Please take note of my sarcasm when I say "as much as I adore apartment living", we've relocated to a duplex in a local neighborhood. As with any new home, it takes some getting used to, but there are some things about this house that just aren't ever going to make it to my good side. But there are good things about it, too. How about a Ten List detailing my love/hate relationship with this domicile?
#1... I love that my little cottage-feeling rental house backs up against a county-protected lake that is naturally protected by a small forest. I love being encased by tall pines, strong oaks and various other species of trees. However, I hate that both my porch and my yard are completely shaded by low leafy branches and high full crowns, making impossible for me to cultivate any type of edible garden.
#2... I cannot stress enough how grateful I am for my life in the woods. Feathered friends come to socialize at my feeders, and butterflies fly by, throughout the day. I marvel at the occasional doe, and even the random raccoon that graces the property. However, the constant threat of copperheads and cottonmouths sends shivers down my spine, and keeps me in state of anxiety when my children play outside.
#3... I love that the house was built into a hill, which raises my back deck about fifteen feet off the ground, giving me a deeper view into the woods. After a heavy rain, I watch the rising creek (about fifty feet away), rush to empty into the marsh, which drains into the lake. However, I hate that the back yard sits at the bottom of the hill, catching all that rain and turning it into the natural marsh's evil twin.
#4... All of the doors and windows in my home are accented in a beautifully stained oak trim. The window panes themselves are encased in the same stained oak frames. It really brings a country feel to the decor, which I just love. However, I'm pretty sure that these are the original doors and windows that came with the house when it was first built, and they are everything but energy efficient.
#5... I love that my teenage son has a space to call his own, in this three bedroom house. In our prior residence, my hubs and I had the master, and my two little girls shared a room. My son was confined to the "sun room" (a tiny den surrounded by windows), separated from the rest of the house by a curtain hanging from the wide open archway. However, now that he has his own room, I can't get him to come out of it!
#6... I finally have a whole separate room, under the stairs, just for the washer and dryer, and I love it! It's actually quite a spacious little alcove, and perfect for storing away a few extra things. Okay, a LOT of extra things. What I hate, is that the dryer vents are clogged, forcing me to vent the dryer into the house. A wonderful little perk in the heart of the winter. I can turn down the heat, and let the dryer take the chill out of the air. However, no matter the season, I have to keep the laundry room door wide open, or the humidity builds up and causes the decorative "popcorn" plaster to fall from the ceiling.
#7... For the first time since my childhood, I live in a two story residence. Our more private areas, the bedrooms, are on the second floor, well away from the daily living space. It really makes those rooms feel more personal, more sacred. However, I hate that I'm now spending less time in my personal space. In my apartment, my bedroom was just five feet from the living room, and I could easily make a hasty retreat from the kids, several times a day, if I had to. Just for a few minutes, but they would be my few minutes. Mine. Mine. Mine. Now, my retreat just feels too far away.
#8... Being that I live less than five miles from the NC State University campus, I expected there to be a lot of college students on my street, like there were in the apartment complex. But I just love that we are surrounded by families, with children. My kids have lots of friends, and the streets are always full of bicycles, scooters, jump ropes, and laughter. However, I hate that all the kids in this neighborhood leave their empty water bottles, juice boxes, and ice cream wrappers on my porch. I am constantly having to wrangle my broom, rake, and sometimes potted plants away from them. And they ring my doorbell six times a second. I'm not kidding, the "ding-dong" is repeated so often it becomes a discernible beat... you can dance to it.
#9... I have a fireplace that is rather large and rustic, and I love it. It is surrounded on all sides by earthy toned flagstone, and topped by a large natural wood mantel, that looks much like an old railroad tie. What I hate about this living room centerpiece is that it is so large. I have one whole wall that is almost unusable. There's hardly room for chairs around it, or tables on either side. Due to limited space in the room, I did have to put some furnishings around it, and now that side of the room looks a bit crowded, which takes away from the idea of the fireplace being a focal point.
#10... I love that my house is rental. I don't want a bank loan, and I don't want the taxes. I don't want to pay for a new roof, or new plumbing. I don't want home owner's insurance, and neighborhood association fees. But I hate that my house is a rental. I want new carpeting. I want to build out a bigger pantry. I want to do something about that soggy back yard. But I can't, because I'm a renter.