Sunday, June 15, 2008

House Hunting

And I thought searching for a new house (read: my city girl days are over and I cannot wait to move out to somewhere green and quiet) would be an easy and enjoyable task. NOT!

We’ve just spent driving 160 kilometers back and forth today to check this house described as a little villa in the North Holland province in Avenhorn, 40+ kilometers from Amsterdam. Not bad, as I am 44 kilometers from Utrecht to my work in Amsterdam.

Initially, I was drawn to the large floor to ceiling French white windows in the living room (the whole front was glass!) that opens up to a wide patio with hard wood floors that goes down a few steps to a garden facing the water and an endless horizon of green. The whole setting, the design, everything, it was executed regally. Trust me, I am an Interior Designer in my previous life so I know.

On the fotos online the house was spectacular, dramatic; an oasis to look forward to after a hectic day at work. But when we saw the house with our own four eyes, my heart did not skip. Not a single beat.

We drove back to Utrecht with a heavy heart. Well, my heart that is. I would not spend that amount of money for that house I just saw. No way.

Then yesterday, we were in Doorn checking another lovely monumental house which is also called a villa by Dutch standards. Villas here are nothing close to what a villa is in other countries. Villas in the Netherlands are called villas simply because they are detached - free standing houses that are over a certain XXX amount in price, which are by the way already considered a luxury in the flatlands, especially if they are located in the Ranstad ring, the main artery of civilization of this country.

Built in 1916, I fell in love with this little villa in Doorn situated just by the edge of the famous nature park, the Utrechtse Heuvelrug forest. It was lovely; the house exudes a proud air of stately character. It looked like the perfect house that I ever wanted.

Dutchman and I were standing in the middle of the side street looking at the house and arguing with each other heavily.

“I don’t like those huge trees covering the back of the house. We need light in the house.”

My dreamy eyes twinkling in excitement, “Oh, I love to live in the forest!”

“No, no, it’s depressing. Trust me! During winter you will get depressed!” Dutchman insisted trying to convince the unrelenting me.

“But I love the neighborhood here! Aristocratic, low-key, peaceful, lots of green – the house is just right across the forest. I want to live here!”

“It does not have enough space at the back and I don’t like those trees blocking the light into the house.”

“Well, we will cut them!”

“Noooo, you need a permit from the city hall for that, and those other trees are from the next door neighbors.”

“Why do you always have something negative to say!?!?!”

The next day I woke up, sober from the heights of excitement about the villa in Doorn. I realized that this house is not going to be the one. As I was so ecstatic yesterday I was ready to call the real estate agent, Dutchman asked why the sudden change of heart.

I said the house didn’t have enough huge glass doors that lead to the yard and the kitchen I thought was choked up. I love space, the illusion of space, windows, huge windows, wide doors, floor to ceiling windows and glass doors.

And today Sunday was another disappointing visit in Avenhorn.

Sigh – this is going to be a daunting task ahead.

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