Thursday, September 20, 2012

Our House, Part 1

Such a cozy room
The windows are illuminated
By the sunshine through them
Fiery gems for you
Only for you

Our house is a very, very fine house
With two cats in the yard
Life used to be so hard
Now everything is easy...
                                                                              Our House - Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

Living room (before): Vigas (big log beams), a kiva (sculptured beehive fireplace shaped by hand with adobe), and a short banco (built-in adobe seat near the ladder)

New Mexico dreams: During the long, snowy winters in New Hampshire, we thought about a perfect adobe house in the desert. We learned about the architectural features of adobes and often said the words out loud, just to hear them--Kiva, bancos, vigas, latillas, nichos. We were pretty sure we would never be able to find such a house that we could actually afford.

Oh, I could find adobe style houses online. Digging through the listings for frame and stucco fake adobe homes in subdivisions, I would occasionally unearth a home that was real adobe. They were usually very, very expensive custom homes, nice to look at. But they were way beyond our means and they didn't really fit our philosophy of small and simple being best.

Years passed: Once we were relocated to eastern New Mexico for Beez's job and had started looking for our retirement home in Las Cruces, I even found a listing for the very house we would eventually buy. It was charming, but overpriced and way more than we could spend. It kept showing up in the listings, month after month. I got to know it so well that I noticed when one of the original two Indian jar stained glass windows was replaced with a new set of French doors, and when the outside was repainted. I would show Beez, and say "this is what we're looking for, just at a different price."

And then, one sleepless night, I checked out the listing once more. My jaw dropped: The sellers had apparently gotten so fed up with getting no offers that they dropped the price by $40,000! I called the next morning and made an appointment for us to drive the four hours to Las Cruces the following Saturday to see the place. Never mind that our Clovis house hadn't sold yet.

And then, things got even better. On the Thursday of that week we got a firm offer on the Clovis house, accepted it, and dusted off the checkbook for our Saturday viewing.

I still remember my feelings, driving toward the outskirts of town, thinking this place can't be as good as it looks in the listing, and then, seeing it come into view. Nestled into a pecan orchard, with a big patio and a gorgeous view of the mountains that had never been mentioned in the real estate ad.

Oh, sure, central heating had never been mentioned in the real estate ad either (I had noticed the omission) because there wasn't any. That probably explained why the house had languished on the market for so long. Or, perhaps, people were looking for newer faux adobe houses in subdivisions. I'm just glad no one else grabbed our house before we did.

Living room (after):
You can see a nicho in the wall to the right of the kiva. New tile floor. Visiting English sheepdog Bentley.
The story is continued in Our House, Part 2.


Joyful said...

Lovely story, and lovely home. It seems the house was waiting just for you and Beez ;-)

Sylvia K said...

I love your new house, Clairz, and I'm so glad the price finally dropped!! Terrific!! Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!

Kate said...

In your case, "good things come to those who wait," definitely is true. Beautiful casa , Clariz. Am wondering, tho, what is the heat situation?

Kate said...

PS. Could you find one for us, too? (No joke!)

clairz said...

Yes, the house was waiting for us for sure! The heating situation was cleared up with a couple of units, which I'll explain in the next post.

Kate! Really? I would certainly keep an eye out for cool adobes for you. Don't think that I am joking. We've helped three other friends from other parts of the country (and even Canada) to relocate down here, serving as property-checker-outers for faraway friends dreaming of life in the desert. They're all here now, and are glad they came. Tell me if you are serious.

becky said...

Hi Clair.
First of all, I lOVE that song... I used to hear it growing up. Secondly, I LOVE your story! I love the idea of fate, kismet, perfect timing. It gives me hope that one day I will have that little home I dream of too :)

Mary Hulser said...

We really ARE glad we came, Clair, and your friendship is a huge part of the glad. I kinda almost miss those dreaming days, back east, but I don't miss the snow outside the window.

NMgran said...

Clairz, your wonderful photos and descriptions played a part in my move to northern New Mexico in July. It's everything I dreamed of-- and more----and yes, I love my little adobe home with its vigas and kiva and banco!! Thank you for your great blog===

NMgran said...

Clairz, your wonderful photos and descriptions played a part in my move to northern New Mexico in July. It's everything I dreamed of-- and more----and yes, I love my little adobe home with its vigas and kiva and banco!! Thank you for your great blog===

Kate said...

Shalom! Today is the International Day of Peace (9/21/12) May you and all countries know and enjoy peace.

Have a week-end, enjoying your wonderful house!

clairz said...

Thank you all for your comments. Penny/Joyful, it really is the perfect house for us and we are grateful for it every day.

Sylvia, of course the house I am talking about is the one we moved into in 2009. I am still marveling at how it all came about.

Mary, I think about your story about coming to NM from MA and smile every day. You've changed our lives by coming!

And NMGran, I think you are new to commenting here. I am thrilled to hear that my blog might have had a part in bringing you to NM. It's a wonderful place, no?

Shalom to you all!

Deb from WhatsInMyAttic said...

Well, first, you need to keep Bentley because he adds to the look of your home! Second, this is a great story of finding your home, and I truly love it. So, how cold does it get in New Mexico in the winter?

clairz said...

Deb, this was probably one of the last photos taken of Bentley, as he died this past summer after a long and love-filled life.

You asked about winter temps here. This is a link to some weather data. The winter nights are cold because we are in the high desert (3900 to 4200 feet in altitude), but the days are delightful. We sometimes get a dusting of snow but it usually melts by the next day. When we lived in New Hampshire we kind of hibernated in the winter; here we kind of hibernate in July and love love love the rest of the year.

Nan said...

Oh, I loved reading this! Thanks for telling your story.