Officially, the house is about 3,400 square feet, with five bedrooms and one and a half baths. But there's much more usable space in the basement, attic, and enclosed porch, so it's really about 6,500 square feet. I just figured this out from the property assessment records, and I'm staggered. We live in 786 feet. Buying a house this big for two people and some cats has to be insane.
But just look at how unusual it is. It's loaded with authentic, preserved late-Victorian detail, which we love more than anything:
Front hall, with fireplace
Parlor with large bow window
Dining room with beamed ceiling
Library with fireplace and Gothic bookcase
Our financial advisor (free advice is a perq from my husband's employer) emphatically told me that buying this house would be "a financial no-brainer." But there's more to it than money, of course. There are many other questions to consider. And it seems they are all multiple-choice questions, and we keep picking different answers each time. Because we're only guessing; we have no facts:
Do we want to leave Boston?
Do we want to live in a giant house?
Do we want to live in such a gorgeous house if it means living in Quincy?
Can we handle the commute: taking 93 or the Red Line to Boston and Cambridge?
Can we live without thrice-weekly Anna's burritos?
Would I miss my gym?
Would I pine for everything in Back Bay and Boston?
Would we ever see Wendy in a house that big?
Do we want to acquire roomfuls of furniture at this point in our lives?
Would we be able to make friends in Quincy?
Would I find nice walking routes since I walk 5 or 6 miles every day?
Would I feel isolated or bored out there (no bookstore, even)?
Is taking care of a giant old house more of a pain than we realize? (Yes)
Would friends ever come to visit us?
Could I learn to drive out there — and learn to like it, too?
If we could find a handsome Victorian condo or small house with some private outdoor space in our price range in Back Bay or nearby (including Brookline, Cambridge, Somerville), this dilemma might vanish in a moment. Or not. The house has a grip on us.
We've gone to Quincy to walk and drive around and we're never persuaded that it would work for us. Our lives would be radically different and there's be some hard adjustments for sure. But the house itself is a dream come true. I guess we need to visit Quincy some more. Between you and me, it's kind of depressing once you get beyond the nicer part of Wollaston.
If we decide to buy it, it's risky, but it's also risky if we don't — we might be kicking ourselves for months or years if someone else decides to buy it first. It's a lot to think about. So we keep talking to people and getting advice. Sooner or later, someone will give us an insight, or some new wisdom will finally percolate in one of our brains, or the answer will somehow arrive out of the blue. And we'll know what to do. We're more than ready.