House hunters

Originally written 11/5/2012:

So to bring everyone up to speed, Tyler and I are under contract on a house!!  Its been exciting and annoying and frustrating and exciting again.  Tyler and I have been looking at houses since forever, and I'm glad we took our time to find something we really liked.  We had been looking in southwest Fort Worth because the houses were big and updated and were within what we originally wanted to spend.  But.....after looking at several 3,000+ square foot houses, they just didn't feel....right.  They all were the same.  They all had artwork nooks (I REALLY dislike artwork nooks). And the closest restaurants were Chili's, Outback, and TGIFridays.  I started doing some more research on the area, and there were a TON of foreclosures.  Now, I know the economy has been crap lately and that foreclosures have been commonplace, but this seemed to really alarm me because there were so. many. And (not that school districts matter to us at all right now) but we had heard that the school district had been AWESOME down there 5 years ago, and that now you don't want to send your kids to school there.  There were just a lot of red flags, and we didn't want a house that looked like our neighbors' and we're still young!  And want to go out and try new restaurants and bars and museums and all that fun stuff that you get by living close to downtown.  This area was definitely not "us".

So we had an epiphany...or a couple epiphanies:
1.  We don't have enough furniture to fill a house that is 3,000 square feet.
2.  We didn't LOVE the area.  We kept talking about a tollway that would be built by 2014 and how we'd be able to use that to get to the stuff that we like.  In 2014.
3. We finally realized we could spend a little more money per square foot, get a house with CHARACTER, be close to the things we like, and probably be a lot happier.

So we turned our search to the Ridglea and Arlington Heights areas.   Here's a break down of the houses that we loved:

Red Door Special
We loved this house before we even walked in.  It was the red door, white brick, and cute little porch.  Then we walked in and decided the owners must be interior decorators because we were ready to buy it furnished.  Here are some pics:


This is the MASTER bathroom 

  • Pool - o.m.g. we loved that backyard.  Great pool, lots of entertaining space, lots of privacy
  • Layout - the flow of the house was great.  Formal living room/dining room in the front, flowed into the back family room which was ajoined to the kitchen, which flowed effortlessly into the backyard
  • 3 bedrooms/2 bathrooms
  • Fits a sectional - ok, you may think this is a stupid PRO, but having a sectional in our lives will make our marriage MUCH happier! :)
  • Bathrooms - UGH.  I was already envisioning how we were going to rip down walls to make the two bathrooms utilize the space better.  That probably isn't a good sign.
  • Utility room - in the garage!  Where would I put all of Max's things?  And, that is definitely not climate controlled and I don't want my wet clothes sitting in the washer in a garage that is about 120 degrees in the middle of a Texas summer
  • No fireplace - where would Christmas stockings hang? :(
  • Price - we felt like it was overpriced for what we were getting.  The backyard was phenomonal, but there wasn't any granite anywhere in the house, the closets weren't spectacular - there wasn't a huge wow factor.

1920's Bungalow
This cute little bungalow lured me in with its cute curb appeal.  Tyler saw it first, without me.  He thought it was cute, but was worried about storage. He accurately guessed he'd be using the guest bedrooms to store his clothes.  But I loved the pictures, so I had to see it for myself:

Love the fireplace!


  • Updated - there really wasn't anything we needed to do to this house.  From the bathrooms to the paint colors, it was really move-in ready
  • Layout - it flowed really nicely. The living room flowed right into the dining room which flowed right into the kitchen which flowed nicely into a back office area
  • Location - Arlington Heights is literally across the street from Central Market, a few blocks from the up and coming W. 7th Street area, and super close to downtown
  • Curb appeal - okay, I really love the landscaping job on this house.  Those yellow and orange plants make it look super cute.
  • Utility room - this is a big plus for me.  It wasn't just a closet, it was a ROOM.
  • Character - this house has lots of character.  All the doorknobs in the house are those crystal vintage ones that you see in your Grandma's house.  And they were all different colors!
  • Wood floors - the whole house had wood floors!


  • No garage - okay, there is a structure there, but its not a functioning garage.  This is a huge issue, because I do not want to park the Lexus sitting under trees, in the rain, beating sunshine, near birds, etc. forcing me to walk outside to get into my house. And building a garage sounded like a huge undertaking.
  • Closet space - this would have been a huge compromise.  All of the closets were TINY.  I told myself I could make it work.  Looking back.....I probably would have hated it.
  • Kitchen space - the kitchen was super cute and updated, but it was SMALL.  There was literally one big cabinet to put things like pots and pans.  If you haven't seen my kitchen now, I have 4 huge cabinets that could fit pots and pans and I'm craming things into them because I have so many cooking tools.
  • Yard - was small.  Everything is small in Arlington Heights apparently.  And putting a pool in that backyard would have been a challenge.

White Lamp Post
I was unsure of this home to begin with.  I'd seen it on Realtor.com multiple times.  I couldn't figure out in my mind how the layout worked from the pictures.  The decorating style was WAY too traditional for me. But my parents found it online as well and urged us to just go take a look.  I drove to Fort Worth one Wednesday after work to meet Tyler and our realtor.  I pulled up, and I was pleasantly surprised when the house looked way better than the pictures. And the layout - so cool. So many boxes checked. A few coats of paint, and we'd be golden. Here are the pictures I was unsure about, but its way better in real life:

Green grass.  Red door. White lamp post.  Cute.

Fireplace! Formal living and dining.

Subzero fridge :)

Professional grade oven - woo woo!

Back family room

Master bedroom

Master bathroom - on the list to be updated

Guest bathroom - will be redone before we move in

Big enough to fit a pool!

Hot tub!

Oversized two-car garage and lots of driveway for friends to park


  • Layout - we LOVE the layout.  It has over 2,100 square feet, a formal living and dining area PLUS a family room.  The master bedroom is in the back of the house and is actually an addition to the home.  The kitchen is central to the house.
  • Kitchen -  Subzero fridge.  Thermador range (professional grade.) Stainless everything.  I can cook until my little heart is content.
  • Storage - there are 6 HUGE closets and a wine cellar, plus the garage is oversized and there is a ton of attic space.  The master closet is ridiculous.  It is custom and has all built ins.  And Tyler's clothes can actually share the closet with mine instead of being confined to the guest bedroom closets. :)
  • Hot tub - we were aiming for a pool, but hot tub is the next best thing.  It will be nice to get home from work and relax with a glass of wine in the evenings.
  • Back yard - is. huge.  We can definitely fit a pool in it if we decide to do that, but it is definitely large enough for us to get a dog to start with.
  • Garage - and its not just a 1 car garage.  It will fit 2 cars comfortably, plus some.
  • Neighborhood - this home is in Ridglea North and we like this area over Arlington Heights.  Its not as close to 7th Street, but everyone's yards are nicely manicured and there is a park right down the street.

  • Decorating - the sellers have really traditional taste, but luckily all the furniture goes with them. :)
  • Paint colors - we're going to have to paint.  But that is an easy and affordable fix.
  • Bathrooms - these were both updated in the 90's so they have some gold fixtures which I'm not a fan of.  We plan on remodeling the guest bathroom first before we move in, and then saving our pennies for a complete master bathroom rehaul in a year or so.

If you haven't figured it out, the White Lamp Post house was our choice.  There was A LOT of back and forth with the sellers (who suck, by the way) but we finally came to an agreement and are closing on December 28!  Merry Christmas to us!  And Happy Anniversary!  And Happy Birthday! Oh, and if you know anyone looking to rent a super great 4 story, two bedroom, two 1/2 bathroom townhome right in the heart of Dallas, let us know.  Preferably a nice gay couple that will take care of it and decorate it fabulously. :)

Update 1/3:
Whelp, we are now the proud owners of TWO homes!  We closed on 12/28 and then met the sellers on the 29th for a walkthrough.  They were totally nice and showed us how to work everything, and even showed us a secret thing about the house that we didn't know (nope, I'm not telling you what it is, its a secret!!)  Tyler and I spent the 29th, 30th, and 31st doing a bunch of projects already.  I'll post about those in the next couple of weeks.  We move in on January 26th, and we're so excited!!  Yay!  And the other great thing is that we leased the townhome in a matter of a single day.  If only buying a home was as easy as leasing a home!  Double yay! :)

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