We had planned to move quickly on buying a house when Ilda arrived, but we ended up doing things a little faster than we thought. Ilda arrived on a Wednesday, and by the end of the following Monday, we had looked at 22 places (and countless other ones online). Lucky for us our agent Shelley seems to have no end of energy, so we could keep the pace up (I must admit I had a little trouble keeping up there towards the end).
Originally we had wanted a place in the city (downtown Seattle area, that is), and we spent all of Saturday looking there – but the places we were seeing had tiny little gardens, and a pretty long commute to work. Of all the ones we saw up there, there was one really nice three-level modern townhouse in Ballard which had a small little garden that we really liked, and that moved up to the top of our list. Sunday we decided to look at places around Bellevue and Kirkland (closer to work, but in the burbs), and at that point I did not have a lot of confidence we would see anything I liked. We started off with an ‘A’ list and a ‘B’ list of places, and after getting through all the ‘A’ places seeing only one niceish place, we, completely on a whim, decided to try a ‘B’ list place purely cause we happened to drive past it on the way to somewhere else. And it was aaaaawesome…
It is in the Lake Hills area, which is in the South end of Bellevue, very close to the I-90 freeway. This makes it fairly quick to get to Seattle for restaurants etc (we did a trial run on a Sunday and it took us only 15 minutes to the International District, which is about 10 minutes faster than from Redmond). So even though it is not in the city, we can get there pretty quickly (as long as it is not rush hour). And we get a nice garden too, and it is close to work for me. Best part is we got a reduction in the asking price (we ended up at 371k), so we have some money for a couple of mods right away.
So some stats: It is built in 1957, but has been updated a lot along the way. Three bedrooms, one bathroom and a little sink and toilet combo next to the main bedroon. It has a galley style kitchen and a dining room which opens up to the garden. Double garage too, for me to set up a little workshop in!
You walk directly into the living room. Here is the front door, with the great floors…
This is the ‘sitting on the couch’ view. The fireplace is wood burning (modern fireplaces in Seattle are all gas burning), and it sort of wraps around the corner a little bit. That little corner next to the window (to the left of which is the entrnace to the kitchen), will be the new Bunny Villa (I plan to build a nice wooden enclosure for them which complements the floor etc):
Then the kitchen. It is a pretty good size. The only downside is no gas stove, but because we are saving money on the deposit, we are going to have a gas line put in plus a gas stove right away (the house already has gas plumbing because the water and air heating systems are gas driven).
We also will put in a new fridge. Best thing about the kitchen is a huge window above the sink which looks out onto the garden.
Between the dining room and the kitchen is a nice sized pantry. We used to struggle with storage space in the Peakview kitchen, so this is really going to be nice. Ilda wants to put a big blackboard on the door
The bedrooms are not huge, but big enough They are also carpeted which is a bonus. The master bedroom is only a little bigger than the guest room, but it has a big window looking over the back garden, and a little on suite toilet.
We will keep one other bedrrom as a reading room/guest bedroom (we are going to get a couch bed), and the other as a study. That one will need to be painted because it has quite dark green walls. We will also remove the carpet in that room, becuase it looks like the the floor underneath is the same finished wooden floor as the rest of the house has. The main bathroom is nice, but the tub is one of those American plastic things which is not great. It also has a huge aluminium/glass enclosure thing which makes it feel smaller than it is. We will remove that and put in a nice shower curtain instead. Otherwise you can’t really use it as a bath, only as a shower.
And then the garden. It is just so damn nice. We get three huge trees and a big box for planting herbs.
We are pretty much done with all the buying related things now – we have a contract signed, we finished the home inspection (there are a couple of things to fix, not too many), and the loan company is doing there thing. If all goes well, we should have the place towards the end of August. Yesterday was the last time we saw the house before we move in (and I took a moment to measure all the rooms so that we can plan), so the next set of pictures I will post will be of the empty house waiting for us to move in.