Wednesday, July 14, 2010

my house is a very, very, very fine house

when b and i heard the news from his ever so generous parents that owning a home could become a reality for us, we immediately began our search.
first, we found the best realtor in the county (we didn't have to look far!) and began pouring over the MLS. we knew immediately that slo wasn't gonna be an option. we tried to finagle a way to make it happen, but knew that if we did, we'd be at the high end of what we could afford and stuck in a tiny house. we decided on either arroyo grande or los osos. we had a lot of friends in AG and knew that the commute would be minor for b. in the back of our minds we also knew that AG would likely be a better investment in the long run, but in the end it came down to one thing.


yep, that's right. we basically chose los osos cuz the waves are better here. now before all you south countiers get up in arms, just know we don't hate the wrongboarders out in shell, or all of bakersfield that invades pismo all summer long-- its just we really like the idea that we could be contaminating our groundwater with our own s%*t.
nah, the reality is neither of them are perfect, but at the time osos is where we thought we would call home.

for those of you who know me, you know i love los osos. i could dedicate entire blogs to this town. sure its kooky, sandy, full of hippies and lacking a sewer or basic city planning, but the reality is, its also full of a lot of really awesome people parked in one of the most foggiest beautiful areas on the central coast. we got mountain biking, boating, surfing, trail running, hiking, literally all minutes from our door. and one of the raddest parts about it, is we have wonderful neighbors and friends to share it with.

yet, i digress once again. so began our search in los osos. we looked at a lot of houses. i was convinced that we couldn't be on a numbered street because no one would come visit us (this was before i moved all of my best friends here). i thank the lord b didn't listen to that crazy talk and convinced me that i couldn't discriminate against numbered streets. we found our way to a little part of osos called cuesta by the sea. our good friends had nothing but rave reviews about this little nook. heck- it was close to MDO and the seconds from the bay... how could we go wrong? we settled on a charming little (emphasis on little) house just two blocks from the bay. after much brilliant negotiation (thanks to our realtor) we still couldn't agree on a price. so one evening when we were hashing out whether or not we should go for it, we stumbled upon this....

we'd seen it a few times, but it was just a hair out of our price range. not to mention, it was a bit funky. but hey, its osos right? anyhow, we decided to at least check it out. i wish i could tell you it was love at first sight, but the massive rock fireplace wall, and cottage cheese ceilings were distracting me. we wandered around, and though it wasn't exactly hoarders material, there really was a lot of crap loaded in it. but it wasn't annoying crap. it was a desk in the living room, cuz there was no room for it in the kids rooms. it was surfboards and skateboards and bmx bikes hanging from the rafters in their crammed to the gils garage, it was their hand prints in the cement near the front door, it was the dining room table jammed into the corner of the kitchen with the light off-center just to be able to maximize the space and be able to fit 4 teenage kids around the dinner table. and then it was the owner of the house telling us how her son rides his bike to baywood for pizza, and her daughter rides horses up the street. and lastly, it was her telling us they already bought another house with the assurance that this house would sell a lot faster than it was. as much as i'd like to say it was my stellar negotiation skills, it really was their 'tight' situation that enabled us to reach an agreement. 30 days later we moved in two truckloads our stuff from our 750 sq ft studio on garden st. that first night we sat on the floor and ate pizza with some friends and marveled that we were now homeowners. when we went to bed that night, i laid there thinking about the baby in my tummy kicking and thought 'the house seems different than i remembered.'

sometimes i'll find myself coveting clean, new, big, shiny houses, or beautiful, old restored homes and think, 'why i am stuck in this semi-remodeled 1970's architectural experiment on a tiny lot on a street with no sidewalks?' and then i look around and can't find a matching pillowcase to save my life, or notice that our crown molding project is on two of three walls, or i see cobwebs under the eaves of our roof, or i drive up and just pray someone would please dump buckets of paint on it. but then when i walk inside and see this

and this

and this,

and of course, this

and i know.

i know that even though my house is definitely lacking refinement, and its scattered with kids artwork and hot wheels and polly pockets shoes, and no matter how much i clean it it never will smell like the new homes i used to sell, i know in my heart that this is my home, and i wouldn't have it any other way.

so with that said, i'd love to hear...

'what makes a house a home?'


Katy said...

i don't know why people hate bako so much. i personally love it here, it's beautiful and the weather is so nice.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you that the people definitely make the house into a home. My husband and I find that we enjoy our house the most when people are visiting/staying with us. I also think that has to do with the fact that we work crazy hours and are never home... having visitors forces us to take a break and slow down. During the work week it is seriously just where I sleep... but when family and friends come to visit it gives it new life.

Shannon D.W.

Anonymous said...

LOVED this post and I too LOVE the LO life. I too sometimes dream about a bigger home in SLO, but when I really think about living anywhere else I get sad. I am so grateful for this tiny little place we call home. My husband has made it my dream cottage by the sea and the sound of my kiddos playing or laughing at our crazy dog makes it home. I also love the sound of the lawn mower and of course the sound of the waves crashing in the distance on a calm evening. Osos is the best kept secret that you don't really discover until you embrace it as your own. Thanks for being OUR Realtor and encouraging us to join the Los Osos crew. Just hope that someday we can move to the other side of LOVR with the upper class. ;)


The Harper Family said... know I love your blog even though I rarely post. This one has spurred me on to comment...Mike & I have been discussing the idea of a house alot lately unsure of where we may live in the future. It's true a home is about the people that live there, a house is just the outside shell. Just like all material things I'm drawn to the bigger, newer more expensive items...but in the end it's about the people you're sharing life with in your home.

I've come to be truly thankful for the house that provides shelter and comfort for my family and know that if one day I live in a smaller house it would still be the perfect place for us as long as we're together.

Trisha said...

For me, a house is a place that shelters my family(and friends too) and the love that we have. Loved this post! It is easy to get caught up in what one has compared to the other; bigger house, nicer house, better car, etc. But at the end of the day..what matters most to me, is that I get to snuggle up with my dear husband and know that I have such great love from him and our surrounding family and friends.

Shelley Blackwell said...

Again, love this post! Given that the last 10 months have been the longest time period we've spent in any one place in the last 4 years I've thought about it quite a bit. My home has been a 27ft trailer, a concrete shell of house without paint, doors or windows installed and a handful of other places but truly it's all about the people and the memories we are creating together! Though I must say being able to put in some of my own personality to my space makes it feel more like a home.

A.M.H. said...

I agree that what really matters is the people inside. But, if I am going to be totally honest, I really like one more thing - a decent kitchen. I live in the kitchen. I love to cook and bake, and often the rest of my family is in there with me. Our house felt more like home, to me, when RJ remodeled our kitchen. It's not that I needed fancy or new stuff, but I did want a space where more than one person could be at a time - chopping, tasting, or just sipping wine together. And an oven that worked. Home is where the family - and the food - is.