House Hunting

Every summer my town puts on a Tour of Homes. The builders in the area get together and put their best craftsmanship on display for homeowners, other builders, interior designers etc to discover what’s new in construction that year. I think it’s probably one of my favorite parts of summer, because I LOVE houses. LOVE them. Plus, since my mom’s an interior designer and we work together from time to time, it’s always fun to go around town and check out what other people are up to in the design world!

Last night after it cooled down a bit I decided to head out and see what I could see! Since they’re kind of spread out, I picked the section of the map where several of the little markers were squished together in a new development, and a few others that weren’t too far from there. Unfortunately I didn’t make it to all of the houses because I only had two hours and I started with the ones on the far side of town, but I plan on checking out the rest this evening when I have more driving time.

The ones I did see were nice, but for the most part, unremarkable (hopefully the ones I check out tonight will be more exciting, they’re in the older part of town). Just think new construction, and you know what I’m talking about. They had all the important pieces – amazing kitchens, walk-in closets, master baths with bathtubs to die for – and you could tell that attention was paid to all the little details such as cabinets and fixtures, but they were also very cookie cutter. Three houses were in the same neighborhood, and although the outsides and indoor layouts varied (unlike in many developments of the 90s) they all felt somehow the same.

Not to mention I noticed in most of the houses that builders are trying to create the feel of luxury without the heavy price. This doesn’t really work for me, because it compromises a lot of the space and functionality needed for a more middle class home. For instance, when you have 5,000 square feet, open and airy spaces are a good thing. When your house is 1,500sqft however, that same layout can lead to a lot of wasted and unusable space, and tiny bedrooms.

In fact, I noticed that a lot – huge kitchens, living rooms you could put a pool in, master suites with closets as big as a second bedroom…but then when you get to the second bedroom? Well, you’re lucky if you can fit a bed in it. Also, the majority of the houses were only 3 bedroom, so when you think about it, if you’ve got 3 kids that means 2 of them have to share a room. There’s not going to be any space for all of their stuff, and they’re going to be constantly fighting because they have no way to divide the room up and they’re constantly going to be on top of one another.

Personally, I’d rather have a bedroom big enough for a bed and some side tables, *gasp* maybe even a dresser?? – than I would a living room big enough to trot a horse through. Or a guest room/extra bedroom instead of a random blank area in the middle of my house that connects the living room/kitchen/dining room/entryway and makes it look “airy,” but that is so awkward that you can’t utilize it for anything. Especially if I’m going to be paying half a million+ for it.

One house had an absolutely amazing view, however, and that was worth the price alone! Unfortunately it was also on a giant hill with the steepest driveway ever, and the staircase posts were made of unfinished old wood that totally gave me a splinter (yes, genius for people with kids! Sometimes I wonder if architects ever bother to think of the people that are going to actually live in the houses they design).

It also had this super cool floor in the upstairs bathroom:

My favorite detail out of any of the houses though, had to be these little “backsplash” windows:

What a cute way to lighten up the kitchen!

What is your favorite room of a house? What quality is an absolute must-have for you or your family when you’re looking to buy?


5 thoughts on “House Hunting

  1. At 49 years old and the kids out of the house, I find myself wanting to downsize. I could be happy living on a boat at this stage in my life, but…If I were to look for a house, the rooms would be way less important than the area it is in. I would first find a neighborhood or area that you can enjoy, then worry about the house. If I had to pick a room, I would say that a kitchen with enough counter space would be a plus.

    • Yes, my parent’s are thinking of downsizing as well – their main criteria are area and a single storey!

      A kitchen with decent counter space is a must as well! That’s one of my least favorite parts in my current kitchen. Thank goodness for portable islands :)

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