Sunday, July 19, 2009

HOME at last

Spencer and I are on a new journey in our lives. We're settling into our first home and are eager to dig in and unleash the beauty that surrounds us. After 15 months of a full-on housing search, 3 failed attempts to buy, and a real estate market that crashed and burned, we found this little unnoticed gem tucked quietly behind Safeway in Mt Baker/ Columbia City neighborhood. It sat stagnant on the market for 9 months, the price was down considerably and we able to purchase this place under ideal terms: a mortgage based on one salary, 4.5% interest, $8K Home Owners Tax Credit and a low-low price (for Seattle, that is!).

We bought our house from four sisters who grew up in this small 750-square-foot home - along with a mother, father and brother - I can't imagine a family of 7 in this house! Their father built the house with his own hands in 1954 and the family owned it for 54 years. From what we've heard both parents passed away and the house sat empty for 5 years. The sisters would come and visit from out of town, care the lawn, not willing to part with their childhood home.

The subtle 50s charm of the place is what caught our eye - a huge corner picture window in the living room, a low-pitched roof, simple wood trim, and clean lines throughout the house. Well-worn treds on the stairwell- Spencer says that's called "wabi sabi" in the wood - take you from the kitchen down to a concrete cellar. I immidiately thought: rollar rink! Spencer thought Speakeasy one night a week. Low-and-behold, as all of our friends warned, it's now full of our tools, toys and junk! However, this unfinshed basement contains luxuriously-high ceilings, windows, plumbing and heat - this is our best bet to expand the house and increase our livable space one day.

No fancy modern embellishments made it on this 1954 house - no built-in wood cabinets, no brick fireplace, not even brick on the exterior, although it strangely looks like that was the intent. We fully intend to change this reality.

Spencer and I are committed to making this home a charming mid-century modern home with the added personality all our own. Spencer's artistic mind is already running wild full of ideas - I've already told him multiple times "No, let's finish this project first, then start on the next". He has the creativity, talent, and knowledge of design and construction to allow us to take on our dreams into our own hands. Although I wasn't born with a hammer in my hand, like the Noland family - I am the lucky woman who gets to listen and learn in awe beside the youngest Noland. I've offered to do my part by documenting this process and sharing it with whomever will listen.

This will be the "GrayNol" - an active and honest place for us to tell the story of the making of our home. Will you join us??

:) patty homemaker


  1. This is very cool. Best wishes on an ambitious undertaking!

  2. Congrats on your new home! We will enjoy following all the fun! J

  3. I'm so excited for you in your new home!

    And, I must admit, mostly excited about you joining the blogging world. Please post often!

    I'm on blogspot too!

  4. Looking forward to witness the transformation! Good luck and best wishes!

  5. I can wield a hammer, but I vow only to labor towards the completion of a RolleRinking SpeakEasy. Dig?
    Super stoked to see your new space!

  6. Hey! Great news! I'm very happy for you guys. Hope to see lots of before and after pics. As far as the basement; I can't find a bar/roller rink any where-???? so maybe the basement can be the first--need video of those skate sessions. Check you soon.
    Much love to ya Unc Tim.

  7. Hi Patricia! Congrats with your new house!! I know how overwhelming this is - having the ability to create something that is typically you and oh so precious.

    How are you btw? What are you working with nowadays?

    Hug, Øydis