While I was cleaning out some old files the other day, I found the listing for one of the homes we saw in 2006 when we were looking. It was a townhouse in the city, extremely near where I lived on my own when I was in college (so close, in fact, that in talking to the realtor, I found out that she had actually sold my college house a few months earlier). We made an appointment to go see it, and found out that the realtor was actually having an open that day. It was really hard not to gush around her - we absolutely loved it. I'm sure she thought we were about to reach into our pocketbook and write a check that day. I remember it so well. It was a rust color on the outside, with dark brown shutters. There was a front door, and a backdoor (which backed up to a small yard with flowers planted alongside the house). It was in a small, four unit association, and the fees were only $50 per month. You walked inside, and came to a huge living room, painted a really pale blue, with light wood laminate floors. In front of you there was a small kitchen, but it was open to the living and dining room; it had white painted cabinets, brushed nickel hardware.
The ceilings felt really tall, and there was a staircase up to the top floor that felt really open. There was an Ikea light fixture on the ceiling as you went up the stairs. On the second level there was a big bedroom, a bathroom and a second bedroom staged as a kids room with a charming little nook/crawl space.
I wanted to live there. I wanted that house.
But, we didn't buy that house. The image above is why. It was such a wonderful little home, and everything about it felt so right, except one huge drawback. It was directly across the street from a railroad track. The listing touted "watch the exciting Amtrack go by twice a day!" Hah. The realtor kept telling us the noise was no big deal, but I remembered from my little college apartment, about four blocks away, listening to the trains go by late at night when I had my window open. And then there was the matter of having small children so close to the train as well (although given my son's fascination with trains, maybe it would have been a good thing!)
We tried our best to incorporate a lot of what we liked about that townhouse into the one we did buy, but there was just an indefinable quality about it that made it so open and homey, that I still feel like our condo lacks.
I still think about that place sometimes. And wonder.