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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