A few months ago, the fiancee and I closed on a renovated village home in a tiny little town in France. The picture above isn’t the house — it’s a barn — but that’s the sort of thing you see if you drive in any direction. Almost right between Carcassonne and Narbonne, our house is just a short drive to the Mediterranean and only about 2 hours to Barcelona in a corner of south-western France called the Languedoc.
To a lot of people, buying a house in a foreign country, especially one where you barely speak the language (un peu, seulement) might seem crazy. But to us, it was a promise to our future and a commitment to adventure; have you seen the price of airline tickets from the US to Europe?
What better way to travel to Italy and to Ireland, Russia, and the Netherlands than to live in Europe, where so many other countries are just a short train ride away?
But this isn’t a post about that house, its a post about the second house.
The second house was bought almost on a whim after we learned that yes, buying something (if it’s the right something) is actually cheaper than renting, especially with the current tax breaks. Plus, at the end of however long you plan to live there, you’ll likely get something back. When you’re a renter, you’re lucky if you see your security deposit back.
So today we closed on a second house a little closer to home – just east of Nashville.
The house is what folks here call a condo, or what people where I’m from call a townhouse (and the french would perhaps call it a “village house“). But regardless of what you want to call it, it was an incredible deal. Listed on regular real estate sites, it turned out to be a bank-owned foreclosure that was in excellent condition and priced significantly under market value. Another victim of the sub-prime mortgage racket.
We have big plans for this place, plans that we are going to share on the site in the hopes that it will inspire you to create your own lovely spaces.
Here’s the major projects we’re going to be tackling (somewhat in order):
- Redo kitchen with new cabinets, granite counter tops, and new backsplash. (Oh yeah, and buy some appliances)
- Convert upstairs “Jack and Jill” bathroom to a master bath and a second 3/4 bath.
- Reface fireplace wall with stone/tile.
We had to have the banisters on the deck replaced by a licensed contractor so the house could pass appraisal and we could buy it; it looks about 20 times better than what’s in the above photo and it’s one thing we can cross off the list.
But going forward we’ll be DIY on these projects as much as possible. Between the two of us we have enough knowledge of basic construction and drywalling, tiling, and powertools to look like we might know a thing or two. For the rest, we’ll be relying on the educational power of YouTube. And if that fails, we’ll be bringing in the big guns: the contractors.
Of course, our first project is a fresh coat of paint (that green kitchen just isn’t kickin’) and moving in… but I hope you’ll stick around and check out the progress on our new place.