39 Totten Pl

This is my very first post on the blog and possibly my last for a while, I’m due to have our little girl any day now. Anyway, this is my report on 39 Totten Place. We both liked the house very much, but walked out saying to each other, “Now we know why that one hasn’t sold.”

Although it’s listed as a three-bedroom house, it really only has two. There’s no access to one of the bedrooms except through the smallest “bedroom,” which is essentially an extra-wide space in the upper hall with a closet and a window. In the photographs, it’s the one with green curtains and rug but no bed. It’s a useful space and would work well as an office or sewing room, or even a place for video games, although maybe not the latter as it’s right outside the master bedroom. It could be a guest room in a pinch, or maybe a nursery, but you’d have to worry about the occupant of the second bedroom waking the baby on his or her way into the other bedroom. This is a house for a couple with one child, or two children who don’t mind sharing a room, as the second bedroom is certainly large enough for two children to share. But for a couple like us, with two children of different genders and widely separated ages, it wouldn’t work, except maybe in the nursery scenario.

If you are one of those couples, this might be a great house for you. It’s a beautiful, 100+ year-old house. There’s plenty of period detail — 9’ ceilings throughout, including on the second floor, a stained glass window over the stairs, lots of original woodwork, and a wrap-around porch. The living room isn’t particularly large, but it’s a reasonable size, especially compared to the tiny living rooms I’ve seen in similar Babylon Colonials. The dining room is huge; the listing describes it as “banquet-sized.” It’s easily large enough for a dining table for ten or twelve and a small seating area with a couch. The kitchen is older—no new cabinets, slick granite countertops, or stainless steel appliances here. But it’s a good size and has light and potential. There’s a small pantry off the kitchen for storage and a recently renovated half-bath by the back door. I didn’t see the basement but my husband reported that it has a lot of storage, although he had to duck his head. The yard isn’t large but is quite pleasant, with a new patio and an electrified and partially finished double garage in the back.

I liked this house very much. It’s right in the village, yet on a quiet residential street. It’s only a few blocks to the train station, a huge boon to a Manhattan commuter like me. But for $430K, we need to have three real bedrooms. That’s the biggest issue for us. This is the second Babylon colonial we’ve seen with this issue—the other house, Lowerre St., had a separate third bedroom, but it was so tiny you’d have to wedge a twin-size bed in there. The current owners were using it as a laundry room, and the washer/dryer nearly took up nearly the entire “long” wall. Lowerre St is another attractive period colonial that seems to be well-priced but has the same dealbreaker: no real third bedroom.