The "Pink House" Story
(click here to see photos and rental information)_



I bought the "pink house" as it is now affectionately known, in 1995, after getting divorced the year before.  I sold my best horse, which I'd raised from a foal, for $10,000 to help fund the down payment and closing costs. 

There was not much on the market that I could afford and I knew I wanted five acres. I specifically wanted a small house on five acres. I could find many 2000 sf houses on one acre in my price range, but almost nothing on five acres that I could afford, was in a good location, didn't need a ton of expensive repairs or seemed like "home" to me. (I definitely do not like cookie-cutter tract houses.)  According to the bank, I could "afford" far more house than the price range I was sticking to, but  my mortgage broker did not know how much it costs to keep horses. ;)

A friend had told me about this 1920s farmhouse on five acres, almost in the middle of town in Alvin, but at the time it was out of my price range. However, the longer I looked the more discouraged I became. Finally I drove by the house, which was, at the time, painted brown (a travesty! ;)) and was enchanted by the huge oak trees and enormous magnolia tree in front. It was also a great location, very close to shopping in Alvin and on the "Clear Lake" side which made it easier to get to everything that direction.  Knowing it was still out of my price range, I contacted the Realtor and made an appointment to "just go see" the house.

It was serendipity. I arrived at the house before the Realtor did. When she got out of her car, the first words out of her mouth were "The sellers just dropped the price by $10,000."  Apparently the sellers had been transferred and the house was vacant.  It was as if the angels suddenly started singing. The house was now smack dab in my price range. I walked in the front door and just knew I had come home. I love old houses and this one still had the original wood floors, rolled glass in the windows and a built-in glass-front 'buffet' in the dining room. The kitchen was very horrible, but I could see past the cosmetic problems - it had recently been equipped with central air, had a fairly new roof and good, deep well and decent fencing for horses, plus no one had done anything too 'strange' to the house over its lifetime. It mainly needed a LOT of junk hauled off, a good mowing and lots of paint and sweat equity. I immediately offered them full price for the place. This was no time to quibble. Despite the fact they had a  cash offer come in, the owners accepted my offer. (Thank goodness I'd been pre-approved for a loan and had a letter from my mortgage company to submit with my offer!) On Good Friday (an omen for sure after the turmoil I'd undergone over the past few years) , I signed the papers and it was mine.

I could not have undertaken such a project without the help of my dad, who helped me transform the place into a charming dollhouse of a home. Together we converted the huge utility room (that had once been part of the back porch) into a closet/utility room/half bath, put in plumbing and wiring in the barn I eventually built, replaced light fixtures, installed a drop-stair to access the huge walk-through attic and wired my arena for lights, along with a million other small things I could never list. I refinished the kitchen floor, which had been started, and left bare an filthy. I think I had huge blisters on my knees for weeks but I didn't care.  I learned how to patch sheetrock. I painted the interior. Eventually, I took all the kitchen cabinet doors off,  and patched the nicks and dings, holes, sanded and painted everything, replaced all the hardware and re-hung all the doors. That was a huge job but made a big difference in the kitchen, which still needed a new sink, new countertop and backsplash. Oh yea, and a dishwasher would be nice! As finances allowed over the years, I contracted out the major work, including remodeling the awful kitchen and building a new barn.

I was an obsessed woman for the first two years, working almost non-stop to make my dream become a reality. I get a great deal of satisfaction in transforming a "sow's ear" into a silk purse using creativity more so than cash. I am not afraid of sweating and hard work and since I am a "daddy's girl" I learned a lot from watching him while growing up, and could do a lot of the work myself - and I enjoy it. It's a creative outlet for me. If I could do anything at all, without worrying about actually making a living, I'd find old houses and fix them up and sell them.

One of the first things I did was to paint the house. I could not stand the brown a minute more, even though I certainly had more pressing things to spend my money on than painting the house. I took a walking tour of the Houston Heights to get ideas for colors and settled on a peach/moss green/off-white combination. However, it didn't turn out quite like I thought.. The paint that looked _definitely_ and obediently PEACH at Home Depot had a mind of its own when I actually put it on the house. (After waterblasting off decades of old paint and getting down to bare wood over most of the house and then putting two coats of primer on it!!)  I started at the back porch and gleefully attacked my "fresh canvas" with a wide swathe of a fat, fluffy roller just oozing paint.  My glee turned to puzzlement when the paint on the house, as it dried, started looking definitely "pink."  And I had several hundred dollars of "pink" in custom-mixed, non-returnable, shiny gallon buckets stacked on the porch. I looked at that large patch of pink for about two days before I just sighed and surrendered to it. And actually, when I finished, I liked it. I am sure the neighbors were quite sure I had lost my mind at first, but the finished product, with its fresh minty green and cream accents, was cool and crisp as an ice cream cone.   I added spindled gingebread to the front and back porches, that I painstakingly hand-painted to match the house. As a last-minute inspiration, I asked dad to make me some dog-eared, slatted shutters for the windows. And, in usual dad-style fashion, they were brilliant - even down to the little diamond-shaped cutouts.  They were the perfect finishing touch to my Victorian cottage!

Because the house is pink, it's become sort of a landmark. Of course, most people, when I would say I live in the "the pink house on CR 142" would picture a nauseous Pepto-Bismol shade and were always pleasantly surprised (and relieved about my sense of taste and style) when they actually saw it in person. ;)  And many of the people would exclaim, "Oh, YOU live in that pink house!"  It's almost a local celebrity! ;)

Anyway, I love my little pink house, inside and out. When I got remarried and my new husband just COULD NOT live in that house (due to size rather than color) I could not bear to part with it.  So it's been a rent  house since then, and it is a labor of love to "visit" it and repaint and fuss around with it every time a tenant moves out.

Since it is so close to the 'center' of Alvin, which is growing fast, the property value is most certainly in the land the Pink House sits on. So my long-range plan is to move the house to another lot when I eventually sell the property.  The pink house will NEVER suffer the wrecking ball as long as I own it! But every time I put it up for lease, even though I state very plainly it is "for lease only and not for sale" probably half the inquiries I get are to ask if I will sell it.

The answer is always no. ;)

(click here to see complete photos and rental information)_