As a lot of my closer friends know, I haven’t written about it on here before, but I decided to buy a house at the end of August. Long story short about the reason behind it is that I found it to be a much better investment than paying someone else’s mortgage by renting. My rent hit an all-time $1600 a month for a two-bedroom, basement, and 1.5 bath townhouse, and it was getting excessive. A house, in my mind, was much cheaper in the grand scheme of things. A fixed mortgage, no yearly 5% price increase, and a nice $200-300 savings per month on costs with a few stipulations. Of course I’d be on the hook for my own repairs, have my own yard work to do, and basically liable for any/everything. At least I own the house right!
Right! And because of that, I can do things I never got to really do, atleast don’t have to hide anymore. If I don’t like the windows, change them! Need to rip some holes in the wall to run wire, have at it! Plus, the house I settled on came with a mother-effing bar! Now while my persona among friends is that I’m a heavy drinker, most know that I rarely drink, but when I do, it’s when I’m with a group of people and we’re trying to have a great time.
In the past, I never really liked having guests over to my place. Not because my living spaces were anything to be ashamed of, in fact most people complimented me on my choice of apartments and townhomes, or stated that I was paying for more than I actually needed. For me though it was because I never really liked the space I had to offer.
My first apartment was you walk into a living room and down the hall was my bathroom and two bedrooms. Really awkward, in my opinion, because the bathroom was on the opposite side of the hallway from the kitchen, and there wasn’t really a show-piece to the room. “Yep, there’s my couch, my tv, kitchen’s there, and down there is where we shit and sleep.” Doesn’t scream invite to me. Though my roommate seemed to always find a way to get people interested in coming over (I should probably stop overthinking things and just be social!).
My second apartment was a bit larger of a piece, as a group venture with a roommate and my girlfriend at time, it was pretty nice. Walk up a flight of stairs from the front door (we were the top unit), you’d be introduced to a living-room with a decent balcony, a dining room (open floor plan), and a nice size kitchen. There was a hallway that separated the living-room running perpendicular to the room, which then had a bathroom that separated the two bedrooms. This was a far more showing of a space, but I still never had much of people come over due to the aforementioned needing of a social life and because I basically had all the friends I knew at the time already living with me. Better luck at my next place was the plan!
The last apartment I got after our roommate moved out and then my eventual breakup was a nice town-home in Paoli. This place was far larger than my previous two, housing 2 floors and a basement, and a decent front-yard space that my neighbors can attest was adequate for having guests. However, I hated my living room for merely the aesthetics of the room. My short-term roommate can definitely attest that it was decent for guests, and guests seem to love the offerings of entertainment that I have (4K TV, surround sound stereo, TBs of movies, and a gaming on an offering of PC/XBOne/PS4), but I really hated that effing room. The couch was center of the wall, center on the window cell, but the back wall of the kitchen which was in front of the couch was off-center. Now my couch and Recliner have this awkward positioning just to try to get a perfect matched screen view, which did the job, but God I hated it. This probably goes into the bin of Tim’s first-world problems: Has a town home, has a couch/recliner, stereo, highend TV, yada yada…still upset!
Enough is enough! Buying a house!
Well one too many rent increases later after a 3 year stay and I ended up moving to Delaware, and now everything appears to be coming together in my mind. I work for a company that, while I was hired for the Philly location, has offices down the road in Newark so I can remove my 40 minute commute (which was actually 1.5 hours after I moved -_-) and turn it into a 10 minute commute. The house comes with a Garage, so I no longer have to fight with neighbors about the fact that they have 3 or 4 cars, forcing me to park and walk from 4 buildings down to my own building’s unit. The backyard does have an effing tree that I hate centered right in the yard (at least it’s centered!) so no pool for the time-being, but I have a nice patio concrete slab, a gazebo, and a tool-shed (probably should learn to use tools other than a hammer and screwdriver).
The house also helps me alleviate an issue I’ve had in every apartment of separating my bedroom (sleep) and my entertainment systems and, most importantly, my computer. While we could go for days talking about why I have some of the issues I have, me being addicted to my computer and keeping it within arms reach of my bed was not the smartest design choices I had. Now that’s all in the past with a basement that holds a small office. Computer stays down there, my bed is upstairs, separation complete!
The biggest selling point for me though was the fact that the basement also has a living-room sized finished portion, separated by a nearly complete wet-bar. The wet-bar just needs its kegerator fixed and plumbing connected for the sink, and then it’s golden. The open space? Well that will make an awesome movie theatre/entertainment room, with projectors and all. Finally my insecurities about my home can be laid to rest where if people are in the basement, the bedroom and living areas can remain untouched and out of the way.
In fact the entire layout was built with this seemingly in mind. The front door is hardly used, with the kitchen/backdoor being the most used. You enter the kitchen and are instantly greeted with a choice of going downstairs to the entertainment room/bar or into the kitchen for food. Need to smoke or get some air, hang out on the patio or in the gazebo with a fire going in the back. The traditional living-room can remain a showpiece, never to be really used for more than just a sitting and relaxing area.
If you can't tell, I love this house!
But…how can I make it even better?
Well for one, I’m thinking that the bar can really use a scoreboard opposite of the bar. A TV will obviously go on the wall in the photos to the left of the bar (looking at it), but behind the stools can be a nice 32×128 RGB LED scoreboard that has a whatever game’s stats going. Running Raspberry Pi, I think this can work out perfectly! Grab API from ESPN or Google, save the score values to a variable, if variable changes, then run animation for a touchdown (whether good or bad, have different animations). Hook up some RGB lights instead of the normal lights in the room, and you could turn the whole room into an interconnected setup for the game!
My NAS is certainly up for the job for having the movie room going, but building the unRaid setup also inspired another idea: a LAN party for PC gaming. Most of my friends don’t have PCs and if they do, they’re not gaming machines. I, on the other hand, have an excess of GPUs from mining and a various number of Ryzen and Intel CPUs, and of course Powersupplies. It’d be great to setup two powerful Ryzen boxes, get 4 GPUs going (2 each) and then have 4 guys able to play at once! Beer, games, sounds like a fun night with the guys instead of always playing online miles away.