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Saturday, August 31, 2019

the spanish house



Last summer we decided to be open to the idea of finding a new home.

We had lived in our Victorian Farmhouse for about 12 years, it was really the only home that my kids ever remember living in but it wasn't working for us anymore.

They yard was large (corner lot) and way more than we could handle, and I didn't want to pay someone to take of it for us. So it felt like a chore and never really looked as nice as it could. 

It was a gorgeous home, 12 foot ceilings and pretty moldings but you did not get the warm feeling of being home when you walked in the front door. It felt like a home that was beautiful but cold and dark. All of the bedrooms were next to each other and with teenagers there was little peace in the house. 

A sort of funny story about how we moved into that home originally- We had a suburban home in a town nearby when the kids were born. We all hated it, we regretted it almost immediately after we bought it. I was always drawn to old homes and beautiful architecture and that 2001 home didn't do it for us. So, after 4 years of living there we decided to sell, then the housing recession started and it took us  almost 2 years to sell that home (not at a loss thank goodness) . 

We knew we wanted to move to the Northend of Tacoma, but we didn't want to buy then. We needed to wait out the market so we rented a really small bungalow on N 28th street. 

I went back to work right around this time, commuting to Seattle everyday, and it was nice.

One day at work, six months after we moved into our rental, I found the Victorian Farmhouse for rent that was two houses down from us. It was one of my favorite Tacoma houses.

I found a new tenant for our rental (who would end up being one of my best friends) and we moved into the Farmhouse on the corner. We ended up buying it two years later once the market had stabilized.

My friends knew I had a love / hate relationship with this house. It served my business well as a background to stage pieces but we had put a lot money into it and it really needed about 100k more to be a show stopper. And we didn't want to do that, it wasn't the forever home.

So that brings me back to the new house we bought.

I wanted either no yard, or a little yard. I wanted some sort of deck to sit on and to be near the water. 

My daughter will be going to college in two years and my 14 year old son might end up living with us for a few years after graduation. He is on the autism spectrum so we wanted to find a house that either had an apartment/garage or a basement apartment. Neither are easy to find in our neighborhood.

I started looking last summer with my friend and agent Tiffany. 

We toured several and I would save homes I liked.

On a run last March I ran by the cutest Spanish bungalow. When I got home I pulled the listing, called Tiffany and we looked at it within a day or two.

I think everyone in my family thought I was crazy. But I have vision and if there is one thing that I know I am good it, it is taking something worn out and making it beautiful again. It is my thing, always has been.

The house needed major cosmetic work, but the price was great, we had room to make the improvements needed. The bones are great.

So we put in an offer, it got accepted and I had two weeks to get my house ready to sell. It was bananas but we did it.


Our Spanish house is actually a duplex. There is a basement walkout apartment with a living space, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. It is also accessible inside from what I call our upstairs apartment. It has 3 bedrooms, a bathroom, dining room, living room, kitchen and a rooftop garden that I love. The upstairs apartment sits high above the street so it feels like a treehouse and there is a water
view. It is perfect for us.

The downstairs apartment is great for my daughter right now when she wants quiet. I hang out with her all the time down there, we bake cookies and watch movies, it is really nice. She also spends most of her time upstairs with us. When she graduates my son will either move down there or stay upstairs and we will Air B&B the lower level apartment. If we do that it will more than cover the cost of our entire mortgage. The home gives us a lot of flexibility as an investment so it is great.

I would love to go all out with the remodel of this house but we will do it in phases, it is nice to not spend everything we made off the last home. Right now I am replacing all of the old finishes and painting pretty much every room when I have time.

Phase 2, which I have no idea when that will be, would include painting the outside white, replacing the garage door with carriage doors, wood shutters on the windows, window boxes with boxwood and a door to my little rooftop porch. Mostly exterior fixes.

Right now we are definitely living in a fixer and I have very little time to work on it but it is by far my favorite house that I have ever lived in.

It definitely has the feel of home.

-Alison