As I was sorting through my belongings a few weeks ago, purging stuff in preparation to put our house on the market, I ran across a diary I kept 10 years ago.
I was living a tumultuous year then. One so ridiculous and unbelievable, I wrote a book about it. But to summarize, it was the year I moved out of the house I shared with my husband of 16 years; eventually, we divorced.
Among the entries in that diary I found was a page where I described in list form (of course) how I envisioned the rest of my life. What is important to know is that I made this list when I was no longer coupled and before I met the man to whom I am now married, so theoretically, this list reflected my true wishes, unaffected by anyone else with whom I might be living.
Near the top of the list, I wrote that I wanted to live in a loft in the city.
If you’ve been following this blog with any attention at all, you know that didn’t happen. I currently am living in a big box of a house in the suburbs. It has 9-foot ceilings and what some might consider an open floor plan, but no one would consider it loft-like.
But for a few weeks this fall, my Beloved and I entertained some “lofty” ideas.
We came this close (I’m holding my thumb and index finger a quarter inch apart) to buying this:
Yup, it’s exactly what it looks like: A 125-year-old church.
It was a smokin’ deal, and by hot I mean it would have cost less than most cars. Let’s just say, it needed a lot of work, otherwise known as a blank canvas to take on every Pinterest dream associated with “loft,” “barn,” “converted church” and “open floor plan.” And the church was located in the center of, well, I think technically it’s a village, so “city” is a stretch, but to be fair, it was within walking distance of the post office, hardware store and local watering hole.
I had visions of turning this:
… into something like this:
This is a picture of a church converted into a single-family home in London. Sale price last year? $15.5 million.
To be completely honest, we weren’t going to renovate a $15,000 dump into a $15 million home, but you get the vision for which we were shooting. We went as far as putting in a offer for the church, measuring every room, shopping for lighting and furniture, and meeting with the building inspector, painters, plasterers, electricians and plumbers.
We were what they call in the trade, “serious buyers.”
For about three weeks, I doodled floor plans, planned the perfect kitchen under churchy-looking windows, weighs the pros and cons of a master bedroom in the choir loft and picked out chandeliers Joanna Gaines herself might have chosen.
We also had parts of the flooring tested for asbestos.
Asbestos, as you may or may not know, was commonly used in building materials in the mid-20th century. And it causes cancer.
The church flooring is full of the stuff. And with all the other repairs and renovations required to make the church our dream home (not to mention the dirty work and sore muscles), we couldn’t afford to asbestos abatement, too (or cancer).
So we rescinded our offer.
I was disappointed, no denying it. But for about three weeks, it was like the time between buying a lottery ticket and learning you’d lost. Those 48 hours when you might win $400 million dollars is filled with extravagant fantasies, and fantasizing is fun. So I was like, “better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,” you know the drill.
My Beloved now is dreaming of all kinds of other living accommodations and shopping for them with online searches of various precision. As he trips across the internet, he frequently shows me other churches on the market.
But then he’s also talking about building a pole barn in the middle of nowhere.
So I’m not sure I’ll ever get that loft in the city.
But it was fun to dream about it.