What Mighta Been - Tremont House

One of the Houses Viewed Before Buying 173   

Ever wonder what if?  What if I took that other job, or lived in that state, or met this person, instead of X, Y or Z?  I think it's only natural to occasionally look back and wonder.  The trick is - not living in the what ifs but rather in the what is, or what may be.  But before we get too deep here, this is a post about a house that we considered before buying 173.  I thought it'd be fun to remember and pass on to posterity!

The House on Tremont

I'm not sure the Tremont house was ever in serious consideration, but it was one of the houses viewed during the great house search of '97.  Here are the vital statistics:

The Tremont St. house is a single family home of 1,325 sq ft and was built in 1900. There are 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, and was last sold for $68,000 in May 1996. The estimated cost for this house is $152,735 (in 2020), which has increased by $3,799 in the last 30 days. - Zillow

What We Liked

It had a few things that we liked - a relatively decent yard, it was old and had some character and, most importantly back then, the price. At the $70,000 mark it was exactly what we were looking for - a house within our means.  We didn't want to be house rich mortgage poor, and we didn't want to risk losing it in a recession or layoffs or other financial catastrophe.  Keeping a home was not something we wanted to have to worry about.

What We Weren't Crazy About

Now before I sound too critical, let me first say this:  My comments are in relation to what I like, what I find pleasing or not.  These comments are no criticism of anyone else's taste, or their home.  I say that because, while Tremont house didn't end up being our choice, it certainly was someone's choice, and it has been their home for 24 years!  That said, the biggest things that didn't work for us involved the yard location and some structural things.  First, the yard.  The side yard was a relatively decent size, but had an odd slope that settled into a flat.  While that doesn't sound so terrible, it would have just been difficult to do anything with.  Then, on the inside, as soon as you open the door you're in the living room and greeted by the stairway.  No foyer or hallway just, "Why hello!"  The picture below gives you an idea what I'm talking about. The Tremont house wasn't in write the same condition though.

From Sarah's Stately Kitsch

The Seemingly Endless Additions

One incredibly odd thing about the Tremont house is the additions.  There's a pretty large addition to the back of the house.  It  isn't on the same level of the main house so there's a few steps down. And it was just a huge room.   It wasn't a nice room and would have required extensive remodeling. Then a built on garage.  I don't remember anything about it other than how it just looked out of place.  A couple pictures down from here, I pointed out the various structures...see for yourself!

Why Tremont House Wasn't Chosen

When one weighs the balance between what was liked and disliked, it really came down to a couple critical things.  First, we really didn't like the idea of the front door opening directly into the living room, and to change that would have been incredibly expensive!  But the real issue was the sprawling "compound" feel the various additions had amounted to.  In the end I think the discussion was that if Tremont was chosen, the additions would have to be removed.  But there was one drop-dead point that just couldn't be ameliorated:  proximity to neighbors.  All the other stuff, although likely expensive, could have been changed but as you can see below, there's maybe 3 or 4 feet between Tremont house and the neighbor.  That's just never been my thing.

Similar But Different

So, there's some similarities between Tremont and 173.  Both houses are old and were dated and in need of updating.  Both are in the city with small yards, and both are corner lots and close to the neighbors.  But the differences are monumental.  The additions on Tremont just wouldn't have been acceptable, and most importantly - the neighbor at 173 is at least a full driveway width away, which is about the same as 812 - The Home, where I grew up.   Here's 173 when we first bought it:

Geeze, another difference between 173 and Tremont, and I almost forgot to mention it, 173 has a front yard!  Having the front yard butt right up to the road, no Devil's Strip, no trees - that would have taken some serious getting used to!

Unfair Advantage

With all the similarities and differences, 173 had a distinct advantage - we were already in love with it!  As I've discussed before, 173 was the house of my best friend's grandparents, and we fell in love with the place the first time we saw it!  It was the layout, the French doors and, most of all, the unpainted, shellacked old-growth chestnut woodwork throughout the house!  That was the coupe de grace!  So, it really would have been an uphill battle for any house.  173 checked all the boxed...old, in need of some work, a functionable yard, character and an excellent price point.  And this near quarter century later, 173 is home.

Thanks for stopping by and be safe out there! 
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