Thursday, January 28, 2010

In the beginning….

So… it all started, 5 ½ years ago, when I left my husband and 14 year old son home alone one June night so that I could take my 16 year old daughter to the airport for an early flight to Costa Rica for 10 days. I came home mid day to find out that first, they had inadvertently locked our miniature dachshund outside and second, they had taken a “drive” around the county and found a “nice house, barn and 20 acres” that I just had to see. Since we had finally gotten some remodeling projects done on our home of almost 15 years, I wasn’t too interested. I also liked the small suburban city we were living in.

The following weekend after dinner out, my husband drove by “the place” and once again, I wasn’t interested nor impressed – at 1350 sq. feet, this house was even smaller than our current 1650 sq. foot home. Prior to this drive by, my husband had looked up the owner on the county tax assessor’s website and contacted him. Much to my surprise they (the local owner and his older brothers) had been thinking of selling. The house had been a rental since their mother passed away in the late 70’s and the remaining 16 acres was being leased to a local potato farmer. The local owner (his brothers, all in their eighties, live in Montana) was getting ready to retire and after a couple of bad experiences with renters (including the current ones) was finally ready to let the place go – in fact he had already spoken to a local realtor. This was the home that the brothers grew up in and the current owner lived “across the street”. It was now mid-July and after much cajoling I agreed to take a look inside the house. The owner and the current renters were there and it was a very quick, awkward tour. Other than an impression of the size and layout, we didn’t really see much. After realizing the house was bigger than it seemed and fairly well laid out, I too started to think maybe this was the place for us. Our current home was a typical 1970’s style (translate to NO style) and this farmhouse was built in 1920. More “cottagey” than farmhouse, but I love “cottagey”. We talked to the realtor and although the property was actually for sale, he advised us to go ahead and make an official offer – he told us not to be surprised if they didn’t accept but in his years of working with rural properties he had seen many sold this way. Fast forward to mid-August, by now I was already mentally planning on paint colors, etc. and really getting excited at the thought of an older home. Much to our disappointment, after the brothers talked it over, they decided they just weren’t really ready to part with the place. With this news, we moved onto the planned home project of putting a new roof on our current house… this led to removing the chimney for an old ugly, fake rock fireplace with a planned replacement of a new gas fireplace and mantel. The dust and mess of the fake rock fireplace destruction was the final straw for the 15 year old living room carpet, it too was pulled up – the house was one again in the middle of multiple projects!



Imagine our surprise when the realtor called late in September and said the brothers wanted to know if our offer was still on the table! The only caveat is that the sale cannot be final until after January 1st (for tax purposes) and the current renters would not be moving out until the end of December. We were thrilled, however now we needed to get our current house ready for sale. The goal was to get the house on the market by October 1st since the housing market usually slows in the fall. We finished the fireplace and mantel install, ordered new carpet and were madly finishing little projects with the goal of placing our house on the market October 1st.

In the mean time, we had scheduled a home inspection. Finally, we were able to tour the house with the realtor and inspector. We were surprised by all of the details we hadn’t noticed or seen in our whirlwind tour in July. Between the dining room and living room there was a set of original, working pocket doors! Fabulous! The best thing however was the enclosed front porch… it was GREEN! Not just any green, by MY green! I was already planning and daydreaming. Meanwhile, my husband was already planning the restoration of the decrepit (my description) barn.

Once again, to our surprise (we really had our fair share of surprises that year), our realtor calls on September 30th … even before the house hit the multiple listing database and was officially listed for sale, we already had an offer on our house AND they wanted to close by October 30th. Not expecting the sale to move so quickly, we were fortunate that my in-laws were willing to put up with us for a couple of months since we would be homeless! We spent the remainder of October packing and putting all of our furniture and belongings into storage and moved into my in-laws travel trailer (parked in their driveway).

It was cozy, being the holiday season it was stressful, but once again, luck went our way, and we were able to move into our new house on December 17, 2004. The first item out of storage was the artificial, pre-lit Christmas tree! It went up, just in time for the holidays!


Red Gate Farm was finally a reality. I really believe that some things are just meant to be. Five years later, we have accomplished a great deal but still have a long way to go. Those stories are for a future day.

1 comment:

  1. Well, it looks beautiful and is wonderful inspiration for me. We're almost at the two year mark and we still have a long way to go to getting this place back in shape. It's nice to know it can be done, and the effort is worth it in the end. Of course, coming home to the equivalent of a cottage every day is worth it too!

    Be well ~Andrea~

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