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The one that got away

June 28, 2011
by thenestinggame

I miss house hunting. When Taylor and I were looking for houses, we would get so excited brainstorming about what we could do with each house. We’d go for five mile walks after a day of house hunting and talk the whole time about our ideas. No wonder I was 10 lbs. lighter.

And while I really do love our house and know we ended up with the right one, I think about one of the houses we didn’t get all the time. We called it The Gnome House.

Despite looking like it could be in the Enchanted Forest, The Gnome House was actually very centrally located. It was perched on a hill and had a basement apartment. Plus, there was a deck off the Living Room, Master Bedroom and TWO off the kitchen. Mind you, they were on the verge of collapse… but still. How awesome would that be?

That’s Taylor and our faaaabulous realtor and HGTV hunk Heyward Young checking out something that’s probably about to fall apart. This deck is outside the living room and the deck above is off the master. And inside?

Um. Yeah. Paneling galore. This picture is taken from the doorway to the deck that is open in the above photo. The living room was huge, probably 30’x15. The dining room is the mid level and the kitchen is through the swinging door. You can see the brass plate on the door in the background.

Ugly? For sure. But POTENTIAL, my friends. See, it could become this:

Or this:

Or, maybe keep a little of the wood, like so:

And (go back up to the paneling pic), see where that paneling starts to the right of the dining room? Well, on the other side is the kitchen.

So, you could knock out that wall to Taylor’s right and join the kitchen/breakfast room area right into the family room, two steps down.

It would almost feel like one space with a great flow, kinda sorta like:

And it wouldn’t hurt if that terrible kitchen

could turn into something completely fantastic like this:

You know, like, for free. And with all the work done by elves (gnomes?). Before closing.

And then, there’s upstairs. The Master Bedroom…well, let’s just say that I didn’t touch anything and still bathed in Purell afterwards. Fuh-reaky.

Just in case this isn’t making sense to you, the ceilings are about 18′ high. That’s a mirrored headboard behind Taylor, a mirrored wall on the right and mirrored tiles stuck to foam core and SUSPENDED OVER THE BED. We made sure all that was written into the contract.

But if we had to resort to Plan B, it might have gone something like…

Not wild about the stenciled floors. And the blue chair looks tres uncomfortable (though probably fine for tossing clothes on as is the role of most bedroom chairs). But everything else is sweet.

I did really like the more natural wood slats on the ceiling in this room. And of course the chandy.

And if we wanted to keep a little of the…shall we say, unconventional style of the previous homeowners, maybe we throw in a hammock.

And the part of the house that I was MOST excited about I don’t even have a picture of. Probably because my head was spinning with remodeling joy that I didn’t even think to take a photo. The third bedroom was a pretty small room with a HUGE, narrow closet with a window in it. The bedroom would have made a killer playroom, and the closet? BUNK ROOM!

I am obsessed with bunk beds, probably because I was an only child and never had them. So to put little built in bunks in a giant closet that was just asking for them was too perfect.

Of course, there were many, MANY imperfect things about the house. I’m sure you’re like…CLEARLY the house is beyond imperfect, what are you talking about, crazy lady? But, the bathrooms were bad 70s fiberglass and one of them was totally moldy. There was no master bathroom and only 1 full bath on the second floor. There was a second full bath off the kitchen, kind of an odd spot for it. All the decking needed to be replaced. The house needed a LOT of repairs and the apartment downstairs was a wreck. A spacious wreck with a green jacuzzi tub. The cedar siding required a lot of maintenance. The schools were bad. The driveway would have been impassible in bad weather. The neighbors were too close.

So, like I said, I know we ended up in the right place. But I do dream of the Gnome House from time to time and think “what if.”

{images via Escapade, Four Walls and a Roof, Elle Decor, Canadian House and Home, Jill Brinson, Green Street Blog, Decor Pad, Apartment Therapy, Apartment Therapy (blue and green bunks and swinging bunk), Urban Grace, Gnome Photo Gallery (for reals)}

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. June 28, 2011 3:40 am

    Oh I can totally see the potential! But it does look like it needed a ton of repairs. And I laughed at the comment of bedroom chairs being there for clothes-throwing purposes only, you’re totally right!!

    • June 28, 2011 1:58 pm

      I recently recovered the seat of my bedroom chair and I have no idea why—it’s always covered in clothes!

  2. Elaine permalink
    June 28, 2011 9:25 am

    Remember your looking at this fun house. Must be my age, but love some of the wood – only if real, or course.
    My favorite part of all the “remolded” rooms was the dog!

  3. June 28, 2011 9:41 am

    If you loved the gnome house, you might enjoy this:

    I periodically go there to drool.

    • June 28, 2011 1:57 pm

      Meg, how fun! Do you remember the TV show, The Charmings? About a real life storybook family that moves into a typical 1980s neighborhood. They lived in a house like that. Loved it.

  4. Sarah Suits permalink
    June 28, 2011 11:25 am

    The more posts of yours that I read, I more I realize that we are one of the same…. like weird lost sisters. OK, that sounds creepy. But I’m telling you with every read I say to myself, “Holy crap. I could have written this yesterday when I felt the same way!” My husband and I just bought 1920’s Colonial and the remodeling is the best part! And I can’t tell you how much fun it was to shop around. The walks we went on every night. And now looking back on the what ifs.

    Anyway, I LOVE the style you bring to us! Please keep it coming as it’s been inspiring the changes we’ve been bringing to our home. :)

    • June 28, 2011 1:58 pm

      My sister from another mister! Or however that goes… Thanks for your nice comment! I’m glad you guys are having fun with your house. And that cute little baby probably keeps you busy too. :)

  5. Allison Mee permalink
    November 22, 2011 1:55 pm

    Hey! I know Heyward! he is great. His friend Donald is one of my good friends (we used to work at bbdo together. small world!

  6. Amanda O permalink
    January 27, 2012 1:11 pm

    You are a design goddess. I love this post so much. Thank you for sharing your thought process! The interior “before” pics of the gnome home would have made me run, but your white-open lovely inspiration images have opened my mind. I have my eye on a converted barn on an acreage that is in our price range (which is low) and so the interior has these dark and bizarre chalet leanings. My heart sank, but THEN I remembered this post from last summer and just looked at it again and it gives my mind’s eye possible ways to convert a crazy barn into an airy paradise. Thanks again!

    • thenestinggame permalink*
      January 27, 2012 2:14 pm

      Design Godess!?! You are my favorite person in the world today! I’m so glad that my post helped you out! And your converted barn sounds AMAZING. What a great place to live. Thank you so much for your comment. :)

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