trees, flowers, flagstone patios… and the water feature sounds great through my open window. My house is for sale – and I am rather frustrated that I cannot personally take prospective buyers through my home and show them a few things that I like – and the reasons why.
I often march to a different drummer – and when we built our home we did things our own way, as we liked them – regardless of what was “in-style.” What I really wanted was to find an old farmhouse; one that had even renovated by someone who knew what they were doing, and had a great kitchen. Mark wanted a new home, so we worked together and built a new home to look old…
Curb appeal – It was important to me that our house not appear large – that wouldn’t fit the old farmhouse. Looking from the front I think that we did a good job. We made sure that our eaves were large, our windows tall and narrow. I love my front door – copied from an antique door that I found for our builder to use – turns out old doors don’t work too well in new homes.
We moved in 13 years ago – I was nine months pregnant with my sixth baby. Our builder was a good friend – and this is important – he is Swiss. This meant that everything he did was quality built. We were on a tight budget so there wasn’t a lot of showy extras… but as women walked through the house they would ohh and ahh, but the men would have their eyes on the foundation, walls, etc. – and they were always impressed.
While outside, we should explore the yard. We just had it professionally landscaped last summer. Luckily I had done my own amateur landscaping so we had some good trees already. Someone asked me if we landscaped to sell the house… NO! We landscaped to STAY in the house. It looks great. I have heard that someone may not want to live here because of all the yard work, but no! I have never had such an easy summer – the only work (almost) to do is some springtime RoundUp, then I water my flowerpots because I didn’t set up a drip system for them yet. I also have to water the garden – it is plumbed for sprinklers but doesn’t yet have heads. Every plant is surrounded by landscape fabric and has its own, personal drip line. It is amazing! I also love flowers and our landscaper has surprised me by having constant blooms in my yard. The flagstone patios – Wow, work of art! …and the fountain/bubblers are fantastic. At night I leave windows open so that I can always hear them.
|Blueberries for breakfast|
Here is a drone video of our yard – it is fun to watch. We have five acres. Two sides back up to uninhabited properties so it is very, very quiet. No road noise at all. Notice the Rainbow play structure. This was the first thing that we built – this way my children could play while we came to inspect the building each day. The little play house was a surprise that Mark built for the kids several years ago. The woods have many paths to explore. My favorite takes us to a birch forest – beautiful on a sunny day!
We eat most of our meals outside, weather permitting…
|Master Bath – also has
large 2-head shower
The arbor in the garden is flanked by blueberry bushes that are taller than I am. I got them from a blueberry farm going out of business – they are loaded with berries. There are 15+ blueberry bushes in my yard, several rows of raspberries, fruit trees and gooseberries; along with garden boxes. I like fresh fruits and vegetables, and also thought that these would add to the “farmhouse” look.
|Master Bath – quaint|
In the house – there are a few things that are unique and perhaps warrant an explanation. I really wanted a home that would benefit the family. We put our master suite upstairs with the children. As I am looking at homes in Texas I remember how unusual this is now. I cannot understand parents/children being on different floors and opposite ends of the house. Also, I wanted the square footage put to good use, not all in a ridiculously large master bathroom. It is frustrating to look at homes that have bathrooms larger than the family room! My ideal renovated farmhouse would have had a quaint bathroom, so I managed somewhere in between. On the other hand – my guest baths are some of my favorite rooms – spacious and attractive, to me this makes them easier to clean.
We also have a master suite downstairs. This room is part of our addition, built in case we ever needed room for an aging parent or newlywed couple. Initially is was used as a homeschooling room, then it housed ping/pong and air hockey. Now it is our second guest room – but there is a wall that has a door already framed so that it can go straight into the bathroom if necessary. This bathroom has a sauna – when I was 17 I spent a summer in Finland and fell in love with the sauna experience. This is the real deal – I love to pour water over the heated rocks and fill the room with steam. When we feel a cold/illness coming on or are sore from hiking – we just let the sauna take care of us.
|Sauna – I’ll miss this!|
Speaking of the addition – we added it in 2007 (I think). At this time we still had a bonus room full of toys but wanted a place for teens to gather – so we built this large room with a pool table, wet bar and theater. Most houses I see now have a separate media room, but this room can not only fit many couches – we can move them all against the walls for a party. You can play pool and watch the movie – with food set out on the island. We have definitely had our money’s worth out of entertaining!
|Mark’s office upstairs|
|From office window.|
Before adding on, our mudroom was just the hallway leading to a small bathroom (I don’t like cleaning small bathrooms). We opened it up into a mudroom that I really enjoy – I think it is so cute. We found this corner armoire in an antique store and built around it (these photos are at the end of this blog post). The bummer is that I would like to take it with me… oh well.
|Mom’s office/piano room|
We have two offices which I love – they must be the best rooms. Mark has worked from home for years in the upstairs office – the views are spectacular. Downstairs was supposed to be “Mom’s office” but spent most of its years housing a grand piano. It was only a couple months ago that we replaced the piano and I was able to move in. I would love to add some built-ins and comfortable seating… maybe in Texas. Anyway, just walking into these rooms makes me happy. Mom’s office is right off the family room, across from the kitchen. I thought that it would also make a great play room for small children. It has a french door which softens the sounds of piano practice.
Another favorite room downstairs is our guest room – I love the bay window and walk-in closet! I also appreciate the transom windows over the door and the matching door into the favorite bathroom with the claw foot tub. We found this in a salvage yard and had it refinished. Someday I had planned to add fancy hardware, but then ended up liking the simple and historically accurate faucet.
|Baking Butler’s Pantry|
For me, the kitchen functions like a dream. There are two butler’s pantries. One on my “baking” side of the kitchen for pots/pans/flour/sugar, etc… which then walks into the food pantry. The drawers on this side of my island/kitchen are full of tools for food preparation. The other butler’s pantry and the island drawers/cabinets are full of dishes/bowls/trays, etc. for serving. That may sound confusing, but I just love it. The large garden window is wonderful during northwest winters.
|Service Butler’s Pantry|
The pantry – well, I will never find another one like this. It even has a window – and it is so large. I had always planned to add shelving above the “shelf-reliance” can rollers but didn’t need them.
|Pantry – when I am
bored I read cookbooks…
|Pantry – with a window!|
There is certainly room for more storage if desired. This whole house is full of storage – double wide coat closet, two linen closets upstairs, walk-in game closet… The girls have more closet space than they need. My own closet is big enough for us. We were supposed to have his/her closets but chose to make a larger landing upstairs instead. This landing has had many uses – sometimes a couch, sometimes a desk… right now it has our bookcases.
|The multi-purpose landing|
Back to storage – there is a partially finished attic and I don’t know how I will live without it. It runs the width of the home (in front). Three fourths of the walls are covered in sturdy, permanent shelving – the rest of it has temporary shelving and open space to pile bins. I guess I should go take a photo – though I imagine that the suitcases from our last vacation and the camping gear from last weekend are not yet put away properly…
I just watched this virtual tour and remembered a few other things that I like:
|Side porch from Mom’s office|
Look out the windows! – When I house-shop online I try to see what is actually outside. How close are the neighbors? What is growing?
Flooring – this is wide plank (variable width), eastern hard pine, shipped in from New Hampshire (Carlisle Flooring). Unlike the local soft pine, this is a hardwood, but it is more easily distressed than most hardwood. I like this because it goes along with my old farmhouse goal. I love it when deliverymen or workmen ask about the age of our home – they often think it was the original property in the neighborhood (as in early settler)… this always makes me smile.
Kids’ rooms: – large… I had three boys in one, three girls in the other. They all fit just fine and are good friends as a result.
|View from my desk. Those are giant
lillies – their scent is intoxicating.
Master bedroom – four windows… great for cross breeze, my windows are almost always open.
Exercise Room – I forgot about this room. It used to be the play room – when the girls took Irish dance classes we ripped up the carpet and put down a floor for a practice room. Right now it is ideal for exercise equipment and our ping pong table. Hmm, I wonder why I forgot this room? Actually, in the rain of winter, I wouldn’t exercise at all if I didn’t have a comfortable place for my treadmill – it used to be in the landing also! The upstairs office is also a good spot for exercise equipment, I liked it because of all the windows and proximity to bedrooms.
Kids’ bathroom – Every house I have seen in Texas has a Jack/Jill bathroom for the children to share. This seems like a small nightmare to me – a child’s bathroom out-of-sight seems like a recipe for disaster. We thought it was just fine for all of the children to share – but our vanity is open for all to use, and there is a separate room for the bath and another for the toilet. Six children (three girls) and almost never a line… I am also fond of that black granite. I prefer light, but found this amazing granite remnant which made it affordable – and I think it looks great.
Firepit – How could I forget this? We have tried a few, but this one is the best ever – the rocks are perfect for resting your marshmallow stick as well as your feet (they get warm), the rocks on the far end make a seat. I mentioned our Swiss friend, the quality builder… well, our landscaper was also our friend and he was amazing as well. Top quality house, top quality landscaping… top quality fire pit.
Sport Court – This is less than a year old – it is super-industrial-thick, so I guess it could also be a foundation for a shop… but oh, how I wish I had had this when the children were young! It was just right for watching fireworks on the 4th of July – and we had thought it would work for a dance/dining floor for a wedding reception… oh well, perhaps we will have a big flat surface in Texas…
Rock Walls – I don’t think photos would do justice to our stacked-rock walls – we ended up with a lot of them. I might miss them most of all.
Lots of parking! – for all of those parties in the back room…
Battle Ground Lake – five minutes away. We go swim almost every afternoon in the summer. We also like to take our kayaks. There are always fishermen there as well, but we aren’t too good at that.
Lewisville Park – about twelve minutes from the house. Several miles of trails, swimming, fishing, pavilions… I like to go here and walk throughout the year. The kids are there swimming right now. I will have to see if I have photos.
|Lewisville last week|
|My morning walk, we are at
the end of this road.
The dirt road… a deal killer? We have heard that there are buyers who have not come because they are ruling out homes on a dirt road. Well, they probably wouldn’t like it, they probably aren’t looking for a family-friendly old-looking farmhouse. Though our cars are dusty in the summertime, we have never, ever had extra dust in our house because we are at the end of the road. It is a very quiet neighborhood and truthfully, I love the idea of turning off the pavement for a quiet drive down a country road to my own quiet oasis. The stars can be clearly seen, we often get out of our car at night – stand, gaze and enjoy the solitude. With Mark’s busy job/travel, coming home here is like therapy – we are really going to miss it.
Here is another chance to view the virtual tour and see the rest of the house. These photos were just snapped with my phone, the tour has some really nice ones. The overhead drone video is found below. I hope that you have enjoyed this sneak peak into our home – please share this link with anyone who may want to move their family to the country. I am not yet ready to be labeled a “motivated seller” – but they do want Mark in Texas sooner than later. Autumn here is my favorite time, so I am very content to watch the leaves change. We often host a big Thanksgiving, and Christmas here is always popular… I guess that there is really no good time to move.
Click here for the Zillow listing – I know there tend to be mistakes, but it’s always fun to look.
We have absolutely loved living here! I am very hopeful that our beautiful home will be purchased by a family wanting to raise their children in a quiet, comfortable, country setting where they can play and use their imagination to their heart’s content… ahhh, it almost makes me want to start over. Almost, but not quite…
|I like the exposed brick.
This is the back of fireplace.
|Into the Game Room|