Our house…

Our cute little houseis a very, very, very fine house. It’s an adorable turn-of-the-century craftsman, just 15 minutes from my office downtown, 5 minutes from the beach and close to all kinds of fun shops, restaurants and pubs. It’s got the perfect little fenced-in yard where our dogs can run and play, and where I can grow vegetables. Or at least try to. I’m still learning.

But I’ll be the first to admit it’s not where I pictured starting our family. When we bought this house more than five years ago, it was always only meant to be a starter house. We figured we’d stay for 3-5 years, build some equity, get more established in our careers (i.e., make more money), and then buy something bigger and better.

And then the real estate market tanked.

Suddenly we were faced with the reality that not only would selling our house not net us enough equity to trade up, but that once we factored in real estate costs, we could end up even owing money on the home. So we made the decision to stay put and ride out the recession. While it’s disappointing, I realize we are so much more fortunate than many out there. We’re not in danger of losing our home to foreclosure, and the fact that we’re both making quite a bit more money now than when we first started out means we have some flexibility to do some home improvements and make the most of what we’ve got.

Now that we’re starting to whisper the “B” word around the house, we’re realizing just how much we have to do to prepare our house. It’s amazing how something so small can completely turn your entire house upside down. For starters, we’ll need a second bathroom. Currently, our master bedroom is upstairs and our one and only bathroom is downstairs. It’s something we’ve learned to live with, but will NOT fly once I’m pregnant. Everyone says you have to pee a lot, and the idea of waddling down our narrow staircase in the middle of the night when I’m at the point where I can’t see my feet anymore sounds a bit dangerous. Especially since I’ve fallen down those stairs before in a half-asleep stupor. Something tells me falling down stairs is probably not good for the baby.

As long as we’re calling a plumber out for the bathroom, I’ve always wanted a utility sink for the laundry room, especially since I plan on cloth diapering. Come to think of it, we’ll probably want a high efficiency front-loading washing machine. Even if we didn’t cloth diaper, I have heard you’re pretty much doing nonstop laundry, so now seems like as good of time as any to upgrade. Did you know they use about 1/3 less water than regular washers? Amazing.

Obviously, the baby needs somewhere to sleep, so, what is currently our guest bedroom will become the nursery, since it’s right next to the master bedroom. Which means the guest bedroom will have to move downstairs to where the office currently is. And since that’s the end of the line for bedroom musical chairs, our guest bedroom and office will have to share a space. There won’t be room for our huge computer desk AND a queen size bed, so we’ll probably have to downgrade to some space-saving furniture for both functions, like a futon or sofa sleeper and a smaller desk. I actually saw a great space-saving office idea on one of my favorite blogs, Better After. I like the idea of being able to close off the office portion of the room so guests don’t feel like they’re sleeping in the office. And with the futon or sofa sleeper instead of a real bed, we won’t feel like we’re officing in the guest room. Not an ideal situation either way, but we’re going to have to make do with the space we have. Let’s just hope the real estate market turns around before we event start thinking about baby #2, as we’re already going to be pushing the limits of our itty bitty house!

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