when the morning came, even in my sleep deprived state, i wasn't at all tired. i was working on pure adrenalin. when they came to pick us up, they said that we would be looking at a house over in st leonards, which is the next town along from hastings. we hadn't given much thought to living over there because all of the people we knew were based in hastings or around the west hill where we were currently living. although hastings was being touted as "up and coming", st. leonards, although only down the road a piece, still seemed like it was kind of not participating in the "regeneration". and we didn't know anyone over there and it seemed miles away.
our ride turned up and they drove us over to the house in st leonards. from the outside, it looked alright. when we got inside, i felt it was the first place that had a good feeling about it. it seemed more spacious than the others had felt, but it was possible i just liked it because it had some colour and warmth. it was the first place i felt i could see us living in. at this stage i was feeling like i had better start to like something. scott seemed to like it too, but was still thinking of the potential of the place with the basement. i think he was fantasizing about turning that basement it into a studio or rec room with a pool table.
|property 4... i think it's the one with the sign|
the garden at this property was pretty much non-existent. there was a shed that was taking up most of it. with a little bubba on the way, i had imagined more outdoor space... enough room for playing and running around and that wasn't anywhere near a possibility here. i knew in my heart at some point i was going to have to start compromising somewhere though, so it was the first place i was seriously thinking about. scott was STILL partial to the other place, which i didn't really like.
|property 4 lounge|
as they drove us to the road, i think they might have had said to close our eyes or something like that. another thing they would do while we were filming was to drive us around the corner from a property, then they would have phil walk along chatting, leading us up to it, getting that natural first reaction. as we drove down the road, there was a school playground on the right and some houses which didn't really appeal to me and some really nice looking houses on the left. i prayed it was on the left. please let it be on the left. if it was on the left, there was still some hope. we parked around a corner and waited. the suspense was way too much for me.
when they were ready, phil led us down the road and stopped in front of this house and immediately i thought "this is it"... just from the outside. but when he told us how much the house cost, i just about burst into tears. i thought there wasn't a hope in hell we could have this place as we were not even convinced we could afford the ones we had already looked at. this one was £30,000 over our budget. we felt lucky to have secured the mortgage we did have in place and had slightly struggled to get that one. how in the hell could we find another £30,000??? i had to see inside though. we were standing there...so... in we went.
|property 5... the one with the blue door|
from the moment i walked in, i was in total and complete love with it. it felt so spacious and light and beautiful. it was a lazy, warm, sunny day and the windows were open and a slight breeze was blowing in through them. i could hear that wonderful, faint, collective sound of happy children playing in the playground across the way. the yellow walls made me feel relaxed and happy. i couldn't wait to see the rest of it! as we waited to see more, phil was kicking it on the sofa for a bit, shoes off, cool, chilled out.
|property 5 lounge... it seems really narrow in this pic|
as they led us from room to room i knew we had to live there. even though the furniture/decor wasn't our style it was the first time i could see past everything and envision all of our own things there. my whole life i had dreamed of living in a house like this one. i was in love with the brownstones in new york ( i remember telling scott i had really hoped we might find a place with a "stoop") and the victorian houses in san francisco and the craftmasters in LA and this felt like that sort of place.
we continued on looking. the kitchen was big. a real family kitchen. and it had this nice arch which reminded me so much of one of the places i lived in in LA. ( i later found it so weird and i guess a sort of statement about our style vs the modern age when a few people said " oh you could easily knock that arch out so it goes straight through. " and i'd say "are you NUTS? why would we do that? that's a feature! that's part of what sold me on this!") every room was brilliant. the master bedroom was large with 3 gorgeous bay windows. every room was a good size and there were 5 bedrooms which was perfect with each of us needing a studio space for work. there was a massive bedroom at the top which i immediately sized up for my studio. but phil made me promise that if we did buy this house scott should get that room for his studio.
|property 5-top bedroom|
we went outside into the garden, which wasn't really big, but big enough. the owner was obviously a keen gardener. it was slightly overgrown in a good, almost "secret garden" way and there was a big cherry tree and figs and raspberries and a peach tree. we sat with phil on an old, victorian stone bench in the sun, talking, and i just didn't want to leave. with all the stress in the air about what to do, he said to scott, " i wouldn't want to be you tonight." and scott dead-panned, " phil...you wouldn't want to be me MOST nights." which cracked me up. later when i was talking to the director she said that she loved that phil had then said " oh, i don't know about that." or something to that affect, being cheeky phil. i hadn't even heard it.
running parallel to my euphoria was that sick feeling that there was absolutely no way we could afford this house and that we would have to walk away from it. i wondered if they had any back ups in place, but it didn't look that way. i could see that scott liked it too. probably almost as much as i did. but he is way way WAY more practical than me and i think he would have found it much easier to walk away from it and move on. i just couldn't let that happen! not after all of this.
that night absolutely SUCKED. we talked about it and talked about it until we couldn't talk any more. how could we swing this? it seemed impossible. it wasn't just another couple of grand, it was serious cash. the researcher, who's name has totally left me right now, was such a lovely, brilliant person. we were on the phone to her a few times that night because they wanted to know what we were thinking about it all and how we were feeling. she said, "we'll be up late... if you need to call and talk to us just call us at the hotel. i don't care if it's midnight."
the next day we were supposed to go back for a second look at any of the properties we were interested in. i could only think of one...