Newmans Own

It Was All Yellow

I’m a sucker for a yellow house with a porch. Michael and I got married in


, and every time I see one, I think,

If only

. So you can imagine my delight when I saw that

this lovely house

in Takoma Park, Md., had come on the market. Not only did the house feature my favored color scheme and architectural style, the listing

included images

of the house decked out for the Fourth of July, which just happens to be our anniversary.

Located in a designated historic district of Takoma Park, itself designated as

a nuclear-free zone

(I feel safer already!—Michael)

, this house is just a couple of blocks from the Metro, a huge plus for us. But it’s also located on a fairly busy street, where the nice old houses are very close together. It’s suburban, yes, but has that urban feel.

Driving up to the house Monday evening, I was only slightly deflated to see that another potential buyer was already there. (Wait, I thought the bubble had burst!) The listing had just gone up Thursday, and the sellers were holding off on an open house until this coming weekend, so these other lookers were being as aggressive as I was—or rather more so, since they’d made their appointment 15 minutes before mine. It made for some awkward greetings at the door. But no matter, we trudged on, sampling the lovely chocolates the sellers had left on the small kitchen table.

Looking past the other gawkers, I was pleasantly surprised by the layout. It had been updated with an open floor plan but respected the architectural details—built-in bookshelves and the like—that looked original to the 1920s house. And though the kitchen was also updated, there were, thankfully, no granite countertops or stainless-steel appliances. As I ticked off our checklist—first-floor powder room, family room open to kitchen, deck, three generously sized bedrooms, a genuine master bedroom with its very own bathroom and walk-in closet—I became both overjoyed and nervous. This was too good to be true. And then there was a photograph, of what I assume was the seller, running a race; a book about training for a marathon; and a wall display of Condé Nast magazines. Michael runs marathons; I used to work at

a Condé Nast magazine

. This had gone too far.

(If they’d also had a toy bus for Joe, I would be very suspicious.—Michael)

They’d had me at the front porch.

Of course, as we’ve learned, there’s no such thing as a perfect house. The basement is only partially finished, so if we wanted a playroom or guest room, we’d have our work cut out for us. There’s also no garage, so if we did renovate the basement, we’d lose significant storage space.

Also, the yard, though flat and big enough for a swing set and a little garden, was uninspiring. Perhaps the biggest drawback, for me anyway, is that there’s no central air conditioning. Denise thought it could cost us some $15,000 to install it. That’s a pretty penny on a house that, at $649,900, is already stretching our budget to the limit.

Negatives aside, this place felt like my yellow house with the porch. I sent Denise a message saying Michael would like to take a look before the open house this weekend. Turns out we may already be too late: Apparently, at least one other buyer is preparing an offer as I write this. Michael’s on his way over this evening. Fingers crossed.