Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Goodbye Condo Life

What single girl wouldn't love a downtown loft in an old school building in a trendy neighbourhood? I had 13 foot ceilings, a bedroom lofted over the bathroom, huge windows that flooded the place with light, and public transit at my door. My expenses were exactly the same every month, and I was working towards paying off my mortgage. But, my life was all in one room, and I didn't have any outdoor space. I longed for a house with many rooms, doors, and a backyard. Some women I know what children, I just wanted a front porch to sit on, and maybe a few potted plants. (I've learned that if you aim low, you're less likely to be disappointed.)

In 2002, I started to look at houses with a rental unit. I would have help with the mortgage and also get that outdoor space. But the houses that I could afford on my own were... scary. I just couldn't figure out how I'd carry all those building supplies from Home Depot on my bike. And what if the place was a money pit? I just didn't have the financial cushion for that. So, I called off the search and returned to condo life with a warm sense of security.

But then in 2004, I met a nice guy. It took us about a year to admit that an open concept loft would not work for the two of us, and commit to moving in together. So, we went on the house hunt, looking in Toronto's west end. We saw a lot of renovation disasters and houses in need of a LOT of love. Our real estate agent had done major renos to his house, so we had great advice from him. And within 10 days of looking, we found a small Victorian row house in Little Italy. The decor was a disaster, but with some paint, we figured that it would be fine. And as luck would have it, there is a Benjamin Moore store at the end of the street. That and the proximity to the West End YMCA, it looked like a pretty good deal.

I had many a sleepless night, wondering if my over sized loft furniture would fit into a house that is only 12.73 feet wide (yes, the lot is that narrow). Was I crazy to give up my carefree condo life? Did I really want to get into the home reno lifestyle? I didn't even watch HGTV. But yesterday, all that changed. On one of the hottest days of that summer, we moved all of our belonging into a house that seemed even smaller and darker that we'd remembered it to be. Our Queen sized beds would not fit up the staircase, so we had to sleep on mattress on the floor.

Ah, home ownership. What glamour!!

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