Brandywine is the house we bought about ten years ago. Yes, we bought a house with a name. What kind of folks name their house? Two artists who had lived in Europe where I guess all the houses have names. Personally, I would have named the place Bob or Sally, but they named it Brandywine after a marionette that they used in an act.
This house has one very interesting pedigree, folks.
Unfortunately, many of the updates were shoddily done, and we're having to undo much of what the folks before us did.
We are 'hos to this house.
This is where we'll show you the pictures of all the money we are sinking into making this space livable, while still maintaining the character.
About the BV (our neighborhood):
The Buena Vista/Reynolda Historic District (which is actually a misnomer, as the streets they are using only encompass about a third of the Buena Vista neighborhood as set forth by the Buena Vista Neighborhood Association, of which I am a card-carrying member. Or I would be, if they actually gave out cards.) is famous for its homes, which average $534, 601. Some of you (especially those of you on the coasts) might say: “What? That’s chump change! I paid that for my two-bedroom condo!” And to you folks my response is: “You’re a dip$hit! Move to NC where the average house costs $217, 106!” (See how I snuck that fact in there? That’s TALENT, my friends.) The data shows that most of these homes have nine or more rooms, with an average of four bedrooms. I feel it’s only appropriate to add that we have some big honkin’ houses in this neighborhood. There are a few that could easily require those “you are here” signs posted throughout. Living on the fringe as I do, my home is not one of them. If you walk in my front door and look around, you know exactly where you are. The only thing you can’t see from there is the bathroom (which is a good thing, in my opinion, because who wants to see the toilet from the front door? I bet that’s some bad feng shui, what with the potential for not everything getting flushed, if you get my drift.)
Most of these homes are older--with the bulk of them having been built in the 1940s. There is an occasional new home, because there has been a trend toward buying the older homes that have not been updated, tearing them down, and putting a McMansion in its place. But the ever-vigilant BV Neighborhood Association has put legislation in place that has made it more difficult to do this. Builders now have to have their plans approved by the BVNA. And going before a tribunal of BV blondes and their lawyer/CEO/Wake Forest University Professor husbands is NOT for the faint of heart. The Buena Vista Blondes have pitchforks and torches, and they are not afraid to use them.
More on Brandywine, from a 2008 blog:
If you have been following this blog, some of you may be asking yourselves, "What's a nice woman like her doing in a neighborhood like that?" Okay, maybe none of you are, but I will tell the story anyway. Those of you who are not interested, please leave now. But not everybody. Some of you have to stay so that my feelings don't get hurt.
When we began looking for a house, we consciously avoided this neighborhood. "The people are snobs," we said. "The homes are way overpriced," we argued. "We can't afford it," we stated. But then this house came on the market for the first time in twenty-five years.
Now, one of you peeps will understand when I say that I drove past this house a couple of times a week for twenty years, and each time I thought to myself, "Hmmm...I wonder what that house looks like on the inside." Because the outside is different from most of the other homes in our fair city. It's like an English country cottage crossed with a something on Cape Cod or Nantucket--long and low, built with cedar shakes and brick with weeping mortar topped with a slate roof, a cupola and a weathervane. It has a summerhouse in the back yard and a slate sidewalk and patio. Two stone lions sleep on pedestals on either side of the circular drive. In short, it looks like a house in a storybook.
My husband took one look at it (from the outside) and said, "I've earned this house." How could I argue with that?
The inside--another story. The old owners were just that...old. And there were some problems with mental incompetence. For example, when we went on the final walk-through, we found that the living room floor was gone. Vanished. They had torn it up and taken it with them. And that was just the beginning. Live wires dangling from the walls, not connected to anything. Dry rot beneath the kitchen and powder room. A yard completely taken over by ivy. Dead boxwoods. The list goes on.
But that's why we're here, in the rich folk's neighborhood. This house NEEDED us. And my husband needed this house.
Who am I to disagree?
A tour of the finished spaces: