House Hunters: Salt Lake City (or not)

With the impending move weighing on every conversation I have with everyone, the question I get asked the most often is, “Where are you looking?” with the next most often asked question being, “Will you please stop telling me about your plans to move?”

I’ve always lived in Salt Lake City, whether it was The East Bench, The Avenues, Foothill/Parley’s, or our current location: Millcreek/Sugarhouse. I was very uncomfortable with the thought of living outside of our current location. Or as it is called on Love It or List It: our current neighborhood.

Unfortunately, “our current neighborhood” is made up almost entirely of homes that previous owners have squished 5 bedrooms into a 1000 square foot floor plan, featuring basements for midgets, teeny kitchens with terrible renovations, and one car garages in the backyard (if at all). OR giant, beautiful, almost perfect homes for one easy payment of a million dollars.

So our perfect perfectly priced home doesn’t appear to be in our current neighborhood.

So with slightly less silly area restrictions, we set out to find the perfect home; one that we (I) could renovate a room (kitchen, likely) or two (bathrooms, definitely) and share our lovely before and after photos because the internet says that’s what I’m supposed to do as an organizational blogger. If you don’t buy the home, renovate the home, and then blog about it while everyone weighs in on your style choices then you are breaking blogging rules.

I had just started to feel like the people I hate on Love It or List It.  I used to feel bad for David and, on alternate commercial breaks, Hilary as the homeowners tore them down for seemingly trivial things. Like money. And ugly houses. “Stop being so picky!” I would shout at the adorable Canadian couple who were likely told to act it up a little lot for the sake of television.

Now I’ve found myself getting annoyed with Hilary for ALWAYS wanting more money and David for inevitably saying, “This house is $100,000 under your budget, think of what you could DO to this house with that kind of money.”

Which, sidebar, makes me want to throw the television out of the window. Are Real Estate Agents actually told to say that to people? Like, you’re decision to spend $600,000 on a home RARELY means that you actually have $600,000 in your bank account. You are going to take out a loan. And I don’t know of ANY bank that will let you walk in and say, “Hi, I’m purchasing a $500,000 home, but I’d like to take out $600,000 so I can renovate it. KayThanks, bye.”


It was somewhere in the middle of our 7 millionth home when I realized that I truly did NOT want to renovate a house. It sounded EXHAUSTING.

Almost as exhausting as it must have been for our Real Estate Agent to have gotten the privilege to work with me (Hi, Brandy!). And I can say, with experience, that exhausting is what every renovation I’ve ever been through was like, and I was the child in this scenario meaning I didn’t have to pay for or deal with the process. Just live through it and NOT WALK ON THE HARDWOOD FLOORS.

I was brought up by a woman who was CONSTANTLY remodeling our home. During one such remodel the five of us lived in the 2 bedroom basement for 4 weeks while the main floor was being entirely gutted and redone. During another renovation we reached the front door by walking across a 9 foot metal beam that was stretched over the moat that was the front yard – and the garage was held up by 2x4s.

This is my parents’ home during one of their remodels – notice the plural

The thought of living through more renovating got me all panicky, sweaty, nervous, anxious and any other thing you need to say to get a medical marijuana prescription.

When I sat down and thought about it, I realized that I don’t have a deep need to buy a crummy house in a perfect neighborhood just to spend every cent we have and twenty years or more making it into something stripped of horrible floor plans or ill-advised 90s renovations. I may be handy but I don’t relish the thought of pulling up linoleum and carpeting or coercing family members to come help tile our bathroom just to save a few hundred bucks just so I can blog about it with pretty “after” pictures.

Don’t get me wrong, I applaud the people willing to do this. I admire the homes that have been created when someone took a beaten down mess and took the time to compress it into a diamond in the rough. This is what keeps me entertained when I’m drinking coffee in the morning. I appreciate that shit. But I don’t need to be a contributor. I’m finally ok with that.

Which brings us full circle.  We have somehow found a new build lot, that does not consist of 7 houses on a one lane road, that is not 3 hours from civilization, that is not taking us passed the refineries every day, and that actually has a yard. New build means we get to pick the layout, the fixtures, the cabinets and countertops, the size of the walk-in closet, and the exact type of soaker tub I want. We also happened to find a company that has been in business for 30 years, has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and has fantastic reviews from current and past home owners.

So although if you had asked me a year ago, or while I was watching Nicole Curtis on Rehab Addict, I would have told you that building a new home in these days is some sort of blasphemy – now, it all seems so silly that I didn’t realize that like everything else in this life: not every situation is one size fits all. And the situation that fits us right now just might be building a new home.

Here we are, going back and forth between the builder and Real Estate Agent – driving everyone, including ourselves, insane. I spend every spare minute pouring over new home ideas to add, or leave off, the list. Trying to remember that real life is going on outside of this tiny life hiccough – sometimes being loudly announced.

All the while trying to keep in mind that a house is four walls and a roof; a home is the people, and dogs, who live there.

What have you been up to this week?

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