More for Less

Between them, my grandmother and great-aunt subscribed to most of the women's magazines - McCalls, Better Homes and Gardens, and Good Housekeeping littered their bedside tables. When one finished she passed it to the other. In my formative years, I spent weekends at both women's houses and, on account of my indiscriminate reading of anything put in front of me, I read most of those magazines cover-to-cover.

On the plus side, I learned a lot (mostly about feminine hygiene products and how to spot a cheating husband). On the minus side I constantly attempt to fit my experiences into women's magazine human-interest, her-own-story headlines: "How I Lost 15 Pounds By Dancing Around My Living Room," "These Twins Were Born One Month Apart," "I Lost My Job, Home, Husband and Family to My Shopping Addiction."

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending upon how you look at it), my life simply isn't interesting enough to qualify for a story. I met my husband through mutual friends, my house isn't trying to kill me, my children were born fairly uneventfully (my son weighed 11 pounds and it took at least 15 nurses, two doctors and one tech to punch me repeatedly in the belly as I delivered him in a labor that lasted a total of 120 minutes, while all I remember is my mother inexplicably talking on her cell phone in my peripheral vision - while it's my best story, that's really all there is to it), and I have never had any really great success with weight gain or loss (exception: see above - I gained and lost 50 pounds.)

The other type of story one finds in women's magazines that I was willing to read as a mere child but would never bother with now are of the "How to Save" genre. "How a Family of Four Lives on $1000 Per Month," "Chicken Five Ways for Five Days," and my favorite: "It Costs Me Less Not to Work." Duh, no day care, no Donna Karan, no expense account lunches with adults, but guess what? You are a slave with ugly clothes - which, of course, is fine if that's what you want.

It is this type of article that I believe I may be able to write today. I will have to ghost write it for the person who actually lives it, as I am the type of person who is willing to go (deeply) into debt to avoid cooking by going out to dinner at least four times a week (and since I hate fast food and cheap restaurants, it adds up quickly).

But we aren't talking about me ("My husband Threatened to Divorce Me if I Didn't Make Him Meatloaf"). I have found a house (practically a mansion) in which a person could live for very little outlay and for less than a one-bedroom apartment per month.

Nathan Dickerson and Tim Blanton's house on West Third Street stands out from its neighbors in detail (Romanesque), color (dark green) and because it sits behind a green fence. The interior also maintains its period details, including French doors, massive columns Nathan describes as "masculine," and bookshelves behind leaded glass doors.

Nathan and Tim ingeniously transformed the former dining room, which opens to the living room and entry hall with a view of the ornate stairway, into an unfitted kitchen. Until I saw the refrigerator, I didn't realize I was standing in the kitchen. A large freestanding cabinet holds dishes, while the sink and counter top sit in an island that is disguised from the front as another piece of furniture. Nathan pointed out that while it works quite well as a kitchen, removing it would leave no trace should one wish to turn the room back into a formal dining room because nothing is attached to the floor. Beyond the kitchen, an office and a den open onto a small deck which overlooks the swimming pool and Jacuzzi.

Upstairs lies the key to inexpensive living. Nathan and Tim have converted the attic into a large studio apartment and the back portion of the house, which overlooks the pool, into a one bedroom apartment. According to Nathan, income from both apartments could fetch about $800 per month. I looked on a mortgage calculation web site and found that the monthly payments would be about $1200 (at 7.75 percent with 5 percent down.) That means someone could live in the main portion of this huge house with its character, charm and swimming pool for about $400 per month. "How to Live in a Mansion for Next to Nothing."


511 West Third Street


Over 5000 square feet according to Nathan

5-7 bedrooms, 3 & one half baths

Contact Nathan Dickerson at http://www.nathandesign.com

Or call 231-8177

If you have a unique or interesting house for sale contact Lissa Sims at lsims@aceweekly.com.