The Casting Dock

Category — back in the bev

the house. part one of many.

A little story about a house…

Jerry and I started the official house hunting process in February of this year. I had been looking informally online for probably about a year before that without any intention, just curiosity and an enjoyment in real estate.

But come February we both felt we should legitimately start the search. We had saved a good chunk of money for a down payment, interest rates were obviously still crazy low, and we would be having a baby come July…
so the time felt right.

I wanted something cute and old with New England character that we could fix up and really make ours.
Jerry wanted something turn-key which would require zero work…and the newer, the better for him.
So this was an interesting starting point.

To make a long story short(ish) we put in offers on three different properties and in the end came away with hands down the best home for us. It’s a 1949 cape (classic New England!) which requires a lot of work,
but also has tons of potential.

I was VERY picky (borderline snobby) about the location and style of home I wanted. Our realtor actually found this house by walking around the neighborhood we wanted and asking people if they knew anyone interested in selling. So this house was never listed on the market. The original owners passed away a few years ago and their three sons inherited the property. One son was pseudo living there but really hadn’t touched ANYTHING since the parents died…so there was lots of STUFF everywhere–girlfriend liked to collect things (wind chimes, baskets, bird memorabilia, you name it, she owned it). There were also mismatched shag rugs in every room, a fully (floor to ceiling) pink tiled bathroom, and a dishwasher from the 70s among many other relics from another era. It was definitely a little overwhelming the first time we walked through (a giant understatement for Jerome who was silent and white as a ghost) and required some vision to see the potential, but I just knew this was the place for us.

As we went throughout the house search Jerry and I both realized that given the expensive real estate market where we live, we either needed to buy a multi-family or a fixer upper single family. Although Jerry initially really did not want a fixer upper, he REALLY didn’t want a multi-family…and (surprisingly) as we looked at houses, he started swaying away from the cookie cutter turn key homes anyway. So while this is certainly more of what I had in mind, I consider it a victory for both of us.

Our house is currently a 3 bed, 1 bath with an attached 2 car garage (very rare with these old homes here) and a screened in breezeway. With two unfinished rooms–one as a loft space above the garage and another as an additional bedroom on the second floor–there is definitely room for expansion down the road.

The renovation process has certainly had its ups and downs (and has taken far longer than I anticipated), but we are making progress and are increasingly excited to see the finished product come to life.

Here are some lovely before pictures to give you a sense of what we’re working with…

The screened in porch looking out at the backyard.

The screened in porch looking out at the driveway

The living room.

The other side of the living room facing the front door.

One of the downstairs bedrooms.

The other downstairs bedroom.

Yep, our hands are full…

October 10, 2013   4 Comments

life these days.

+ life these days involves lots of this. lots and lots of it. like ate-a-giant-one-by-myself-in-three-days lots. cool, sweet, refreshing, a little foretaste of summer…it’s been perfect.

+ life these days is centered on houses. conversations, time, savings–all going towards houses. quite obviously, we are in the spring house hunt. with half the rest of the north shore here in massachusetts, i should say. i’m a little all over the place about it. a total fixer-upper? a multi-family? a small, but updated single family? a tiny place by the water? a place with more yard and space? i certainly know what i like, but there are so many different ways to go with it. i have my eye on a very narrow stretch of land in my ideal location and that is certainly my top priority. it should be interesting to see how and when it all plays out. jerry and i have some different priorities…but i think we will ultimately find the right spot for us.

+ life these days involves lots of doting on this guy, all cuddled up in our frilly, feminine comforter (and all up on my side of the bed, might i say). perhaps the pregnancy hormones have something to do with it, but i just adore, I mean really adooooooore him even more than usual. he’s just the sweetest little thing.

+ life these days is (finally!) involving time outside again!!! the green-tipped trees, the sweet budding flowers, the glowing sunshine with a crisp breeze. we are actually getting a spring this year. a true novelty.

+ life these days means berries. lots and lots of berries. true berry-picking season is almost here! sing thee my soul.

+ life these days involves lots of bonding with this little guy rumbling and tumbling around in there. we will be meeting him in only 10ish weeks.

May 5, 2013   2 Comments

a stroll down memory lane, also known as acorn street…

Almost five years ago Jerry and I took our engagement pictures on this cute little side street in Beacon Hill.

Last weekend we found ourselves once again strolling down this same street while out on a walk with some of our closest friends following Stephanie June’s January wedding.

The walk, coupled with Jerry’s 28th birthday a few days ago, has really put me in a reflective mood.

I started his birthday card this year saying, “I knew you’d be good when I married you. Sweet and loyal and reliable. Just solid. But I certainly did not foresee just how good. You are so genuine and self-sacrificing in your care, concern, and love for me. I feel valued and appreciated every day, from your words to your actions both large and small…I really hit the jackpot with you and I am beyond blessed and grateful to say that I love you and I love our marriage more now than when I said ‘I do’…” I’ll spare you the rest of the mushy details, but in re-reading my card this morning, I am reminded that every single one of those mushy details rings true.

I’ve mentioned it on here before, but I have a morbid streak in me. This odd belief that if I spend time thinking about terrible things that could happen, then if they ever do happen, I’ll be in some small measure better prepared. It’s weird and I genuinely do a good job cutting myself off early because really, talk about counter-productive and depressing and fear-inducing. Not cool. Anyhow, whenever I think about something happening to Jerry, which of course is take-my-breath-away devastating even just playing out in my mind, I take solace in one small thing: not a day goes by that I am not actively thankful and appreciative for the man he is, the husband he is, and the marriage we have. So often we don’t fully and appropriately cherish the things we have until they are gone. With him, however, I am keenly aware every moment of what a good thing I’ve got going. And I seriously thank God every day.

Oh Jerome, you’re such a doll. Happy (belated) birthday!

January 27, 2013   6 Comments

entirely full and entirely pleasant

A couple weeks ago I was exchanging emails with a friend of mine who works at a church and happens to have Mondays off. She is getting married in January and we were ironing out some details and questions via email. It was a Monday morning so I knew with her day off, it would be a good time to catch her for some answers. She responded promptly to my email and essentially said, I’m heading out now, but I’ll write back later today.

Well that day came and went.

The next day I got an email from her saying, Sorry I never wrote back yesterday. The day turned out to be entirely full and entirely pleasant and it slipped my mind. Something about this simple sentence made me smile. Entirely full and entirely pleasant. Not a pairing often heard in tandem, it elicited a peaceful sigh.

And that’s the exact pairing I would use to describe this past Saturday.

Jerry and I were up and out early, having breakfast with a dear friend at an old-favorite-turned-new breakfast joint in the lovely seaside town of Newburyport. After stuffing ourselves with every variety of delicious pancake, we strolled along unencumbered by time or agenda, free to simply explore. We popped into shops, perused for Christmas gifts, supported the local boyscouts who were bold enough to ask, and put our money where our mouth is to support the local bookstore–always tough to do when you know you could get it on amazon for half the price (literally), but I must say, it felt good. ‘Twas the cutest little bookshop.

Following our glorious breakfast, we swung through my favorite farmstand, checked out our alma mater’s women’s conference championship soccer game (sadly they lost), and spent the late afternoon watching football, putting together bridal shower invitations, and running errands. I fell asleep on the couch to football by 10. My kind of day.

Entirely full and entirely pleasant (and to bed early!).

November 6, 2012   1 Comment