Tuesday, April 28, 2015

city, suburbs, or country

 This past weekend, Brian and I went to an Open House. Brian grew up in a large Chicago suburb in a small, older house. His dad finally sold the house in August 2013 when he moved into a condo. The house was sold to builders and they tore down the house to the foundation (it was in terrible shape). All they left of the original house was the front and back wall. They then built a three-story new house. Despite seeing the photos online, Brian really wanted to see the new house in person. 

I only took a few photos with my phone since all the photos are online. The one room I really liked was the master bedroom because of the size and all the windows. The beautiful hardwood floors (which are hickory) were throughout the whole house except for the finished basement and the top floor, which was a separate bedroom suite.



Here's the reality of this beautiful house though: the tiny yard and the neighbors on top of you. I took this photo of the back yard out the top bedroom window. That's the garage in the back. See how close the next door neighbor's garage is? That's how close the houses are to each other, too. If you want to see the whole house tour, click here. The house is way over-priced. The entire block of houses are old and are "only" worth about $250,000. Why the builders chose to build this huge house and then expect to get this kind of money from it in this neighborhood is anyone's guess.


 We've talked about moving now that we're (mostly) empty nesters. (The reason I say mostly...Tim's away at university now, but will graduate in a year - unless he decides to stay on for his Master's degree - but most likely when he does graduate, he will have to move back home until he finds a full-time job and saves some money.) At one time, we even entertained the idea of buying a condo in this very town Brian grew up in...it's right outside Chicago so there's plenty of entertainment ~ theater, museums, concerts, and neighborhood events ~ we could walk to all kinds of stores and restaurants; there's beautiful parks; and, of course, we'd be right by the lakefront (Lake Michigan). 

But then as we're driving home and we start to get close to home, we pass acres of farmland, corn fields, cows and sheep grazing.There's tons of wooded, undeveloped land. I breathe a sigh of relief. I realize that the city (or close to it) is nice to visit, but I really wouldn't want to live there. I live in a small, quiet countryish suburb. While it might not be the most desirable suburb as far as real estate goes, I do love living in an area with a lot of open land. We're only 1/2 mile from a State Park! I think I'd take that over the convenience of being able to walk to the grocery store, coffee shop, or restaurants. 


My dream home would be a cute cottage on lots of land (no close neighbors!) or close to the Pacific ocean. So, how about you...where do you live now? Where would your dream home be if nothing stood in your way?
 


22 comments:

  1. I really don't even want a car. If I could live close to things, I wouldn't have to pay the upkeep. Oklahoma has the highest car insurance in the country. I'd like a small house 500-600 square feet, with a patio like I have now.
    Brenda

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  2. Wow, that's quite a house they built! I can sort of relate because my husband's grandfather's house in San Diego went through a similar gutting and rebuilding after he died and it was barely recognizable afterward. My father-in-law and his brother made a lot of money on the house and the new owners spent way more than that to completely change it. Then they sold it only a couple of years later and I have no idea if they made any money on it, but I tend to think not because of the timing in terms of the economy. Anyway, it was also on a tiny lot to begin with and their additions just ate up whatever yard space there was. It was very silly, in my humble opinion. I think you have a very nice house and your reasons for staying are all very good ones. I live in a fairly large city but I'm in a quiet residential part of it. We could walk to some things but it's a bit far from most stuff. My house is a good size for our family, but not terribly big. I've been on both sides, though; I used to own a house that was about 2700 sq ft, which we bought when we were young and imagined that we'd have a huge family (we wanted 4-5 kids). Then I had pretty disastrous pregnancies and it was clear that I should stop reproducing before I killed somebody, and when we bought our current home, we downsized by a good 1000 sq ft and we're very happy here. I don't know what we'll do when our kids are grown; I suppose it depends a lot on where they are and what they're doing, but I'd be happy living here into old age if that's how it works out. :)

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  3. Melanie,
    I enjoyed the home tour and I agree the master is very attractive and those floors are beautiful.
    This is a timely post, as we are moving (post coming on Friday) to a few acres outside the city and not too far from family. It is a tad bit daunting, but my husband really needs some open spaces and I may just be able to have a bigger greenhouse, so I guess I'm on board.

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  4. Great looks place in those first pictures. But you are right- I would not want to live in a downtown area, either. We live just outside the town and along the bay. It is a beautiful home but way too big for just the two of us. So, we will sell and downsize soon. My ideal home would be something much smaller than what we have but still on the water. I have my fingers crossed. xo Diana

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  5. We lived in the country on 80 acres for 11 years. I tried to like it but I never did - too much dirt and dust, snakes, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, wild dogs, neighbors who like to target shoot for hours and hours, trespassers, trash dumpers......I could go on about the negatives a lot longer.
    Now we live in a bigger house in a very quiet neighborhood on the edge of a college town. We like it all fine. The only thing I would change is I would like to be in walking distance of the shopping area.

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  6. Ideally, I'd move to the mountains in a heartbeat. I was born in Denver, and the Rockies just seem like "home" to me. That's not happening, so I'd choose a small acreage in the area we already live in. I'd love to have some chickens and maybe a goat, and a bigger garden space. I see the appeal of having shopping, restaurants, and entertainment nearby, but I'm okay having to drive to it, too.

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  7. Close to the Pacific Ocean, you would not be isolated. Our houses are close enough to one another than my neighbor and I joke we could stretch our hands out the window and touch. The houses with land go for multi millions of dollars. I featured a house last fall that was 3 stories built on 2 lots so it felt roomy. It sold for $3.2 million. I just heard today that the friend who bought it paid $2.5 million for a 1500 sq. ft. home that has no room for additions. We pay the price of living by the water - no secrets from our neighbors!

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  8. The distance between the garages - and therefore houses - is about the same as it is everywhere in England, in fact they are often much closer than that! This garden would be considered normal in England and the house would be considered to be massive!!!!! They have done a wonderful job on the renovations, but you are so right, you have to be careful of not overspending on a house don't you. xx

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  9. Hi, I live in a tiny village in Norfolk, England. My house is not large but I have a living room, dining room, brand new kitchen, 2 bedrooms and a craft room, as well as a wet room. Our front garden is not large by some standards, but it's big enough for us. The borders are a typical English cottage style, and in the centre we grow vegetables (all among the flowers) The back garden is fairly large, but very marshy, so we don't try to 'cultivate' it but sew masses of wild flowers and grasses, which makes it great for wildlife. At the bottom of the garden is an enormous oak tree and hedges, and then the farmland starts. Our village is small, but we have a post office, a pub that does fantastic food, a village hall, and 2 churches. My husband is Editor of the parish magazine, and there are so many activities here, retirement keeps us much more busy than our former working lives. Blessings

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  10. I'm with you. My dream house is out in the countryside where I can look out windows on at least one side of my house and not see any neighbors! I've had some fantasies about the Wisconsin River valley, but probably will never move up there. So many teardowns in the Chicago area, but it looks like this one blends nicely with the old styles.

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  11. I still sometimes feel a pull to live in the country but then I come home and wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I would also love to have a house on the water. Any water!

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  12. I would most certainly stay where you are with farmland and views and trees and woods etc.!

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  13. Melanie, I would be so sad if you moved. I love your little house.

    Debbi

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  14. I love my home and right now, it has too many memories to leave but, I would love to live in warmer temps and near a beach. We can all dream, can't we? But, usually, our favorite place is where we already are.

    Judy

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  15. We have our house for sale right now. I am not a happy camper. It's two big for two people, almost 3,000 square feet. I know to those who live in McMansions that may not be big at all. This isn't the first time we have tried to sell our house. There is hardly anything on the market here. We wanted a condo just outside the village we live near. I love where we live but want something smaller. If you like where you are just stay there. Moving to a whole new neighborhood where we don't know anyone is scary. If no condos come available that's what we will have to do. Interesting house you looked at. So many neighborhoods are like that. Side by side houses.

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  16. I totally agree! Whenever we visit a busier suburb, we feel more tense and closed in. I love the city and luckily, both Don and I get our fair share of time in the city. But I wouldn't want to live there!

    xo
    Claudia

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  17. I wouldn't want any other home than the one I have. The community we live is is 50,000 pop, but we are in the old part of town, so it is very quiet and peaceful setting. But our neighborhood is changing and we talk about moving...but I told hubs only if we can take the Charmer with us. We live less than 6 miles for a huge forest preserve with great hiking, and I like walking to church, grocery store and library, and there is very little traffic where I live...so I guess to answer your question, I am where I want to be!

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  18. I understand you. I love cities, but I'm also happy to not live IN the city. I have very close neighbours as I live in what we call an old "hamlet", but I'm lucky to be at the end of it so on one side of my cottage there are nothing but farmlands. My dream would be to have a see view...

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  19. I like the city, except for the freeways, but wouldn't want to live there. My son loves city living. Hubby and I live just inside the city limits of a small town with 6 acres in back. It's ideal except for the busy highway in front of the house. Luckily it's not busy as in interstate type traffic! The house isn't exactly my ideal, but we've lived here nearly 30 years so it's home. We talk about moving somewhere else that has less upkeep. Our yard is huge and we have a rental building on our property to take care of, too. It's hard to know what's best to do.

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  20. Is the last photo your home? Love it! The flowers are so pretty! You know, as much space as we have here in Texas, it seems each time a new development begins the houses are just that close. Even though I live in an apt, if I had a home it would be "out" of the crazy traffic, etc. It's nice to have conveniences but I don't think you can beat land and the sounds of nature....or just quiet. IF I had tons of money, I'd love to live on the West Coast. I'd also love to have a place in Northern New Mexico, Colorado and Nashville. :)

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
    xo
    Pat

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  21. I love our 1860 house in St. Martins,NB. It was a fixer-upper,which my retired husband LOVED working on.
    And I love your sweet house too.

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  22. You kinda know where I live ;) I've never been happier than I am here. It's a small town and it feels far away from everyone, but I'm within walking distance to town, which is nice.

    I lived one block from the pacific ocean and after awhile I didn't even notice it, but I notice the view of the mountains where I live everyday. Weird, huh?

    xo

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