Thursday, March 22, 2007

New House in Madison WI

Front of house

Back of House

Living Room



Hallway 2nd floor
So this is the house we are hoping to buy. It is one year old and absolutely BEAUTIFUL, 4000 sq. ft. Most of the features on the first floor are built in, which is great considering we have no (nice) furniture! This is the home in the "new urbanism" development. The houses are literally ON the street with small front porches and practically no land at all. This house is a little different than the others around it because it is on the edge of the housing development and therefore has a little bit of land (and a back deck) and overlooks some empty space that I don't think will be developed. I am going to do some (more) research on new urbanism but the basic premise seems to be a designed community that values high grade building materials, attention to detail, environmental features and usable spaces in the homes versus spaciousness, opulence and formal living spaces. The whole development is supposed to foster a sense of community rather than isolation and they do this by taking away indiviual land and having many many commnunity spaces from parks/ playgrounds (1 block from the house) to a nature conservancy (2 blocks from the house) and some commerical space (cafes and grocery within... 4-5 blocks from the house). There is also a pond and a community garden and probably more that I don't know about yet. Everywhere we looked there were kids, people walking and biking (it's still winter!) and lots of dogs. I honestly never saw myself in a place like this but fell in love with the house first and am kind of falling in love with the concept as well.
Since I don't know anyone in Madison it might be nice to have a built in community for a few years. Buying in the middle of our price range (and a home with a high resale value) also allows us to learn more about Madison and decide where we might want to buy our "forever" house when we are making more money. Supposedly the schools are fantastic with high parental involvement etc. The elementary school is also within walking distance (does that mean I'm going to have to drive talia in the (long) winter?). There are not too many drawbacks to the actual house. Obviously, no (a little) land is weird and not what I was looking for, the dining room is smaller than I would like-- not really enough space for a big holiday dinner, but the weirdest thing is that the mail doesn't get delivered to your house-- you have to pick it up down the street! that FREAKS me out! There are a lot of days I don't want to leave the house--especially in the winter. UPS etc does deliver to the house. I guess it would be nice to be able to recycle my junk mail without even bringing it into my home though. I guess they really want you to be neighborly. I know that's not me, but with small kids you have to be anyway so you might as well be. The house is a 12 minute drive to the capitol, state street (where the cute shops are) and the university. It's about 6 minutes to Talia's preschool (which she LOVED and I LOVED by the way) and 5 minutes to the more conventional (chain) shopping like Barnes and Noble and Joanns etc. At some points when we were driving our realtor said, "there's a lot of traffic right now" and all we had to do was wait through two lights. It was way less than Flemington traffic!

I have to say the houses in madison seem to be VERY expensive to begin with. We saw million dollar homes that needed a LOT of work and upgrades. These were in highly desirable locations but still! All in all, the people in Madison are so nice and everyone just wants you to be happy. It's a little strange! I'm sooooooo tired from seeing about 25 houses. from now on I'm taking it easy until this baby comes out. I'm going to just sit on the couch and chill. Our next step is to make a final decision and move forward. There was one other house that was about $100,000 less, in a much more secluded and woodsy setting (and backed up to a park) but definitely would need updating (nothing immediate) to make it special. Everything was nice and it was very well spaced (seemed bigger than the one we will likely get even though it was slightly smaller) but it did not have a great style or great kitchen or great master bathroom or anything like that. It was very sunny and bright and open and had lots of space though. and woods.

Ok, lots to think about-- goodnight!

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