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Housing Rosemary

In the last few months, I’ve looked at more than two dozen houses for sale. Part of this process has been sorting out what I really want and what I really don’t want in a house. In the beginning, I was looking for a couple acres out in the boondocks. Now that my brain has calmed down a bit, and the horror of April 2016 has faded a little, I’ve come to realize that I need two acres like I need a hole in the head. (Oops, did I say that out loud? I guess I’m clearly in the anger phase.)

I sat down recently and made a list of the spiritual qualities I yearn to find in a house, such as beauty, peace, harmony, simplicity, elegance, quietude, restfulness, utility, renewal, and joy. That list has helped so very much.

And I’ve come to realize that if I live in isolation (as I would on 2-3 acres), my mental health would deteriorate. As a life-long introvert, this is an epiphany. Yesterday, I had a small party at my home to celebrate my 58th birthday (and the fact that I’m still alive). The very presence of my nearest and dearest friends gave me an emotional and spiritual lift that has remained 20 hours later.

Still, it is discouraging that The House™ hasn’t appeared yet. I’m weary of living in a rental, and yet striving to be patient.

In the meantime, the good news is, I made it to 58, and that, in and of itself, is a bit of a miracle.

To see my latest “dream house” - click here.

To read about kit homes, click here.

And to understand more about this decision, click here.

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One of the loveliest gifts I received yesterday came from Clyde Nordan (

One of the loveliest gifts I received yesterday came from Clyde Nordan, a professional photographer and kind friend. He snapped my photo when I attended a Memorial Day event in downtown Portsmouth, and then managed to place me in Rome!

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One of the must haves in my new home is adequate space for a koi pond. Im sorry I dont remember where I snagged this photo, but it was from a ponding forum, and it was a fellows own backyard.

One of the "must haves" in my new home is adequate space for a koi pond. I'm sorry I don't remember where I snagged this photo, but it was from a ponding forum, and it was a fellow's own backyard. One day (soon), I'm going to have a koi pond much like this. If you have a koi pond in your back yard and live within 100 miles of Hampton Roads, and have a spare guest room, please contact Rose immediately. :)

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Another item on the must have list is a sunporch. If it doesnt have a suporch, it must have a place where a sunporch can be added.

Another item on the "must have" list is a sunporch, preferably without plumbing fixtures. This lovely older home was in Suffolk. Admittedly, it wouldn't be hard to remove this toilet and patch the hole, but the house had other issues that were deal killers. That, and this "misplaced toilet" thing reminds of a bad dream.

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To read about kit homes, click here.

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  1. Sandy Pilarski
    July 5th, 2017 at 08:48 | #1

    Oh my gosh! This is such a fun read! You sound like you’re back, Rosemary!

    I can’t wait for you to find your new house.

  2. Beverley Pinkerman
    July 5th, 2017 at 08:52 | #2

    We had a lovely time yesterday! Happy to hear your spirits were lifted by all of us.

    Mike drove by the house you were talking about on the way home.

    It is in a lovely neighbourhood and I love the yard.

    He spoke to an electrician and he said the walls would have to be cut into and it was not a job he personally would do.

  3. July 5th, 2017 at 09:09 | #3

    Thanks so much, Bev. I was so happy to see you and Mike yesterday. You always make me laugh so hard, and that’s just what I needed.

    Plus, I am so grateful to know someone like Mike who can authoritatively answer the hard questions about old houses!

    Thanks for the quick feedback. :D

    “Catastrophic failure…” Every time I thought of that phrase (and your response), I laughed out loud for the rest of the night!

  4. Dale Wolicki
    July 5th, 2017 at 12:36 | #4

    I think the house appeared but you’re just overwhelmed with everything going on, so just keep looking.

    As I have said there is a pile of brick and wood and shingles on every street corner.

  5. elvis newton
    July 5th, 2017 at 13:28 | #5

    You could get a small piece of land and just BUILD a new replica of some smaller Sears house.

    Any builder could recreate plans and after 80 years any original you might find would already have updated insulation, plumbing, anyway. etc.

    Just research building regs first to make sure you can build what you want. For resale, at least 3 bedrooms. You can build external garage later.

    Not much more money than a used house, and you get what you want in 6 to 9 months.

    Perhaps some city lot in old neighborhood that’s had a tear down.

  6. Lisa Allen
    July 5th, 2017 at 15:41 | #6

    Hi Rosemary,

    Yesterday I found out that our 1933 built house which I love for it’s subtle Art Deco era looks was actually the Sears Maplewood. (Although it has been enlarged by an additional Bedroom and bathroom by the previous owner.) Yesterday, I also found your blog…I love it!

    Today though I was touched by your story about your tragedy and how you are working to get better and back on your feet.

    I’m so sorry for your loss. You see, I too was an attorney and have been considering going back to practicing law after a few years of not practicing.

    However something inside keeps telling me to run away from it instead.

    You are a strong woman to keep going. I’m glad you are getting back to your blogging and the things that you love.

    I shall keep you in my thoughts and hope that things continue to get better for you. Happy belated Birthday!!

  7. Debi
    July 6th, 2017 at 08:27 | #7

    One thing you do have to give that sun porch bathroom - the view is a lot better than most loos!

    Blessings on you and on your search for a home with character and grace.

  8. Rhonda LaPointe Frazier
    July 6th, 2017 at 08:49 | #8

    @Lisa Allen
    Your post is touching because you’ve only just discovered the phenomenon that is known as Rosemary.

    Yet, you’re already seeing how special she is. Have you also joined her facebook page?

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/searsmodernhomes/?multi_permalinks=10154969714128422%2C10154968169898422%2C10154968163768422&notif_t=group_activity&notif_id=1499204085757341

  9. Elvis Newton
    July 7th, 2017 at 18:42 | #9

    Is this a bad area? One acre wooded for $7,500

    It must have water and sewer as other houses are on street. You could build a “Vallonia”

    https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1317-Selden-Ave-Norfolk-VA-23523/2142898143_zpid/

  10. July 7th, 2017 at 19:53 | #10

    Norfolk is hell. That’s where I lived for 10+ years with my husband, the Chief Deputy City Attorney (for Norfolk). I won’t be going back there. :(

  11. Elvis Newton
    July 8th, 2017 at 08:00 | #11

    @Sears Homes ,

    I’m sorry. Out of all the lots I could have picked to give an example…

    Only trying to illustrate that empty city lots are everywhere and the cost to build what you like is not anymore expensive than buying if you control process with your specs and already have a city lot.

    It’s only labor and materials and you’ve taken out the supply and demand factor that is driving up prices of used houses.

  12. July 8th, 2017 at 10:55 | #12

    I appreciate the effort, Elvis.

    I’ve looked at lots in Suffolk and have even investigated building a new home on one of those lots. If I haven’t found a home by September, I’ll probably do that. For now, I continue to hope that the right house will appear soon.

    Thanks so much.

  13. Gemma
    July 8th, 2017 at 12:21 | #13

    I’m needing some search criteria here, dear Rosie.

    Size, baths/beds, price, areas definitely not interested in…

    Just doing a precursory search in the Hampton Roads area on Zillow showed some houses that looked like they could have been small Sears models.

    Have you a list of such that could be a reference for you in this search?

  14. July 8th, 2017 at 17:17 | #14

    Hi Gemma,

    Again, mega-monster major brownie points for the term of endearment! :D My mother called me “Rosie” occasionally and she also called me “Dearie” so those two words are very precious!

    I’m eager to be west of Portsmouth, so that’s Suffolk, Smithfield, Windsor, and even southern Chesapeake. So much of Chesapeake is so overbuilt, but the southern edge is very peaceful.

    I’d love to find an older home (1950s or 60s) that’s in good repair and has been lovingly cared for. I really detest modern kitchens. They just don’t set well with me.

    I’d seriously consider Portsmouth, but mainly “Churchland” (the western part of the city). More than anything, I need at least 1/2 acre for my koi pond. The one I’m going to build.

  15. July 8th, 2017 at 17:18 | #15

    @Debi
    Debi, “a home with character.” That really is what I want. That nails it.

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