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Zillowing Out

A $195,000 Cabin To Feel A Little Off-Kilter In

Chris Thompson/Defector

My friend died last weekend. I’m not going to write much about her here, because it’s not really my story to tell. I’m feeling very protective of her and her closest friends, of her husband. But she was wonderful: kind and generous and funny-as-hell. She made a cheddar and bacon sourdough bread loaf that I will dream about forever and never showed up to the dog park without snacks. Her death was sudden, which meant I spent a lot of my weekend surrounded by people who loved her, trying not to cry too much.

It’s been a weird week. I’m sad, but I also keep forgetting that all of this terrible stuff is happening. So it’s like I’m doing my work just fine, writing my blogs and responding to emails, and then I remember and get really sad. I’m irritable as a result. Quick to snap and quick to cry and quick to feel like nothing matters. I know this is normal for grief, but I’ve been lucky so far in my life and haven’t had to grieve very often.

I keep thinking about how for the first few hours after I found out, I felt dizzy. I’ve had vertigo before because of my Worthless Absolutely Terrible Ear, so I sat down and stared at something to see if I felt like I was on a ship. I didn’t. I wasn’t actually dizzy. It wasn’t the ear crystals. It was just the emotions of it all I guess, unmooring me from the ground, pushing me around a little bit.

I chose this week’s house because it feels that same way, so it is a kind of perfectly shaped hole I can shove myself through for this column. The writing does help. Do not tell me to take a break. You are not my Mom and I don’t even let her boss me around. I wanted to work this week. The working is always the same. Plus one thing I have learned in the last week is that sometimes you can have a really big laugh while you are still crying so whatever, let’s look at a house.

This week’s house was sent to me by reader Dave who is from California and is a REAL ESTATE BROKER/BLOGGER! Wow. Imagine having a real job in addition to blogger. I cannot. I live only to blog. A great thing (not for Dave) about now having found a few real estate brokers through this column is that I now have many people to ask my deranged questions about houses to, but that is not important right now. What’s important is that Dave emailed me this house weeks ago. (Let it be known that I will respond if you email me one day, just perhaps that day will be months in the future.) Luckily, the house is still on Zillow.

It is listed as “active, under contract.” As Dave is an expert, I asked him if this meant that someone has put in an offer that I could still outbid if I had bathtubs full of cash. Dave said, “If you roll up with your cash bathtubs in the back of a truck the seller can go to their original buyer and say, ‘Hey pal, time to shit or get off the pot,’ and they then have to close the sale right away or the seller can kick them out of escrow and give you the house instead.”

Do you hear that, folks? That means this house could still be ours if we were rich.

Let’s look at it. Here it is.

Screenshot: Zillow

Ooooooooh. Would you look at this? A house all tilted just like me this week. Wow. This is an exciting house isn’t it? The door is straight and there is this very nice little patio, but the house is all wonky! I love it. Is my first thought, “What about snow drainage?” Yes it is. But we can overcome this! Look how green the grass is. At first I thought it must be fake, but I have been told that is just “Vermont,” apparently. Wow.

The next photo gives us a little more context for where this little tilted house lives.

Screenshot: Zillow

Wow, this is pretty. I would very much like to run away from my life right now to this little green patch of grass in the middle of all these trees. Before we go inside, we should probably take a look at the specs. This house is listed for $195,000 (reasonable!), has two bedrooms and one bath. It is on 8.41 acres!!!!! Hell yeah! I am always saying that there is no point in having less than 10 acres but it seems like we could make it work. I am optimistic about this little tilty house. Let’s go inside.

Screenshot: Zillow

OK, this is the view looking at the front door. These windows are really nice and letting in so much light. Does this mean the house is freezing in the winter? I’m not sure. I don’t know how insulation works. The floors are absolutely gorgeous and I love them, but I don’t love that we have this mismatch of wood types where the wood on the walls is yellow-y and the bench of the kitchen table is a different yellow-y wood. I don’t love this wallpaper, either, but I appreciate the effort to break up the wall so that the whole house isn’t just various pieces of wood.

Through one doorway, we have a little room that looks like it is currently being used for storage.

Screenshot: Zillow

This room has a lot of potential to me, but I do not understand why the ceiling has been dropped to cut off the nice big window. Presumably this is because there is a room upstairs, but it’s a shame, don’t you think? This little room with the big window could be a really nice small bedroom or office.

Let’s go look at the other side of the house. Here’s the view from the door to the diamond window room.

Screnshot: Zillow

OK, now I am starting to understand what Dave meant when he said, “Sure, the weird angles absolutely obliterate a lot of space that would otherwise be useful on the inside, but there’s a lot of exposed wood that gives the house a mountain cabin vibe (are all houses in Vermont mountain cabins? I really do not know this).”

These are some weird angles! We have a flat ceiling by the door, and a pitched one by the other wall. There is this large dividing section in the mddle of the room that seems to be stairs? Is it stairs? Hm. We can also see a peek of what I would call “design choices,” in that that is the nicest thing I can think of to say about the paint decisions for these walls. Imagine how much nicer this would look if that were a nice olive and mustard yellow instead. That’s okay, we can fix this when we move in.

Screenshot: Zillow

Oh, I see. OK the column in the middle is both the staircase and the galley kitchen. Now, I do not mind a galley kitchen, but this one is VERY small. It’s about the same size as the one in my apartment and let me tell you, it is not easy to cook in there. But there seem to be a lot of built-in shelves and the sink seems deep. I think we could make it work, and the windows on the front wall are gorgeous. The light in this place is just immaculate. I love it.

Let’s keep moving. It seems like the layout of this house is much simpler than these photos would have you believe. It’s just one long rectangle, but the roof is pitched. Essentially, it’s an A-frame, and in this next room we really see the beauty of that.

Screenshot: Zillow

This gets a huge “Hell yeah!” from me. Look at this room!!!! Damn. It is so beautiful. I love this giant box window that allows light to come in from all four sides. I love that it feels like a botanical garden on one side of the room and like a normal, cozy living room on the other. I even like these big round plush chairs. This room is excellent. Look at this shit:

Screenshot: Zillow

A platform window bed!!! A READING NOOK! Imagine how nice it would be to climb up into this little velvet oasis with a book and some coffee and have a cozy time. Wow. I love imagining this. I don’t love the decision to put some kind of exercise machine up there in my cozy zone, but we will not do this. We are smart. We will make the cozy zone so cozy no one will ever want to leave. We will all stay cozy all winter because what does the cozy zone face?

Screenshot: Zillow

A WOOD-BURNING STOVE!!!! Wow. We will be the coziest group of all. I assume those doors go to outside which will be helpful for gathering more wood for our stove. But we cannot stay here in the cozy zone forever. We need to see the rest of the house. Let’s go upstairs, shall we?

Screenshot: Zillow

OK, here is a bedroom. This is fine. I don’t like this gray carpet at all and I also do not like the vision I can project of me becoming crammed underneath the slope of that wall after my dog commandeers 75 percent of the bed. I would probably bonk my head so many times on that sloped ceiling that I would become concussed. I do like the little diamond window.

One thing to note about this house is that there are very few doors. A lot of the rooms are created by half walls and sloped walls. Here, just on the other side from our bed, we have a beautiful office that I would like to have:

Screenshot: Zillow

This is really cute. This floor is kind of set up like a bunch of cubicles, which isn’t the worst thing in the world but does mean that you would need to be very comfortable with anyone you invited over. I feel like sound probably carries in this house, so no secrets would be allowed. Is that a harp in the corner? Maybe if we played the harp, we could tell some secrets very quietly.

Screenshot: Zillow

Next we have a little library with another big box window. Perfect. No notes. I will take it.

But I do have some notes on the single bathroom because look at this:

Screenshot: Zillow

OK, first things first. What is happening in this bath/ shower? It looks very deep in there. At least three tiles deep which I assume means it comes up to about your knee. But the wall is also very wide. So what are you supposed to do? Stand on one side and step down into the slippy tub? What if you loose your balance and then you slip forward and now you are naked, and … looking down through a window into the living room? What? This is terrible. Who wants this!

Then we have the mirror, which is a whole other problem. It is facing up? So you have to lean over the sink to see yourself? I cannot imagine a less flattering or less useful angle from which to perceive myself. No thank you!

There are a couple more cozy nooks to see up here, and all of them look perfect in their own way, but they are not interesting, and there is one more surprise to see. Back outside we go, and down a little trail. This is idyllic isn’t it. Smell the sweet air. Does it smell like pine? It does in my imagination. Here it is:

Screenshot: Zillow

At first I thought this was an outhouse, which would have been a very fancy outhouse, but instead it is the tiniest little office. Run your hands on these leaves. That feels nice doesn’t it? Wow let’s go in:

Screenshot: Zillow

Oh my god it’s perfect!!! Wow I would love to have this little house to work in. Imagine it with book shelves. Imagine it with a mini fridge. You could put all your papers on that loft so they aren’t just in piles in a circle around your desk. You could have this little space to go and be by yourself. I’m just gonna stay in here for a little bit, if y’all wanna go ahead and go. I’ll be safe and cozy in this tiny house until I’m ready to be safe and cozy among friends.

This week’s house has been listed on Zillow for $195,000 for 37 days. If you have a bathtub of cash to buy this house with, please invite me out for a week. I want to smell the trees.