Friday, September 29, 2006

chain chain chain

Well, we found a house we like. We've got ours on the market, and we've had our first viewing (last night though, so as yet I don't know what she thought). We've broken the news to our neighbours (she said 'oh no' when we told her - I feel mean and slightly guilty). We've started boxing up all our non-essential belongings - clothes, books, bedding, dvds, and so on. We're storing them for a while and living in a stuff-less house. The lounge looks incredibly big with none of our stuff in it, I'm tempted to keep the dvds away in a new house too.

The house we want is not stunning to look at when you pull up outside - just another terraced house, in an area that isn't the poshest - it's borderline lower Gillingham (and before you get to the posh again bit of lower Gillingham/Rainham). To balance this though, it's 2 minutes walk into the high street (which works better if you think about it as the corner shops - it's crappy for a high street but fantastic for corner shops). This also means the boy and I can meet up with my mum during the day, and that we can easily walk to assorted parks (as well as walking to the Black Lion for Isaac's swimming lessons).

It's a 3 bedroom, but it's 3rd off 2nd. We'd put the boy in the 3rd room, and use the 2nd room as a playroom. This means he can go into a big boys bed without us worrying so much about him getting out of bed and playing, and also means we can clear up his toys after he's been playing. We might put a sofabed in there as well for guests. If we do decide to have another baby, we can move into the 2nd bedroom (as it's not much different in size from the main) and have the baby in the small room off of ours, and the boy would have a big room for him & his toys.

The basement has been converted into a complete room. It has light, electricity, radiators, a double glazed window, the original fireplace, storage cupboards, and it's own entrance door. This room will be for our computers, the man's band gear, and a couple of bookcases. The band gear can come in and out without even coming in the main front door! Neighbours one side don't HAVE a cellar, and the other side only use theirs for junk, so there's no noise problems - the current owner is a DJ so is soemtimes quite loud down there.

Lounge, separate dining room, both good size & neutral. Bathroom on the small size and tiled quite dark green, but bigger than what we've got. Kitchen is galley style but with more actual cupboard space than we have in ours, gorgeous ceramic tiled floor, and gorgeous toning tiles on the wall as a splashabck, ever so nice. The RANGE cooker is staying...

Garden has a small 'side alley' part (good for storage and our shade loving pot plants). Patio is large enough for a dining table as well as the boy's slide & trike. It has a raised fishpond on the patio which will be easy to childproof. Then there's an expanse of lawn - lots, and plenty for me to do my thing with (it all gets sun as well). At the far end of the 70' garden (we currently have about 20' or so) is another patio, with storage, a treehouse with built in swing, and a raised vegetable patch. Hah! ANyone who knows me well enough will know that this sounds like heaven to me.

Now we just gotta sell ours! Here's a link : OUR HOUSE
- go and buy it.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The joys of house hunting

So...we've started tentatively looking at houses.

We live in a small Victorian 2 bed terraced house on the edge of the Luton area of Chatham. Luton is 'famous' (infamous?) for not being the nicest of areas, and we're a bit fed up of all the murders happening within 1 minutes walk of our front door. (I've already lived on the 'street of fear' acording to our local paper and I don't want to do it again). I mean, I recognise our local policeman, and not for any fun & exciting reasons, and that feels wrong.

Since we moved in, about three years ago, we've done an awful lot to the place. We've replaced the kitchen floor, and laid laminate flooring throughout the downstairs. We've redecorated the bathroom, lounge and kitchen. We turned the garden from waist-high weeds into a gorgeous little wildlife friendly garden with bark paths, and a pond with lots of very happy frogs. We got central heating installed and a new boiler, we got double glazing installed. We've had the front of the house replastered and are in the process of painting it as we speak. We got rid of the bad 70's fire and have got a new up to date one (though haven't had it fitted yet). We fitted a loft ladder. We damp-proofed the basement and laid flooring, and have partially walled it - it's certainly now a usable room now rather than a dark damp hole.

Despite all this - the front door still opens into the lounge & out to the pavement. People still walk right past our window loudly. We have to keep the bins on the small patio and then take them through the house once a week. Our garden gets very little sun and I can only sit in the sun at certain times of the year. Isaac can't go out to play in the garden. It's about a mile to the nearest play area and it's not even a very good one (and it's certainly an unpleasant walk along a busy road).

I want greenery around us. I want a bigger garden, that gets some sun, that Isaac can play in, and I can do my gardening thing with. I want somewhere that looks nice when you pull up outside. We need storage space, in the form of a garage or cellar, but we also want three bedrooms in case we decide to have another baby, or just for a study/library. I want to be able to walk to somewhere Isaac can run around. I want to be a little further away from the pavement. The man wants a porch so the post doesn't come straight into the lounge. He also wants somewhere to store his band gear - PA and guitars. He wants somewhere he can sit and play guitar sometimes without the boy having to join in.

So far we have looked :

1. *a street in Maidstone* where the neighbours glared at us as we pulled up, and...well...were basically chavs. (Is that rude? Oh well).

2. Walderslade - a nice old couple who need to downsize. They had the most wonderful garden and fairly decent sized house but 'old people' carpets and wallpaper and it was in the kind of suburbia where you never leave the house...

3. Gillingham. A nice light airy house where the trains whizzed past the back garden.

4 Aylesham - a lovely village with amazingly friendly nieghbours, where an old fella had died two years before and nothing had been done to the house since. It would need new everything.

5 Wayfield where the lounge was huge and the house looked great from outside. The bathroom and kitchen were tiny and the garden got no sun.

6. Chatham. The local youths glared at us - just like where we live - and there was no storage (half the loft was taken up with a model train which was staying.

7. Walderslade. A beautiful house which we loved the decor and the size, but there was no actual storage fro band gear and the third bedroom could barely fit the two of us in.

8. Another Walderslade, with a huge lounge, tiny bedrooms, and no real garden to speak of.

9. Another Walderslade which had potential, once you laminated the floors, replaced the metal open plan stairs with wood that didn't judder as you walked up and down, updated the kitchen cupboards, and double glazed the back of the house.

10. Gillingham, a double fronted house which was the reverse idea of the tardis. A corner house that had all been taken up by the house it was bisected by. No right angles for furniture and the tiniest lounge.

11. Gillingham. Another nice from the outside house, but with storage space in the brick outhouses. Needs painting and recarpeting throughout, and the garden will need a lot of work, but it was a decent size and the area seemed good. It was even within walking distance of the only pub we like around here. It has damp, though...

12. Rainham. Almost exactly the same layout as the last one, without the damp, or the need for new flooring (though we would need to redecorate). Also without the child friendly garden or indeed the size of the garden. Next door to a couple of schools and near a block of flats where lots of the local mental health clients are housed,


13. Rochester - In good decorative order, a garage for junk, and a 'spare room' on top of the three beds, kitchen, bathroom, and lounge/diner. Don't really know the area though...fingers crossed.

14 Chatham - Looks nice, has a fair few cupboards, and outside shed. Possibly not any PA space though...

15. Chatham -  the next road down from where we are now. They say it's immaculate, and all the furniture is included. three beds, cellar, shed. Storage heating though and really really nearby.

16. Chatham - up a big big flight of stairs to the front door.three beds and a storage garage (not for cars, just motorbikes). A feature fishtank fireplace.

17. Gillingham - on a road that's very narrow , one way, and not good for parking. Three beds, Cellar, huge lounge andf kitchen, and a brick built unit in the garden currently being used as a gym.

18 Gillingham - on an avenue, nice. Three beds, cellar, and a summerhouse at the end of the garden (and also within walking distance of the pub).

19. Maidstone - near the last one, we're hoping the neighbours are nicer.

Wish us luck, won't you?

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