Since our house-hunt with Trulia began, we have realized that, given our budget, we basically have two choices to make when it comes to bringing our jungalow dreams into a jungalow reality:
1.) Live in a spacious home (like around 1800 sq. ft.) about 20-30 minutes commute to our preferred area of L.A., like in, say, Alta dena.
2.) Live in the general neighborhood we really want to live in (in or around Silverlake/Echo Park) in a small place (like right around 1000 square feet).
It’s not an easy choice. Our current rental is about 1100 Sq. ft. It’s cozy and full. It’s big enough for the three of us (or four of us if you include our cat or 8 of us if you include the stray cats who wonder in through the kitty door and think they own the place.) But at the same time, we have no dining room and Ida’s bedroom used to be my closet. But the location is SO good. We’re a 5 minute drive from Downtown, Silverlake and any number of freeways. We are a hop-skip and a jump from museums and cafe’s, amazing restaurants, lots of friends, the nursery schools we’ve applied to for Ida for the Fall, and we are also 20 minutes to my parents’ house who live on the West Side and 20 minutes from my in-laws who live in Pasadena.
With this in mind, we decided to keep an open mind and see what’s out there. We really, really like Alta Dena. There are funky vegetarian restaurants and good schools and it’s pretty close to places like York Blvd. in Highland Park so that the gallery/shopping/hipster juice bar vibe we’ve grown accustom to would be about a 15 minute ride away. But it is far from the nursery-schools that we’ve applied to for Ida and about an hour away from my parents’ place on the West Side which I don’t love. But none-the-less we’ve seen some great houses there.
Our favorite house in the Alta Dena area is seriously huge by our standards. It’s a three bedroom two bathroom. It’s on a 9000 Sq. ft. lot and is 1800 Sq. ft. It’s kinda far out from Echo Park (about a 25 minute drive without traffic) and the area is very residential. The inside of the home needs updating…but has SO much potential:
There’s lots of great natural light. I don’t even mind these tile floors. They actually remind me a lot of my apartment in Italy.
And I picture this brick mantel painted white. Let’s also ditch the wood paneling, and unearth for the hardwood floors that are probably hiding under the carpet flooring. And then let’s smooth out that ceiling. Sounds like a lot but I can picture this being pretty amazing with a bit of DIY elbow grease.
The kitchen has a ton of storage. And excuse me while I drool over a window behind a sink and a dishwasher. Yes, friends, a dishwasher. What a revelation.
And while I’m not into the wood panelling I do love that the kitchen is open to the living/dining room area. And this room is HUGE!
And…the crown jewel. A SUN ROOM!! You know how full of plants I’d fill this room?!?! And there’s a guest house in back that could be a new #JungalowHQ. And a big yard. Check the listing to see more pics.
And then there is the house in Frog Town…This house is right next to the L.A. river, which we love. The government is pouring a lot of money into revitalizing the L.A. river and there are cute little cafes popping up along it, and sweet bike paths and coffee spots within walking distance. It’s a great location, a bike ride away from Echo Park and Atwater Village, two of our favorite enclaves. The asking price is $40,000 under the Alta Dena house. And talk about curb appeal. How cute is this little Spanish Style bungalow?? It has JUNGALOW written all over it…but…it’s small.
It’s a three bedroom two bathroom like the Alta Dena house, but they all look more or less like this. Like I’m not 100% sure our king-sized bed will fit in here–but all the rooms are really bright and airy. We also peeked under the carpets, and YES! There’s wood on them thar floors!
The kitchen leaves a lot to be desired. It’s very narrow–I’m not a huge fan of galley kitchens. There’s not a ton of storage and the counter knocks into that window which I find super irritating. But then, look at all that natural light?!? And at least there’s a dishwasher!
And if we can get it for less money, we could use the additional loan amount to make our desired updates. We could knock down a wall or two…we could open up the space a bit and make some of the small rooms in the front of the house one big open space. Plus the place is zoned R2, which, as far as I understand, means that two residential properties are allowed on the lot, so we could legally build, say, a guest house in back and rent it out or use it as a studio.
I love the character of this house and even though it’s on the smaller side, the fact that it has so many windows makes it feel really open, and with the slightly cheaper price, and the R2 zoning I see a ton of potential here. Also, the location is central and desireable enough that we feel confident the value of the home will grow steadily.
So now we’ve got some decisions to make. What do you think? Would you go for the Spanish Bungalow by the river or the Alta Dena home that’s far out but humungous? In general, what sounds more appealing, big and far or small and close?