Maine House Dreams

These days, I hang my hat in a lovely home in a little neighborhood off Mere Point Road in Brunswick, Maine. Ben and I are renting the place for the year from a couple of professors who have taken a year-long sabbatical to California with their two young children. Yeah, the same California that’s currently underwater and may never recover. Possibly not the best timing there.

It’s worked out well for Ben and me, though. There are quiet roads where I can walk my boy Killian, and the neighbors are dog savvy enough that they don’t let their pooches run wild – thus ensuring that my pup does not eat them. Which is good. The basement has been renovated, which means Ben’s fourteen-year-old son has space of his own when he comes to visit, and I have an office overlooking our quaint Brunswick street. In other words, life is good. The house is good.

It’s not our house, though. It’s not our art work on the walls, and our cooking stuff has to compete for space with all the stuff the home owners left behind. We can’t have bird feeders because we’re only going to be here a short time, and don’t want the owners to come home to songbirds accustomed to getting a daily handout. Thus, we’ve decided that our best next step would be to buy our own place once the lease is up here in July.

Which means we’re house hunting.

I’ll let you in on a little secret:

I love house hunting.

It turns out that it is more challenging, however, when you’re not just daydream house hunting but actually, actively looking for a home. And that much harder when you have two minds trying to agree on a single vision. Ben and I, as it happens, have different ideas of what constitutes the perfect house. I like places that require a little imagination (I once lived in a Kentucky elementary school, and I’m hooked on that HGTV show You Live in What?). Energy efficiency/green building is good. Outdoor space for chickens and gardens and, possibly, goats. And I’ve been mulling over the idea of directing my creative energies toward building funky bunny and guinea pig habitats wherever we end up (I’m not sure what that’s about, but I suspect the current administration may have broken my brain). I like light. I don’t care for neighbors.

Ben likes stately old Victorians, with grand staircases and gorgeous architectural details. He’s okay with less land, though he does agree that chickens and goats would be pretty cool. In-town is fine with him, depending on the town. Ben also has a day job in Portland, so he’s looking for a daily commute of a maximum of 45 minutes each way.

Suddenly, I’ve become part of one of those annoying couples featured on House Hunters (another HGTV show – are you sensing a theme?). “We have $150,000 and would like five bedrooms, four baths, at least two acres, a pool, and an animatronic lawn jockey to carry our children from room to room.”

Our budget is a little more substantial than that, and Ben’s son is perfectly capable of walking, so an animatronic lawn jockey really isn’t necessary… but you get the idea.

Happily, we do have common ground, though. We’re both agreed that we don’t want to break the bank with this house, though chances are good we’ll be staying there for a while. That said, neither of us is up for major renovations, so a fixer upper is not really an option. We both love cooking, so a kitchen with good light, quality appliances, storage, and lots of counter space would be ideal. A good bathtub is a must – the place we’re in now has a giant jetted tub, and I would kind of like to be buried in that thing. If we’re going for a smaller footprint, a fenced yard would be great for Killian; if not, a barn for goats would be lovely. Reading nooks, built-in bookshelves, pantries and half-baths and a walk-in closet… These are the buzzwords that sing in my head now.

It wasn’t so long ago that it seemed utterly fantastical to think I might be a homeowner again, after the debacle with the elementary school in Kentucky. The fact that we’re this close isn’t something I take for granted; hell, just living this idyllic suburban existence in Brunswick often seems like a dream. Now that the moment to move forward is almost upon us, I just need to keep reminding myself what really matters: A peaceful, happy home with a little space for a garden.

And, just maybe, a jetted tub.

What about you? Are you living in the house of your dreams already? If so, what do you love the most about it? If you’re not there yet, what’s the feature you fantasize about the most? Comment below with your thoughts and/or words of wisdom. I’d love to hear from you!

Jen Blood is the USA Today-bestselling author of the Erin Solomon Mysteries and the Flint K-9 Search and Rescue Mysteries. To learn more, visit

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8 Responses to Maine House Dreams

  1. Barb Ross says:

    As long as you don’t become like one of those Texas brides on House Hunters who stands in a closet the size of a New England child’s bedroom and announces, “I just couldn’t live with something this small.” 🙂

    • Jen Blood says:

      Heh — they’re the worst! I grew up in a teensy lopsided house in Thomaston, so I tend to be on the opposite end of the spectrum. Ben has to remind me every so often that simply having windows or a washing machine isn’t supposed to count as a selling point. 🙂

  2. Lea Wait says:

    Good luck with your search, Jen! I’ve bought 3 houses in my lifetime, and inherited one — all of them needed major repairs. (Also known as “restoration.”) I never had enough money to do ALL of the fixing up needed … but my dreams of what could be kept me going! Imagination is a key ingredient in house hunting, as I vividly recall being toured through 1) a house in which every wall in every room was painted dark purple; 2) one where there was one bathroom … not on the same level as the two bedrooms; 3) metallic wallpaper. And .. so many more. May you find your dream house … and then make it fit your dreams!

    • Jen Blood says:

      Thanks, Lea! The whole process is definitely exciting, and I personally am not opposed to building a little sweat equity. I just don’t want to take on more than we can handle… I guess we’ll see what we come up with. Every day it seems another contender comes on the market, so I’m eager to see what happens next!

  3. Julianne Spreng says:

    Two words…DON’T SETTLE! It’s so easy after months of house after house and an impending deadline. You’ll never be comfortable in a house that is okay, but not quite what we wanted. There has to be a little love in there somewhere.
    My husband and I live in an early 1900’s Swizz cheese factory. Maple hardwood floors over 14 inches of concrete on steel I-beams with hollow glazed block walls. Lots and lots of windows. The middle floor is the living quarters so we have a great view of the cross roads and the valley. It’s built into the hill so we can enter at floor level from the back or walk up a cement/wooden staircase from the first floor at the front.
    We lived across the road from this thing for about 7 years before we finally decided to tackle it. And it was a tackle. This thing was way past fixer-upper. But we were young, strong, full of ideas, and unafraid to tackle anything. We’ve lived in it for 30 years now and it’s still a work in progress. The milk testing room became the laundry. The milk receiving room became the rear entry with a master bedroom suite. And, yes, we have a bubble tub. Instead of the roaring jets, it feels like sitting in carbonated water. My husband adores it! My son was born in the room that became his bedroom. Another small room is my office. The bathroom still has the original cast iron clawfoot tub which is deep enough to swim in. Kitchen is at the front so you can watch the sunrise each morning and the storms come in from the south. Dining room, sitting room, and library are also across the front. And these are the rooms that are second story with such a great view.
    You know, I’ve never described our house before and it sounds a rather interesting home. We’re located in north central Ohio in the middle of the largest Amish community in the world and the best recreational area in the state. If you’d ever get this way, please plan to stay, we have plenty of room.

    • Jen Blood says:

      Wow, I love this — the house sounds absolutely fabulous! It’s amazing what can be done when you have a little imagination (and lots of ambition). I’m tentatively planning a mini book tour for fall 2017 — if it happens, I will absolutely take you up on the offer to visit. Sounds like a place too good (and too unique) to miss!

  4. John R. Clark says:

    Neat post. We thought our big Victorian would have more than enough room for two, but were we wrong!

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