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03.20.2006

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home dreams by Yee-Fan Sun | 1 2 3
continued from page 1

But living in this rental, I can't help but feel: it's a bit like watching a good friend waste great, untapped potential. You love her, you appreciate her; you do everything you can to support and encourage her no matter what. But in the end, she is what she is; you can't force her to meet up to your dreams. This flat could be so, so amazing with just a few small alterations; sadly, it's just not my flat to be changing, at least not in any long-term sort of way (my lease makes damn well sure of that). So I live with the moldy black grout lining the bathtub in my current pad, which has been there since we moved in, festering away because the landlords aren't bothered by it, and I'm not allowed to just re-grout it myself. I try my best to ignore the twenty-year old carpet, now so worn that the original under-padding has crumbled into dust, and so poorly laid that there's a great big fraying seam running smack down the center of the living room. I get used to being extra-gentle with that kitchen drawer with the bum slider mechanism. I spend a lot of time pretending not to see the problems in this space around me, sucking it up, making do. And I dream -- of one day having a place where we don't have to put up with someone else's house flaws, where we can choose the right furniture and flooring and fittings ourselves, where we can fix what needs to be fixed and do what needs to be done without answering to anyone else first.

Which is why, as we start thinking about the fact that we'll be moving from Edinburgh to Toronto in just a few months (yikes!), the boy and I have acquired a semi-guilty addiction: online MLS listings.

MLS, for those not already in the know, is the database service realtors use to list the properties they have up for sale. In the olden days, it was something only the pros could access; in this miraculous internet age in which we now live, it's all online and readily available to any old schmo with a computer, modem and ISP.

The MLS feeds dreams: it shows you what's possible in the great wide world of home ownership. Plug in a price range, a neighborhood, whatever combination of characteristics you envision in your ideal place to call home, and like a fairy godmother waving her wand, poof! The website pops up a list of potential properties, many featuring photos and (even better) virtual tours.

Oooh, check out that kitchen island! I sigh longingly. Nice -- a roof deck! the boy aahs. We salivate over high ceilings and wood floors and charming but dated Victorians that are just dripping with fix-me-up potential; we groan at cramped rooms and space-wasting corridors and bland "modern" updates. I wonder if we could knock down the wall? we muse, as we peruse a lovely house whose one drawback is a sad kitchen that feels completely cut off from the rest of the living space. What were they smoking? we recoil, eyes smarting at the sight of a spectacularly gaudy bathroom reno. We fantasize about how if we bought that house with the separate apartment unit we could cover part of our mortgage, or have a place for our parents if they ever wanted to come live with us; we debate over whether we'd rather have this tiny house in the adorable (though rather yuppie) neighborhood, or the bigger house in a less picture-perfect district. 

dream on: more this way

---------------------------> lounge . nourish . host . laze . home.