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So, we bought a recording studio

We bought a house. Because it had a recording studio. So we tell people we bought a recording studio and it came with a house (the truth). When we remember to mention it. We closed on the house in March, didn't move in until June, and I think our Christmas card is going to have to be a "new home" announcement as well. We're the people who barely told you they were pregnant before they starting showing up with a baby, so I guess this is par for the course with us.

So here is the story of our house:

Last year, August 2016, everyone we knew was house hunting, so I decided to poke around and see what types of houses were on the market that could accomodate a recording studio, figuring it would be fun and maybe educational. Like maybe I'd learn that there really were two family houses in Arlington that were reasonably priced so that we wouldn't have to rent out one floor and could instead turn it into a studio. Or that houses with generous in-law apartments were a dime a dozen and we'd have no problem finding a place with a second private entrance and extra kitchen that could be transformed into studio space. In five year when we were ready to learn all about house hunting and buy a house.

Instead, I clicked on a listing for a pink house in Bedford and read "amazing 2000sqft outbuilding complete w/ heat and AC has served as a well-known music studio." It was way out of our price range, but we thought it would be fun to see anyway. So we set up a time to see the house, drove past it a few days before, and canceled the showing, because we knew didn't like the location, it was a house we couldn't afford, so why even tempt ourselves. But now we were connected with the realtor. And the house stayed on the market. And price kept coming down. And we were curious.

So in November we decided to see it after all - maybe it would give us an idea of what could actually be done with a home studio. Again, for ideas whenever our future house hunting began. We walked in the house and I immediately knew it was not my house. It felt like someone else's Cape house that hadn't been opened for a few seasons. I could imagine how I would use the space, but couldn't imagine it as mine. I didn't even need to see the studio, but of course, that was the whole point. We walked across the yard, entered the dark, run down looking barn like building, into a tired, dreary, empty room (the "lounge") and then into the control room. At which point I knew I was not going to win - Tim was in love. From there we went into the live room where I'm sure every other potential buyer saw only the lack of parallel walls, signatures on the wallpaper, bumperstickers everywhere, poor lighting, cement slab in the middle of otherwise carpeted floor (with a chest cooler hanging out on it under a spot light - we didn't check to see if there was a body in the cooler), but Tim saw the possibility of portable isolations booths and 35 person choirs, chamber concerts of contemporary music ensembles and a place for a baby grand piano some day. I had to shake him out of his revery and suggest he take one last look at the house before we left to remind himself why we were not buying this place.

We talked about it for the next weeks, told family about it at Thanksgiving and Christmas, went to see it again. It was still not my house, but maybe it was Tim's studio. And then in January, we made an offer. A way way way under asking offer. Which of course was not accepted. So we made our best offer - the best we could do on our own - still $60,000 under asking - and at the same time, after being on the market for a year, they got another offer. But these nutty sellers (did I mention the indoor tekkie bar Pirates of the Caribbean themed room? or the clowns tucked in places throughout the house?) wanted to sell to us! Even if it meant taking less than the other buyer was offering. If we could raise our offer by $30,000. GULP. So we talked with our families about whether this was really a good idea, whether it was an idea they could get behind enough to help us make happen, talked with a financial planner to make sure we weren't making a terrible financial decision, received generous help from family and friends, and bought Tim's recording studio, in a town that we knew we loved, with a great school system, and a house that we know had to somehow make our home.

Making this colonial-ish house, built in 1900, added on to some time in the 1960s, with the interior aesthetics of the 1970s and not much TLC from the previous owners for the past few years (they had retired from the recording business and making rum in Florida...) has been a project. It is not the house I ever imagined buying. I always imagined small, square, move in ready. This one is big, rambley and needing tons of cosmetic work and a fair amount of real, work. And the studio needs a lot of cosmetic attention too. But slowly we're chipping away at it.

We closed in March, 12 hours before a blizzard, so immediately had to figure out how to get a 9 car driveway (the house) a second driveway and parking lot (the studio) cleared and it's been "adventures" ever since. We've had friends and family streaming through to help with painting painting and more painting (sand paint over layers and layers of wallpaper - right now we're just trying to get everything from tired dingy yellowy beige to clean and bright; we'll try to make it smooth another year...), fixing, demoing, and most importantly, encouraging.

Character, potential, charm, interest are all actives that have been used to describe our house. They are adjectives I never planned to buy. But I'm getting used to it. And the boys love their "big new house." And we are making it our home.

So there you have it - we never took the birth class, so why we ever thought we'd go about buying a house in the normal way is beyond me. But in the end, buying a studio that came with a house when we were not house hunting seems to have worked for us. Provided the 20 year old roofs hold up this winter.

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