Patchwork Times: Ruby slippers and a gift from the house gods

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you may have read that the house hunt is on again. I’ve decided that I really can’t peacefully coexist with spiders that are 3″ across! No lie! They really are THAT big when spread out, with bodies to match; more like tiny tarantulas than house spiders I tell ya’! There have been others since the last time I wrote about the spider issue, and in fact they’ve only gotten bigger since then. We have no idea how they get into the house, or where they’re hiding before they show up on the walls or the floor at unexpected times.

Honestly, this house is so full of defects and actual holes that we couldn’t possibly ferret them all out to close them up to keep the house anywhere close to spider-free. When you consider all the other issues we’ve had with the house and the exceedingly freakish and totally unhelpful landlords, the spiders are just the straws that broke the camel’s back. We’re done, and we’re moving on!

I’ve spent a huge amount of time lately looking for a house online and through the Army housing office, and we’ve actually looked at a couple in person which were totally unsuitable for one reason or another. But yesterday we struck gold, and the funniest part is, this new house fell in my lap like a gift from the house gods! I placed a classified ad in the online version of the Stars & Stripes newspaper, not really expecting it to bear fruit. I have no idea whether the ad ran in the print version of the paper or not, but I received a call from a lovely woman who said she was trying to find someone to rent out their house because they were being transferred back to the US, and she left her number.

I called and talked with her, and the house sounded really nice with lots of luxury extras, but it was about 15 minutes further away from all the Army posts and ITMan’s office than we are now, and I just thought it was too far away. ITMan works in Heidelberg, and this house is actually almost in Darmstadt, which is just barely south of Frankfurt for heaven’s sake! I even resisted telling ITMan about the house for a few days, because I just knew we didn’t want to be that far away, and from the description, it didn’t really sound big enough anyway.

I finally told him about it, and he said we should at least look at it. We went back and forth about it for another few days. I finally gave in and called the woman back yesterday morning, and we went out for a look in the afternoon. I didn’t have high hopes at all. We took separate cars, and I arrived first, only to look at the outside and think “ITMan’s not going to like this!” and I wasn’t even sure I could get past it. One wall of the house is right on the sidewalk, right beside a fairly busy street! It’s almost like a townhouse, but not connected to the house next door. You have go through a gate to get to the front door, and a larger gate next to that opens where you can put a car, but still! Right on the sidewalk with no front yard, which is definitely not what we’re used to. I even called ITMan on his cell phone and told him he wasn’t going to like it.

But after we saw the inside and the grounds (which we have already affectionately termed “The Compound”), we knew the house was perfect for us and the distance didn’t matter one whit! Originally built in 1910 (!), the house was completely gutted and renovated in 2004. The original brick façade was retained, but everything else in the house is new. The property is fairly narrow but so long that it reaches all the way to the street behind, which is how you access a separate two car garage after opening the electric remote-control gate and garage door.

There are so many cool things about this house, like the fabulous kitchen and dining area, awesome appliances, a cathedral ceiling and a balcony in the master bedroom, and little luxuries like electric rolladen (outside window shades), whirlpool jacuzzi tub, and heated floors in some areas, that I could go on and on and on about it all! But the absolute coolest and best part? (insert drum roll here!)

Ruby slippersThere is a separate cottage on the property between the house and the garage, and this will be my quilt studio and office! The cottage was built at the same time as the house, and has also been fully renovated with the same little luxurious touches as the main house. There are two floors; the first has a full kitchen, a full bath and a washer and dryer (!) next to the main room and the second floor is a very cozy little loft type area with slanted ceilings up under the roof. It may not really have as much wide open space as I have now in my studio, but it’s mine, ALL mine! I feel like I’m wearing ruby slippers and I’ve tapped my heels together three times and I’m already on my way home!

The cottage is the number one reason I think of this house as a gift from the house gods. We’re told that the cottage was originally built to house a tailor’s shop, because the man who built the house way back in 1910 was a tailor. The next tenant in the cottage was also a tailor. And now there’s me, an artist in fabric as well. I believe in signs, and if that isn’t a sign of good things, I don’t know what is!

I know this post is slightly useless without pictures of the house and grounds, but I forgot my camera of course, and I’m too excited about the house not to share the news here even without pics. I’ll be going back to the house with GuitarGirl and LittleOne later in the week so that they can check it out, and will ask the current tenant if I can take a few pictures while I’m there. We won’t be moving until early March probably since the current tenants aren’t leaving until then, but that’s okay. I have lots of time to plan, declutter, and save money to pay the moving company. And now that I know we’re getting out of this horrid house with its mini tarantulas that we are in now and forget all about it, I’m content. Pictures soon!

15 thoughts on “Patchwork Times: Ruby slippers and a gift from the house gods

    1. Yes, we can hardly wait for it! I think I’ll have to put together before and after pictures or videos or something, just to show how big a difference there is between this place and the new one.

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  1. The house you’re in now sounds fraught with problems, between spiders and tax man subterfuge. This new house sounds like a great opportunity for you. And a great vicarious adventure for me–I love your house tales!

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  2. Wow, two things: What a dream home! How very exciting! and 2: I wasn’t aware you were in Germany. My dream place. I LOVE Heidleberg! How lucky are YOU?!!!
    xxoo
    ~a

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    1. Hi Annie! Yes, we are ecstatic about the house, and even more so after my second visit on Wednesday with the girls.

      And we are lucky—now that we won’t be living in what I’ve come to think of as “The Dump!” The house we’re in now is truly the worst house we’ve ever lived in all the way around. It’s hard to like living here because of that! It will be better in the new house for sure!

      Did you live in Heidelberg at one time?

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      1. No I have never lived in Germany, but visited Heidelberg once and was so charmed. I’ve been to Germany (Southern) three times and counted each one as such a magical visit. I love it there. How lucky you are.
        ~a

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