The space in the living-dining room was dramatic, with a soaring, arched ceiling, three tall windows, and huge walls that could easily hold built-ins for the hundreds of feet of bookshelves that we need:
We were worried about cats jumping off that low wall and falling down into the living room, but we thought we could come up with some sort of low, glass-barrier solution. Here's the view from the loft:
The kitchen was small, but still much roomier than our current one, and very elegant:
There was no a fireplace, and we really want at least one — but there are solutions for that, too. For example, gel-fuel fireplaces don't require a gas line or any special venting. They burn cleanly (and even crackle, like firewood) for about three hours, using cans of slow-burning fuel that's similar sterno.
We told the listing agent we'd be making an offer; we just needed to talk with our own agent and put the two of them in touch. We kept waiting for a phone call from our agent; who couldn't reach the seller's agent to ask a few more questions. But we heard the next morning that another couple had submitted an offer within a couple of hours of our seeing the place. And the sellers signed it right away, before we had a chance to put together our offer. The agent was very apologetic and seemed a bit stunned. She said she'd asked the sellers not to react so quickly.
Ah, well. The other buyers had beaten us to the chase and won it fair and square. We were asked to submit our offer anyway in case theirs fell through. So we did — and it was handsomely over the asking price as we'd intended all along — but we learned last week that the deal was proceeding.
So it's back to Square 1 for us, but we learned valuable lessons. We check for new listings multiple times every day, sometimes a few times an hour. The next time a prospect appears, we will get in to see it fast and, we hope, first. If we can't reach our agent to arrange this, I'll call the listing agent myself. And if we like it, we'll make an offer right away. No matter what.
No place is ever perfect (and almost no place that we like and can afford has enough space for all of our books). This one was lovely, well-situated, quiet, and would have worked for us, but we will need to work harder and faster... next time.