Friday, June 1, 2018

What I Love About Our Pennsylvania Home

We are in the midst of selling our beautiful home in Pennsylvania which has proven to be a far more difficult process than we imagined it would be! Paul and I felt sure that our meticulously maintained home with all the beautiful upgrades we gave it over the few years we lived there would sell in a heartbeat. But alas, the property has sat on the market through one of the worst winters our area has ever seen for far too long. Now that it is spring, we are waiting rather impatiently for the right buyer to come along. In my imaginative mind, I envision a young, happy family taking up residence in that home, seeing it as a beautiful and comfortable place to raise their young family because that is exactly how I viewed that home when we first purchased it back in 2012. Alas, due to job changes and numerous other circumstances we were unable to raise our children to adulthood there but a large portion of my heart is still mourns that romantic notion. Nothing would please me more for another family to realize the huge potential of that property as an idyllic location for raising and nurturing their children.

As I'm still in love with my Pennsylvania home, I thought I would compose an essay outlining what specifically I love about it as a way to ease my stress about our inability to sell it thus far.

The Open Floor Plan

Our home featured an open floor plan that I found priceless being the mother of a tribe of children who find it impossible to play without having me within eyesight. I loved how I could be working in the kitchen while simultaneously watching the children play - or, more accurately, fight - in the family room. However, being the mother of a tribe of children, I loved how the home, while mostly open, provided quite a few hiding places for me to sneak off to in order to make a phone call without being interrupted or get away from the constant noise. We turned the 5th bedroom on the main floor in the back of the house into an office that completely blocked off the sound from the rest of the house when the door was shut. It was perfect for Paul who often had to do some extra work at home in the evenings and really needed to not be interrupted with requests for drinks of water, snacks, or punishments for deviant siblings.

The Kitchen

When we moved into our home, the kitchen was falling apart. The formica countertops had chips and scratches in it, the cabinets were warped and falling off the walls, and Paul had a major duel happening with the utensil drawer that kept falling apart no matter how many times we tried to repair it. It also featured a super attractive drop ceiling with can lights that made it nearly impossible to have a conversation with every single member of my unnaturally tall family from across the kitchen island. We had always planned on remodeling the kitchen and we spent over a year doing so, beginning with attacking that drop ceiling right after coffee on a Sunday morning. Paul and I were staring at it with loathing and decided to take a crowbar to it. And so began the kitchen overhaul.

The Kitchen Before

We replaced the drop ceiling with three pendant lights and then proceeded to rip out the cabinets and countertops and replaced them with high-end Kraftmaid maple cabinets with soft-close drawers and doors. I selected a dramatic granite for our countertops and a deep undermount sink. We chose to extend our countertop in the island by about 18 inches to provide a nice overhang for counter seating as well as extra space for food preparation. We also ripped out the backsplash and replaced it with bright white subway tile. It took quite a bit of time, effort, sweat, and frustration but in the end we had that kitchen looking gorgeous. We are pretty proud of it. The workmanship and quality of materials are top notch. I still miss that kitchen.

Paul putting some finishing touches on the kitchen during construction

The Kitchen After

The Window Seat

I have always had a love for window seats, particularly the idea of lounging on one while getting lost in the pages of an enthralling book as it storms outside. So, in the midst of our kitchen remodel, Paul decided to build me one. I waited rather impatiently for it to be completed and when he finally finished, I relished my mornings with a hot mug of coffee in hand as I perused the news while the children played. It was also a great way to fit more people into the kitchen to chat as dinner was being prepared. My kids loved to sit on it while playing with their Calico Critter sets or while building a puzzle. I also did quite a bit of blogging from there. It was a sweet, romantic gift from my husband to myself and I wish I could have taken it with me when we left.

The Fireplace

The giant brick fireplace in our family room added a magnificently dramatic touch to our home and could heat the home with either the gas function or via the old-fashioned, not-quite-so-simple wood burning way. My kids loved the cold winter days where we would turn on the fireplace and they could lounge in front of it. After gorging ourselves on a Thanksgiving feast, our entire family would lay in front of that fireplace and wish for death due to our stomachs being so overly stuffed - the heat from the fireplace lulling us into our post-feasting comas. We always made sure that the fireplace was lit on Christmas mornings before we gave the kids permission to come downstairs. Great memories.

The Deck and Patio

When we first purchased our home, Paul could not believe the state of disrepair of the deck off the back of the house. The railings were listing heavily and barely held together. Most of the boards were rotted to the point that we wondered whether it was safe to tread atop them. The previous owners had attempted to repair the deck, but met with major obstacles and frustration due to an underestimation of how technically difficult deck-building actually is. Sick of the project, they slapped together what they could and then left it alone in the dilapidated state that we eventually inherited. Thankfully, Paul and his meticulous engineering mind knew exactly what it took to build a beautiful, solid deck. And, after much labor and hundreds of swear words later, he had built not only one of the most solid decks I have ever seen but added a cute, step-down patio to our backyard. The kids helped us stain it and we added some solar powered lights to illuminate the finished product at night. We loved eating out there while watching the kids play in our backyard with our super-hyper, maniac of a Golden Retriever. Sadly, we only enjoyed half a summer with the deck before it was time to move.

Our Neighbors

We had the pleasure of living next to some of the sweetest individuals we have ever had the pleasure of knowing. All our neighbors surrounding our home from all sides were so friendly and always so willing to lend us a hand with our children, our home projects, or whatever we needed. Brian next door to us possessed a relative arsenal of every tool you could imagine and was quick to lend them out. Chuck our other next-door neighbor loved chatting with the kids or just shooting the breeze with us about life in general. He also has a large family that would come over for holidays and we would share our backyards. Our neighbors across the street - Ron and Maudine, Ron and Karen - loved watching the kids grow and were always willing to keep an eye on them for us whenever we needed them. All of our neighbors also voluntarily plowed our driveway and sidewalk during the winters when I was heavily pregnant and Paul was out of town. Around the corner are Emily and Andrew whose friendship has been such a blessing to us. They are currently keeping an eye on our Pennsylvania home for us and we can never possibly repay them for this huge favor. We love and miss all our wonderful neighbors.

Our home has the most gorgeous hydrangea bushes surrounding it!

We planted these rosebushes in the front. 

The Neighborhood

Our neighborhood is breathtakingly beautiful in the spring and summertime. The extensive sidewalk system provides ideal walking or jogging courses, with views of the lake from the top of the hill. Since it is a more established neighborhood, the trees are mature and the blooms in the springtime are gorgeous. Our neighborhood is also close to our former church and school and an easy, quick drive from my favorite store in the entire world, Wegmans. We were also within five minutes to Asbury Woods and the library, and only an additional five minutes to the YMCA and the zoo. I enjoyed walking Peyton about in the cool, dew-kissed mornings or in the sleepy evenings. The kids also loved making the 3/4 mile walk to the park or riding their bikes up and down the cul-de-sacs. It's a perfect, safe family neighborhood.

I'm hoping that someone stumbles across our home and falls in love with it as fast and hard as I did. It's a beautiful place just waiting to be cherished, loved, and enjoyed for years to come.

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