Friday, February 24, 2012

House Hunting

Not too much is happening on the book front these days.  I've been reading some ARCs that I requested from NetGalley, but so far nothing's been too impressive.  I'm also having trouble getting the books saved to my flash drive, but that's neither here nor there.  So since I'm home sick today (there's something going around, a little worse than a cold but not quite the flu) I figure I'll talk about our house hunting project.

Chris and I have been looking at houses in Massachusetts almost every weekend for over a month now, not including all the houses we looked at in New York before the holidays.  I want to say we've completely given up on NY real estate, but there are still some houses that we could afford if we really wanted to try.  The problem is, he hates NY and I'm ambivalent.  So we've been looking more in MA and having a lot more luck there.  Every weekend we've seen between 5 and 7 houses.  After a few viewings I thought we had found "our house," but it turned out not to be so.  Considering we want to spend a long time in the house, eventually raising a family there, it needs to be large enough for us to expand into, but not so large that it's unmanageable.  Quite frankly, that's been difficult to find in our price range.

But on the plus side, and on a book-related note which keeps this blog post on-topic, I've been getting some really awesome ideas for a library during these viewings.  A couple weeks ago we looked at a house decorated in 1930's style - dark heavy woodwork, lots of art, an older kitchen, and original floors (that needed some serious work).  The former owner, who had passed away, was a book and art dealer (my kind of guy).  The books were gone (sadface), but the bookcases were still there on the porch.  There were TONS of them, probably literally.  Haha.  Yeah, maybe not.  Anyway, the realtor who was showing the place was telling us about his history with books, and how many thousands he had owned, and I got more and more excited.  The house wasn't for us, but I was having a great time looking around.

And then we went upstairs.  The bathroom was meh, the bedrooms were meh, but as I walked out of one, my realtor said, "Oh Megan, this is YOUR room..." and showed me into the library.  It was floor-to-ceiling bookcases, built into the walls, on two sides of the room.  In the middle was a table with a chair for reading, perusing, researching, what have you.  I almost died.  It wasn't a beautiful library, but it was the first house I'd seen where I had fully connected with the previous owner.  I could tell, this guy loved his books.

A lot of the houses we are seeing have built-in shelving, sometimes in the bedrooms, or finished basements, but most often in the living rooms, usually around a fireplace.  Those shelving units are rarely used to store books (at least in the homes that are currently occupied); instead, I see knickknacks and kitsch taking up the shelves.  I think to myself, these would be great for books!  Most of the time, Chris agrees.  He's even started taking the initiative, and now points out where we could build in shelves if there aren't any there already.  We're actually both doing this.  He understands how important a library space is to me, and he wants an office with built-ins as well.

If we end up in a home without enough rooms to do a dedicated library, well we'll just have to live with setting up an office and lining the walls with book cases.  But we are looking for just the right space, because my collection is important to me, and I want to be able to display it properly.

Tomorrow is another big day of house hunting.  Our realtor has set up a bunch of showings for us yet again, some we found, some she did.  She's been so great with finding just the right houses, and while none have been "our house" yet, we are confident we will find one soon.  And who knows, maybe it will have that perfect library space after all.

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