May 29, 2009

Home Infidelity

I have to admit that I have been having an affair….on my home. It started last September when my husband called me into our home office and showed me a few pictures. I think he actually said “I am afraid to show you these, because I know I could be getting myself in alot of trouble.”

Hubby was right…I saw those pictures and started hyperventilating. In fact, we made an appointment to see it that day.

Now before I share my home affair, let me just say…this situation is confusing for me…because I LOVE my small farm and home. I have spent 13 years building my dream home and…EVERYTHING is right about where I live. This is why I think I feel so guilty about my affair….

That first visit, as we drove down the 1/4+ mile tree-lined driveway I had several reactions….
My first reaction was physical….I think my mouth was watering…I know I was acting like a school girl…probably belting some song in opera about the how beautiful and perfect the DRIVEWAY ALONE was…. I also had an association…scenes from “The Sound of Music” when the von Trapp children were hanging from the trees as their father and the Baroness were coming home…doe a deer a female deer….(a little weird I know)

My second reaction…I quickly formed an emotional attachment to “the dream” of it all…I started telling myself a story of how wonderful it would be to live there….

The land…24 acres of rolling pasture, surrounded by 140 acres of farm preservation (can’t be developed). OOOHHHHH…….Big shade trees, privacy, deer bounding across the fields, some space to call our own…YEA…we could LIVE off the land….(ok…follow me here…this has been a process)
A spring fed pond with floating dock…perfect visions of swimming, laying on the dock, rowing in a boat with a pink parasol, while reading Shakesphere to the girls (ok…this is a little extreme too…but you can envision it right????)….

AND the HOME….an 1800’s farm house on the National Historic Registry. It has 6 fire places, wide planked wood floors, and lots of character and charm (but also a teeny tiny kitchen, bathrooms that are in desperate need of updating, little closet space).

I left that first visit feeling a bit Euphoric….a little nervous….ready to jump in and buy. A few important details held us back…1) We would have to sell our home first 2) It was a bit out of our price range 3) I loved it more than Hubby did 4) The house would need a fairly big renovation…and without a money tree growing on the property…it would be a stretch.

Since that first visit, we have cheated on our home FOUR times. Secretly sneaking out on a Sunday afternoon to go take ONE more look. This process has been an emotional roller coaster. What keeps us coming back????

The current owners keep dropping the price…I mean BIG price drops (over $300,000) since it went on the market last September. What has kept us from divorcing Buttercup Farm???

Four times visiting has taught us that 24 acres is A LOT more that 4 acres. We walked the property the last time we visited and realized….HOLY CRAP….someone or something will have to mow this grass.

The $$$ it would take to fixer’ up would replace our entire “fun budget”. We wouldn’t be able to travel as much, we might not be able to afford our Summer Concert Series, Artist Retreats…the extras we have worked so hard to enjoy….

And our time….I realize that I have ONLY 9 years left with my oldest petite and I keep asking myself…Do I want memories of that time to be about RENOVATING a home? (Interestingly, she loves the house…I think…more than I do).


On the other hand….I could also see how living in this home could be extraordinary in a lot of ways. It feels like a dream every time we visit. I could really enjoy a bigger farm…the privacy…the character of the home…and more than hubby, I did enjoy the process of renovating my home (although I enjoy it being finished too)…

SIGH….I don’t know….I keep looking for a sign… and keep checking back…if the price drops again…..maybe….but probably not…..

It is fun to dream though….

Get inspired for summer and check out the “old homes” at Hooked on Houses with the amazingly creative Juila!


Down home friends and what they say...

Comments (14)

Rebecca said:

Ooh, Shawn - this is tempting indeed! My best friend bought a house and property very, very similar to this - 40 acres, abutting conservation land, exact same style of home - they have spent the better part of five years renovating it themselves. It’s truly beautiful, and I know they’ll be there forever. It has taken a lot of time and energy, yet I know they love it.
I think you have done such a splendid job of making Buttercup Farm your own - it’s hard to imagine you anywhere else! I agree that weighing the time and money it would take to do a good job on this house against having that time and money with and for your family is the big question…but She is just splendid, and I had the SAME mouth watering phenomenon about the driveway before I even read that you did too!!

Keep us posted, my friend!

Pam said:

Shawn…I completely understand what you are going through. Well, sort of. We haven’t lived in one house longer than 3 years..mostly because of my husbands job. The last home we lived in was my dream home (so I thought), just not in our dream location. I loved this house…built in 1820 with so much wonderful history, in the village; my kids walked to school, library, market etc. Big, private yard, a killer kitchen…and the price was right. We were able to travel, we entertained often, I played tennis at a great club every day…good livin! So, for weeks before we moved from NH to Mass. I cried and cried and cried! But, here we are 9 months later (and 9 months pregnant I might add!), and I’ve never been happier. We are minutes from the beach, in a great community with top notch schools, closer to family, the Cape and Boston and live in a small neighborhood with a ton of kids. This house is FAR from my dream house…a 1980’s builders box of a colonial that needs every single window replaced and not one ounce of charm. The sad part is that we paid almost twice what we paid for our house in NH so there is not much $ left over every month! But, believe it or not, I’m happy! That doesn’t mean I don’t dream about someday owning an antique again…maybe even looking out at the ocean! But, I have to tell you, I hardly ever think of my old house…honestly. My girlfriends threw me a wonderful going away party when we left and had a local artist paint my house. I don’t look at it with sadness anymore.
Now I know you have been at Buttercup many more years than I was in my “dream home”, but can I tell you what I think?? I think you should do it! Take a risk! I know you are comfortable where you are…but from reading your blog recently I think that you are a woman that would be up for a challenge! Thank you for sharing your “affair” with us! I hope you don’t mind my 2 cents!! See you on TP!! xoxo Pam

Terry Kearns said:

I think most folks would need to liquidate part of the property to afford rehabbing the place. That doesn’t seem an option. I suggest y’all enjoy the dream, but stay at Buttercup.

Meg said:

WOW! Even in pictures it is as beautiful as your verbal descriptions have been! Lovely farm and home.

But hmmm… would it be selfish of me to point out that this beautiful location is not within walking distance of your girls’ elementary school, nor our favorite local wine bar?!?!

(OK, yes, I’ll admit that I added the bit about the elementary school because simply pointing out your proximity to the local wine bar seemed, well… slightly unseemly) :-D

Desiree said:

Hi Shawn, what a talented writer you are!!! Have you researched what the taxes could be? Often times the current taxes the owner is paying is based on a grandfather’s clause and do not reflect what the current property taxes would be once the home is reassed when new owners take over. Our taxes jumped three times the original basis the seond year and have been going up and up and up every year!!! The state and county are looking to get money any way they can and property taxes are the way they do it……..not good news I know. But something to consider,…..

Trish at TheOldPostRoad said:

I love it! Wow!

Sarah Turner said:

That’s quite a predicament you got yourself into! It all starts with a look doesn’t it? Been there myself.

LadyEM said:

Wow Shawn, you have every right to feel tempted. This property is stunning!

Jennifer said:

Shawn, honey, I’d be cheatin’ too!

Virginia said:

Oh, Shawn…if you’re even contemplating it…it’s definitely an affair! :) My advice is..when/if you have total peace..then go for it. Until then…stay put. You’ve got a dream-place already. Hugs. See you on TP!

Julia @ Hooked on Houses said:

Oh, wow! What a gorgeous property! I can definitely see why it’s tempting. Heck, now I’m tempted to buy it myself! Ha.

I think I’m guilty of cheating on my own home at least once a week with fantasies about another one. I can get swept up in it so easily! My husband is constantly worried I’m going to make him move again, but we’ll probably stay put until my son graduates from high school in 4 years. *sigh*

Loved this post, Shawn! Hope you’re having a beautiful weekend! :-)

Laura Ingalls Gunn said:

Oh I cheat on my home all the time. It forgives me when I clean the toilets and floors. :)

Joanie @ The Bright Side said:

Oh, my. That tree lined driveway is enough for me. I have always dreamed of having a tree lined driveway to welcome me home. What a predicament! I agree with the earlier commenter though that said stay put until it brings you peace. Best wishes in whatever you decide!

kelly g said:

Hi Shawn,
I have been trying to visit you and I love your site. It all seems so fresh and inviting. I adore the pictures of the farm above, but I am sure that your farm is wonderful! I will have to go back and catch up to see how much of it you have shared. I think you are an adorable ray of sunshine! I will be back to see you…
kelly g (TP SISTER)

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