New/Old House Search

19 Jan

The Mister and I are in the market for a new (to us) house. House shopping is so fraught, isn’t it? We have looked at condos, a really nice foreclosure and because the Mister loves his nutty vintage-obsessed wife, we are now visiting mid-century ranches in the hopes of finding one that is in reasonable shape but with some period details intact. Like the kitchen. I really want a period kitchen–kitchenware is my focus for reselling and collecting, as you know. And I have a red dinette set that I am super-reluctant to part with, even though I know that it is borderline weird to search for a house that fits your dinette.
As we’ve visited houses, we have seen some really cool things, including some amazing wallpaper, and I thought that I would share a little of it here.
This bathroom is pretty much the nicest 1950’s bathroom, ever. Pink or blue or burgundy bathroom tile can be hard for some people to like (not me, of course) but this black and white color scheme is timeless.
I like a knotty pine den, and the built-in desk would be ideal for me. I’m always on the computer and I like to be in the middle of things in my house, not tucked away in an office.


This kitchen has room for my dinette and the wallpaper is wild! (It’s a little too dark for me to keep, but it is really cool). More knotty pine here, too.  You know what’s a lot easier than ripping out all your knotty pine cabinets? Just deciding that knotty pine is great. More people should try it. Do I sound like I have watched too many knotty pine haters on home renovation television shows? Because I have.


Sorry for the photo quality, but you get the idea. It’s a late ’50’s knotty pine kitchen. It has a few issues, though. Like this linoleum. And the holes in the linoleum, of which there are several. And the subfloor which is not looking too great through the holes in the linoleum. I have to admit, after hearing fellow blogger Eartha Kitsch’s frankly horrifying kitchen floor redo story, I’m not super-excited to start talking to flooring companies.


The other issue is that because of where this house is located (Forest Hills) and the size of the lot (2 acres), the sellers feel that the money tree needs to be shaken rather severely to come up with enough dollars to buy it. It is ‘spensive for a house that needs more than a cosmetic facelift–it has old wiring and needs stuff like a new a/c unit, and the floors aren’t level. And I am the odd duck who thinks that the original features are good–most folks would call the kitchen a total loss and start looking at granite countertop samples. (I hate granite. It is cold, ‘spensive and boring.)

The other interesting thing about this house is that the owner is a serious gardener and collector of day lilies. She had tiny tags identifying literally hundreds of plantings in beds in her yard. Every tag had all the info about the plant–the name, everything. So much work and care has gone into her gardening. The home owners are selling to move to a retirement community. What if someone buys the house as a tear-down and all of her work is ruined? Or if they hate the bathroom and tear that black and white tile right out? The Mister thinks I get too emotional about that kind of stuff and he is probably right.

We are mulling over the possibilities of this house. And I am trying not to worry about hurting some old couple’s feelings when they receive the low-ball offer that we might make. They’ve been showing the house for several months and haven’t received an offer yet, so maybe they will be open. I hope the realtor will tell them how much I liked the day lilies and how I don’t want to ruin their house with a crappy kitchen “update.” xoxo, LaurenT



5 Responses to “New/Old House Search”

  1. Eartha Kitsch January 20, 2013 at 2:08 am #

    I love all of those rooms SO much and wish you much luck! I absolutely love that den with the fireplace. Make sure that your realtor tells the sellers how much you love everything in the house and that you plan not to change anything – that you want to preserve the beautiful things that they’ve done. Could make a difference. I know it would with me if I were selling – and I haven’t been here nearly as long as they’ve been there. We’ve found a floor guy now who we really like so we might able to help you not go through what we went through! Keep us posted! : )

  2. Karen January 20, 2013 at 4:21 am #

    My mother has that same exact black & white bathroom, minus the wallpaper. I told her it’s back in style now!

  3. Rae January 21, 2013 at 2:03 am #

    the people selling our house went for our first offer because we told them how much we loved it and didn’t want to tear it down! it had been in their family since it was built in the forties and they were dreading a flipper buying it and tearing everything out. i LOVE that house! It would be great with a little work.
    i saved the picture of the bathroom because we are having to redo our bathroom and doing a pink one is TOO expensive for us now. I wish! but i love the black and white!

  4. bettycrafter January 22, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

    I used to work in real estate, and I have seen a “love letter” written from the buyers to the sellers, work almost every time. Just tell them how much you love the house, the garden, how you’re going to keep all the original details you can. It sure looks like a lovely house. Can’t wait to hear the updates on this!!

    • apronstringsvintage January 22, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

      Betty, thank you so much. We were talking about doing this very thing last night–I will be sure to tell the Mister! I appreciate it.

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