Thursday, February 26, 2009

09/22/08 - Pocatello, ID - House Hunting

A couple of days later, we met Jared at Gate City Real Estate to begin looking into buildings around Pocatello that might fit for a Bed & Breakfast. (After an excellent breakfast at Red Hot Roasters, and a stroll around the neighborhood)

He had a pretty full list lined out for us, including a few we asked about and some surprises as well! Our first stop was one at the top of our list, but also one we were pretty sure we wouldn't be able to purchase. For all of these houses, we had come up with code names for them, to give them a bit of personality and help keep them straight in our heads. We aren't sure, but we think Jared might have thought us crazy for the code names.... At any rate, we went to see the Pink House first. The Pink House was an older building, currently used as apartments. It was less than a block from the ISU campus, and had been used pretty hard by the tenants. They were asking $299k for it, and with the amount of space and proximity to the college, it was probably worth it, it just wasn't something we could afford. Of course, not being able to afford something had never stopped us before, so we dove in! The Pink House, so named for the odd salmon pink colored stucco on the exterior, was really intriguing. There were five apartments in it, three below, one above and a large one on the main floor, and the building had a lot of character, lots of sliding doors, high ceilings, little cupboards built in. It was also obviously home to a pretty good sized pile of rowdy college kids, as evinced by the beer pong table, fence of beer cans, dings in walls and Bob Marley posters in places of honor. Lindsay fell in love with the attic apartment, partly because she's obsessed with attics, and partly because the tenants were a couple of cute co-eds with a cat, rather than loud frat boys. It was clear that with years of renovating and remodeling, the Pink House could become a really cool place, but it was too much money and work to seriously consider. There were a lot of interesting catacomb-style basement corridors and the craziest boiler system any of us had ever seen too.

Our next stop was one that Jared lined up, that we'd never seen before, afterwards dubbed the Yellow House. Obviously, the Yellow House was named for the exterior, bright yellow siding. It was just a block off of one of the main roads into town from the interstate, just far enough back to avoid the street noise, but easy to find still. It had a small apartment upstairs, with bedroom, bath, kitchen and a small living room, which we thought would be pretty easy to turn into 2 beds and 2 baths for the B&B. The Yellow House was full of odd little details, and some of the most phenomenal wall coverings I have ever seen in my entire life. Clearly, an older person had lived here previously, as there was a pretty decent security system installed, and it just kind of had that vibe, but whoever it was, they had some great taste in decor. The bathroom wallpaper was a metallic silver with gold and bronze fish, which beautifully set off the pink bathtub. In one bedroom of two on the main floor, it had an entire wall of 3 foot deep storage and the other had an entire wall of mirrored tiles. Clearly, where some people thought one of something would do, the previous owners of the Yellow House decided on 7 times that. The basement had an additional bathroom, family room, bedroom (With shag carpet) and an oddly sunken pantry/storage area. It also had a roomy laundry room and separate bonus room. The Yellow house had a nice sized yard too, with RV parking, a 3-4 car garage/shop, a little covered patio and a garden area. I really liked it, it had a nice feel and a lot more space than you'd think from the road. Lindsay was obviously dazzled by the wallpaper, and had trouble seeing it's potential.

We then hopped over the train tracks to the West side of town, where we toured a building that we kind of tacked on at the last minute, a big yellowish apartment building that had the feel of an old western Hotel. I call it the Old Hotel, Lindsay calls it The Yellow House... much to my confusion. We could only look at a couple of apartments, but the Old Hotel had clearly seen a LOT of work lately, all of the electrical was replaced, and all of the carpet and fixtures looked new. It had something like 10 apartments in it, on 3 floors, and while it could be a gorgeous place, it would have taken thousands of dollars to convert it, undoing much of the work already piled into it by the current owners. Lindsay is still obsessed over it however, because we never got to go up into the attic....

For our last stop of the day, we headed back towards the college, to the Old Frat House. Located about a block from Pocatello's gorgeous cemetery, the Old Frat House was a revelation. From the outside, it's very unique looking, all tall sides and sharp corners, essentially a box with a tall roof, but it still had a lot of personality, and inside we could instantly feel the potential. The Old Frat House had a spacious main room as you walked in, with 12 foot ceilings and old hardwood floors, opening up into a couple of staircases and a nice, modern kitchen. On the main floor, there was only a kitchen, main room, mud room, half bath, and some closets, which was kind of nice from a B&B logistic viewpoint, it would offer some separation between the guest rooms upstairs and our living space downstairs. On the second floor, there were 4 bedrooms, all quite spacious, and each sporting 2 closets, clearly left over from its Frat days. There was also one bathroom off of the main hall, and a second off of the huge master bedroom. On the third floor, we found an amazing attic room, with its own set of closets and plenty of room for Lindsay's crafts and writing. In the basement, the Old Frat House had another bedroom, a small den, a storage room, laundry area, one full bathroom, and one bathroom that I got a huge kick out of. Clearly all still remaining from the Frat days, the second bathroom in the basement had 2 toilets, 4 sinks and 3 showers in it, and the toilets were just chilling together without any kind of privacy measures taken at all. I loved it. Obviously, we could see the potential in the building immediately, it had such a great feel walking in, and enough rooms to comfortably fit guests. The only real problem we saw was the lack of private baths, but we figured with the half bath on the main floor and the crazy mutant bath available to guests as well, we could overcome that. It also had a nice sized yard and off street parking for about 5 cars.

All in all, it was a really productive day, and we were pretty surprised and excited by how many good choices there were in Pocatello. Nearly all of them we viewed would make a passable B&B, and there were still 4 or 5 we couldn't line up viewings for!

Jared had also arranged for us to go look at the interior of Greystone 2 days later, and we needed to start in on the prospect of getting our house for sale, a project that we had been prepping for for months already at this point, so that we could afford to build a B&B!

(Sorry about the lack of photos for this post, I was using Lindsay's little camera, and was hesitant about taking photos of homes where people lived, and as of recently, my computer is broken, and hers has no Photoshop, so I'm a man with no cropping ability! I'll try and update with some photos later.)

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