Updating a tri level house
I’ve worked in this city (because it is a city in its own right) for years, and I always took some pride in living somewhere else.
I’d tell people where I worked with a smirk, quick to add that I didn’t actually But here I am now, and I’m damned if I’m going to be all hangdog and sheepish about where we live–or spend the years we’ll be here wishing I were somewhere else.
We’re pretty much a family of introverts, and some of us haven’t always lived with others of us.
In other words, we all need our space, and we need our spaces to be flexible because we live in lots of different configurations: sometimes one kid, sometimes two kids, sometimes a different two kids, sometimes three kids, and sometimes just two adults.
We might not have a whole lotta dollars, but we’re supporting the kinds of businesses we’d like to see more of with the ones we’ve got. Right now it’s got all kinds of funky wallpaper, and we still need to tear the carpet out of the bedrooms, and the exterior needs paint, and the landscaping needs an overhaul, and most of the light fixtures are brassy uglies, and don’t even get me started on the living room ceiling, done in something we call “wedding cake.” (Close cousin to the popcorn ceiling, which we have in all our bedrooms.) Here on move-in day, you can see our wallpaper and border, one of our brassy glassy light fixtures, and the wedding cake ceiling.
We’ve already replaced that floor, which you can read about in our cork flooring posts.
We’re a financially-stretched, stirred family with members who need both proximity and space.
So, yeah: We bought a big, boxy split-entry house in the suburbs.
Some people don’t, citing issues with the stairs and the separation of kitchen and family room.
You can hardly see him, but that dark spot in the bottom left corner is Will, playing video games the morning after we moved.
Some split-level family rooms are dark and dank, but ours gets a lot of nice light from the wall of windows.
We may be five minutes from chain restaurants, discount retailers, and a warehouse grocery store (by car, of course), but we’re determined to make this our version of the American Dream. We think the suburban split-level may be a house whose time is coming, and we want to tell you why–so you can get in while the gettins’ good.
While a city neighborhood full of mid-century ranches and small, independent businesses would be cool and all, it wouldn’t get us the things we’re really yearning for. (And because if more people who like what we like join us, the community will change in ways we’d like.) No, there isn’t the kind of hipster cool we see in Portland: But there’s still a kind of cool.
We’re thinking the rage for mid-century modern has just about run its course, and something else will have to take its place. While we loved the idea of a small, vintage house in a great neighborhood full of old trees and great restaurants and independent bookstores and one-of-a-kind shops, we knew that just wouldn’t work for the lives we’re really living.