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A Million Little Pieces Of My Mind

The New House

By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 5/27/2024
Posted: 8/29/2009
Page Views: 5668
Topics: #NatalAvenue #Mesa #Arizona
Blog Entry posted August 29, 2009

We'll…ahem…looks like we've gone and done it. We put an offer on a house, and it's been accepted. It'll take a month or two before we can actually move in. But arguments over wall colors among all concerned parties have already begun, with even ten-year-old Zachary expressing an opinion ("I like brown.")

This morning the buyer's agent, Julie, met us there and I got some pictures. The interior shots were taken with my new cell phone camera, and have an artistic sort of lens flare that is perhaps less appropriate for architectural photography than it would be for shots of the next Rudolph Valentino movie. But the colors come out, especially the changes in those colors as they are viewed in different types of light—something the eye adapts to automatically, making it easy to ignore when you're actually there.

This new house is not far from the one we currently rent. Zachary will not change schools and will be able to continue playing with his current friends. Here's a map showing the drive from our current house ("A") to the house we've just bought ("B").

Map from current house "A" to new house "B"

As is our current house, the new one is convenient to shopping and main highways US-60 and the Loop 202. If you want to play along, the new address is 9526 E. Natal Ave., Mesa, AZ 85209. (Natal is Spanish for "new beginning" or "birth".)

The place, built in 2001, is 3,389 square feet, with four "real" bedrooms and a den downstairs that could be used as one, though we will be using it as Michael's treatment room instead.

Personally, I don't like "boxy" homes with lots of 90° angles; that's no issue with this one. Here are three shots of the front exterior:

Exterior, 9526 E Natal Ave, Mesa, AZ Exterior, 9526 E Natal Ave, Mesa, AZ Exterior, 9526 E Natal Ave, Mesa, AZ Entryway

The entrance is airy and two storeys high. The previous owners created an accent wall that extends all the way up, and into the living and dining rooms, of a sort of forest green. Personally I like it, though my daughter Jenny, who is co-buying, is less fond of it. The green was an accent to a green-tinged yellow that none of us like.

To the left of the entrance, as you come in, is the dining room. It comes complete with wainscoting, those wooden rails some fancier rooms have that was originally intended to protect the wall from the careless placement of chairs. The chandelier in this room, which you can't see very well in the photo, consists of parallel blades of glass that can be removed for easy cleaning. (Of course, my definition of "easy cleaning" is when someone comes in to do it once a week.)

Dining Room

To your right, as you walk into the house, is the living room.

Living Room

My son, John, and his fiancée Rachel, will be living with us for a year or so while Rachel goes to school and they save for a house of their own. They have some very nice living room furniture which will go in this room. (Their dining room furniture will also populate the dining room.)

Michael's massage space Downstairs half-bath

Past the living room is a half-bath. We are planning to make it a full bath, with a shower, to accommodate Michael's massage clients.

Past the bath is a beautiful den that only lacks a door that can be closed to make it a perfect dedicated massage space.

An arch leads from the hall to the family room. This generous room includes a built-in nook for various entertainment equipment. Of course, it's the old-style equipment but it is wide enough for our wide-screen TV; we'll just have to remove one of the shelves to accommodate our projection HDTV.

Family Room with entertainment nook Family Room Family Room drapes

These walls are a kind of chocolate brown. Only Zach likes that color. But I bet, when he sees how much larger the room looks with lighter walls, that he'll quickly change his mind!

The house comes with drapes in most rooms, including the family room. Not all the drapes will be worth keeping, but they were all custom-made and are definitely high-quality. I like the drapes that are in the family room and I believe the colors we choose for the walls will make these drapes even more attractive. Michael doesn't care for them, but if they don't work out after all, they can always be changed.

The flow of the house also joins the family room to the kitchen and breakfast nook, while allowing them to nevertheless remain distinct rooms of the house.

Family Room, toward kitchen

The kitchen may someday benefit from remodeling (Michael thinks the cabinets are cheap and we both would prefer an electric stove to the gas range) but is certainly workable as is.


Doesn't the land-line phone on the wall seem quaint? We may just keep it (unconnected, of course) with a kerosene lamp next to it for that traditional touch.

The breakfast nook is part of the room. I do hope we can actually have a table and chairs and eat breakfast in it!

Kitchen and Breakfast Nook

There are 1½ staircases in the house. This was accomplished by having two half-stairs, one from the front across from the half-bath, and one from the kitchen, which meet in the middle and merge, ending up as one upstairs.

Back stairs and pantry Pantry

Next to the stairway is the very generous pantry, and the alcove for the refrigerator, which we'll have to purchase.

Laundry Room

The pantry wraps around behind the refrigerator alcove, making it quite large. Maybe we'll finally find room for all those Tupperware containers…and their freakin' lids!

Notice also the water connection in the refrigerator alcove for an ice-maker, drinking water tap, and so on—accoutrements of any modern refrigerator.

Beyond the refrigerator alcove is the kitchen entrance to the dining room. Across from it is the laundry room, which again is quite large—big enough not only for the washer and dryer, but possibly for our freezer, which Michael would like to bring in from the garage. Again, we'll have to buy the washer and dryer since we don't currently own a set.

The garage, as you may have noted from the front exterior, is designed to hold three cars; there's a double bay and an attached single bay.

Garage, double bay Garage, third bay

Note that the previous owners have thoughtfully provided the garage bays with junk, to help us picture the way it will look when we move in.

Back Door

At the back of the house are the sliding glass doors to the back yard. Both the front and back doors include security screens, which will allow us to leave the air conditioning off and open the doors on those 18 days a year on which it's practical to do this.

The porch is not screened in (which isn't really needed here in the Valley where we have no mosquitoes to speak of), and has a mount for a TV set (just in case we'd rather watch television in 110° weather, which might be appropriate for Dante's Inferno or The Towering Inferno…really, any movie with the word "Inferno" in the title). The previous owners also left a pretty clock, so if you're mowing the lawn you won't accidentally go too long without a break.

The Back Lawn

This is not the whole back yard. The remainder of it contains a pool!

The Pool Enclosure Pool

Michael and Jennifer are both anxious to remove the fence setting off the pool enclosure. Jenny believes it will "open up" the back yard (which is true). Michael doesn't see that the fence adds anything to the safety of the pool, but he is adamant that we must remove the built-in basketball hoop, because it, he believes, is dangerous.

There are lots of additional things that could be done. For example, the top of the back porch could be turned into a balcony, in case we wanted to watch for invaders come at us from the golf course. There are already a number of rose bushes which need care, but could be quite beautiful. And the side of the house can be easily turned into RV storage with the addition of a wider RV gate and some paving.

The back porch, with a potnetial balcony on top. There are alreadu roses, which just need some care! Alongside the house, a potential RV storage location.
Front Stairway Stairways merge

Returning inside the house, we can get to the upstairs by the front stairway. Remember, half-way up the front and rear flights merge for the final rise.

The carpeting, by the way, throughout the house is in good shape though in need of a thorough cleaning. That's not a problem, however, since we own a carpet cleaner.

At the top of the stairs is the entrance to the master bedroom, which Michael and I will use. It's not a huge bedroom; this house design assumes you'll be spending more time elsewhere in the house. By the way, the picture below presents the actual shade of pain on the walls…a sort of Bile Yellow. We intend to change it.

Master Bedroom

The bedroom flows into the master bath.

Master Bath

A huge walk-in closet is accessible to both the bed and bath parts of the room.

Master Closet

With the double-doors opened wide, the lords of the manor can monitor the entire upstairs area.

Upstairs hall from Master Bedroom

We can see, from this view, the chocolate brown wall that Zach likes but will be changed, as well as the doors to all three additional bedrooms. From the left to right, are Jenny's room, Zach's room, and the bathroom. John and Rachel's room is further right but can't be seen from here.

Jenny's Room

Jenny's room is currently painted fluffy pink, with brown trim. Her sister, Karen likes pink. Jenny does not. It will be repainted, color to be announced.

Zachary's Room

Zachary's room, which obviously belonged to the previous owners' little boy, is decorated in light blue, dark blue, and tan. Zach likes these colors so we will probably keep them. He also likes the clothes hook that was left behind, which has a baseball, basketball, and soccer ball carved into it.

Upstairs Bathroom

The upstairs bathroom is painted yellow with decals, with a horror-movie glossy blue-green accent wall that would be perfect if the shower curtain showed scenes from The Creature From The Black Lagoon. Since it probably won't, the colors will be changed.

John and Rachel's room is the largest of the three, with a window on the side of the house and a slightly larger closet.

John and Rachel's Room

Across from John and Rachel's room is a loft that overlooks the main entryway. We plan to turn it into a quiet (hopefully) reading nook and dog bedroom.

Loft View from the Loft

Adjacent to the loft, and at the end of the upstairs hall, is the main reason this house will work for us. It's called a "game room" and I suppose was envisioned as a place for a pool table or, if one is a cast member of Friends, a Foosball table. However, for us, office space is what's needed. I intend to get some used office cubicle sets and turn this into three or four offices, one cubicle for each adult.

Office Space Office Space Office Space
Office Space

All this space ain't cheap, although with the recent drop in real estate prices we are getting it for a fraction of what it was worth a year ago (and probably will be again). But what's really cool is that, for possibly the first time ever, I'll have a house designed specifically for the things I want a house to do!

Zach peaking over the loft.