Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Vintage 1970s Dream Home: I've Fallen In {Completely Irrational} Love

Note: This is Part One of my series of posts about this fabulous '70s gem of a house. Be sure to keep reading because you're going to see something unbelievable at the end of this post. Then you'll be dying to see more, so click to visit Part TwoPart Three, and Part Four for more wood paneling than you've ever dreamed of photos of this amazing home.

Hey there! Long time, no post! Between my other blog (Lisa Loves Logan - check out today's post about all the great food factory tours and free samples in Cache Valley) and the real estate course I'm taking online and my family and my home and my house hunt, and a freelance writing project for a soon-to-be-launched website, I have been swamped! I want to give just a teaser, though, of the house that has stolen my heart. I visited it at the Valley-Wide Open House Day that was held in Cache Valley a couple of Saturdays ago.

It's a truly vintage 1970s house that is $25,000 above the upper price limit I had set for us, wrong for us in size and function, and in need of massive amounts of updating. And yet I just can't get it out of my mind! It's like I'm a new high school graduate with a crush on a handsome older man with a bad reputation. I know it's not gonna work out but I just keep turning over in my mind how I can make it happen. And now no other house (except a beautiful, already-updated one from the same era, that is also the same degree out of my price range) seems to be able to capture my heart.

Okay, without further ado...here it is.

Somewhere in Smithfield, Utah, hidden behind this dramatic iron gate...

...looking out over this view...

...lives a circa 1977, 5112 sq. ft. mansion on almost an acre of land:

And hidden deep, deep, deep within the basement of that mansion is something I have never seen outside of a 1980s advertisement for a cheesy honeymoon resort in the Poconos...

{{{scroll dooooooooowwwwnnnn...I want to build some suspense here!}}}

...a HEART-SHAPED bathtub, sitting by itself in a large, red-shag-carpeted, vintage-Mylar-zodiac-wallpapered room!!!!!

Have you ever, ever, ever seen anything like it? I was super, duper confused about this room until I read in the listing details that the home has an exercise room. I guess this is it. Wowowowowow...wow! The room is attached to a 3/4 bath, which is attached to a two-room imported Finnish sauna.

Let's get a close-up of that wallpaper, shall we? Gah! It's black and white on three walls and silver Mylar on the back wall.

Now, confession time. Of course the red carpet would have to go. And the tub, unless there is some way to move it or work around it? But, I would totally, totally, totally keep that graphic vintage black and white zodiac wallpaper if at all possible. I'm envisioning my office/guest room. And look, Emily Henderson from HGTV's Secrets of a Stylist works with a graphic black and white wallpaper here:

Photo by Mark Champion, from Emily's blog. Click the link for a lot more cool pictures and close-ups of the wallpaper. Dream headboard, too.
Sooooo, tell me, what do you think? Do you want to see more pictures of the handsome but all-wrong-for me older man (er, HOUSE) I'm infatuated with? Believe me, there is more craziness!

How can I manage to say Farewell To "Can't Buy This House"...because I really want to buy it. I actually could swing the purchase, I think, with some negotiating and financial finagling. But then I wouldn't have a single dollar in my monthly budget for renovating. It's actually in clean, pristine condition. It's completely livable, but you'd just feel like you had gone back in a time machine.

Hmmm. It's that old real estate-buying question. Do you stretch or do you stay conservative? What are your experiences with stretching? Was it worth it? We stayed extremely conservative with our condo purchase, which worked out well for us since we had to rent it out shortly after our purchase. But now we are definitely outgrowing it. If we had stretched instead, we probably wouldn't be looking to move right now. If we stay conservative AGAIN, we will probably have to move again in a few years. We've moved something like 13 times in the past seven years. Boy, am I sick of moving! Time for me to settle down and relax...in a heart-shaped bathtub!


  1. You made my day with this bathtub! Who would ever have that in their house!! I would LOVE to see more of the house, is it all 70s stuff? I didn't get to choose our house since hubby bought it just before we met/got engaged (in a month's time)but I love the 50s brick outside and hate the 50s style structure inside that was done by an incompetent person. After a lot of rennovation it works for us though. Can't wait to see more pictures!!

    1. Love "met/got engaged (in a month's time)" :) Your house is cute, Kar! I will post the rest of the pictures soon. Watch for the royal purple carpet in the master bedroom.

  2. Remember that moving costs money every time you do it too. Is it worth it to buy something that's a size you will NEVER outgrow? Could be. Plus, when you did have the money to start updating, a house that big will go up a lot once it's updated. I have to admit I hated our 1978, overly wallpapered (picture chickens and birdhouses), out of style house when we first looked, but like you, I couldn't get it out of my head. How long has it been on the market? Also, I don't think asking $25K less is unusual with the economy the way it is.

    Not to mention the fact that it's kind of like a fun house. I would be sooo tempted to keep the tub! On top of all that, you will probably have songs like "The Rhythm of Life" stuck in your head all day, every day. Who doesn't want that??

    1. Yay!!! You're that sweet, supportive friend who points out all the nice things about my bad boy, and will still let me cry on her shoulder and not make me feel silly when it doesn't work out! :)

  3. Here comes the big wop-wop (imagine Debbie Downer face and trombone slide). Yes, this house has tons of potential. Yes, you could stay here forever. Yes, you are in love with it. But to carry your analogy a little further...what usually happens when a fresh-out-of-highschool girl and a much older bad boy get together? Not pretty. Besides, if your life has taught you anything, it's that you can't always predict where the future is going to take you. You said it yourself: 13 moves in the last seven years. Could you have foreseen that? Suppose there's yet another move in the future for you. If you have to unload that house -- possibly in varying degrees of renovation, should you manage to find some cash to begin with -- you are going to have a 5,000+ square foot beast that has great appeal to you but isn't really what most buyers are searching for. The other end of the spectrum is that you buy the house and stay forever. May I remind you how long it has taken you to make upgrades to your 1400 square foot townhouse? Tyson's work schedule isn't exactly conducive to lots of DIY projects, and you have enough on your plate without adding a mammoth house that needs something done in every single room. This would be biting off waaaaaaay more than you can chew! All right, Practical Kara is done with her lecture now. Again, sorry to be such a naysayer...but I don't want to see my sister be eaten by a house. :)

    1. Oh wow, you are really hitting me with that trombone! Yes, I know, you are right, as usual, good point, etc. etc. But just let a girl have her crush for a minute, okay? I'm still gonna post the rest of the details.

  4. I had a lot of fun house-hunting and seeing the potential in older homes. Oh, all the projects I could do...a little paint here, and new vanity there...When we finally found the right home I thought we lucked out that it was move-in ready, no needed projects at all. Well after being there a year I'm feeling overwhelmed at all the projects I've thought of doing but haven't been able to do yet. I thought once I'd own a home I'd miraculously have time to do all these things. This is where I'm with Kara. Imagine looking at that red carpet every day for 10 years, because it might take that long to get to that point on your list. And I'm guessing you'll have a larger mortgage with this house which means less money for projects. Same goes for the yard. Debbie Downer! We wanted an acre and "settled" with our .52 lot. Wow, it's a lot of work.

    We looked for houses for like, 3 years. I'd say I fell in love at least 5 times. It's easy for girls like us who fall easily for older men with bad reputations. My husband would make fun of me for getting attached, and then getting my heart broken once I learned the master suite add-on didn't have any heat vents. But there really is another lovable house out there. Even in Cache Valley.

    1. Hey, I'm pretty sure I looked at a house with no heat in the master bedroom addition too! :) It's true. I've fallen in love before and will again. Sigh.

  5. I am so glad you posted that tub photo. Happy day!! I never, ever want to have to clean and maintain that much house (although I would like a room dedicated to toys & playing; and one for exercise, oh! And a library) oh well. Keep on loving and dreaming. You'll fi

    1. Thanks for visiting, Carrie!

      I know what you mean about cleaning such a big place! Truthfully we are looking in the under-3000 sq. ft. range. I don't really even feel like I have my feet under me cleaning-wise in my 1400 sq. ft. place. But then again, maybe that's because everything is always under my feet (babies, toys, etc.) due to lack of space?

  6. That wallpaper!! Love. it. If I were a guest staying in your guest bedroom and you had that wallpaper up I would be oh-so delighted and probably a bit jealous. :) Having done some house-hunting to find our condo (okay, so we moved across the street, but still!) I concur in saying that it really does break your heart. Confession time: Dave and I still make detours to drive by a downtown-Logan, 3-bedroom, unfinished-basement that would probably be ours right now if it hadn't had leaking issues. (To carry your analogy even further, it's like stalking that past-crush even though he has since moved on and married someone else.) :)

    Like yours, my husband is the type who will have his say, and this also created heartbreak, given that our preferences were often so wildly misaligned. (We somehow didn't see that one coming when we started out.) So there's a balance involved there as well.

    As far as biting off more than you can chew...It really depends on who's doing the biting. If these past few years give any indication, Dave and I are pretty lazy and slow about tackling projects. Plus, Dave is very conservative and needs to feel financially secure. Some friends of ours, though, who bought a condo in North Logan at about the same time we did, don't seem to have these hang-ups. They bought a serious fixer-upper even though their situation wasn't ideal for doing lots of renovations (new baby, husband in school, low funds, etc.) but they have really transformed the place in two short years (lots of late nights, sacrificing studying, recruiting family and friends for cheap labor, taking out loans, using vacation and Christmas funds...) So it's worked for them. I guess the trick is just knowing yourself well enough to know what will -or won't- work for you. In the meantime though, a girl's gotta have her dreams, right?

    1. Oops, Laurie. The comment below was a reply to you!

  7. Oooh, you do "drive-bys" of your old-house-flames, too? We were very close to putting an offer in on a house on Canyon Road. Loved the house, loved the yard, loved the island (didn't love the parking, but you can't win 'em all, right). Then, the day we were going for our second walk-through right before offering, the canal broke and washed out the house a few houses to the west. We didn't put in the offer. In many ways it's a good thing we didn't, but we still look at it wistfully when we drive by. People are clearly enjoying the patio and yard that were supposed to be ours!

    Tyson and I can hardly agree on anything, house-wise. That's another reason why this house is a Magic Man ("Come on home, girl, he said with a smile...") -- we both wish we could buy it, though for different reasons. Do you know when/if you plan to move again, and where/what you'd like to buy?

  8. Wow! I definitely would visit more often if you purchase this! I want to see more! I think you could actually not worry about updating anything and instead charge admission for those who want to visit "Lisaland".

    1. Good idea. Lisaland has a nice ring to it, though I might get it confused with Bakerworld.

      Don't think I didn't already imagine a housewarming party with a cover charge!

  9. Hi, do you have any additional photos of that wallpaper?!?! I see 8 of the 12 zodiac signs on it, but I'd love to see the other 4! Thanks!!

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