It was a little over a year ago I embarked on my journey of becoming a home owner in the city of San Francisco. Let’s not exaggerate though, a home in San Francisco is really a 1 to 2 bedroom apartment and if you are lucky perhaps a single family home with 3+ bedrooms. Buying a place in one of the most coveted cities in the United States, maybe even in the world, all by myself, was a huge personal accomplishment. One I am still very proud of to, but also very frustrated by. When you dream of buying a home you envision certain “must have” criteria for your house. I knew buying in San Francisco would be tough, but still imagined I could find a 2-bedroom home, with maybe some outdoor space, and in a lively neighborhood I would want to live in as doable. I never expected my first place to be over half a million dollars, come with 1 bedroom, and I would be lucky to have gotten it.
From the moment I bought my house I have had nothing but a constant rollercoaster of emotion. Let’s start with the fact that I do love my place. I love it for its location, central to everything in the city. It is an old Victorian built in 1893 with nothing but that San Francisco charm we all know so well. I have loved older homes my entire life. I have vivid memories of my grandparents old Victorian with the skeleton keys to unlock every room, the large mantels over the fire place’s, a hidden back stairwell, and an attic to escape to. I always wanted a home that held a secret. And yes if I could I would build a secret passageway behind a book shelf, I am just that kind of girl.
When I first moved into my place I fantasized what the house was when it was first built. How it must have looked standing tall and vibrant in an area surrounded by trees and fields. Who were the original owners? What was their day to day life in the house. How did it all look before it was broken out into 5 separate apartments. All the stories it must hold. The character is by far my favorite attribute to my home. I love the original hardwood floors, the tall ceilings, the brass door knobs, and the trees standing right outside of all of the windows.
What saddens me about my place is really just a few things. My place is rather large for a 1-bedroom at 800 sq. feet, but it has an awkward layout where the bedroom and bathroom are massive and the kitchen and living room are on the smaller side. This makes it harder to entertain, which is by far one of my favorite past times. I always imagined as an adult I would have a home where I could have people stay the night at when they came to visit or after having one too many drinks. I would have an open kitchen and dining room with a large table to throw dinner parties, I would have a patio to enjoy an after dinner drink in the summer or a cup of coffee in the morning. I guess when you live in the city by the bay your home cant have it all because your city already does. You are forced to sacrifice space for your environment.
With all of that said one of the best parts of being a home owner is if you want change you can do it. You don’t have to settle. All you need is time, resources, and an imagination. From the moment I placed a bid on my place I knew I wanted to redo the kitchen. I have always seen the kitchen as the heart of the home and although mine was not “awful” I knew it was not what I wanted at all.
We moved into our home in August of last year. We immediately un-packed and then life got busy, which meant little focus on our home after those initial first few weeks. Now that life has slowed down for a moment and I can breathe I am taking advantage. I decided my goal for Q2 (can you tell I am always focused on business) is to make my home a priority. I want to nest, to build, and to make it the place I envision in my head. Maybe it will not become a 2 bedroom, but it can be a place to entertain, a home I am proud of. This last couple of week’s I have started the steps to redo the kitchen. I feel excited and overwhelmed at the same time. Right now plans have been built, almost all of the bids are in, which means hopefully in the next week or so I can sign off and let the work begin! Biggest change? Bringing down a wall to make an open kitchen and living room. I can hardly wait!