The Perfect Home

I just came back from the second “reconnaissance” trip
to Zurich. This one was dedicated to finding The Perfect Home. We had this
romantic notion that if we arranged to see a large enough number of potentially
suitable properties, we would find at least one – if not more – that we could imagine
as our home for the next few years. Despite having heard from various
sources that the real estate market in Zurich is tight and that large
properties are scarce, I thought, somehow, that the Perfect Home was out there
waiting for me – and that it would present itself on that trip. If anything,
yesterday’s trip taught me that (as much as hate the idea) there is no way
around compromise – but at least you get to choose what you compromise on J.
We saw many potential homes. Some were spacious and
some were cramped. Some had gardens that would have made my kids happy and others
did not. A couple of them were centrally located and others (I thought) were borderline
part of the civilised world. Remember all those criteria – from my previous
post – the ones that our perfect family home should fulfil? They were
all fulfilled – by a combination of different homes.
The most central property we saw was an apartment where
I could walk out of my door and walk into a Starbucks (I have decided that
proximity to a Starbucks or other decent café, is a benchmark of civilization,
as far as location is concerned). It was a beautifully renovated and elegant flat,
but obviously built for smaller families. My kids would have rooms, but they
would not be able to fit much of their stuff (including their clothes) in their
rooms. There was a lovely rooftop terrace that the real estate agent insisted
would add to our living space. Given that it was such a warm and sunny day
yesterday, I almost forgot that I would be able to use this terrace at most two
months a year. There was also not much in terms of parks or playgrounds, not to mention I
could forget about using my car much, since I could not park it anywhere near.
Another centrally located town house we saw had a lot
of character and charming interior design, but it had such low ceilings that my
husband bumped his head on them several times during the viewing; and so many
steep staircases that my 70-year-old mother would only come visit us once –
then never again. Not to mention, again, a space issue.
We also saw properties that were more generous in
terms of space – houses with gardens. One was beautiful, but one room short for
our needs; also not so central, but at least close to the city limits.
Another one was big enough and could fit all of us, but as we came in the front
door, we discovered, to our horror, that its owners were fans of 1970s design. The
last one we visited was just right: spacious, with enough rooms for all of us –
and then some; tasteful; with a huge garden; there was even a swimming pool. The catch: it was at the top of a hill, next to a forest.
Everything would be just a drive away.
Well, at least when the relatively steep road leading to it would not be
covered by snow or (worse) ice.
The rule is simple and it applies to most places: the
further away from the city you move, the more space you get. I had the romantic
and wildly unrealistic expectation that I would be able to find the exception
to the rule – a home that is spacious enough to fit my whole family comfortably
without being so remote that I would feel isolated – or obliged to become the
family chauffeur. I was also secretly hoping that I would enter one of those
houses and get the feeling of “homeliness” that would tell me that “it’s the one.”
It is hard to describe precisely the feeling of being at home, but most of
us know it when it’s there. That feeling is the one thing I am not willing to
compromise on, whatever we decide.
We needed to make a decision by the end of the day. I
did not want to, though, because I did not think that we had found our home
yet. I am probably less flexible and more demanding than the average home-seeker.
The terms of the compromise are clear: either we go for one of the bigger homes
and we (I, really) come to terms with living outside the city; or we compromise
on space, learning to live with a lot less stuff
(which is not such a bad idea in general), but live right where all the action
is. I’m still looking for the “third way.”
I don’t know where we will end up. I am still hoping
that the Perfect Home will show up over the next couple of weeks in one of my
daily Internet searches. Compromise may be around the corner, but I’m not going
down without a fight.


  1. Keeping my fingers crossed. Wait a bit more – you should feel comfortable. Don't give into compromise too soon.

  2. Anonymous

    Be patient, check another few houses…you'll come across THE perfect home for you guys…but…you Are a demanding superwoman …:-p
    Think of the fact that a house must be near public transport and near the school…btw…have you chosen the school already?

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