December 19, 2018:


I can't believe we're less than a week away from Christmas and I haven't yet really decorated the kitchen and dinette! I've got the small cardinal tree up on the peninsula counter and my Christmas cards are shaped in the form of a Christmas tree and taped to a wall by the dining table; I put up my colorful teal floral curtains with lots of gold and red, my cardinal prints and added a red tablecloth to the dining table, but that's it! Enough, I suppose.

The tree is done! It seemed to take forever this year to decorate but I am loving the result. It looks like the kind of mish-mash everything on it but the kitchen sink kind of tree I remember from my childhood. The only thing missing is the bubble lights, but I'm too frugal to buy them!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and that the dreaded Polar Vortex stays away!


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Shopping for a New House: House 4

The continuing saga of ...

I had started my house hunting by looking first at the brick ranch on Allerton, and then viewed the house at 4029 S. 74 that I fell in love with (fully remodeled living space and loved the kitchen/dinette area), but the seller and I could not reach agreement on a sales price.  I had also scheduled a viewing some weeks ago of 4002 S. 74, located to the north of 4029 (across the street but on the same block), but the seller had cancelled because she was not feeling well.

I had not pursued 4002 after that, but it was always on my radar.  I was checking the listings daily to see if any new properties were coming on the market within my target area (and price range) and also checking to see if any of the houses I was interested in (still including 4029) had been taken off the market or had "pending" offers (contingencies satisfied, getting ready to close).  Thus, after deciding that Allerton was just not what I wanted (despite putting in an offer for it, and receiving a counter-offer that was waiting for a response), I was eager to see 4002. 

I viewed the property on Tuesday evening, May 6th.  It has been on the market for several months; I was hoping that if the house showed as much potential in person as it did in its listing photographs (despite the snowy scenery), it would jump to the top of my list.  I was very tired of the search and wanted to be settled!

With some minor variations, 4002 has essentially the same lay-out as 4029 S. 74.

I loved the curved sidewalk approach to the front door.  I loved the bay window that floods the inside of the house with light, the end windows of which crank out to provide great ventilation with the dinette window at the back of the house.  I really liked the creamy colored brick with black and white speckles in it, and the white aluminum siding and soffits would work with just about any color scheme.  The 2-1/2 car free standing garage is also sided in white aluminum.  The siding is in excellent condition.

This is a solid house.  We could not see any step cracks in the foundation (not unusual in Milwaukee County's clay soil), hardwood floors are all intact (although the bedrooms are still carpeted, the living room had the hardwood refinished and varnished).  There is a lean-to fully enclosed shed area added all away across the back of the garage. 

The back yard is partially fenced -- with neighbors' fences.  To the north, the back yard is shielded from view by a tight planting of tall mature arborvitae and the next-store garage.  The view to the south is open, but partially fenced with a neighbor's chain link.  The rear of the lot is partially shielded by the garage and several shrubs and trees along the lot line, and neighbor to the east's short wood fence (see photo above).  Privacy needs improvement.

Kitchen and dinette are remodelled:

I liked the white appliances, corner windows and angled sink and the neutral tiled floor.  I'm not a fan of oak stained cabinets but they can be painted, and these are of excellent quality.  I like the plainer styled cabinet doors on the lowers, I am not a fan of the arched pattern on the upper cabinet doors. The kitchen lay-out is efficient and provides a lot of storage space.

The dinette area is approximately the same size as my dinette area (10 x 11) and, being almost fully open to the living room, would provide enough space for my rather large dinette set (my table is 56" diameter with four comfy-large chairs).  At present, the owner has a small rectangular table placed in front of a large dinette window (it has smaller windows on either side of a picture window that open) and a medium sized china base and hutch on the wall that backs to the stairs going down to the rec room and basement area.  Here is a photo showing a partial view of the dinette area and the back door leading to the landing and basement stairs and door to the driveway.  There is also a nicely preserved built-in in the corner of the living room:

You can also see the original hardwood floor in the living room.  Original hardwood floors are also in the hallway and the three bedrooms.

The bathroom has also been updated:

The dreaded glass block window makes an appearance, eek eek eek!  The tile is neutral - a light grey with white and cream "marbling."  The accent tiles are white with a seashell and star fish pattern.  There is plenty of storage in the floor to ceiling storage cabinet and vanity.  There is a standard size shower over tub to the left.  In the hallway there is a separate linen closet.

Vinyl flooring in a grey block pattern and pale grey walls complete the main floor bath.

There is a second bath in the basement rec room area, a roomy 3/4 bath with a large shower stall:

It is nice and bright because there are two outside windows facing east -- you can see one of them in the photo above.  The shower stall is dated, to be sure, but it's nice and roomy.  Not seen, to the left, is a floor to ceiling storage cabinet providing a lot of storage space.  Nice!  The floor is tiled in a neutral colored tile.

The rec room area is - fantastic.  It measures a large 16' x 30' plus a separate 10' x 10' office that could be used as a guest room/bedroom.  I am not generally a fan of basement living spaces in Wisconsin where we can have excess moisture issues and, conversely when the clay soil dries out, can wreak havoc on our concrete block 11 course basements!  But finished lower level living space is valued around here, especially in the city where the houses tend to be smaller and every square inch of usable space counts.  And the finishes in this lower level livng area - I was impressed.  I didn't feel like I was in a basement.

This is a view toward the nice display cabinet and wet bar area, and the door to the unfinished part of the basement, where the laundry facilities and mechanicals are.

The door at the rear of this view opens to the office at the front of the house; the door on the left is a large closet/storage area.

View of the lower level looking toward the stairs.  I was impressed with the drywalled finished ceiling with recessed lighting throughout the space.  Under the stairs (not shown) there is a large enclosed storage space with shelves, and next to that is the entrance to the bathroom.

The basement windows are not glass-blocked so they let in lots of light, and there were two windows on each wall.  Carpeting would have to go - not a fan of carpeting in a basement - what is the sump pump fails when the power goes out during a bad rain storm, for instance... 

All in all, though, I was really impressed with 4002 S. 74.  The outside yards (front and back) were nicely kept.  There is a block patio on the yard side of the garage, which makes sense because it would provide shade in the afternoon when the sun is beating down from the south.  The yard lacks some privacy, but new fencing and/or additional plantings would remedy that.  The dinette window overlooking the backyard would make way for a patio door and stairs to the yard and/or a small deck.  Some cosmetic work is needed (paint finishes, paint cabinets in kitchen and bathrooms), but all in all, a move in ready house.

I was ready to make an offer -- BUT --

Well, you knew there had to be a but, right?  As luck would have it, on or around May 1st, a new house had come on to the market -- on S. 74!  Actually, the house is right next store to 4002 S. 74.  Another house that looks identical structurally to 4002 and 4029 S. 74.  It was listed for $2,900 less than 4002 and a whopping $9,900 less than 4029, and had newly installed in 2013: new furnace; new AC; new exterior doors; new windows; new siding on house and garage; new laminate flooring in kitchen; remodeled main floor bathroom; and, last but not least, new fencing to enclose a beautiful new concrete patio that one accesses from the brand new patio door and steps leading down from the dinette!

Oh hell yeah, I wanted to see this house before making a decision on 4002.  The problem was, I couldn't get in to see it until May 6th!

1 comment:

  1. It’s too bad that the brick ranch and 4002 property didn’t turn out to be your dream house. But I’m sure the right one will present itself at the right time. Let’s just hope it will be soon, so you can finally relax and enjoy the house you and your family will settle in for a long time.

    Darren Lanphere @ Mirr Ranch Group