Sunday, January 9, 2011

House Hunters International

Well, we arrived in England on Friday and have pretty much hit the ground running. We ate in a pub (not bad, we liked it even if we didn't drink anything but water, the sandwiches were good) before we even checked into our room on Friday afternoon, and we've already gone out looking at two houses thanks to our awesome friend Liz (she didn't even pay me to say that). Liz is trying very hard to find us a house close to her :D which works for me because when Lee has to be away for work, it'll be nice to be close to friends. So on Saturday morning, we took a look at this house:

I stole Liz's photos off of Facebook since I didn't take any on Saturday. Liz looked it over before we arrived and sent us almost 30 photos (I did not copy them all over though, just a half-dozen). This house was built in 1550 (yes, you read that right) and it used to be the local bank before it was refurbished into two houses. So I suppose it's kind of like a duplex. Anyway, this is the front of it.

This is the only yard, which is in the front of the house, and it has a rather low fence around it so we'd have to think of something to make sure that Sadie and Vader couldn't go off on self-guided tours of the neighborhood. But the other side of this (behind where Liz was standing when she took the photo) is a nice patio area, where you could put a little outdoor table and chairs in the summertime when the weather is nice. And it has its own circular drive, enough for probably four cars or more, so no parking on the street.

This is *huge* for a house in Britain; it's five bedrooms, plus it has a study downstairs and this ginormous living room. We were thinking we could maybe use the study as storage and put the computer in here, there's plenty of room even for Lee's giant computer desk and all our living room furniture. Or maybe we could put the dining room table in here and repurpose the dining room (maybe a craft room...hmm!) The five rooms upstairs are all decent size for Britain; kinda small by US standards, but big enough that you could easily fit a bed into any of them. Of course, there are no closets, so one of those five rooms would probably be used as a closet.

Here's the kitchen (and Liz!). It's a bit on the small side, but there's enough room for a full-size fridge if you move out the little table, plus a dishwasher and washer/dryer. And there's a pantry, too, a rarity in a British house. Plus I think the kitchen door looks kind of cool; there's a little nook behind it where you could put a buffet or a similar size piece of furniture to hold dishes or whatnot. Especially since we bought another set of dishes before we left Japan.

There's the dining room, and the cute little pass-through to the kitchen. Lee and I don't really hardly ever dine in the dining room, which is why we thought maybe we'd use it for something else...on the other hand, I do occasionally like to have people over, especially a crowd for Thanksgiving, so I'd still want a table somewhere.

I didn't copy over any of the photos of the rooms upstairs, because really you can't get a sense of how big they are or anything. They each have a sink which is kind of funny, but hey whatever. We'd definitely have enough room for a guest room (or two!) and still use one as a closet, plus one for a craft room unless I won the coin toss for the repurposed dining room. But here's the biggest con in my opinion:

Ok, yeah, the color is definitely '70s-inspired, but I don't mind that so much as that the bathroom stuff is all just old. The showers are tiny too (there's a shower to the right, you can't see it from this angle) and the master bathroom is even more cramped than this one. So yeah, the bathrooms are definitely the biggest drawback in my book. But I suppose what can you expect out of a house that's over 400 years old? It's older than the United States. Dude.

Today, Lee and I got in touch with another dude and took a tour of a house in Thetford, which is a bigger town compared to Feltwell, which is the village where the bank house is located. This one is completely different than the bank house: fairly new, more "normal" size for a British house.

Oh yeah, we had beautiful weather today--not a cloud in the sky. It was almost like Okinawa, only a heck of a lot colder (I put on my thermal pants today and was much happier and toastier than yesterday). So there's the front of the house, and here's my sweetie pie!

He takes me to all the nicest places. Japan. China. England. Taco Bell. He's just awesome.

Anyway, I took a bunch of pictures in this house since Liz didn't get to go with us to look at it. They're kind of backwards though since we looked at the downstairs and I didn't start taking photos till we got upstairs, and then went back and did the downstairs. So anyway, here's a point in this house's favor:

Updated bathrooms. Yay! This next one I think might be my craft room if we were to live here:

The closet is only as wide as the door, and it's got something in it that's about three feet tall, so it's not much storage space. Still, this is probably the biggest of the non-master bedrooms.

Here's the front door, and the door next to it is the downstairs half-bath. The nice thing about these bathrooms is they all have a bit of a ledge behind the sink where you can put some things, since none of them have cabinets.

The next picture is taken from the same spot, I just turned around so this is the view straight from the front door through the house. It's good that the kitchen has doors, so we could definitely keep the pupsters out of there even if we weren't home.

The kitchen is pretty small, and still needs a good cleaning in my opinion. Some of the drawers still had a few things in them, and the wood itself I think needs a good going-over. Plus I'm a bit intimidated by a gas range; my great-grandmother had one and I never ever touched it. That whole cooking over an actual FIRE would take some getting used to.

And here is Adrienne's worst fear realized, it has a mini-fridge:

On the other hand, there's room in the utility room (you can see that to the left) to put a full-size fridge. The kitchen and utility room are carpeted, but the guy said they could rip that up and tile over it, which I think I would do. That would be easier to keep clean when the dogs run in and out, since the ground seems to be wet a lot. Here's the living room:

The bad thing is we can tell there's no way we'd be able to fit all our furniture in there; we have a sofa, loveseat, and an oversized chair (the chofa) and no way would it all fit in there. Lee was thinking that we'd get a small table rather than have our regular dining room table shipped over, and then use the dining room as the computer room, which leaves us with the craft room, closet room (hehe) and guest room upstairs. And then there's this:

A Harry Potter closet for putting Sadie in when she's naughty. Just kidding! It's really for a boy wizard to live in. Except he'd have to sleep curled up in a ball 'cause it's only as wide as the door.

Well anyway, we're not sold yet on either house, but it's been interesting to look at them. We've got a couple more to see tomorrow, and a few more we want to see that we found online, so we'll see what happens. It's too bad we can't just clone our house from Okinawa and have exactly that here, same size and same floor plan. At least then we'd know all our stuff would fit, and we'd probably just use the dining room as the computer room and use the extra upstairs bedroom for a guest room. If even half the people who say they're going to visit us actually do, then we'll need a guest room. Maybe I should put a booking calendar up on here...nah, I'll wait till we have a house picked out ;)

So which house do YOU like better? I'll probably post more house pics till we pick one.


Melissa A said...

I thought "Harry Potter closet!" on that last picture before I scrolled down to see what you wrote! Good luck with the house hunting. Looking forward to seeing which one you pick!
Love, Mel

Amber Hight said...

Oooo, I loove house hunting! House hunting in England must be even MORE fun:D I love the Harry Potter closet, that's exactly what went through my mind as soon as I saw it, lol!
I vote for the 1st house out of the two, I really love how it looks from the outside, you have a yard, and five craft rooms. You can have one for paper, one for stamps, one for ribbon. OMG Heaven!;)

Giffysk8s said...

LOL I am with Amber! And when I visit, I won't mind sleeping in any of the craft rooms. Maybe you could have a stitching room, too!

Thoughts by B and M said...

I'm with the rest - I think House #2 has the most room, especially when we come to visit with Sarah ;o) history...I mean, you can't get more Brittish than that, can you?????

Have some tea for me....

Liz Guidry said...

The house in Thetford was nice, but you already know which one I'm gonna pick of the two (insert evil laugh here). You will have a lot more choices soon after you see a few more. I def. want you to live in a house you are comfortable with :)

Isn't it SO much fun?!?!

Anonymous said...

I like the bank (of course, being an accountant!). Dad