Some two years and nine months ago, Mario and I went to see our house for the first time. It was the second house we ever saw. We were extremely cautious then about buying real estate and were specifically looking for properties with the ‘hidden gem’ quality. From the information we gathered on-line, this house was ideal: very desirable neighborhood, 2 miles from the beach, 10 minutes drive from work, and a large backyard in an area where most properties have no backyard at all. The down side? Broken down and needed major overhaul.
It was a sunny day. We drove in admiring all the other houses on the block. Then we saw it, an unkempt old house in a somber grey hue, shrinking in contrast to the vivid colors of its neighbors. Its doors opened to reveal an uninviting interior. Off the bat, we were baffled by this house’s reversed living layout, with living room and kitchen on the second floor and bedrooms on the first floor. We walked in and looked hard at the bedrooms, which were not liveable in their existing condition. The bathrooms needed to be gutted, and a thousand other things needed to be fixed. Then we took the stairs up to the living area and the magic happened. We were literally blinded by the light. The sun light flooded in from all directions, huge windows hung in every direction with sky lights above us, framed with a stunning wooden cathedral ceiling in the beauty of its natural color. We began to see the benefit of this reverse living layout. To one side there is a large window enclosed balcony, to another side there is a large 400 sqft deck through four large panel glass doors. The whole place felt so airy and inviting, and for several minutes we paused to enjoy the feel of lightness. Of course the living area was far from perfect. The kitchen need to be gutted, and the bathroom had a spooky layout.
At this moment, our feelings about this house were mixed. Though still expensive in our book, it sure was a good value for its location and time frame. But the task of renovating it was daunting, especially as I was already four months pregnant. Mario and I took a moment to think it over by stepping out onto the balcony, and there we were, overlooking a large grassed backyard, big enough to build another house of the same size. It was such a refreshing oasis of green in a desert of concrete and bricks. We knew then that we had a rare gem in our hands. The decision was made on that spot to make an offer right away for the asking price, and the rest was history.
It took five months to renovate this house. We teared the interior walls down all the way to the bone and build it back up to the way we wanted. The renovation was still going on when I gave birth to Maxie. During my hospital stay, someone in the family (Mario, mom, dad, or sister?) had made the decision to paint the exterior of the house a bright yellow. I was shocked by the color first, but it has grown on me. And that’s how our beloved home is now being referred to as “our yellow house,” and it is flooded with bright sunlight and heart-felt love.