Over the weekend, I traded in my dollhouse for a real house: as of Friday, I’m the owner of a shotgun row home. I’ve spent the past few days vacillating between absolute elation and a full-on panic attack – mostly for irrational reasons, like What if it’s built on a sinkhole? and What if I’m murdered?? Because obviously there is a direct correlation between owning a home and being murdered.

Back in February, I was not looking to buy a home. It was not a thought in my mind. You know me – I’m a rolling stone, a vagabond gypsy, a tumbleweed of a girl – and the thought of “settling down” makes me break out in hives. Of all of the feelings, trapped is the worst one I can think of.

But there’s a difference between being trapped and making a decision. When you go to a restaurant, you can’t keep staring at the menu forever just to “keep your options open.” That would be dumb, because LAY OFF ME I’M STARVING. There is goodness to be enjoyed and life to be lived, and sometimes you just have to choose.

Two months ago, Greta was here for a visit and we walked past an open house. I can’t resist an open house, because apart from becoming a lawyer, it’s my only legal-slash-socially acceptable chance to be nosy. I took two steps into the house before I realized I was in love.

Built in 1900, the house is 11 feet wide and 55 feet long, four rooms stacked one right after the other: living room, dining room, bedroom, kitchen. It has hardwood floors, 10 ft. ceilings, 3 skylights, a brick wall, and the tiniest backyard perfect for a 3-legged dog. Two minutes from downtown, the Jefferson Park neighborhood has a history of violence and crime, but it’s in the process of development and change. The area is still gritty, but right now is an exciting time to buy here (even though you know I’m still using the Club on my steering wheel).

It all happened pretty quickly: I got a realtor and a lender, sent off a bunch of paperwork, had an inspection and an appraisal, wrote some checks, and bam, signed on the dotted line. Call me crazy, but I didn’t look at a single other house; I saw this one, loved it, and bought it.

The entire experience has been surreal, and I have a lot of emotions swirling around in regards to buying a house as a single woman, the financial commitment, the fact that this house is in Denver, and the dead mouse decomposing on the cellar floor. I also have emotions about the skylight right above my bed, forcing me to wake up with the sun (I welcome your solutions to this problem).

I’m sure that I’ll write about these things in the future, but for now, I just wanted you to know where I am. Home.



  1. Peg Achterman on April 29, 2013 at 7:26 PM

    Again Annie – congrats. You beat me — I bought my house in Wallingford when I was 34. It was terrifying and I kept repeating “it will be OK, it will be OK.” I learned so so much — and now you have YouTube! Need to fix a toilet? faucet? install a dimmer switch? All can be had on YouTube videos and in books. There are great “house coaches” among your friends. You’re smart and you’ll love having your own house. For whatever reason it made me feel like a grown up – that is ridiculous in so many ways, but a huge milestone for me and it will be for you too.

  2. chad duncan on April 29, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    Congrats Annie!!! It sounds perfect.
    Denver is one of the HOTTEST markets in the country… you will not regret your CHOICE :)

    p.s. that farley skit is one of my favs. good choice once again.

  3. Emily Croston on April 29, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    Congrats on the house…buying one of my own is on my bucket list. Not sure about the skylight problem, though.

  4. Michael Rhyne on April 29, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    So happy for you! Being home is a beautiful thing.

  5. Michael Rhyne on April 29, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    And maybe a good old fashioned baseball bat.

  6. Susan Morales on April 29, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    Congratulations! The house sounds spectacular and unique. It also sounds like it’s one of those special places that somewhere down the road you will look back fondly and say, what a great time in my life… I miss that. Enjoy every moment. As for the skylight, my son has a small one in his room and I made a simple curtain with a rod pocket top and bottom, then installed the curtain with expansion rods. Voila!

    Congratulations again and p.s… don’t get murdered. :)

  7. Terry McNichols on April 29, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    I also made black out curtains for a very large skylight, just like your other friend. But I only did that for visiting relatives. Ken & I have eye masks we wore in the first early days but now we love waking up to all the natural light. I can still sleep long past the sunrise without losing a wink, no mask ever!

  8. Terry McNichols on April 29, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    PS: I meant to say CONGRATS! You will love having this house and it will be good to you!

  9. Debbie Barnett on April 29, 2013 at 8:09 PM

    Hootenannie and her shot-gun house, a three-legged dog and a dead mouse on the cold cellar floor…

    there’s a country song in there somewhere.

  10. Sharon on April 29, 2013 at 8:48 PM

    Sig’s room has only a skylite in it. Even more than an Annie room you want to close out the early morning light in a baby room. Beth ordered a perfect blackout shade for it that you open and close with a pullrod with a hook on the end. Grandpa Erick installed it and it’s awesome. Check with Beth regarding where she ordered it. I can’t wait to see pictures of your place!

  11. Beth on April 29, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    Go get it, Annie! Love that you took the plunge! And Debbie B’s comment is very funny and very true :)

  12. The J to your AM on April 29, 2013 at 10:05 PM


  13. The J to your AM on April 29, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    Shotgun BANG whatsup with that thAng….Annie P…what pictures will you HANG?!?!

  14. Sarah on April 29, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    Michael… what is that?????

  15. Lyla on April 30, 2013 at 12:09 AM

    Exciting! Congrats.

  16. kim jones on April 30, 2013 at 7:24 AM

    how exciting!! next time i’m in denver, i’d love to drop by YOUR HOME (what the what?!) for a visit!

  17. holly on April 30, 2013 at 8:31 AM

    my solution to waking up with the sun is to get used to it. i’ve grown to love it, and i feel like it’s a natural thing, something our bodies should be doing anyway.

  18. Michael Rhyne on April 30, 2013 at 9:13 AM

    Sarah: I was looking for an eye mask like Terry M mentioned when I happened across an eye mask that is supposed to be a Panda face! Also, Debbie B. ftw!

  19. Chelsea on April 30, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Nice! Love that you found the perfect place and made it yours. Can’t wait to see pictures.

  20. HopefulLeigh on April 30, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    Congratulations, Annie! I love this so much! Aside from the dead mouse, of course. I looked into buying a house the year before I moved to Nashville but I didn’t feel peace about it. Tomorrow I renew the lease on my duplex and I have mixed feelings about it but it’s the right decision. Maybe next year will the year I find a little house of my own. You inspire me!

  21. Julie on May 2, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    Congratulations! What an exciting decision — you’ll make the most of it, for sure.

  22. […] a snack bar that landed me a job, or buying the first and only house I looked at (happened in both Denver and Minneapolis), or meeting people I had no idea would change my life (I’m looking at you, Keri […]

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