I am a house luster. I adore home. Basically, I adore space. I love making any space sacred, from a business to a driveway. I love our home. We truly have created a sanctuary. I love real estate, like what is called a ‘hobby’. I enjoy looking at houses, going to open houses……and yesterday I did just that.
The difference in house gazing for me is I can see that I care more about how something feels, than how it looks in what magazines and HGTV say is in. Our home was empty and on the market for a year, when I first walked into this unloved building. A 1930’s vintage one floor house on a hill. (Really a knoll.) The kitchen and bathrooms do need redoing, and ceilings are chipping; yet I fell in love anyway. So – back to yesterdays open house…………..
I wanted to see what a $ 990,000.00 brand new build felt like. It was a truly interesting venture. Keep in mind, just short of a million dollar home. It was built by a man who has been a carpenter, a contractor for others. It was his first solo venture and I was told by the inexperienced realtor who over-zealously greeted me at the door, that; “he put his WHOLE heart into this!”
Now; I say she was inexperienced because it was awkwardly obvious. A lovely woman, a grand opportunity for her; yet a million dollar home could call forth savvy buyers, one would think. She did not come forward to introduce herself or shake hands when I entered the house. I introduced myself. She called the farmers porch ‘a little deck’, she said the home had four bedrooms and I had to correct her; I knew it had five from the listing. When we got upstairs she said, “oh I missed this one!” She did not know the plot lines, could not point out the lot boundaries. She did not know where the house in the back would be built. She kept gushing about the openness, (yet poorly used space), and flowed her hand over very nice woodwork while gushing.
Here is my rant: Now, the build: The staging was horrible. It is a five bedroom home with what are called two Masters. Five bedrooms means a large family. The open concept was mostly kitchen, very poor proportions, room for only a small four seating GLASS round table (perfect for an active family, right?) – and only one couch on display to watch a TV that was set up so high ones neck would get cramped. BUT! Look at how OPEN it is!!! Look at all the marble counters! Look at the appliances, she gushed. The dining room had a smallish four seater table staged, (glass again, SO good for an active family) – the dining room might fit a larger more formal table. Where are all these five bedroom occupants eating I wonder? The room/space off the kitchen, (which should have been part of the gathering room for more couches, or the eating area for a long table), was an entrance from the 3 car garage. It was massive, this space, this GORGEOUS indeed space. (Much larger than the front foyer.) Dark oak floors, lovely, flashy, glitzy fixtures, builtin cubbies for TEN children with hooks and all……….but……..the laundry room off this coat area, I lost it. I admit it. I asked the realtor, “how will a washer and dryer fit in here? Come here, please, look at this.” It was obvious. One single washer and dryer could not fit side by side where the outlets were, BUT the SMALL marble counter was very pretty. No where to fold or hang clothes. (Remember, FIVE bedrooms.) The very nice realtor suggested maybe the dryer would go against this wall……oh, then if it is a front loader one cannot open the door? I will bring it to the builders attention she told me. And what I did not say is if this home is filled with three or more children, (five bedrooms!) many times folks have commercial washer and dryers (Larger than usual) or even two of each for a family of five or more. The laundry room for this 5000 sq foot home was the size of a half bath….with a very pretty little sink. Little being the operative word. (A woman did not design this.)
The first Master she showed me had LOVELY, glitzy everything and ONE SINK. One. Just one sink. It is a MASTER with a small office/reading room too, a HUGE marble bathroom and ONE sink. The HALL bathroom had TWO SINKS. Yes, all the glitzy was top end everything, from moldings to dark oak floors, to windows. The second master did have two sinks in a gorgeous bathroom. And…. perfect soaking tubs, marble floors, large showers…..
The driveway was SO lean, too narrow, had to watch carefully driving my smallish/midsize SUV, anything larger would be questionable. There was no TURN AROUND. (Hear me gasp!!!) The realtors’ one car blocked anyone else from turning around in front of the three bay garage. There was a small one car only place to park mid driveway, which was on a LEDGE. Cautious backing up folks.
And for the icing on the cake, the landscape had just been completed and it smelled like dead fish from the fertilizer.
So, so, so easy for us all to get caught up in glitzy distractions from the fundamentals of life which give us a reliable foundation.
Is it fair to rant without suggestions? Okay, here is mine: If a man, not an architect with spacial sensibilities, designs and builds a house, please get a women’s input. AND if you build a home with FIVE bedrooms get a women’s input who has four or more children before you begin.
I went to another open house two years ago, the builder was showing it. A really well built home. He let me ramble through on my own. He asked me what I thought. He was sincere and extremely kind & likable. I asked him where the headboard would go in the master? We went upstairs. The windows, the entrance to a sun filled office off the Master………it did not work. Pretty, but no place for a HEADBOARD! Then, we went to the great room and I asked where does the couch go? He had gorgeous hand built wood built in’s on one wall, an off centered (!) fireplace on another and air vents in the floor, in random places to him, but it all together prevented couch comfort placement. He then asked me to tell him everything I saw that I would change.
The house started at over a million and sold for more than $ 250,000 less more than a year later.
Maybe I should have been a house critic, like a movie critic, but I do not want to prevent sales. I would, however, be happy to make loads of suggestions to any house plan or gut job. When I begin to flip houses, my homes will be very well thought out, have loads of color, a high vibe feel, not any grey, and I will include one or two pieces of furniture which fit the house perfectly. “Homes by Deborah – NO GLITZ, a whole lot of SOUL”
What do you value more, the glitz or the soul?
Thank you! I feel better.