The first time I met Beulah it was a cold, wet day in South Carolina. She was not my first choice. We had flown in to see another beauty with a two-story porch and columns I could barely wrap my arms around. She was smaller than my first choice, right next to the railroad tracks and yellow, inside an out. Now since we’re just getting to know each other, I will have to explain my acute dislike of the color yellow. Despite the fact that my fair coloring with auburn hair and freckles makes yellow one of the absolute worst colors for my complexion, I find it a particularly aggravating color-an assault to the eyes if you will. I love sunlight which I equate with brightness, and I love lemons, butter and slow changing yellow traffic lights but that is the extent of my yellow tolerance. It does not belong on walls, definitely not cars and really just has no place in my home. However, I think someone told Beulah’s former owners that yellow would sell their house or at least that it was a neutral because she was swathed in it from head to toe, inside and out.

Yellow House

This is Beulah, stolen from the real estate listing page. I am blinded with love now despite the yellow. I can see all of her charm and beauty in this picture but that first day, I was having none of it!

 

I politely walked through her rooms. Nodding politely at the agent, noting the high ceilings and picture rail moldings. There are 8 fireplaces inside. Now none of them actually work but there are 8. When we discussed moving to the South, I made my wish list…

Large front porch-check

Built-in’s

Tall ceilings-check

100+ years old-check

Screened in porch

Guest House-check

Large yard for flower and vegetable gardens-check

Potential for putting my stamp on her-check and then some…

Beulah’s potential was more than I imagined. She had good bones as they say but most of them needed a calcium boost or a good hip replacement. As we wandered through her rooms, I could picture a “done” version but lacking a good portion of my required list, we moved on.

The only house I fell in love with that day was “The One” I came to see. I had named her Betsy and had this been a move for just my husband and I, I may very well be telling Betsy’s story today. But the $200k budget for structural repairs was more than I could reasonably take on and stay married.

We looked at 9 houses that weekend and made an offer on a one- “No name Johnson”. I liked the house, but I did not love it. I was not that upset when the deal fell through.
A few months passed and I once again was in Rock Hill to help my parents settle into their new home. My amazing realtor agreed to show me a house I had found online and once again, Beulah. Although Beulah had many potential suitors, no one seemed to want her. I looked her over with fresh eyes but still saw more downside until we reached the attic ladder. As the zippered insulation gave way to empty space, I could visualize built in bunks underneath the sloped ceiling. Books and toys for future grandchildren spread over the floor. A giant Santa perched in the window for Christmas. The makings of a life built and lived here. On my way back through Beulah’s halls, I was inspired. A built-in library on the 2nd floor landing, a 2nd story enclosed porch, a master suite with a walk-in closet and a shower with body jets and that was just the 2nd floor. I fell in like with Beulah that day. I was able to daydream about the possibilities within her wall. As I traveled back to my CA home, I made plans and picked colors in my head. I was excited to share my ideas with Paul but then tragedy struck…Beulah went under contract…to someone else!

I told myself it didn’t matter…she was not my first choice…another house will be there when we are ready to make the move. I kept my eyes on the real estate listings, but nothing showed up that I was interested in. And it was good because we had not sold our house in CA yet. So, I waited and watched and still let myself imagine what life with Beulah would be like.

In October, we decided to head Southeast anyway. House sold or no house sold, we were moving and taking our giant leap of faith and letting God catch us. I, of course, checked on Beulah but strangely her listing said “off Market” not “just Sold”, not ”Pending”. When we arrived, I reached out to my agent and asked if he could find out what happened. All he knew was that Beulah’s potential buyers had backed out and her owners had taken her off the market. It was like losing her all over again…I reasoned that when the time came, I could approach them and make an offer, but I grieved again.

When you are waiting or in a holding pattern, time seems to move so slowly. The months we lived at my mom’s felt like an eternity. A constant state of limbo where we had a small percentage of our belongings. It felt exceedingly difficult to get connected, make new friends, even start work. So much of our peace, our comfort and our sense of wellbeing is tied to our ability to be home. My home was 3000 miles away and since we put it on the market, it hadn’t felt like home. When would we be able to relax on our couch in our own home again? If I ever thought I might be cut out for a nomadic existence, this period convinced me, I am not!

During my daily perusal of the real estate listings, I saw a bright beacon…Beulah was back on the market!!! I don’t remember if I called our agent or my husband first. I of course wanted to see her right away but schedules and ski trips(our agents) prevented me from going until the Open House.

Paul and I approached her with caution…some things had changed. She had a new fence, would not have been my first choice but great for the dogs. The porch looked to have been repaired in the worn places but she was still my Beulah. All I saw on this tour was her charm, her potential, her good bones…we wrote an offer and the rest is a story for another day.
This is the story of a West Coast girl who fell in love with a down South house