Friday, February 4, 2011

Please help me choose my new home!

For weeks now, I've been obsessing over which of two homes to buy. After pouring over the MLS listings for 6 months, and viewing many, many homes, I've narrowed it down to two distinct possibilities. I did take photos while I toured the homes, but apparently I could only use them for personal parusal, so instead, I will show you the published MLS listings (sorry for the not so great quality!).

I would so love your help and opinions on this! I'm at a complete loss with which to choose as they both offer pro's and con's.

Firstly, let me describe to you what we're looking for: A large home (minimum 4000 sq ft) on 1/2-2 acres (we love to garden), in a family friendly area, near great schools. I want something very similar in style to what you've seen on my blog, or something I can make into that style.

Option 1:

A lovely, large West Coast style home, built in 2004. It has delightful finishes, thick moldings, a nice layout, and is on 1/2 acre. It is in some need of basic maintenance, as the current owner is a single mom, and is overwhelmed by the size of the home and maintenance. It is 5500 sq ft (huge!), has 6 bedrooms, a theatre room, and many other great features. It is in a lovely, family friendly area: You know, the type of street where you just let your little ones out to play with all the neighbourhood kids.

Cons: Some maintenance issues (easily remedied by my handy hubby), and the kitchen does not have a lot of storage, and is in need of some major repair. For instance, I went to open a cupboard, and the drawer front came off. It is a lovely looking kitchen in pictures, but obviously made of cheap materials and in need of some tlc.

Also, the basement provides tons of room, but is a bit choppy feeling.

While the yard is 1/2 acre, we'll still be hardpressed to fit in our outdoor 'toys' such as our RV, garden impliments etc.

No shop for my hubby, and the garage is on the smaller end, so he would use one bay of the garage, but be quite pressed for space. While he says this doesn't bother him, he's coming from a home with a separate 600 sq ft shop and I think he'll really miss it.


This home was built in 2009. It features 4500 sq ft of high end space, with features such as air conditioning, 'green home' building standards, 1.43 acres of yard. It is a beautifully built home, on a gorgeous acreage featuring towering trees and a woodland feel. The neighbourhood is quite sought after, but is more of a private area, not particularly one where the kids all play together outside, but need to be driven to each others house to play.

Pro's: A large, very high end kitchen. Fabulous appliances, great layout and space, a professional gas range. Great storage space, a fabulous area for a craft/quilting room. Many high end building features. A huge, 3 bay garage with a workshop already in it.

Con's: While a gorgeous home, it is very contemporary in style. I despise the kitchen cab's, yet they are high end, very expensive solid walnut. Can I make this contemporary home into my cottage chic, frenchy space that I adore?

What would you do?? I would be incredibly appreciative of your ideas and opinions.

We are going on a second viewing of both homes in a few weeks, and would love to see them both, armed with your thoughts and opinions!


marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...[Reply to comment]

Just my opinion, however it seems easy to add moldings and cottage charm, however you can't increase land if that is an issue. So sometimes you just have to decide which is more important. I would love either. Can't wait to see what ou choose. Hugs, Marty

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...[Reply to comment]

Gosh, what a decision. Love both of them. The first one looks more your style to me. I would get her to come down on the price if needed in order to redo the kitchen the way you want. The second one is lovely but no cottage charm there.

christine {bijouandboheme} said...[Reply to comment]

I say hands down number 2- it's gorgeous and I think you can easily make those cupboards more your style- I think a coat of paint and a change of hardware would easily make them more you- another option would be to add some detail moulding to the door fronts to make them less contemporary. I also think that the first is just too big- I think at that size you might feel like everyone was a little too far away all the time- just my two cents. They're both gorgeous homes so I don't think you can make a bad choice.

Krista@thegatheringplacedesign said...[Reply to comment]

Oh Andrea, they are both very nice...I am very {over} am probably not the best help.;) I will say, I LOVE the outside picture of the looks amazing and sounds like it is what you need space wise with the yard and shop etc. The inside is not you at all, but I think it could be easily morphed into your amazing warm cottage style. I guess ask yourself what type of neighborhood you are after as well...I like the privacy. Good luck sweetie, they are both amazing!!

Teresa said...[Reply to comment]

Well,I love the kitchen in #1 and I would say if you could downsize the toys etc.that would be my choice because like Marty said, you just can't stretch the land and you may feel closed in after a while. With number 2 you could slowly transform it into the cottage for which you yearn (bulking up the molding, lightening up the space). The kitchen cabinets are too dark for my liking but I have seen some amazing transformations with paint. I wouldn't let the quality of the cabinets make me feel like I couldn't do anything such as painting. I do love the staircase and the space/land is to die for.

Sandy said...[Reply to comment]

Both are lovely homes--But without a doubt #2!!!! It is gorgeous and holds so many possibilities for cottage charm. I think this home already has personality just needing for you to add your magic.....

Terri said...[Reply to comment]

I prefer #2 as well.... Wouldn't take much to change the look of that dark kitchen with some white paint on those cabinets... And I much prefer the outside of the second house. I have two acres of land and would have a hard time moving to a smaller piece of property. But both houses are really nice and I don't think you'd go wrong choosing either of them. Good luck and let us know which you choose!!

Chandra Chinnis said...[Reply to comment]

Well being a realtor I first would say which home is the bigger bang for your buck. Is number 1 the worst house on the block and is #2 the best house on the block? You definitely don't want the best house. Even though the land and upgrades of #2 may be great will it fit the family lifestyle that you are looking for ex. the kids being able to just go outside and play rather than having to be driven to a friends house. Since you like them both go for the best deal for your money and I think you can put your style into either one.

Annie Wilcox Designs said...[Reply to comment]

My vote is for number two. Although I have a 1965 ranch rambler on an acre with woods to the back, I get the feel of an older home here with of course the much coveted modern ammenities.

Tough choice.

Tammy@beatrice banks said...[Reply to comment]

I like what the realtor said. I usually try to go for the biggest bang for my buck. However, if it's a home you plan to stay in for a long time, then that kind of takes a back burner. I say #2 for 3 reasons-
1. You've listed more cons on house #1 than you did house #2.
2. I don't know how old your kids are, but I personally would love the privacy and not having my kids run up and down the street. It has been a huge headache for me to monitor where my son is and who he is playing with. No matter how many times we tell him to come ask before going in someone's house or tell us when he changes yards, he sometimes forgets. Can't tell you how many times I've reached a high level of panic and have to go looking for him. (that has to be aging me! lol) No matter how safe a neighborhood looks, it is never safe enough these days.
3. You would spend more money on repairs in house #1 whereas you could use that money to decorate in house #2.
That's my little opinion. Either one will be lovely! Can't wait to see what you choose! Good luck.

The Hinsons said...[Reply to comment]

I'd definitely choose #2. You can't make more land around #1 and #2 has much nicer finishes. Having owned 5 houses ( all very different) I can tell you that you can make any house your own with color, furnishings, fabrics. If the price is within your budget, go for it!

Pamela said...[Reply to comment]

Hi Andrea!!!
Wonderful to meet another Island girl!
I am over in Crofton!
I see you are a veternarian? I used to work in an animal hospital before I had my son back in Ontario. Small world.
These homes that you are looking at are just gorgeous and I really like your blog!

I like house no. 2 but I love the white kitchen in house 1 ! You can always change the cupboards and sell the existing ones down the road.

I am a new follower to your blog!!

Oh and my husband who grew up here in Duncan used to spend his summers in Port Alberni!

Pamela :)

Jeanette said...[Reply to comment]

#2!! :-)

{darlene} said...[Reply to comment]

honestly. I don't think you should listen to anyone else on this one. Whichever you pick, you will find a way to make it home. If you are still struggling to decide, make a list of what you want - in order of importance - and then rate each home against your desires.

either way, you are blessed.

- {darlene}

Jane said...[Reply to comment]

As a former school teacher, I have always said that I'd rather drive the kids over to someone's house to play than have to deal with keeping my child away from someone in the neighborhood. It's something to think about seriously because you can always change the cabinet doors, etc.