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jlc712_gw

How Do You Feel About Your House?

9 years ago

Warning- long and kind of OT

This topic has been on my mind quite a bit lately. Do you love your house-- size, style, layout, location? Do you wish you could move?

15 years ago, (when I first started reading this forum) we moved 35 miles out from the small city we lived in, and still work in. We bought a property with my in-laws, who visit several times a year. We're now in a very rural area, and have about 100 acres, with a river running through the back of the property. My DH is a passionate outdoorsman, and my DS is following in his footsteps. It is a beautiful, private place to live.

The house was a complete disaster (fake paneling, green shag carpet, crazy additions, one wall of plywood kitchen cabinets, only one bath), and we did a major remodel. Added two bathrooms, new stairs to the basement, complete new kitchen, rewired, blew in insulation, put in hardwoods, built a garage, put in driveway, painted inside & out, etc etc etc.

We also have a teeny guesthouse, that started as a "hired hands" house for the farm, which was also completely remodeled for my in-laws when they come to stay, and we use for other guests too.

Obviously, we made big improvements. I really am grateful for all I have. I don't want to sound whiny. But the truth is, at this point, I am so unhappy with this house.

It's small, under 2000 ft including the basement. The rooms are small and awkwardly shaped, with tiny closets. It is an old house, but not one with historical charm or features. It was a very modest farmhouse that has been poorly added on to several times.

My DH wants to stay here forever. He is completely opposed to moving.

We have a well, with incredibly hard water that ruins everything. The commute to work/school is time consuming and can be treacherous in the winter. We have had so many stressful home disasters, including basement flooding, a huge oil spill (!) from a heating oil tank, and the resulting months-long cleanup, and a well collapse that required a new well to drilled. I don't love the rural life. I feel isolated from my friends and family and social life, even though they're only a half hour away.

I love design, architecture, decorating, and beautiful houses. I think people on this forum might understand the yearning I have-- a life goal really--to own a house I really love. At this point in my life, I am feeling so much sadness that I will probably never have that dream house!

Thanks for listening. Let me know where to send the check for therapy :-) I am eager to hear about your house love/hate.

Comments (88)

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I like my house. It's old (1911) and well-constructed. It has some lovely neoclassical design details. However, it's in a not-so-nice neighborhood. It's a duplex, and my upstairs neighbor's house was broken into two weeks ago. I came home to find his door broken in half (the door frame held, but the door didn't) and 4 kids fleeing the scene. It's got me spooked. Would I rather live in a nicer neighborhood? Definitely, but in my area you pay through the nose for that.

    On the subject of hard water, my parents were from the Sacramento Delta, and the water there was absurdly hard. My uncle's dishwasher was totally rusty inside--the plastic, I mean, from iron deposits. The water tasted disgusting, very metallic. He eventually installed a whole-house water softener, which vastly improved the situation. I know that's only one of your issues, but it's one that can be solved.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    jlc712, let me say first you have my respect and understanding. From my point of view, I have never understood marriage in which one person gets to have what he or she wants and the other has to settle. Marriage isn't 50/50, it's 100/100. I would approach the matter in a different way. You need to make him realize that he has had his way for many years with you sacrificing while his parents were with you. I'm sure that was a compromise on your behalf and you must have many more to state so now you need to tell him it's time for him to compromise and I would bring you kids in to it also.
    I made a choice as a young girl that I was never going to spend my life NOT doing what I want to do in life so as to please my partner and I've lived this life for 75 years. Once they understand that it's your turn to make a decision and then do it. He's only meeting you half way by suggesting an apartment.
    I have known so many women who "wanted" something in life i.e. a pet, trip, go dancing and on and on and never got it as the "other" so called partner was against it. It's your turn to have the satisfaction in life that you deserve. You've served your family well and they need to respect your desires. Have a pow wow and lay it on the line. At least it will open up a discussion and, as your son is older now and would certainly want whats best for you as every son wants his Mom to be happy, then you might have an ally in him. Give it your best shot, I wish you the best.

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  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I grew up in both country and city and it would be very difficult for me to live in the country. Fortunately my husband is a city mouse. If we lived 30 minutes outside of a city I would feel unhappy and isolated.

    Could a passionate outdoorsman be satisfied with a hunting cabin close to town and a house in town?

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    If the op moves then her husband will be the one unhappy. This is a no win situation so telling her she needs to convince her family that moving is the only solution only shifts the problem rather than solving it. Also this is shared property, it is not as simple as convincing her husband for her inlaws have a stake in the equation too.

    There are many articles on how to learn to like if not love the house you are in so it is not a unique place you are in. I equate it to marriage. We all dream marrying our soul mate but very few do. But those who do not marry their perfect ideal partner still often marry one they love and find great happiness with.

    You can learn to appreciate and be happy anywhere I am certain of this! Start with a list of the things you like. Next start a list of possible small things you can make better. Then plan to have guests. I think you sound like you might feel a bit isolated and lonely. I know after repairing the floors in my lower level rec room this spring we put of entertaining for a while and I did miss company.

    Here is a link that might be useful: learn to love your home

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Oh and yes purchase or rent a city apartment if it is in your budget!0

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    That's a nicely balanced assessment, roarah.

    Just my observations, whatever that's worth, but most people don't live in their dream homes. They make the best of what they've got. That's normality. I like roarah's analogy about dreaming of a soul mate, but marrying someone you can love and be happy with.

    Everybody here loves architecture, design, decorating, and beautiful houses, but that doesn't mean we can afford to have it or to do the kind of decorating we dream of doing, or that we should upset the family by sacrificing them at the altar of The House. In my case, I love to come here to see what people have done with their homes. It's vicarious decorating, I guess, but it satisfies the itch that I can't always afford to scratch.

    I just hope jlc712 isn't putting too much hope in a new home solving her happiness problems.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I also want to chime in that perhaps you are sad, isolated, lonely and the house thing is just what you are focusing your unhappiness on. Could it be that you are a little depressed. Especially this time of year.

    I know I'm getting OT, and I don't want to sound presumptive, but I've been there, done that. For me changing few things helped-consistent exercise, was the biggest. Another was joining a book club. Your DH and son love the outdoors, perhaps if you build a few hobbies for yourself, the house won't be a big deal. Go after a few of your other dreams. Travel to a place that you always wanted to go.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    While I feel for you about your home situation, it's more upsetting (to me) to hear you have a husband who won't compromise at all. It may be impossible for you to love this home but it's actually very possible that your husband could love a new home/location. It's too bad he won't at least look to see what is out there.

    I love our home. We downsized a few years ago but it's actually the perfect size for two people and as we often have out of state visitors, it's still large enough to entertain comfortably. We are located a short drive from beautiful beaches, shopping, and wonderful parks.

    On a side note, I honestly don't understand the concept of a "dream home". Maybe we didnt come from enough money to know that having one, "perfect" home is a thing. I would definitely say we are solidly middle class and have never heard a single relative or friend refer to their home as a dream home. We (personally) wouldn't have had money for savings, retirement, college, vacations, hobbies and so many things that enhance our lives etc. had we dumped the majority of our resources into a dream home so I guess even thinking about that has never been an option and that has never bothered me at all. Not to mention, my "dream home" after 22 years of home ownership would be pretty dated by now, especially after no longer having children living at home to design a lifestyle around. Is this a concept that's always been around or more something HGTV related?

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Your obviously are not happy, so why not a compromise? You agree to stay put, but get to build your dream home on your acreage. Use your existing house as a guest/rental house.

    I too have an old home that had a all sorts of issues like a miniature, almost unusable main bathroom, dated kitchen, leaky roof and basement among other things. Sometimes I wish I would have torn it down and started over. In my case, the house has historical importance, character and an overall decent layout so it's been worth it.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I love my house. We lived for 30 years in the town next door as we couldn't afford this town and finally built here, back where I grew up. I love our house (took us 7 years to design) and I love being "back home." It does, however, mean that our location is far more inconvenient than our old one...we've added at least 20 min to every trip vs. our old house and friends and groceries and everything is so much further away. But having the space and the surroundings makes it well worth it to me.

    My point in saying this is that there may be a couple of things going on here.

    One, it's easy to lose perspective around what the future may hold. The one thing that is constant is change, and regardless of what it feels like now, every where we are is only a temporary station until we move on to the next one, whatever it may be.

    Two, it's easy to suffer 'grass is greener' by wishing you had what you no longer do and not appreciating the benefits of what you have. We were living on 1 acre and now we are on over 11. It took a long time...years...to get used to what I had at the 1 acre house...people, noise, children, traffic, but eventually I did. While I appreciate the wonderfully few neighbors I have now, the view and the space is wonderful and something to be cherished...something that, though I grew up with, I never appreciated as I do now that I lived without it for so long. So while my old house hasn't changed and our new house is in the same location I grew up, it is I who changed more than either space ever has....me and my perceptions.

    Each lifestyle and living arrangement has its pluses and minuses. Each affords us certain challenges and opportunities. Each can teach us things we may not be aware that we need to learn. Each can become more comfortable and embraceable if we change our perspective and open ourselves to the benefits they provide. Each will be a loss when life requires us to move on to something different.

    One thing I knew was, for all the 30+ years we lived at the other house, I never heard my DH whistle unless he was here. He so loves this place...it's like being here, for him, is close to his life source. He will be here until he dies, if I can manage it. I would never want to take him away from here, and that counts for a lot.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks for the responses. I am quite embarrassed. It was certainly not my intention to want people to feel sorry for me, or to be concerned about my mental health or marriage. I should have just asked the question and not included all the personal information.

    I appreciate all your perspectives! Lots of food for thought.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Please don't be embarrassed, jlc, and apologies, too, if we made you uncomfortable. It's just the awkward nature of internet discussions. When you can't sense the tone of the OP's voice or know the back story of an issue, & when posters start wondering aloud, the discussion can stray off the intended path a bit.

    But it was truly interesting to read posters' stories about their feelings about their houses. (Looks like most of us are in the same boat.) I very much enjoyed it & am glad you brought the topic up.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I also think it is a great topic and gives food for thought for all of us. Yes, and don't be embarrassed about your thoughts and I won't feel sorry for you. Sometimes the personal information gives some context for the discussion but as mentioned, can cause the discussion to stray a bit. I believe you'll sort it out.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I agree with Mmmmbeeer

    We have lived in our current home for 42 yrs. It was built in 1902 and I don't think it had ever been updated when we bought it in 1973. LOL We have renovated it, put in new kitchens twice and new bathroom twice. We raised our 2 daughters here, and have been empty nesters since 1992. We worked hard on the house, not borrowing but saving out of our pay checks to fix and update it. Many people we know bought nice new homes and took fancy vacations. But, we put our money into retirement funds. So, now we have been retired for 3 years and are in the process of building our " dream" home. It is as close as we are willing to spend to build our forever home. By the way, many of the people we know who bought the fancy homes cannot afford to retire now.
    Our new home will be paid for as soon as we sell our current house. That money along with some of what we saved for retirement will make us debt free, with plenty left for vacations and the rest of our retirement. I guess what I am saying is, live within your means, be happy that you can even buy a house. A house is only a wooden structure, love makes it a home.

    I love my old house, every scratch on the woodwork, every uneven floor and every memory.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I feel as many others do. I like my house, even sometimes love it, but it's not my dream house. My house looks like 75% of all the houses in my town. Center entrance colonial, 4-5 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, brick on the bottom, small yard, very close to neighbors. Built in the 1920s with very "good bones." My dream house is an even older home with higher ceilings and larger rooms. Not opulant, but a little more square footage in each room (all the rooms in our house are small, except for the kitchen/family room addition). And bigger closets!

    At the time we bought our house, it was a splurge. Since then, we could afford to buy a larger house in a more upscale area, but we have become really settled here and we LOVE our neighborhood. Our kids have been able to walk to school from elementary thru HS, our neighborhood is super quiet, and we have fantastic neighbors. And my two best friends live within walking distance.

    Like many others, I came to the realization some time ago that I'm not going to have my dream home. It doesn't bother me any more, but it has, at times. Now that we are about 5 years from having an "empty nest," DH and I have had a lot of conversations about what the next step will be. Our house has 4 floors of rooms (basement has laundry and two "rec rooms" and attic has a bedroom). It already feels too big at times with one kid in college and another who's usually out or in his room. There's no way I want to live here when I'm 70. My revised dream home is a small house in a specific, more urban area that is only about 2 miles from my current house. I'm hoping for an old house that needs work so we can gut it and make it exactly what we want it to be. However, after being on board initially, DH is already starting to whine a bit about leaving this house! Fortunately, I have several years to work on him, and in issues of home buying, I usually get my way. ;)

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    This is my dream home! It took me 57 years to get here. Although it has no "charm" and no architecture it does have room for my dogs, cats, horses, chickens and my hobbies. The only way I'm leaving here is feet first! The quiet road I moved to has become a major thoroughfare with constant dust. I can't have windows open in the summer. Can't sit in my yard; I sit by the farthest east fence. I have started a hedge. I hope it grows fast. This old house is a constant work in progress. It keeps me off the streets and out of the bars, though, so it's not all bad. And it's paid for!!

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Don't be embarrassed! I see one beautiful purpose of this forum is to allow venting and sharing on emotions that we can't always share in our real lives. When that happens, you deserve sympathy, empathy, helpful perspective, and even suggestion that others believe will help and most posters do just that. You do not deserve criticism or judgmental responses.

    I understand your pain about the loss of the dream. My suggestion is to find another dream. I've had many dream houses through the years, but the dream keeps changing. It evolves by stage in life, by circumstances, and by family consideration. Our family's current dream concept is a multigenerational two-family home/duplex that will be our retirement home and we will share with our daughter and son-in-law in a ski resort town 1000 miles away (we currently have a second home there and the kids have lived and worked there since college). This time it looks like the dream, or some version of it, will happen. Last spring we bought a duplex permitted lot in a small "new urban" subdivision in a great location overlooking a beautiful mountain creek near the base of a ski resort (where DD works). We are currently working with an architect on preliminary plans and will probably break ground in 2017. Getting the whole family on board involved compromises, but we're all on the same page now. Even my mother just looked at an independent living facility about a half mile away while she was and has agreed to go with us we move. Everything has trade offs and compromises. Our biggest one was lot size. To be in the location we wanted, acreage is out of the question, but we can walk so many places and have great hiking trails right out our back door and 1000s of acres of national forest nearby with lots of recreational opportunities year round. The town is small, about 15,000 full time residents, so not so urban anyway -- though a bit crowded when you throw in another 10,000 -15,000 tourists and second home owners during peak ski and summer seasons. However, with that comes restaurants, entertainment, and arts, that a community that size otherwise could not support.

    My current house: Now that retirement time is approaching and on the brink of making a move, I am seeing this house in a different light. I do love it though. We've been here for 31 years, since we were in our late 20s. Location is convenient near the town center and the neighborhood is all homes built between 1920 and WW II, mostly well-maintained. However, as much as I love this house, the exterior is somewhat "meh" and plain (except in the spring when the azaleas, bulbs and dogwoods are glorious -- will really miss that). The interior has some charm, but has an quirky layout, but one that has actually worked very well for us and it is a great entertaining house. It's a bit too big these days -- we rarely use the living room and dining room and even the great room isn't used on a daily basis. I won't miss the commute to the city where I work.

    When we eventually put this house on the market, it will be interesting to see if we get a quick sale to an emotional buyer or whether it becomes a white elephant on the market and we have to wait until the right buyer comes along. It has the size, finishes and charm to put it near the top of the market (of course we are in a low cola area, so that isn't saying much, especially compared to the area where we are building). But how do you account for its quirks? Sooner or later I guess the market will let us know.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    We were in a similar situation a little over a year ago. We were living in a house that was almost completely renovated top to bottom, inside and out, by DH and I (mostly DH!) It was sooo much better than the way we bought it 5 years before. When we got it, it had all that we were looking for at the time. Lots of acres, outbuildings, a country location, a house that was affordable b/c it needed a lot of work. We wanted to try our hands at homesteading/small farming, and this place was our big chance.

    Fast forward 5 years. We found out we most definitely are NOT farmers. The property was consuming us, especially my husband. We were far from DH's job, and far from our church and friends.

    We did all that we could to make the house homey, and it turned out really nicely, but...most of it was dark because of the way the house was situated. The stairwell split the house in two, and no matter where I was, I was always on the wrong side of the stairwell when my kids needed me most.

    The house was finished. We loved several of the neighbors that we got to know. We realized that we weren't stuck. We had a dream. We went after it. And we were ready to move on. It was time for a new dream. : )

    Then we found this place on the market. Less land, and a quieter road, making it much more safe for biking and walking. A bigger house, lots of southern light streaming in (yes!), and room for expansion in both the attic and basement, which is a boon to our big family. And...it needs a lot of work. We bought it anyway. ; ) We love making a home our own. We've had the opportunity to buy, fix up and sell houses a few times, and we (mostly) enjoy the process--much more than farming!

    I have not regretted selling "the farm" for a moment. I am so glad that a young family loved what we were able to do with the house and were willing to pay us well for all of DH's hard work. DH does not miss the extra maintenance of the outbuildings or the farm responsibilities.

    I wake up every morning to a sunrise and southern view out my bedroom window that makes me smile. DH loves the shorter drive to work. We are thankful every time we leave church or a friend's house to come home that this place is so close.

    So, I feel for you. It's tough when you and your spouse disagree on your living situation. I'm hopeful the two of you can come up with an idea that you will both feel blessed by. Maybe he could have a hunting cabin on your property that he and your son could come to on the weekends (no need for elaborate electric and water this way), and rent or sell the house, and move closer to work. Maybe you can make some "country" friends so that you don't feel as isolated. The country is beautiful, but if you don't know your neighbors, it can be very lonely!

    A half hour drive is enough to make us pause and think it through before we take off, I get you there. Sometimes it feels like an imposition to ask folks to come all the way out to visit. What we found, though, was that people loved to come out and "experience" a day at our place, because it was so different from what they were used to.

    Your question is a good and valid one. I wish you the best.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'm touched by the sentiments of the good people on this forum. When I was married to Husband #1, we bought the house I am in now. (I mentioned it above.) We both aspired to a certain way of life, even when we couldn't really afford it, but didn't want to buy something we didn't like; we didn't want to make do. The house has charm, is in an exceptional neighborhood (I'm one of the smaller houses with about 4500 sf...) and has held its value, I hope. Whether or not it was a wise financial decision remains to be seen, houses being money-drains, but at least husband and wife were on the same page. I think you've been a good, dutiful wife, trying to make something you hate, work. Time to bail. Move to town. It will open up all kinds of opportunities for you....it may change your marriage for good or for bad, but it doesn't sound like much fun now, anyway. If you have no choice, then make the best of it. If you have options, make a decision. If it's the wrong one, make another one. Life is short.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Does dh say that you simply cannot afford to move? Does he want to stay because of finances or the outdoors or both? Do you agree with his assessment? Your options? Second jobs? Tighter spending? A second job for the party with more free time? And a less demanding first job? Avenues to explore. Proactive.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Definitely have thought about this lately.

    "Do you love your house-- size, style, layout, location? Do you wish you could move?"

    Size
    1200 square feet, 3 BR 1.5 BA. Yes, wish I had more space. A bigger bath, closets, a bar/entertaining space. Sunroom/patio would be good. OTOH, our energy bills are very low for both electric and gas. On our electric statements, we are lower than what they consider an efficient home for our size.

    Style
    60's ranch, single level. OK with this. I like having a single level. Many homes in our neighborhoods are split levels. It is not a MCM 60's.

    Layout
    We actually have a nice open kitchen/LR floor plan and get a lot of natural light in these spaces. Like the single floor plan.

    Location
    Houses in our neighborhood seem to be on the upswing since it's in the city limits and affordable. Mid-way between our jobs. My commute is opposite the traffic. This is important. Other locations we've looked can make one of our commutes a nightmare. It takes each of us 25-30 minutes to get to work. Also, other parts of the city can be quite expensive.

    So, in sum, what we like is usually out of our price range and most areas that are in our range make a bad work commute for at least one of us. So, here we stay for now.

    Similar to Pal, we love MCM but also Victorian/historic. LOL on loving the extremes.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Nope. I love our house. There are a few things I'd tweak about it - it's really noisy, but we're working on that. There is no formal entry way, but I'm adjusting to that. It's a mindset, an attitude thing.

    The reality is - we have a very unique log home with an interior that is also unique. I guess we have a faith based/mountain lodge theme going here - it is *so much* us and fun! Our neighborhood is wonderful - very little crime, especially compared to other neighborhoods in the area. We are surrounded by forests and big lots (all at least 5 acres), but we also have good friends who are our neighbors. Life is incredibly good here.

    But I'm sorry, OP, that you aren't happy where you are.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    JLC.........your post immediately reminded me of my friend Karen. I wouldn't wish this on anyone, but it is a cautionary tale that may open your husbands eyes a little. We never know what the future holds.

    I met Karen when osur boys were in school and Scouts. We had both moved into our new, typical, generic, (cheap) builder grade tract subdivision when the boys were babies in 1984. She lived several streets over. As we became friends, we would always commiserate about our dislike for our bare bones houses...no crown moulding, no window trim, etc and how we were always trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear! Being stay at home moms, neither one of us had the $ to make big changes or upgrade furniture, etc.

    On top of that her DH(Don) refused to get rid of his first car...a brown 1970's Dodge Charger. It has sat in their driveway fo 30 years(still does) undriveable and it wasn't even as if Don was into cars and restoring it. It just sat there as a big eyesore.

    She always wanted to move to a nicer house, especially when she went back to work and finances improved. Don would not budge. She really wanted to move and perhaps downsize to a condo when her youngest went to college. They no longer needed a 4BR home. Again, Don wouldn't consider it. She did start doing upgrades....paint, new furniture, solar tubes, hardwood. I don't think Don wanted to spend the $ for kitchen and bath remodels. I think he restained the cheap builder cabs at one point, a new floor and new laminate counter. I'm not sure if the bathrooms were ever upgraded.

    Several years ago Karen was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. Chemo commenced and I think she again really wanted to move to a condo...less work. No dice. By then, Don had over 30 years in the government and could have easily retired to be with her, travel when she felt well enough, etc. He didn't. She talked of wanting to go to Italy and Hawaii...never happened. The only trips were to see their son's college baseball team and later when he graduated and got a job in another state. Or to see the other son 3 hours away.

    Don finally decided to retire in January 2014. Too little, too late. Karen's liver finally gave out from the chemo. She went to the hospital on Monday and died in hospice the following Sunday Dec 22 2013.

    It broke my heart that Karen's final years were not happy ones, save for her boys, and that Don never seemed to care about what she wanted, even after her diagnosis.

    If you truly can't find any positives to your house and location, you really need to make DH understand how important this is to you. You've given this place a go for a long time, now it's his time to listen to you. Even if right now he will just agree to look at what's available that would help and maybe he'll surprise himself and fall in love with a house. Keep the dialog going, don't acquiesce and be miserable for the rest of your life.

    As for me, in the last few years we have remodeled the bathrooms and kitchen...all new furniture on the first floor, hardwoods. I no longer wince and get depressed when I walk in the door. The galley kitchen was too small for a family of five but it's perfect now for the two of us.

    It was a great place to raise the kids.....65 kids on the block when we all moved in and most were at home moms. Our large, flat driveway was the afternoon hangout for the moms and kids. Woods in the back with a stream entertained the kids for hours as they got older.

    Times change though....it's not the same neighborhood. Friendships faded as moms went back to work and kids branched out to other friends. Two across the street neighbors don't take care of their exteriors and I've had to look at a camper for 26 years that has moved only 3 times. (No HOA).

    We almost moved 20 years ago to a nicer house but it didn't work out. Staying here, paying off the house allowed me to retire last month at 62. When DH retires in a few years we will move to a lower cost area, probably to an over 55 community..don't know where yet.

    As much as I have hated this house at times, I know I will ball like a baby the day we leave for good because it's where we raised the kids and have many memories. I remember when we moved in how grateful I felt that we could afford a 4BR, 2.5 bath in a decent neighborhood (albeit cheaply made house) and I still got to stay home with the baby and then two more. I was at home for 12 years. This "cheap, builder grade" house allowed for that. In the long run and the big picture, the positives have outweighed the negatives.

    Oh.....and if I ever do get to build my dream house it would be a one level contemporary.....about as far as you can get from a tract colonial!

    Just saw long this post is.....sorry if I've bored everyone!

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'm sorry you are unhappy with your house. I had that feeling about our house for the first 10 years that we lived here--small, dark, cramped, lousy layout, terrible kitchen, no storage. But it's in a desirable area, close in to the metro area and has excellent schools. We finally hired a terrific architect, gutted it, and enlarged it. It's lovely, sunny, comfortable, and I no longer dread returning to it after a vacation. It's nearly three times larger, with a very livable flow, lots of light and access to the outdoors.

    You could remodel your house, but it sounds like a fundamental problem is its location, and that can't be fixed. If you can afford it, why not buy a condo in the area you love, and have that as a second home? We have friends who live in Marblehead but have a wonderful condo in downtown Boston and they love the flexibility for work and cultural activities. It seems a good solution.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Joaniepoanie! Thank you sharing your story. It brought tears, and oddly enough it was the thought of the driveway with all the kids and moms gathered together in the afternoons and the moms probably not realizing how absolutely wonderful those years were. The house where we raised our kids was filled with neighborhood kids running in and out, and I was obsessed with things like getting my dining room painted the right color. The obsession is silly, in retrospect, but also kind of beautiful--all that nest-building and life going on all around. The best years.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    OP/by jlc712-"We also have a teeny guesthouse, that started as a "hired hands" house for the farm, which was also completely remodeled for my in-laws when they come to stay, and we use for other guests too.
    My DH is a passionate outdoorsman, and my DS is following in his footsteps. It is a beautiful, private place to live."

    Salmon-"Your obviously are not happy, so why not a compromise? You agree to stay put, but get to build your dream home on your acreage. Use your existing house as a guest/rental house."

    I agree with what Salmon says but with a twist. You say that DH and your DS both like the great outdoors. No wonder they don't want to move!

    But your needs/happiness are also important. If DH is getting his needs met, then it is his job to make sure his wife is happy as well. Happy wife/happy life! ;)

    What about turning the old house into a lodge where guests can come up to fish or hunt? Could you stay in the guest house until you can build the dream house you have always wanted?

    What about purchasing a vacation rental as an investment so you cash flow and a warm place to visit in the winter?

    My only concern about keeping the property (staying in the sticks) would be access to retirement services. If age is a factor..Then again, your DS might want to stay on the property and leave it to your grandchildren. They aren't making anymore land...

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Our house is small, under 2000 sq ft also. It was supposed to be our starter home, but then 3 kids came and although it was crowded, we felt it was more affordable to just stay here and make do, rather than take on more debt for a bigger place. The location of our home is very nice, its just small. But I am glad we didn't go into a bigger mortgage, with what we paid for college for our 3 kids, we could have had a huge, beautiful home. Life is full of choices, for us this was the right choice, my kids all have good jobs and no student loans. We have done much of the work on our home DIY, which also helped us save for college. And actually, now that we have an empty nest, its the perfect size for just the 2 of us. The only thing I do miss is walk in closets, I would kill for walk in closets!

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    jlc712, I am able to empathize with living off the beaten path. We built a lake home several years ago on 6 acres that we intended to be the home we'd retire to. We keep it open year-round. In addition to the obvious draws of summer at the lake the family (grown kids/spouses/grands) enjoy fall & winter visits to hike, sled and snowshoe.

    Ah - all so blissful - until our stay there this summer extended into November because of remodeling delays. Beginning after Labor Day DH had a grueling daily commute and whole weeks of cross country meetings. The summer folks had moved out & I was alone in the wilderness - until hunting season started & I saw strange trucks along our road & heard gunshots. I wore a hunting vest every time I had to take my dogs out. Soon darkness fell by dinner time and I shook every time I heard a noise outside on the nights I had to stay up there alone.

    I had caregiving duties for my Dad back in our hometown and that's where I also had to travel for groceries, appointments and to check on the house project. The ride to the lake was something I enjoyed when it was by choice, but when it was an hour round trip nearly every weekday it I soon began to dread it.

    I'm a homebody, generally content with my dogs for company and not a city person. But the experience of being there full-time makes me think I wouldn't be happy living in the sticks. And, it has nothing to do with the house, which I still find lovely or the setting, which is beautiful.

    I do hope that it's helped to vent and get some feedback here.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Joaniepony, please don't go to a community for 55 plus. You sound like the nice lady who understands others issues and would be a great neighbour for young families.

    If only to wave to busy moms, and dads and k ids, it all promotes a smile at the beginning or end of their day.

    There is far too little age mixing.

    Sad.

    I would love to make some changes to my home but I never want to move.

    I can watch my neighborhood change. Always new waves of young families on their steps to larger square footage.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I love my house, and I never take that for granted.

    But I don't think you really need to hear about how much I love my house or why, frankly.

    I have been thinking about your post a bit over these last few days. To be honest my first inclination was to be really PO'd at your DH, but what do I know?

    I think you do need to do something. Since the two people who know the most about this, you and he, have hashed this out many times and come up with only one answer, a small place in town, I think you should look into that. Start exploring your options there, and make that choice entirely based on YOUR wants and needs. I am sure you can find something that will make you happy. Dreams can be modified and come in many shapes and sizes. I think just moving forward on something that is for YOU will do you a world of good.

    Good luck.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Your dilemma reminds me a bit of my little sister's. Her dream home is a contemporary take on a rustic log cabin retreat near our family in Michigan. Instead, she married a totally wonderful guy with 3 kids (second marriage for both) and she and her kids moved into his 4 bedroom ranch style home in the country on 27 acres . . . 30 minutes from most of our siblings and their families. Not her dream home, but it's a happy home for their now blended family.

    What they've done ( and perhaps what you can also do) is make their home into the fun gathering place that everyone wants to come to. Although their house itself is nice enough, it's no showplace by any means. But, those acres . . . that peace . . . those views are a huge draw for the city and suburb folks! These are some of the ideas they use to get people happily out to their place. Perhaps some might work for you.

    * Hayrides - either horse or tractor drawn- along with a potluck supper in Summers and Autumns. People don't mind bringing along food and drinks for a fun event. It can be a large or a small group. They set up tables (some that people bring with them if needed) in one of their barns.
    * BBQs of all kinds, again, many potluck.
    * Inviting everyone over to fish and then a potluck dinner or lunch afterwards. Sis has a large pond, but you have that stream. No one will care if the fishing is poor, it's the fun of it all that matters.
    * Game Nights: cards, board games or whatever sounds good at the moment.
    * Football game watching parties.
    * Pumpkin carving, with or without a Halloween party.
    * Summer picnics by the water with a nature hike
    * my BIL loves to take us for rides around their property just to see what's blooming in my dad's old golf cart that he bought recently. Fun!
    * barn dances: as casual as you want them to be with whatever music that floats your boat, from Willie & Garth to Golden Oldies or the latest hip hop. With that acreage around you, you can crank up the volume and have fun dancing the night away.
    *Easter egg hunts with a Spring feast in the barn or wherever.
    * Winter hikes or rides with a potluck dinner after of chile and the fixings. Hot cocoa, too.
    * Hunting parties in season, if that's your thing.
    * Movie night sleepover with popcorn and old monster movies and then a fun group breakfast in the morning in their pjs.
    *Swimming and lawn game parties for families.

    In other words, Sis and her DH create inexpensive fun ways that makes their families and friends LOVE spending time at their home, regardless that it's a 30 minutes or so drive.

    And, Sis arranges to meet up with her friends and family in town~ or some place in between at least once or twice a week. At their home, a coffee shop, restaurant or mall.

    My sis will probably never get her dream home, but she's determined to make the best of what she has . . . and let me tell you, our family and their friends LOVE spending time with them at their place in the country!

    It doesn't sound as if you're going to get that dream home of yours either, JLC. But, please don't let it ruin the life you do have . . . or your relationship with your DH. I hope that, like my sis, you can find ways to make the life you have, a happy, satisfying one. I think Sis and her DH have done a spectacular job with theirs. My best wishes to you.
    Lynn

    This post was edited by lynninnewmexico on Sun, Jan 18, 15 at 19:51

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Cold, trust me, a half hour turns into forever when you need a loaf of bread. I'm 5 min. away from my tiny town, with no grocery store, but I can buy milk at a gas station.

    I'm 15 min. away from a town with a Walmart Super Center. Ugh.

    I'm 30 min. away from everything I could possibly want. But it gets tiring to drive thirty min. one way, shop, then 30 min. back. I'm exhausted afterwards.

    It wasn't as bad when I was younger
    JLC, the downside of message boards is people always read words that are not there. They like to psychoanalyze.

    What you're feeling is completely normal.

    I understand exactly what you're saying. I didn't want to live in the country but DH did. I caved.

    We did fix up the house though, so I like it a better. I'm not a country girl but I do enjoy sitting on the porch with my coffee and iPad and watching the birds, deer, etc.

    It's a sacrifice and I learned to live with it. After many years, my son and his sweet family built a house on the next acre, so it worked out pretty well. I do get lonely at times.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The question posed was 'how do you feel about your house?'

    It is very hard for me to think that any of us could possibly know more about the OPs personal situation and best approach to the challenges of life than they.
    One hopes the advice given has not been misapplied.
    ~bgj

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    If your husband is really on-board with the in-town condo, I say go for it! I recently sold my big old family house that was 20-30 minutes from groceries or main roads and bought a two-bedroom townhouse - walk to town and parks, and just a few minutes from shopping, highways and friends. I renovated the kitchen and decorated the place just for me and I love love love it.

    Maybe a condo could also add some romance in your marriage - have dates in town with DH and stay at "your place".

    Something that gets me through:
    "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change".

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My aunt moved her husband out of his small dream house and then they renovated a larger home to reflect both their personalities. During The divorce they are fought bitterly over it and now someone else owns it. He wishes he had his first small home but the new owner won't sell.

    The young couple across the road finally sold because the husband hates suburbia and especially so CA. He was always testy until he convinced her to move back to NYC. I never saw him happy until he had the house up for sale. This is a great town but he is a big city boy who hates CA. She was really sad to go. She did it for her marriage and her young son to have a happy father.

    I don't think one spouse should rule the other. Some people aren't happy unless it's all their way.

    I don't know what the answer is. Is a compromise possible? Sounds like the husband has his dream and won't give an inch.

    I don't like my house but I love my garden and the climate. One day I'd like to have a smaller home on more land.

    I wish the husband would let her have a custom home on that huge property. Seems like a good compromise to me. I know it's still far away from town but he probably likes that. Or else get her a home in town. No one should be in a space they hate. Not people or pets.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    So many interesting stories...

    I love my house, but I am trying to get psyched up to leave it in just a little over a year. We moved here when I was barely 30 and will have been here for 30 years when we leave. The original plan was to stay in the city for 5 years! We bought property on a nearby island 20 plus years ago, intended to move there, but this house (1919 vintage) sucked a lot of time and energy and we were on the Pay as You Go plan for the property.

    Now I'm finding I'm feeling resistant to move to the boondocks, because we've done everything we can to this house to make it perfect for us. I'm going to try to remember these wise words: "And we were ready to move on. It was time for a new dream."

    The new house is almost done. We've been staying in it for a while, but although the kitchen and baths are functional, we can't really furnish it for a while, so it's a bit like camping and less homey than it will be when we live there. I know there are things about living there I will love and things I will miss about my life here and this house. Will try to remember to focus on that new dream!

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I bought the ugliest house on the nicest street in a walking neighbourhood with a good mix of families.

    The house is so ugly, I try to blur my vision when I look at it, trying to blend out all the flaws in the parging...but the walk down my street is lovely, with tall trees that form a canopy over the road. I like that more than I hate my house.

    I've reconciled myself to the fact that the house will always be ugly, and the best and only thing I can do for it it to maintain the brick and the yard properly.

    I only have 1 bathroom, but I grew up in a house with 4 of them, and cleaning bathrooms after 4 teenagers is not fun. I LOVE only having 1 bathroom to clean. Do you know how clean my bathroom is? Really, really clean.

    I only have a small lot 50' X 100', but do you know how nice it is to only have to spend 20 minutes mowing the lawn (as opposed to about 1 hour at my other, bigger-lotted place)? Really, really nice! I think I'll be able to do a lot more gardening of actual plants.

    So, this 1 bathroom, small place, is really quite a dream for me.

    I think a lot of it is about perspective, isn't it?

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    What I love about my home? A good portion of it is underground, which is great for keeping it cool, fantastically safe during tornado season, and is hard to find, so no one ever knocks on the door.

    What do I hate about my home? A good portion of it is underground, which is hard to keep it warm in winter (and dry! moist and cold are hard on my health), floods in spring, and it's hard to find so my friends don't drop in like they used to.

    I guess it's like most relationships. What you love about it, you hate about it.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    House like, no house love here.

    We bought our Brooklyn townhouse a little over seven years ago. Great neighborhood, great space for two people, layout needed some tweaking but basically OK. Style fine, if a little dark (the perils of a house that's 19x45 and has windows only on the narrow walls). We've done two major renovations, one updating all the mechanicals along with a cosmetic gut of two floors, the second one tackling the final floor, which includes the kitchen. We've painted with funky warm colors, hung our art, put in our furniture and made it as much ours as possible.

    And I still like it, don't love it.

    It is DH's dream house; when he was young he used to come to NYC over the summers to visit his mother and always admired townhouses. When it became financially do-able, and we were ready to move from our prior place, he jumped at the chance to own a townhouse of his own. It didn't occur to me until we lived here for a while, but I don't like the high ceilings and all the stairs. I like feeling cozy and cuddled and coddled - embraced by a house -and this house does not give me that. I've co-opted one room as my exercise room and I spend a lot of non-exercise time in there because that's the room that feels warm and cozy to me. Our bedroom does too (I deliberately pushed for the smaller bedroom on the top floor for the intimate, personal feeling).

    Barring financial ruin or disability (those STAIRS!), this is our house until retirement. I like that it makes DH so happy and can live with my "ah, it's OK" feelings.

    I am aided by the fact that there are so many positives once I walk outside my door: good neighbors, good shopping, easy commute, the city I love. If I had more of the OP's negatives, like isolation, hard water ruining things and a cascade of home disasters, I'd feel much less content.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have been building houses in my head since I was a little girl. I can describe several of the houses I've built in detail. Those are my "dream" houses, which I will never have unless I win the lottery and build something for myself.

    I bought my very first house two years ago in my late 50s. I love it. LOVE IT! These two years have been the happiest of my life. It's truly been a blessing.

    It's a modest starter home, so it's not "dreamy" by any means -- little storage, and the biggest failing--no pool! But my biggest fear is that I will eventually not be able to afford it and will have to move back into an apartment. As far as I'm concerned, I want to leave the house feet first.

    Of course, I have no spouse with whom I must compromise. I consider myself very lucky.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The house I built almost 7 years is my dream house and to say I love it is an understatement! All choices were mine, so no comprising or arguing. LIke Violet West, I feel I have truly been blessed.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I can empathize with your frustration. Having to deal with the well water is a lot harder than it sounds. Also having a spouse that is completely opposed to moving does not help. Sounds like he is attached to the house because of everything he has done to it. He may like the rural space also, but he needs to realize there are conviences of living in or nearer to town.

    A house is a financial investment and also where you live affects quality of life. I wonder if there is anything that annoys your husband about your current location. If it affects his quality of life and if you can find a house that is a good financial decision, maybe he will swoon. Maybe you can find common ground and get closer to the city without being all the way inside the city.

    I bought my house in a small rural town 30 minutes outside of the city. That is what I could afford, and I got a large garage and decent yard with it. I bought it with the idea it was a starter home. Unfortunately it was a sellers market when I bought because there was a large flood and a lot of people were looking to move. So I probably paid more than it was worth, just the way it worked out. I was SO done renting and dealing with a landlord, watching my money disappear into rent and not keeping any equity.

    Wife and I both commute for work. The commute is on a 4 way highway so it is fast and safe most of the time. We also have bad roads in the winter from time to time and its annoying but doable. I could not imagine living more rural than what I am because there is no way I would live farther than 30 mins commute OR live on a country road with no way to plow myself out to get to work on a bad snow day.

    I have done and continue to do a bunch to the house with the hope to sell in the future. It will be about 2200 sqft when I am done with the basement. I dont have plans on living here forever because this small town doesnt have much, we get everything in the city when we go to work. I think that people doing renovations always need to think of resale so they dont get too attached to their labor of love. I will definitely enjoy the house more as I get more projects done, but I wont be afraid to move.

    I have to do a lot of planning to do my renovations so I have everything I need ahead of time. It is hard for me doing renovations if I discover I need another part to justify driving all the way into town to get that, so I usually stop that job and do something else. It is also annoying for my wife to run errands on days off because she has to drive into town. My wife also feels isolated from the city, she grew up in the city and is used to just going to do something whenever. I grew up on a farm so I am used to waiting to commute although I can see living in town would be nice.

    We both like the house after the things I have done to it but there is always more that can be done to improve it of course. We have a good sized yard and a large garden. Wife likes to have bird feeders and we get plenty of birdies to watch.

    Yes the commute makes the house affordable and the taxes a heck of a lot less but it is a big time sink and an inconvience. It's all about balance, commute time or money. Some day we will get in the city, but we are both young and starting to get debt paid down first.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    How do I feel about my own house? It's our dream home and we love it . . . but I would sell it in a heartbeat if DH would agree to move us back to Michigan where I grew up.

    Right now, we live in a modern version of a Spanish hacienda. It has ample storage, more than enough bedrooms and bathrooms, a wonderful, very efficient, fairly new gourmet kitchen that I helped design, 4 fireplaces, brick floors with in-floor radiant heat, a study /library, wood ceilings and beams, 4 patios/portals, a 3-car garage on 3 acres of land in the New Mexico mountains close to Santa Fe, killer views in every direction, and great (friendly, quiet) neighbors.

    It's "our" dream home . . . here. I'm blooming where I was planted, because this is where DH has his medical practice, which he LOVES, and this is where my sweet DH can play golf pretty much 11 months of the year.
    Don't get me wrong, we have a happy life here and one that I'm very grateful for. I love New Mexico. I love the people, the architecture, our friends here, the food, the art, the views and our four distinctive and mild seasons.

    BUT, if I could wave a magic wand, MY dream home for us would be a modern version of an old 2-story beach house. White wood with green shutters, a wrap-around front porch, on a lake in Michigan, close to my brothers and sisters and where I grew up. Not huge, but with decent storage and a small, gourmet kitchen. Comfy over-stuffed Cottagey furniture. Warn, casual and welcoming. Actually, that's pretty much exactly like the summerhouse we had growing up (minus the gourmet kitchen - LOL).

    It's not going to happen, though, as DH loves life out here and loves his practice. I knew what I was getting into when we married 32 years ago. It was our decision then and I've made the best out of it. No use making my life ~ or ours~ unhappy because I'd prefer to live back in Michigan. But, that would be my real dream home. Like I said, I'm blooming where I'm planted.
    Lynn

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Currently I am living with my SO in his house and like the house but do not love it. I do love him tho so am happy here. Over time I will continue to redecorate so that it feels more like mine. My last house I shared for 14 years with my late DH, and for the 4 years after he died *was* my dream home. We planned it and had it built the way we wanted altho over time I realized there were many things I would have liked. I could not have left that house immediately after my DH died as had a real connection with it. However, over time and after meeting my new partner I knew that my dream had changed and the house was not as important as our relationship. There was no chance of him moving into my house as his is in a less harsh climate which is important to both of us, especially at our age (both in our 70's).

    I have lived in many houses over my lifetime and most were not my dream home but I decorated to make them more 'mine'. I have come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a perfect house. Even my 'dream' house was not perfect despite careful planning.

    Making any house a real home is a challenge but can be done and it's not all about decorating and the infrastructure or location of the house. I doubt I will ever have a real dream home as there are so many divergent things I like and it would be difficult to have one house that incorporated all of my ideas. I might be able to have several houses, each different and my 'dream' for that mood!

    Jlc712, I hope you can find your way to happiness. Perhaps one thing to do is put in a water softening system. Hard water is no fun. Another is to plan regular social days with family and friends whether at your home or in town. Staying connected with people you love and who love you is very important for our well-being. Perhaps #3 is to tweak your decor in one room for a change. In one of my houses I used an extra bedroom as my sitting room. It was only for me - no teens or pets allowed - I loved having my own quiet space where I could retreat and read, dream, contemplate.

    Please let us know how it goes and know that your love of design, architecture, decorating, and beautiful houses is shared by most of us here.

    This post was edited by luckygal on Thu, Jan 22, 15 at 12:22

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Does 100 sticks of dynamite and a coupla' pounds of C4 sum it up?

  • 9 years ago
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    LOL Foxes! That may be my favorite response yet :-) Maybe that's a plan for both of us? Just kidding, and I am sorry for what you're going through with your house! I totally get it. Hope it all works out for you soon.

    Thanks again to everyone who responded. I wish I had time to respond individually. I have read and re-read this thread over and over. I appreciate all the advice and loved reading your stories. I will keep you posted.

    For now, I'm trying to focus on the positives, and work on some projects that will address some of the things that drive me crazy. We are having another water softener installed. The previous one is dead and unfixable. Hopefully this one will be more effective.

    Thanks again!

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Before you install just a water softener, you might want to add a whole-house filter as well as the softener. It works really well for us.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Yes , agree with the suggestion above. We have a filter that works with the well pump and although our water is hard, it is not ruinous, and the medium only has to be changed annually. We did replace our dishwasher with a Miele that has a built in water softener, but other than that, the filter does the trick.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    There is no such thing as a perfect world. After reading thru all the posts, it was tribbix which hit closest to home. In spite of absolutely loving my house, there are other things more important. I chose to build/live in this area because DD and her family bought down the street, 5 houses down. Neither she or I ever thought they would decide to move, but when the first child was old enough for school, and the local school district didn't have a high rating, they knew something needed to chsnge. They loved this area, and decided to send my GS to a private school for 2 years, but the next year it was time for GD to start pre K. The expense of private schools, plus DD having to make that twice a day, half hour drive, it was less expenaive and easier to make a move. They are now 45 minutes away, and my visits have now turned into once a week overnights. It works, but I liked when I could walk out the door and down the street.

    I've actually been online looking at homes in their neighborhood, but I don't want or need the acreage which is part of it. I've come to the conclusion I'll never be as close again, and that's ok, but at the moment feel too far away. The reality is, I WILL end up moving, leaving my dream house, but again, feel blessed to have had it.