I have a sickness for which I am neither seeking sympathy or a cure. It possesses me even when I attempt to quiet the insistent voices that inquire, “what would you do”? “Go ahead, you know you want to – buy it and show me – show me – show me – what you would do”? Like any honest to god addict I am spending money that I don’t have, and conjuring ways in which to beg, borrow or steal more to feed the habit.
I am a real estate addict, and I broke the cardinal rule. I attended a broker open house, just to have a look. I know I’m not a broker, but you can’t let little details like that get in the way of your obsession. I knew that the unit didn’t have air conditioning. I’ve been driven from a home before because of this issue. Laugh if you want. I stood dripping in sweat as I served my guests perfectly prepared tuna nicoise, and I wasn’t the only one. They too were mopping their brows and made a quick exit to the cool comfort of their own conditioned homes. I abhor being hot, just as much as being cold. That was the other problem with the unit – it had a heating system that was substantially undersized for the volume of the space. Oh those lovely 11′ tall ceilings with moldings that made me cry they were so beautiful. I rued the day I bought you.
You can understand why I said not again, no, ney, never, but a little look just to satisfy my curiosity couldn’t hurt – it did after all say in the ad that deck rights were penned into the condo docs. I could add a deck, and then introduce an entirely new heating and cooling system. Those baseboard electric heaters would have to go. Expensive and ugly – of course not as expensive as installing a whole new system. Even in these inflationary times the payback on energy consumption might take as long as ten years, and we all know I can’t sit still for that long.
The bathroom needed to be gutted, the kitchen needed to be gutted, but she had good bones. She was on the Parlor Level, and was wide. Her purple kitchen was tiny, tucked as it was under the buildings stairs, but had an adorable tray ceiling. Clear the slate, install wood cabinets with a natural rich dark grain and add brass hardware, and a black marble top – yes black. Don’t argue with me it’s going to be gorgeous. Inlay the ceiling with mirrored glass, and a statement fixture, throw in a butterfly sink, and lay the floor in black and white marble tile that will be carried into the hall just off the living room. That flooring would have to go too, when you rip out all that baseboard heat you’ll leave holes all over the place, and its not original. It’s oak. I’ve always wanted a hemlock herringbone floor – this would most certainly be the time to do it. That door that would lead from the bedroom out onto the tiniest deck – new City of Boston requirements for depth wouldn’t even accommodate a hearty American teenage boys full length, but those doors, they would be French, steel, divided light. All the closets in the bedroom would have to go. An unfortunate choice to have made when they were installed the first time. The bath – gut. A glass shower installed in it’s place. Good-bye to the wallcovering from another era altogether.
The man who owned the property had lived there for forty years – God rest his sole. It was impeccable, preserved, loved even. His art and mid-century modern furnishings to be admired. I want to believe he was happy there, even if he was hot. Maybe it’s for the best that I not be the one to buy it. I’m a hundred thousand in and I haven’t even signed an offer to purchase. Some days I long to be the buyer that will move right in, leave it exactly as it is, and be blissfully happy. All this desire and desperate want is a pain – even if it is one I cannot imagine living without.