Saturday, January 25, 2014


Tired of condo living (613 square feet or so), Nick and Hallie were house shopping.

“Look at this house,” said the message from Hallie back in October 2013.

She had attached a picture of a cute little Tudor in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. Rundown though it was, the curving walkway to the turreted entryway captured my imagination. It was really not my business, but I was hooked. I loved the vintage look of that old house.

Looking at the screen over my shoulder, an alarmed Mike remarked: “DO NOT encourage her.”

“What a great Halloween house!” I wrote back – and added that her dad was not impressed.

She agreed with me that the house had appeal but allowed that her dad was right. The house was in default and more than that, had unpaid utility bills -- and worse -- against it. The house was in a lot of trouble, she said – perhaps insurmountable.

A pity, I thought, that through no fault of its own, this old house was struggling. And when a house struggles, it drags the neighborhood down as well, although Hallie had said the location was good.

In my mind I began to envision the house garbed for Halloween – steam wafting up off a big black caldron in the yard while kids in Halloween garb danced up the curving walkway to the door. Then I pictured it in Christmas finery – a tree in the front window, strings of light draped over the bushes, snow nestling in the angles of the roof. (Like drifts of snow would ever happen in Seattle, but I can dream, can’t I?)

Someone will get to have that house, I thought to myself. Someone will get to bring it back to life. Why not Hallie and Nick? But – it was their choice, not mine. I was good. I stayed out of it. I said nothing more.

Weeks passed. Nick and Hallie made offers on several houses but lost out in the bidding war. They were bummed.

Then, suddenly, the little Tudor came into focus again. They crunched figures, taking into account that they would have to pay someone else’s bills in order to make this little fixer-upper their own. They made an offer, which was ultimately accepted. Then it was a waiting game. There were postponements and setbacks.

But things have a way of working out, and work out they did. Here are Nick and Hallie holding the keys to the little house. They have a big job ahead of them. Hallie says the house was built in 1929. The kitchen is very small and has never been updated and they aren’t sure what to do about that – and some other things.  But I have faith in them . . . and faith in the little house.Together they'll work it out -- step by step.

It reminds me of the children’s story, The Little House, by Viriginia Lee Burton, where the little house starts out all shiny and new, falls into disrepair, and then, many years later, someone comes along, recaptures the original vision, and makes it all new and shiny again. 

[Hallie says the photos here are "before" pictures.] KW


DrJulieAnn said...

I'm in LOVE with it! What a gentle old soul and I love that it called out to Nick and Hallie.

I'm looking forward to reading the updates!

Chris said...

You already know I love it! AND I love the picture of Hallie and Nick!! What a great photo!!

So excited for them!

Hallie said...

Thanks for the kind words! It's so nice that others see this little house the way we do.

We are slightly overwhelmed by the work that needs to be done (a lot of it on an immediate timeline), but MOSTLY excited about our new house! We will be sure to provide photos and updates as we progress. :)

Mike said...

Just to clarify - I didn't advise Kathy to not encourage them on buying this house because it was not a charming house, but because I can envision the work ahead. Good luck, kids.

Mike said...

Just to clarify - I didn't advise Kathy to not encourage them on buying this house because it was not a charming house, but because I can envision the work ahead. Good luck, kids.