House of the week: Shotgun on Urquhart Street

My dad would rather pay for something useful, as opposed to something frivolous, so instead of a wedding, I’m getting enough for a down payment on a house and to be perfectly honest, I’m as happy as a clam. But, being this close to my lifelong dream of owning a home has made me one tough customer. When I was browsing through house listings before, I could afford to be whimsical and extravagant because I was just window shopping. But now that this could easily become a reality, I have become quite discriminating and want the best for my dollar.

I don’t plan on raising a family (kids and me just don’t mix), so I don’t have to worry about things like being in an “ultra-safe” neighborhood (whatever that means) or close proximity to a good school. What I would like is to be located closer to downtown where I can more thoroughly enjoy the oldest part of the city, the French Quarter. I also would like to have enough room to comfortably house guests who might want to visit.

Although the sale is pending and I’ll likely miss out on the opportunity, this pretty cool and affordable house on Urquhart Street is quite close to what I’m seeking. Previous owners have made some ugly changes to this historic property, but I’m guessing a lot of elbow grease and some extra cash could restore this awesome “side porch” shotgun to it’s former glory. I’m actually dying to see what’s under those vinyl floors and how the house would look with a proper, wrought-iron gate. Plus, I would love to rip out the drywall that changed those transom doorways into octagonal arches from hell and see how the place looks without so much stuff. I’m something of a minimalist when it comes to furniture and the closest I come to knick knacks are lots and lots of books.

The only worry I have, at least from what little I can discern from the listing, is that the house is in a rather sketchy location. It’s only 5 blocks from the Quarter and I know the neighborhood is changing, I’ve seen it transform drastically over the past ten years, but it still leaves a lot to be desired. That’s probably why this three bedroom and two bathroom shotgun is listed for a mere $80,000. Oh well, though this 75-year old treasure would be a lot of fun to restore, I guess I’ll have to keep looking.

House of the week: Cottage on Telemachus

Being a fan of Greek mythology, I love that a lot of the street names in New Orleans are gods, muses, heroes and titans. For example, this week’s house is on Telemachus Street. Telemachus is the character we follow in the first four chapters of Homer’s Odyssey. Telemachus is searching for his father Odysseus who’s been gone since he left for Troy when Telemachus was just an infant. Searching…isn’t that exactly what I’m doing?

Although I didn’t find any Greek gods along the way, I did find this adorable, renovated cottage in Mid City.  The facade of the house doesn’t give any clue to how awesome it is on the inside. There are bamboo floors, cool Craftsman-like architectural details, two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and a huge deck with a lushly landscaped backyard. Plus, the house is located right between two very cool bars, 12 Mile Limit and Finn McCool’s Irish Pub, not to mention only a couple blocks from Mona’s on Banks and only three blocks from Canal Street (streetcar & parade route).  Heck, it’s even in walking distance of my chiropractor!

Seems like a steal listed at only $199,000

Do you remember…

…this house?

It was the mystery on my street with Katrina-born messages scrawled on the wobbly, leaning fence and so overgrown with flora you could barely see the house.

Last week as John and I set out on foot to our next dining destination, I stopped in my tracks and literally goggled. For weeks they had been clearing away plants from behind the crooked fence, but at last the final barrier had been removed.

I am ecstatic that “they” – whomever they are – have seen their way through to improving this property and I am anxious and excited for what may come of this great, old house. I’m trying not to get my hopes up too high because they may just demolish it and start over, but I have seen men working on it, getting rid of ruined flooring and general debris.

On the other hand, it’s kind of sad-looking. All naked and exposed, shivering on the corner with nothing left to hide behind, its mystery somehow defiled by stripping away its wild facade.

Here’s to the raw, new beginning in 2012…

House of the week: Laurel Street Victorian Double

These posts are really starting to hurt. I didn’t realize how much emotional and psychological torture I had committed myself to when I started these “dream house” posts. For instance, today’s house happened to cause a shooting pain to manifest in my clicker (index) finger that shot up into my shoulder and brought tears to my eyes. The reason? Well, other than my more recent obsession with Sims 3 (RSS injury anyone?), this house is located mere blocks from my first New Orleans apartment on Harmony Street in the famed Garden District.

Located on Laurel Street only a half block away from Louisiana Avenue, this Victorian double shotgun house is all that I want, though priced a bit high at $224,900 (especially for a “fixer-upper”); high ceilings, hardwood floors, central air & heat, huge front & rear porches, 1000 sqare feet per side and over 150 years old. Plus, or should I say more importantly, this cute Victorian is located less than two blocks from Magazine Street and only six blocks from the parade route. Yep, only a hop skip and a jump away from every Mardi Gras parade that rolls down St. Charles Avenue.

Now, wouldn’t you want to come visit? I know I would…

My house of the week: Algiers Point Double

Quite a few of my dreams have come true since moving to New Orleans, the first of which was living here…check! Another dream involved pursuing a career in writing and though that is still in the works, it’s finally begun…check! I also fantasized about meeting the man of my dreams, someone who wanted to ride this ridiculous roller-coaster called “life” with me at his side…check! Now what’s left?

Since I was very little, I’ve dreamed of owning my own house. I even went so far as to draw out floor plans for my many dream homes that included several stories, an indoor pool, a library, wine cellar and a massive walk-in closet. Ah, the dreams of youth…

As I matured, my definitions of the “perfect” house changed quite drastically and not only for the obvious financial obstacles I’d have to overcome. History became an extremely important factor. I want a home that’s been around for a while, over 100 years would be great. Also, older homes (especially in New Orleans) tend to have incredible architectural details and features like super-high ceilings and old, hardwood floors.

Anyhow, since I have this blog at my disposal, I thought I would do a weekly post on homes in New Orleans that I want…homes that are reasonably priced, yet still possess all the gorgeous qualities and details I desire in a house. So, without further ado, here is my first pick:

Located in historic Algiers Point (which is just across the river for those not in the know), this gorgeous double is a total of 2000 square feet, 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms with hardwood floors, 12 foot ceilings and (extra bonus) claw foot tubs.  Not to mention, this particular house has a nice, huge porch where I can watch the world go by. It’s going for $149,000, but the beauty of a double is that I can live in one half and rent out the other…essentially my tenant would be paying my mortgage!

Until I have enough saved for a down payment, it certainly can’t hurt to dream…

The abandoned house on Magazine Street

I’ve always been fascinated by the supernatural.  Ghosts, spirits, and poltergeists became a small obsession of mine, especially when I was younger.  Books relating “true” ghost stories and haunted houses littered my shelves and captured my imagination.  Quite often, these stories would take place in a small rural neighborhood, completely unlike my own but quaint and romantic, where everyone knew everyone else.  There would always be one house or building in the neighborhood that was abandoned and neglected, a target for vandalism and a source for urban legend…not to mention ghosts.

When I would put down the books and explore my own hometown, I would frequently be disappointed.  There really are no abandoned properties in the Bay Area.  Every bit of space that can be used is used.  No property ever stands empty for long, especially houses.

In New Orleans this is simply not true.  There are abandoned properties just about everywhere you look like old warehouses, abandoned homes, half demolished buildings and weed-infested lots. This is not a recent phenomenon either, these abandoned properties were around well before the flooding in 2005 and still exist today.

There is one home in particular that I can’t stop thinking about.  Right on the corner of Magazine Street and Audubon, there is a double shotgun that is so overgrown with ivy and brambles that I point it out every time my boyfriend and I drive by.  Nearly every single time we pass it, hundreds of questions roll through my brain and fantasies arise about the owners…or lack thereof.

Where are the owners?  Are they still inside the house?  Do they still haunt the empty rooms?  What do the neighbors say about this property?  What are the rumors? Did a murder take place behind the ivy draped walls? More than one?

There is a nice bike with a basket leaning upright on the front porch that has ivy growing through it, but is bereft of a chain or lock.  I know this is a terrible question, but why hasn’t it been stolen?  Are thieves even afraid to approach this house?  Perhaps the hip-high brambles are enough of a deterrent…or perhaps something else entirely frightens them away.