16 July 2012

TWO HOUSES FOR TWO STAGES OF LIFE

 

Are you just starting out in life, looking for that house when you first marry and have that first baby, or are you looking for the house to raise a growing family in, to live in through the empty nester years?  When I was younger, I used to think of houses as something you lived in forever. But now, at 57, I’m realizing that houses are designed for certain stages in our lives. How lonely it must be for mom and dad in a big house when all the kids have moved on. How much space do 2 people really need? My house, at just under 3,000 sq ft., was really too small when Elisabeth started having friends over. Ben and I had nowhere to go except for our bedroom to hide out. But now that she is in college, we don’t find ourselves lost in a too big house. Still, one day, I suppose we’ll move to a townhouse or even later, a high rise.

What stage of house life are you in? Would a cozy bungalow be perfect for you, as a newly wed or an empty nester, or would you need a larger house,  for all  your children and guests who visit?

I found two houses for sale in Houston  - one large, beautiful and custom designed for a big, growing family.  The other is an older bungalow, perfect for a single person, or a family just starting out – or for an empty nester family.  Both houses were decorated by designers, so the interiors are what initially caught my eye.  But the more I thought about it – how better to show the difference for living at a certain stage in life?  Enjoy!!

 

House #1

House #1 is a beautiful custom home in the wooded Memorial area of Houston.  It was designed by Todd Rice and its interiors were decorated by Don Connelly, a well known Houston interior designer.  Connelly also owns AREA, the fabulous décor shop on Kirby.  AREA is one of the largest shops for furnishing the home – from the candles to the dining room table including the chandelier over it.  They have everything and then some.   It’s a wonderful mix of antiques and contemporary and it’s all beautifully laid out in Don’s vision.   Connelly has been published numerous times in national magazines so it’s a thrill to see a house he designed that hasn’t been published (that I know of!)  

The house is over 7,000 ft with five bedrooms, 5 baths and 3 half baths.  The finishes are incredible, reclaimed floors, stone countertops, European mantel, and on and on.  There are antique beams and the most incredible paneled dining room in Pecky Cypress.  

 

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The award winning house built in 2007, is Country French design.  The exterior is a mixture of stucco and stone, with a slate roof.  The shutters are French blue, a color that Connelly uses throughout the house.  This is probably my favorite style of house, so naturally I was drawn to it.  The windows and doors are all mahogany, another luxe element used in building this custom house. 

 

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Here you can see the charming garage doors – with the French styled brick on the second floor.  This section was designed to look like it was added on at a later time.   So beautiful!!

 

 

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Inside, the foyer runs from the front door to the back door.      Notice how Don mixed contemporary slipper chairs in a light blue silk with an antique French buffet.  He also chose a large, contemporary vase to sit in between two urn lamps – along with a large contemporary canvas above it all.  I love the front door.  The arched top of the door is a design element seen throughout the house.  And notice the beautiful reclaimed, wide planked floors – they run throughout the first floor.

 

 

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And looking the other direction towards the back door – divided off from the foyer with a beautiful mahogany transom and light blue portieres that cover the back door.    Across from the French buffet vignette is a second vignette.  I love the simple railing on the stairs – curvy, busy railings seem so fussy compared to this design.  The walls are finished in a Venetian plaster – notice there is no molding, no crown or base, just beautiful plaster.    At the end of the hall – past the transom - to the right is the family room and kitchen.   To the left is the curtained window hall that leads to the master bedroom suite.  Connelly is known for the mix of antique and contemporary – and this foyer shows off his expertise beautifully!

 

 

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The second vignette off the stair lobby, with a beautiful French blue lamp.  I love all the subtle touches of blue that Don added throughout.  Notice the door that was made out of Pecky Cypress.  Pecky what?  Cypress grows in wet, swampy areas on the east coast and the Gulf of Mexico.  When a fungus attacks the cypress, it creates this certain look that is seen when the wood is cut – known as Pecky Cypress.   It is most popularly used as paneling in houses in Florida and Louisiana. 

 

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Off the foyer and to the right of the front door is the fabulous dining room – covered in Pecky Cypress.  Even the ceiling is paneled.  Notice the table – the base appears to be Pecky Cypress too.  The top looks like zinc, but I’m not sure what material it is, it might be stone.   Across the hall is the study and through the door on the right is the stone wet bar, and family room.

 

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I love the chairs and the fabric used in the light blue and cream colorways.  The chairs are a mixture of French with gray painted wood and a pair of host wing chairs.  The nailheads on both are an important accent.   Across the back is a tall painted buffet with a contemporary piece of art.   Love the large wooden chandelier.

 

 

 

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 One last look – notice the light colored contemporary rug and the antique Swedish clock.  For the curtains, Don chose another contemporary fabric.  

 

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Across from the dining room is the study.  A large, tufted ottoman anchors four comfortable chairs next to the painted white brick fireplace.  Notice the Pecky Cypress mantel and beams.  Love the desk!  While the house is country French, I have no doubt that the owner is a Texan, who loves to hunt down by the Rio Grande river. 

 

 

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Through the transom off the entry hall (you can see the Pecky Cypress door in the foyer through the transom) is the wet bar, family room and kitchen.   The reclaimed European mantel is stone with a painted trumeau above it.  Notice the large stone coffee table and patterned rug.  Here you can see the large, stone wet bar.  Back stairs lead to the bedrooms.

 

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Close up of the wet bar.  Notice the reclaimed stone countertops and how the cabinets are built into the stone frame.  Great wood shelves wrap around the room.  The sink is too cute!!  On the right you can see the hall that leads to the master bedroom.

 

 

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Another view of the family room – and the kitchen beyond it.   Look how wonderful the floors are, reclaimed wide planked French oak!  The curtains are the same soft blue which Don used throughout the house.   Notice the Pecky Cypress beams and stove hood.

 

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Another view of the family room and kitchen.  I like how the refrigerator and freezer are broken up by bookshelves.  It warms up what is usually a large bank of cold stainless.

 

 

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The cabinets are painted a soft bluish gray – the tiles are hand painted, they make such a large design statement.  Another arched transom leads to bricked lined hall at the back of the house and garage. 

 

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The breakfast room has a contemporary print in greens and blues.  Zinc topped table with blue slipped chairs.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE that shelf!!!   So unusual.   How perfect is it for that space???   Notice the tufted stools on the left – remember the last reader’s house had those too!   I’ll wager they are both from Marburger Farms at Round Top.    Outside this window you can see the back porch, with its lanterns and flatscreen, no other pictures though.

 

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At the end of the foyer – to the left - is this hallway that overlooks a terrace lined in boxwoods that leads to the back yard.  At the end here, through the arched transom is the master bedroom.   These doors with the transoms are so beautiful and make such a huge statement.   I love how Todd Rice paid attention to every single detail – and it shows.   Notice the light blue curtains with their Greek Key trim.    Across is a vignette with an antique French balcony made into a console and two antique chairs, along with a contemporary art work – a trademark vignette of Don Connelly’s. 

 

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The bedroom has the light blue gray walls, along with a textured rug over the hardwoods.   Notice the touch of exotic – the zebra striped lampshades really add a punch to the room.   Antique beams.

 

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Painted armoire hides the TV.  Creamy curtains are so pretty against the wall color.  The only pattern comes from pillows in the chairs and the lampshades.   Beautiful chandelier – AREA has a great collection of unusual and original chandeliers.

 

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The master bathroom room is all Carrera marble and polished nickel.    Gorgeous tub.

 

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And finally, the back façade.  You can see the covered porch to the left off the breakfast room.  The family room doors are next and then the three French doors that line the master bedroom hall can be seen.  A boxwood garden surrounds that terrace which will be great when the pool is built.  At the end is the bay window in the master bedroom.    I loved having a chance to see this design by Todd Rice and the interiors by Don Connelly.   I hope you did too! It’s the perfect home for a young couple starting out with a growing family – they could live here 20  to 25 years and be very happy.  But, is the house too big for empty nesters?

This house is option pending.  To see more go HERE.

 

HOUSE #2

House #2 is also owned by a designer.   It doesn’t list her name on the account, so I can’t say it here, but the homeowner comes from a family of designers.  This house is located near downtown and is the opposite of the house above.  It is an old cottage built in 1938 and is just under 2,000 sq ft.  There are 3 bedrooms as well as another in the converted garage/guest house.  The entire house was redone – new a/c, roof, wiring plumbing, insulation, and sheetrock.   It’s absolutely adorable and I thought it was a perfect mix to show with House #1.  Not all great houses have to be huge or custom designed.  Sometimes, it’s the smallest of cozy homes that fill our souls with longing.  This one did it for me.    These two houses show two families at different stages and how each house fits their stage perfectly.   This bungalow is perfect for the single person, the newly married – or the empty nester. 

As with the other house, this one is also “Sale Pending” – more information HERE.

 

Located near downtown Houston, the 1938 bungalow has great curb appeal with its new gray paint and boxwood landscaping.  No garage, but plenty of parking out front.

 

 

On the front porch, the ceiling has beadboard and there is a nice front door with windows that lets in the light.  Some people that own bungalows like this will convert their front porch into interior living space.  Just an idea. 

 

Right away inside, it’s apparent someone with a great sense of style lives here.  There’s a fireplace with a great mantel – an antique Louis Philippe mirror and sconces atop it.  A tall slipped sofa divides the room in two.  The zebra rug pops with pattern.   Two contemporary chairs wear green patterned fabric pillows, as does a bench in front of the fireplace.  The walls throughout the house are a stark white – with tall black baseboards and doors that add to the color scheme.    I love the blinds – these open from the bottom, letting in light, but keeping out stalkers trying to look inside.  (You know who you are - cruising around at dusk trying to look inside all the cute houses.)

 

 The ceilings are 9 1/2 feet tall downstairs – a rarity in a bungalow of this age.   Here you can see the dining room behind the living room – and the kitchen further along.  I love how the ceiling has a glossy finish which adds a nice texture to the space and makes the ceilings appear even taller.

 

 Here, a large built in coverts the dining room into a study.  French cane chairs around a dark table sit underneath a beautiful wood and crystal chandelier. 

 

At the back is another sitting area, this time with a linen slipcovered sectional perfect for a young family with babies.  The blinds are just so pretty in this space.  They add so much texture and create atmosphere at the same time.   A contemporary light fixture tops it off.  Notice the baseboards – a wide strip of black paint – which adds just a touch a drama to the white walls.  This is another great idea – the strip of paint creates a wide baseboard where there really isn’t one, there is only a quarter round!

 

 A checked tufted ottoman becomes the coffee table.  There are three arched mirrors instead of just one mirror –  flanked by two wood sconces.  A painted buffet holds the flatscreen, while a large pine piece holds books and accessories. 

 

 

 The kitchen is just darling.  Granite in gray and white, gray cabinets, and new stainless appliances.  The cabinet above the refrigerator is pushed forward so that it looks like a built-in refrigerator, another great tip.  Love all the cabinets without their doors – so pretty!   Notice the feet on the bottom cabinets- a nice detail.   The backsplash behind the cooktop is brick. 

 

The bar area – opens onto the back yard.  Great glass shelves with black iron brackets.   Another pretty French door, painted black, is a nice touch with the tall, black baseboards – the black doors tie it all together.

 

 

 Upstairs in the converted attic is the master bedroom.  Here, the walls are again white, with the wide black strip of baseboards.  The floor is wall to wall seagrass.   The bedding is all in linens.  Down a step is a sitting area.  Attic rooms are so romantic because of all the eaves.  It’s like sleeping in a tree house!

 

 

Great new master bath – with shower and tiny mosaic tiled floor.  The same countertops found in the kitchen are found here.  An antique table holds the towels.  I love how the dark brown pops in the all white space.   

 

The nursery has the same color scheme – white with black accents and pops of blue.  SOOOO CUTE!!!!  I love that crib!!!!!   And here, romantic curtains hang from black rods over the shades.  Beautiful crystal chandelier.  The rug adds texture and pattern.  Pretty white linens on the bed.  A painted chest is converted into the changing table which is a great idea because changing tables aren’t used but for a few years and afterwards you have a pretty chest.   Sooo dreamy!!!  Just the perfect nursery.  Hmmm….    

 

 

The garage was converted into a guest house, where they added a wine refrigerator.  Great suzani ottoman and nice buffet which holds the flatscreen.

 

And included in the guest house is another bathroom.  Such a cute linen monogrammed shower curtain and I love the shelf that was faux painted for over the toilet.    

 

 

 

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 The back yard with the converted guest house and pool, which was completely resurfaced by the owners. 

What a great house for a single person – or a young family just starting out.  I assume the owners are probably moving to a somewhat bigger house, but I love the size of this house, it’s so cozy and warm.  The guest house adds that needed flex space which could be a great hideaway to watch footballs games away from sleeping babies.   I’ll make a guess that this couple may also be moving because of the pool.  Once babies start crawling, you need to think about pool protection like gates.  Is this house too small for more than a baby?  Would 2 or three children be too crowded in this space?

Still, I wanted to show both these houses because they are so very different in square footage and style.  One is 7000 sq ft and custom and the other is 2000 sq ft and a renovated bungalow.   One is for those just starting out – or maybe empty nesters, the other is for a large, growing family.  Are you at that stage in life that one of these houses would be what you are looking for?  Or are you headed for a townhouse or highrise?  Is your house right now somewhere you will be able to live when you move to that next stage of your life? Or will you be forced to move on when you outgrow your house or your house outgrows you?? 

 

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Talking about that pool and the gates that have to put around a pool when you have a toddler reminded me of this darling gate that I saw used in a backyard.  Instead of something really ugly that most people have, these homeowners transformed their backyard with their pool gate.

 

 

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Take this house for example with a beautiful back yard – the baby gate around the pool is so unattractive and really takes away from the pretty swimming pool.

 

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This beautiful pool needs a baby gate around it – but what the owners did to baby proof it is really so cute – look:

 

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Instead of an ugly black gate, these owners put a white picket fence around their pool and suddenly the back yard looks like something out of South Hampton in New York, instead of Houston, Texas.  So, so attractive and safe.    They can even grow rose vines over the fence to soften it more. 

(In fact, their entire house is definitely worth seeing – to look at it, go HERE.

111 comments:

  1. That little picket fence may be cute but it is in no way safe and cannot be compared to an actual child-safe pool fence.

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    1. why not? what is the difference between the mesh fence and this fence? i don't get that.

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    2. I searched for state laws in Texas regarding pool fences and found this:

      "Fences surrounding in ground swimming pools must be at least 48 inches tall. Depending on the type of fencing used, the openings must be no larger than four inches in any directions. This includes any gaps below the fencing, according to Houston's swimming pool barrier code. The vertical portions of the fences must be on the outside of the fence enclosure. Horizontal pieces must be on the inside of the swimming pool fence enclosure so children cannot step on them as a means of gaining access to the pool. The weight of a chain link fence and opening size for chain link fences is often set as well. For example, in Arlington, the chain link must be 11-gauge wire, and must not have larger openings than 1 3/4 inches."

      I'm no expert so I don't know if a picket fence is as safe as other fences for in ground pools, but it sure looks like this fence meets the state requirements. In addition, some pool owners have alarms that go off when someone enters the pool area; which may or may not apply to this homeowner. We probably shouldn't judge unless/until we know the details.

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    3. Goon research

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    4. and now that the hazard is known, it's not just negligence, it's wanton negligence , yes, even in texas that is not fence enough for a pool

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    5. I couldn't help but chime in. I'm a landscape architect in the state of texas. If you look in the background of the photo, there is a tall wood fence that acts as the required fence for pool code. As long as the doors from the home that access the pool area have an alarm on them and are self closing, the pool enclosure is considered to code. Also, the exterior wood fence must have gates that swing outwards away from pool. I'm sure this homeowner is just using the picket fence as a child barrier instead of the tacky fence typically used around pools that are implemented by concerned parents.

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  2. Such a great post and so on par with what I am starting to talk about now. I love, love the bungalow home. I just started my own blog, specifically with the intent of blogging about our slow transition from a family of five to empty nesters and the changes that will likely occur, both in the our current home and with how my husband and I will eventually live our lives. We always talk about downsizing (especially to a single story - and wouldn't that bungalow size be about perfect) once our kids are completely gone. For now I have my oldest pretty much moved out -- and 3,000 miles away, my middle home for the summer from college and my youngest will be a senior in high school next year. I look forward to blogging about changing rooms from their bedrooms, to alternate rooms, when should that be a permanent change, etc. Please visit me at http://www.thatsabeautifulthing.com

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  3. Joni I love this post. We live in a small home with two teenage daughters, so we've done the hide out in the bedroom thing too!!!

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  4. Joni, what an interesting post. My story spans over 53 years of marriage, raising three children, husband in Air Force, then with businesses that had us move even more! We have lived in 35 homes, of course that includes all the "temporary housing" in between the next big move. Started out in a furnished one bedroom apartment in an old Victorian home in my husband's college town of Blacksburg Va. Then the moves and the kids and the transfers started. We are now in a 2050 sq.ft. home in a community of "Active Adults" over 50. The average age is 60. We are in our 70's so are on the old end of the curve. We actually Up Sized on this last move! We tried the 1100 sq.ft.condo high rise! We fell over each other! This is perfect. I call it my Bucket List House! It includes everything we liked in all our other homes.

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    1. wait, seriously 35 houses????????? omg - do you remember them all? I can't imagine - actually i bet it is fun in a way to always get to change. glad you are finally in your bucket list and hope you get to stay there forever!

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  5. I have to agree with the poster above.....that picket fence is not safe. How nice if it were, though, since it looks so much better!

    Amy C.

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    1. why? i don't get that at all. it's a gated fence. why is it not safe?

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    2. Well, it would depend on state laws. That wouldn't cut it in CA, where I live, though. The mesh fences can't be climbed, and putting a chair or something near it in order to get a boost wouldn't work. Too high. The picket fence looks like a kid standing in a wagon could crawl over it. Kids are resourceful! But again, don't know the law in all states.

      Amy C.

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    3. Yep, in CA it's 5' with other restrictions. That fence can easily be climbed by a toddler.

      Aside from that, I much prefer the second home. It just feels more alive. It's really quite adorable.

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  6. I love both homes! i have been reading your blog for about a year but haven't commented before. i thought it was funny that you said you had trouble finding a place to hide with one daughter in a 3000 square foot home. what i wouldn't give for a space that size! we live in an 1800 square foot home with 2 boys and 2 dogs (oh, and 1 drum set, 1 double bass, 3 electric basses and 15 guitars...seriously) and no, we don't have a basement! anyway, i love looking at the beautiful homes that you post and especially love a series you did in the past on smaller homes...so many great ideas :-) thank you!

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    1. well. there is the downstairs which is just a family room and everything is open to each other. no closed doors and then there are the bedrooms up stairs. so - yes, there is no one where to go but to the bedrooms. if we go to the living room - we see everyone going and coming. trust me. you might have more privacy. it's just the way the space is configured.

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  7. How lovely all the calming neutrals are... I had all neutrals at one point in my life...but color keeps invading. Our house is tiny but we can use our outside space all year long. Great post.

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  8. first one is perfect. I could say this is my dream house :)

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  9. I love the first house - everything has been considered down to the last detail. Based on the listing, it sounds like the house might be the builder's house?

    I think the floor plan is wonderful, the way the family room, kitchen, and bar work together. It's interesting how the house is somewhat divided when you walk in the front door - I saw a house like that last year, also French style, but it was a bigger house than this (probably 10,000 sf). So it had a formal living room thrown in the mix, as well as a sunroom.

    Loved this post!

    - Holly

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  10. Great post. The link for more information on the bungalow isn't working. Do you recall the price range?

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  11. Shelf in the breakfast room, 1st house, is exactly the type my decorator, Susanne Hudson puts UP on a wall with a vintage rough hewn board tacked onto the feet, voila-poof, another shelf.

    Would paint the white picket fence a darker color, perhaps match their shutters. White makes everything smaller.

    Still in my starter home 26 years later. Thought I would be gone in 5 years, you know something bigger-more worthy of me-me-me. Instead, I'm happy for every circumstance keeping me here, the house (same size as yours) too big & so happy there is not a basement. Best of all I've greatted a garden that is over a quarter century old. Grace for sure.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

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    1. tara - not following the shelf story. but i like the white picket fence! i like the white color of it. whoever heard of a gray picket fence? plus the house is white.

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    2. Tara do you mean a shelf just above the floor? I was thinking some baskets or ottomans would be cute under the shelf in the 1st house. I have never seen an other than white picket fence...going to search for images, I agree with Joni the white fits the house.

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  12. Do NOT like all of that pecky cypress in the first house! Too much wood. I definitely prefer the second, smaller house. It is beautifully decorated and looks much more "livable". I also like the contrast of darks & lights in the second house. The first one seemed a bit dull with the same tones.
    Kat

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  13. While the first house is gorgeous, I LOOOOVED the bungalow! So real and livable, to me. The owner's taste are amazing. LOVE it!

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    1. I'm with you - loved the second house. Actually stopped reading about the first house (gasp!). I would like three real bedrooms in my next cottage..but otherwise, house two is perfect!

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  14. Love both homes. I do prefer more space, so I am leaning towards the first home. I love the antiques and the colors. The second home is also very nice, the only thing that would bother me is the low ceilings in the master bedroom and the bathroom. It is cozy to look at, but it would start to bother me if I lived there. We have been in our 2800 sq foot home for 22 years and raised 3 boy here. Now that they are starting to move away, I miss them and the activity in the house, but am also enjoying having more space. I think it will be a lot harder when the 3rd one moves away. I think at that time the house will start to feel big and empty and quiet.

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  15. I adore house 1. Love how the greek key is worked in.

    My dream home is a country house of the type I visit at visitinghousesandgardens.wordpress.com but it's just me and I don't want the staff or have the children to fill all the rooms. Instead I live in a lovely central London pad, owning as much space as I can afford - 750 sq ft (londonhome.wordpress.com).

    Great post, Robin

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  16. Both houses are fabulous in their own right. I just love the monogrammed shower curtain in house #2's guest bath! I do think house #2 is best for a single person, a couple or a family starting out. Once toys and toddlers move into the picture the space will feel cramped.

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  17. Two very different, but equally beautiful homes. Lots of good ideas to take away from both. Great post, Joni!

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  18. Love this post! We're moving into a new house where I'm certain we're going to raise our family. The sellers raised their family there and are now moving to a home with a first floor master, which I'm sure we'll have to do one day.

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  19. Love the bungalow! I have been on a serious hunt for tall cane back french dining chairs like those in the dining room.... Does anyone know where I can find chairs like these?? Please help :)
    krisb408@gmail.com

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  20. I'm 62 and my husband just turned 64 and retirement is looming. So what do we do? We've torn up our 2500 sq ft two-story house! We made the decision not to move after retirement because of real estate/market bust. We're turning the back of our house into a one room pantry/morning room, kitchen, library/dining room with new big windows that look into our garden. I told my husband if we can't get up the stairs one day, we'll throw out the dining table and put in a bed in front of the fireplace and call it good!

    When our son was a teen, we turned our master bedroom into an upstairs media room and the dining room into our space to talk and listen to music. It worked for us. Will never have a TV in a living room again.

    As for the houses, I thought there was more soul in the second one. Personally, I preferred Toni's house to either one of these. Just me.

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    1. I would LOVE to see what you are doing!! send pictures when you are through, please!

      yes, i really loved Toni's house too. But I like these alot also. #2 is more my personal style, but i loved #1 - i thought it was beautiful. plus, I love don.

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  21. Good golly - what beautiful homes! The first one is a dream - perfect in every way, except I can't imagine living in (or affording)a house that large. (And what young families could afford it unless they had a chunk of family money? Even two young doctors would still be paying off medical school, but I digress. It must be a different world down in Houston.) My house, at 2000 square feet, is the largest I've ever lived in, and I've been here 24 years. Yes, we, too, had to retreat to the bedroom when one of the boys brought a date over. But I've always preferred cozy, cottagey spaces. Now that we're empty nesters, it's the perfect size with a downstairs master and the rooms are large enough when the grands come. However, we are downsizing when my husband retires to our mountain cabin, though we'll need to add on a downstairs master. No urban townhouse or high rise for us! We want to be close to nature as long as we can. So, while I love the architecture and design of the first house, the bungalow is definitely more up my alley, and it's so wonderfully done. Just would want the master down.

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    1. my dream is to retire to the beach. i really would love to do that one day.....soon. haha

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  22. Great post! I liked the bungalow best, the first house was goregeous but as Kat said, too much cypress. I am on my 5th house and while I appreciate the room, I look forward to "downsizing" when my son goes off to college, hopefully to something with land for a horse and chickens. I finally realized being a single mom and working full time means paying out money to maintain our yard, pool and keeping the house clean so we end up being not having that disposable income and more beomes less. A real bummer every month when I am walking around Scotts!! I envy Tara and the others who are still in their "starter" homes....what an absolute joy to know your house is paid off in this housing market and to look around and see the fruits of YOUR labor.

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    1. ...this is such a thoughtful and wise comment...blessings laney

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  23. Both houses are gorgeous! I have to comment on the pool safety fences. I think the family with the black mesh fence may have put in the same kind we did. And even though it's U-G-L-Y, this is the feature that sells it....it is removable in a flash. When we have parties, we pull it up, roll it up, and store it until after the party. Although tiny holes are left in your stone, you can sleep well at night knowing that your child is safe. And, the gates that come with it close magnetically so you don't have a great fence with a big, open gate.....and that's how accidents happen. Soooo, what they should have done to sell their pool area, is take the fence down for 1 picture to show the prospective owners how flexible the pool fence is.

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    1. yes - most are removable like that. but i don't understand why the wood fence isn't protective? why not? and who is to say that they didn't buy it from a protective gate company that makes more attractive ones?

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    2. ...joni...my boys could have scaled that picket fence and been jumping in the pool by the time they were three years old...one of them by the time he was two...i am all for the safety of a motorized pool cover that goes over the surface of the pool...

      Delete
  24. Another great post Joni! I did want to let you know that the link for the smaller bungalow home isn't working-

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  25. Enjoyed touring both homes. I am in the late 50's era as well and a bungalow seems to fit our needs now. As usual, your posts are such an education. Regards, NB

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  26. I much prefer the second house. I love a cosy space, but the problem is what to do with a lifetime of accumulations. I also love my stuff. My solution is a tiny - 700+ square ft. - cottage on the Chesapeake Bay. The house where I raised my three kids is just an hour away in Washington, and it holds all the overflow. The little cottage is just for fun. We call it the play house and for someone like me, who loves to rearrange, having a little space like this to quickly and easily and inexpensively redecorate has been heavenly.

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  27. I have raised 3 boys in an 1800sq ft home. I guess it is all in what you get use too. I always said our little house lives large. We have lots of storage and the rooms are arranged for useable space for furniture. When we have the whole family here I wish it were a bit larger, but all and all big is not always better for everyone. I love that you compared the two homes and how they could be lived in. Both lovely homes, but I prefer the second for my own personal taste.
    I just stayed in my Mom's home which is 1,000 sq. ft, now that is too small for me!! Kathysue

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  28. I would take either one of these beautiful homes! We have been looking for a new home for about two years. We are stuck in the middle. Our youngest is a Freshman in High School. Our home is 3200 Sq. ft. and the size seems fine with him home. Once he graduates our entire upstairs will be empty. That does not sound fun. We like to entertain so part of me wants a lot of space and the other side of me says it would be a waste.

    It is nice to see that both a really large home and bungalow can be equally as beautiful. As always, thanks for a great post.

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  29. Adored this post,Joni. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  30. I love the second house. The link does not work for me---what was the price?
    One quibble, the addition of shelves without books does not make a dining room a study. Just old-fashioned cranky me.

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  31. Both homes are beautiful. Love the second example for what can be done to a small space.
    Re: the picket fence. I'm not sure why people assume it isn't safe. It seems fairly high and picket fence gates can be fitted with magnetic locks too.

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  32. Oh my gosh, the close-in bungalow's front porch and floor plan remind me so much of our little house on South Boulevard that we owned back in the early seventies. Our house even had a guest house attached to the garage. An interesting coincidence.

    Wow, what a beautiful job they have done and I love how well everything flows. I could move right in and never want for more. I wish the link worked to learn more about it. Any chance you could get the link for us, even though it's a sale pending? It is a fabulous example of what can be done to a small house.
    Sam

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  33. Could you find out more about the trees and birds art pieces in the entrance. I would love to have those pieces or ones like them. Thank you.

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  34. Love the real estate in Houston - so different than Pennsylvania!
    Any guesses on the cottage kitchen paint color? Would love for it to be adjacent to my warm toned family room but think it would contrast.

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  35. Both houses are beautiful. I love them! I think the bungalow has more personality though. This is an interesting post. We have thought we needed a big house since we have 3 kids (15, 11 and 6) but often we find ourselves really wanting a much smaller home. We live in town like you do and of course since we have a big house, we have no yard. We keep looking for a smaller original home in our neighborhood that we can update and have a pool. I often think people adjust to their space no matter how big or small it is. I'd rather us have fewer rooms that we all really use.

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  36. I think the second house is just perfect! I could move in there with our two children and be perfectly happy staying there! The other house is, of course, beautiful, but doesn't seem as homey and is too far out of my reach to even register on my radar as something to desire. The second house is just right-- every space is probably used and I don't like the idea of my kids being too far removed from us when they have friends over anyway. Like the comment above, we are looking for a smaller older home we can make our own (no soaring ceilings for us!) and have a nice yard/pool. I'd rather have less space of a higher quality than just larger and grander (although it doesn't look like the first home owner had to make the trade off the way we will!!). Thanks for another great post. My favorite ones of yours are the real life houses and when you show your work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, i love the real life homes too - and the reader's houses.

      Delete
  37. I have to chuckle when I hear 2000 square feet described as "small". I grew up in the 1800 square foot four-square Wisconsin farm house my great-grandfather built, along with my 8 younger brothers and sisters. We had one bathroom. We survived. My grandfather and father were born in the house. It has held as many as 14 residents and as few as one. Size is relative.

    The topic of different housing for different periods of life is an interesting one, and a fairly new concept. I don't think previous generations ever considered it, or maybe they did not live long enough to see the utility of the idea.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i know, i know. we all grew up in much smaller houses that we live in now and survived. our house was smaller and i thought it was sooooooo big when I was growing up. in the old neighborhood, all those ranch burgers are being torn down and big two stories are built on the lot. we did all survive. but 9 kids and 1800 sq ft! wow. i guess all the boys slept in one room and the girls in another? i had a friend and there were 5 girls in her family. - they all looked exactly alike too. anyway - they slept in one room, all five beds were lined up along one wall and i was sooo jealous when i saw that - i wanted all those sisters to share a room with.

      Delete
  38. We bought a house with about 3500 square feet since we had to take care of my mom and still had a son in high school. My mother is no longer with us, but our son graduated from college and can't get a job, so who knows how long he'll still be at home! We want to downsize, but it's very seductive to have so much space. My husband is loathe to give up his huge man cave. The biggest issue for me is we have tons of stairs, and my knees aren't happy. I've been looking around,and it's hard to find a nice house on one level. With all us baby boomers getting ready to retire, I can't imagine how we'll find what we need.

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  39. Interesting post Joni. My hubby and I raised our son & daughter in a 1650 sq ft house, which typically would have been okay but it's the extended family that made the need for a larger house more apparent. I only had a kitchen nook and no dining room, so I ended up converting the front living room into a dining room just to have enough space for the whole family when they visited (just my husband's brothers,sister, parents and family 15 ppl). We ended up selling the family home when the last basically was out but we bought our dream house which was 3200 sq ft. It was great having the extra space, especially when the whole family was together and spare bedrooms were used as an office and exercise room with only 1 guest bedroom left! We decided to downsize financially, moved to an slightly larger house (3300 sq ft) the next town over. I still love the space but now both of my kids have started their own families so the extended family is just growing! I guess when the grand-kids are grown, we might want to truly downsize and let the kids hold all the family get togethers instead.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. a lot of people in houston do that - they turn the living room into a large dining room and they turn the small dining room into a study or playroom. so many people to that.

      Delete
  40. Both those houses have so much charm. I love the colors, the furnishings, the floors & many things about both of them.
    However, the first one would be too big for us and the second one would be too small.
    And I would only ever want a one story home after having one for the last 3 years.
    We lost our 2 story home in the San Diego firestorm of Oct 2007. We had good insurance
    and we found a great architect and he knew a great builder. Designing our new house was not
    that hard. We had built the one that burned 20 years earlier. So we knew something about
    what all was involved. We knew what we liked and the mistakes we
    made when we designed the house that burned. We knew that now we wanted a one story home so that's what we built
    this time. We knew we wanted terraces off the kitchen & dining room so we have those now. We put in a spa this time and
    built a larger garage.We made the guest room smaller this time. The home that burned was 3400 sq ft. This new one is 4000 sq ft. My husband and I are both
    semi-retired - in our 50's & 60's with no children.

    This new home has a large master bedroom with a sitting area, a small guest room, a
    cozy den, a spacious music room and an a good sized "office" as well as 4 bathrooms, living room, kitchen, laundry room & dining room. I do feel sometimes
    it is too much room for just the two of us but we love it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i love the way you described the terraces. it sounds so pretty! so sorry your house burned. i can't imagine having to live through that - it must be terrible!

      Delete
    2. Joni, yes it was quite a blow losing our home and all our possessions
      to the Oct. '07 San Diego firestorm. Yes, I was devastated—devastated and traumatized.
      and probably i was in shock for the first 3 months and numb....but I amazed myself at how much pain I could endure and still keep on going.
      and losing everything has made us really appreciate how wonderful having a home truly is.

      There were many treasures we lost that we had collected over the years from different places and countries, and wonderful gifts given to us by friends and relatives.
      We also lost furniture we collected over the years we were married and also furniture we inherited from our parents and grandparents and all our photos
      and a good amount of original art. Our family history was wiped out.
      We were in San Francisco attending a funeral when the fire came so we saved nothing. but our dogs were at the dog sitter
      and they were ok and we were ok and with the help of wonderful insurance [ AAA ] and excellent architect and builder we
      were able to create a brand new house that really suits us. so we had to let go of all we lost and focus on what we have got now.

      Delete
    3. Shell, I'm sorry to hear about losing your home! My good friend was in the same neighborhood, and it came very close to her street. So glad you were able to rebuild.

      Delete
  41. Joni, I quit "subscribing" to many blogs and just visit your blog every morning and start linking from there. Someone recently had a post on glossy ceilings and I can't remember who, if anyone remembers and can advise I would much appreciate it! Love the ceilings in the bungalow. Both houses are gorgeous, thanks for sharing. Interesting comments and dare I mention it, all positive and constructive!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it was for the love of a house. she writes from a farmhouse in New Hampshire.

      Delete
    2. It was!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Her blog! one of my favorites.

      Delete
    3. Thanks, I will go review her posts, I love her blog too, so interesting to see the restoration of their home and all the interesting finds....I had to search high and low for a conch last year. I think one of your readers suggested you do a post on pets and their people....Joan and Ella would be a great start!

      Delete
    4. ...i agree...joan's blog is in a class all its own...one special house...and one very special lady...blessings laney

      Delete
  42. http://search.har.com/engine/2625-Persa-St-Houston-TX-77098_HAR52850747.htm

    this is the link to the second house! sorry about that!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  43. I love the first one (minus the taxidermy, LOL), but that's a HUGE house. Our Dallas house is a one story 2800 sf with 4 brs, 3.5 baths, formals, a pool and a grass play yard. It works well for our family of 4. I would NEVER buy a two story. I had no desire to carry a baby OR laundry up and down the stairs. But I have changed a few things now that our kids are 6 and 9. I added a small game table with 4 off-white leather chairs to our unused living room; it's perfect for playing games with the kids, doing puzzles or building with Legos. We also added a couch and TV to the guest bedroom; that's where we retreat to when the 9 year old has friends over.

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  44. Joni - I was wondering if because you get to see so many homes would YOU ever want to build your own custom home?
    If yes and $$ were no object what size home would YOU build? Would you build a one story or a two?

    I assume you know by working in the design field that you
    already do know what layout you'd want and what countertops, tile, window and door styles, doorknobs, cabinetry, masonry, plumbing fixtures,
    doorknobs, built-ins & flooring you would want ? Also appliances ? Or would you have to think some more about these categories ?
    I'm not asking you to list what you would want specifically in those categories but just IF you right now know exactly what you'd pick ?

    I know you would know what light fixtures, lamps & furniture & accessories you'd need [ if any ].

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  45. Liked the flooring and lighting in both houses. Dang! I just turned down a pair of quirky circa 1900 electrified sconces at a really junky flea market. (I was afaid that spiders might climb out!) They were very similar to the ones over the repurposed French balcony in the big house. If I were in to faux gray and white washed finishes they would have been terrific! (Maybe I need to just start buying the interesting things I find and then sell them on Craigslist.)

    LOVED the curved transoms over the doors and the blue portieres. Also nice to see chandeliers correctly proportioned to the rooms AND hung at the proper height.

    Really liked tha glass shelves supported by the black French, style brackets in the bungalow. The perfect way to make a small hallway both useful and attractive. French doors always add such class! Think this was my favorite space in the house. Simple, classy, and elegant.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Both homes are very nice. I am not, however, drawn to spaces that I feel are large or cavernous, nor am I drawn to homes that seem like they were just built for show. For that reason, the first house doesn't appeal to me (though the Master is nice!). I much prefer the second. Beautiful, usable space.

    I live in Southern California, and many homes here are built to "wow", but don't seem very home-y. Our home is over 2000 sq ft, four bedrooms, and 3 full bathrooms. We are the original homeowners, and It has worked just fine for us. We have a much larger, nicer yard than anyone I know in a "McMansion". That being said, we will be moving at some point in the next couple of years so that we can "spread out" a bit as the kids get older. Though my husband and I pictured a large home in our future (4000+), I have learned that I am attracted to modestly-sized homes that feel personal.

    So, we'll end up somewhere in between, square footage-wise. And I know it will be a trade-off, because I LOVE my current home, not to mention our neighborhood! I look at some of these huge homes and get a headache thinking about furnishing, cleaning, and maintaining them. I also wonder if family members just want to get away from eachother with so much excessive space....which seems sad.

    Love your blog, Joni! :)

    Amy C.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Amy, I too live in Southern California, just north of San Diego. It is true that many newer homes here are built for the "wow". But, having considered a move to Texas, there are a lot of homes in Texas with the same useless use of space. I noticed that home #1 had a lot of what I would consider "useless" space that had to be filled with furniture and "art" just to keep it from looking empty. I would probably never take a bath in the masterbath because you would freeze and slip just getting out of the tub!

      The bungalow was too small for my taste and the backyard entirely dedicated to the pool was depressing to me. Our "perfect" size for two people is somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 sq feet. However, so much depends on the height of the ceilings and the layout of the rooms. Our current home is a large, beautiful, rambling, Country French Manse on 7 acres with a view to die for. However, I cringe at all the wasted space that we have to heat and cool not to mention how much work it was to find furnishings to fill it all. My entry hall is 18 x 18 with 12 foot ceilings. What was the architect thinking! Our house is a great party house but the other 350 days of the year it is really a money pit.

      Next house will be more modestly-sized with plenty of space to garden. Swimming pools are fine when you have teens but after that it is better to just join a gym where you have swimming, hot tub, raquetball, and exercise equipment that YOU do not have to maintain.

      Delete
    2. Dear Anon,

      Thank you for your concerns about my image. However, Joni shows many homes on this blog that are larger and more luxurious than mine. I was simply following the thread of the conversation about wasted space in large homes. Since I live in a home with lots of stupidly wasted spaces, I am qualified to comment.

      I have not really been "blessed with funds" but rather, like so many others, have used my wits, my eyes and hard work to create a beautiful home. Life is too short for any of us to allow ourselves to be repressed by fear of "the times we are living in" or to waste time on false modesty. I am proud of who I am and I am proud of what I have achieved.

      As they say in Texas, "It ain't braggin' if it's true!"

      Delete
    3. How funny. Charlotte was responding to my post, and I thought the same exact thing. Yikes! You said it for me. Thanks. :)

      Amy C.

      Delete
    4. Charlotte,

      I am sure you are a lovely person, but making the statement that you live in a "large, beautiful, rambling country french manse" is a little obnoxious. The same point can be made by saying that you live in a large home that you love, but has wasted space. I am sure you can see that. Bragging is bragging, whether true or not...and it doesn't tend to endear others to you. I'm truly not trying to be a jerk. I just find it hard to take when people make statements online that they would likely NEVER make to people in real life....because they know darn well that they would have zero friends if they did so.

      Amy C.

      Delete
    5. Hi Amy, I was not trying to be a jerk, either. However, my house IS all those things and that is it's evil allure. It is a beauty but it is also a beast. I was just trying to create a mental picture to explain why that is so. You after all, were commenting that California homes have the "Wow" but not the hominess. I was talking about the "wow".

      To Anon - By the way, please do not try to make me feel guilty for being "blessed with funds" or for somehow not equally suffering in these "hard economic times". My husband has been partially disabled for years. I have been the primary bread-winner for our entire marriage and work darn hard to keep both home and hearth together.

      Delete
  47. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. (OOOPS had to fix my typo...it's "me" not "I")

      My sister and I grew up in a Levitt home on Long Island...all 900 square feet of it.
      We had a kitchen, a living room, and two 12x12 bedrooms-one for my sister and me and one for my parents.
      ONE bathroom shared by all.
      We did have a great piece of land, though, and always had a great garden along with my mom's beautiful roses.
      We never felt deprived of space.

      Such first world "problems" deciding on how big is too big for a home, LOL !

      Delete
    2. Amen! Definitely "first world" problems!

      Amy C.

      Delete
  48. I grew up in England. When I first came to America I was blown away by 3,000 and 4,000 square foot houses (we of course have large house in England but they are not the norm, really only for the very wealthy) and I told my husband that no way could we live in a house that large because if the children were on one side of the house and we were on the other I would not be able to hear them. My American husband replied that that was the point!:)

    Louise

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  49. Man, You are interested in Land. it is as if you were a Land (wo)Man. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  50. I just love that front door on the bungalow. Do you know the source?

    ReplyDelete
  51. I just followed the link you posted and OMG-- I love that basket of lavender by the front steps!!! I am going out right this second to copy it!!

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  52. Hello, my dear Joni!


    How are you doing? I hope you're really enjoying your summer. It's being fun and busy with the kids! :-)

    You're so right! There's a house for every stage in life. Unless you're open to "deal" with the different phases of your life and try to accommodate them withing the space you live.

    The 1st house is amazing, but, "oh-so-trendy"! It looks great NOW, but this is one of those houses we'll look and think: "what were we thinking"???

    Go classic. :-)

    Love the 2nd house. Cute and easy to maintain.


    xo


    Luciane at HomeBunch.com

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    Replies
    1. While beautiful, I agree that the first house is very trendy on the inside and for that reason must appeal to a buyer who has a special love for some of the materials used especially all of the wood. It has a great floor plan and I especially love the open kitchen breakfast area and actually like the use of wooden beams there. I don't believe the cypress does justice to what could have been a really lovely dining room. For the asking price, I am expecting beautiful molding, baseboards and plinths.

      Delete
  53. I think it's easy for us to forget that most Americans would think the small bungalow is positively luxuriant. Yes, luxuriant. Not for a single person or an empty nester, but for an entire family. I absolutely love this blog, but I also know that the homes herein are not how most Americans live. I have a Ph.D. and work as a consultant, but I grew up in poverty and realize how privileged I am now. I never want to lose my perspective... the average income in the U.S. is less than $27,000. (U.S. Census Bureau statistics for 2011) Even those on meager budgets can be inspired by blogs like this and find ways to incorporate some of it in their home decor (maybe with secondhand things, like most of my family does), but let's keep it real and remember that the bungalow is a mansion for most Americans. It's not as much about stages of life as it is about the socioeconomic status and the huge (and growing) income gap in the U.S.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think Leah has hit the nail on the head when she says "It's not as much about stages of life as it is about the socioeconomic status and the huge (and growing) income gap in the U.S." I love your blog, Joni, and I think both these houses are gorgeous, but when I read your comment about the first house, "It’s the perfect home for a young couple starting out with a growing family ...", I couldn't believe my eyes! Perhaps a young couple who've just won the lottery or received a major inheritance, but certainly not 99% of the American or Canadian population.

      Twelve years ago, I bought my current home in Victoria, British Columbia for $265,000, an amount very near the upper end of what I could afford. In order to be able to afford a $265,000 home, I had to save my money for 25 years and do without just about everything most people take for granted. No car, no vacations, no expensive clothes, no cell phones, no electronic gadgets, no concerts, no movies, no dining out, no coffees at Starbucks ... well, you get the picture. Thank God I bought my home when I did, because three months later house prices started to climb and climb and climb. If I wanted to buy the same house today, it would cost me $800,000! I'm 57 years old and there's absolutely no way I'd be able to afford to buy this house now. I can't image a young couple, who haven't had 25 years to save, being able to afford either one of the houses you featured in this post.

      Delete
  54. Newlyweds or a "young family" in a 2.7 million dollar home? Even the "looks how tiny and little it is" bungalow is a whopping 650K. Are we talking newlywed trust fund babies, here?

    I love this blog, and I get that it can be part fantasy to daydream about decor. It'd be really nice to see a "large family home" in the 300-500K range and a smaller starter/empty nest home in the 100-300K range. Even the 300K range is a fantasy for most people.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Yes, have to agree with above comments. And I am a HUGE fan of you and your blog, but it's so true. My husband and I are both educated and employed (attorney and teacher), but I can only hope that one day we'll be able to purchase our dream house for $600,000! With student loans, budget cuts, the economy, it's difficult to imagine getting to a place where we'll be able to move up from our little house (nowhere near what the bungalow costs!). I am, however, able to take some ideas and tips you show/talk about in this blog and apply them to my pretty humble home so that I can be proud of it (paint those cheap doors black!!), but I know that most of what I look at is only for inspiration. With another recent post, some people were criticizing the DIYers, saying they don't appreciate quality, but the reality is that many of us out here cannot even purchase something from Pottery Barn without feeling a little sting, let alone the beautiful things from Aiden Gray, RH, WS, Tara Shaw, fine antique stores, etc. so our only option for new curtains or an interesting coffee table is to make it ourselves, go to Ikea or paint a Goodwill find. I really think there is a place for those blogs, but you should continue to address only what interests you because you do it so well! I enjoy looking at the beautiful homes you show and love to study them, but I do think the previous comments have a point, although you obviously have no duty to address this issue.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Tara, I found a black picket fence which just didn't look right, I did find several that were natural and weathered, I know Joni used a specific term for it....silvering??? and those looked fine but not as good as a white picket fence, would love to see you post on non white picket fences, always look forward to your posts.

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  57. First I have heard of pecky wood, and am truly in love with it, and the home. In searching for more images, I found a GORGEOUS piece salvaged after Katrina in New Orleans. I don't think I can post links, but if you search Etsy, look for donidellamano,Lazy Susan Rare Pecky Cypress Wood. A jewel, and am off to try and recreate it on my round coffee table!

    Great post, as always, Joni.

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  58. The second house is a stunner! Love love it!! Just darling outside and in.

    ReplyDelete
  59. I also love this blog, haven't missed a post in two plus years and I think that you are a genius in your own way Joni. Your eye for detail is amazing and your writing connects with all of us, obviously. My only " gripe" of sorts would be that you seem to live in a different world than myself and I am sure many others. That in and of itself is fine, it is all relative and you frequently feature homes that only you can dream about. It is just that you so often refer to items and stores as being budget when they are splurges for myself and many people I know. Not people just starting out either. I am in my forties my husband in his fifties, he spent over two decades enlisted in the military and has a degree. Just to go out and get a new Pottery Barn sofa and chair (have been wanting to dd that for two years) would be a splurge what with teens needing cars and paying for higher education for them, etc. etc. etc! You have also often used the term "just starting out" to describe people living in a home you deem more modest. These are always a home that would be a dream for me.

    I am not asking or hoping for you to feature more modest homes or budget minded fix ups, there are many, many other blogs like that that feature home made curtains and painted thrift store furniture and I love them. I love your blog for a different reason. As I say my only gripe at times is the disparity between what you seem to feel is economical and what I know would be difficult to afford for so many. Sometimes it does make me feel as if this blog is not meant for people in my income bracket. I suppose I would just like some indication that you "get it" and that you understand there are plenty of people in your age range who have little decor and house buying budget. I keep reading though because I love the homes featured and how well this blog is done. It is evident how much work you put into it.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous, did you not read my post above in which I'm trying to take a $9.99 Salvation Army coffee table and recreate pecky wood? It may not be perfect, and some might laugh, but it was the exact treatment I wanted, but couldn't envision it until today. Joni brings us the "cream of the crop" images, that bring joy to me, and many times I see something that I could try to recreate on a very limited budget. These homes house real people who, I imagine, worked very hard to obtain their home ownership goal. Envy is not what I feel when looking at these homes; I feel uplifted that they helped grow a family in these walls, helped boost the economy, and many of these folks are most likely generous to a fault. I've had good furniture, and awful furniture, but the best ones are the pieces I rescued, and painted. "Dream houses" are where you currently live, not images of others' beautiful dwellings.

      Delete
    2. Margaret, I think what this Anonymous (and a few others posting similar things) are saying is that it's A-OK to post pictures of, describe decor of, and swoon over 3 million dollar homes. That's why we're all here, to draw inspiration from all kinds of beautiful surroundings. I think the complaint is stating that a 3 million dollar home (or even a 650K one) is a "starter" home on ANY planet. That a Pottery Barn $1800 sofa, or a $500 reproduction dining chair is a "cheap" or "bargain" buy. For the majority of us, these things just aren't true.

      Yes, let's do continue to oooh and aaah over gorgeous and sumptuous interiors, but let's not call a $650,000 home a "cute starter home" for a little family just starting out, much less one costing $3,000,000.

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    3. Yes I did read your post did you read mine? I would not love this blog so much if what it inspired in me was envy. Over the years I have also recreated a look I love on a more creativity than cash budget, and I am super proud of that, I have done so much painting and sewing and creating over the years and it has brought me pleasure. As high end magazines and nowadays blogs also bring me pleasure. I actually totallty agree with your mindset, you are preaching to the choir! What I hoped to articulate was not envy but that it seems a little absurd to me (and surely many other people) to assume a half million dollar home is a home for someone starting out, and I read statements like that on this blog a great deal.

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    4. Where is the rule that "starter homes" must be shacks, and all (young) couples starting out are under 40?? There are PLENTY of younger couples who are financially able to purchase a home costing $650k. Their monthly mortgage would be $3541.00/month if they borrow $600k @ 4% for 30 years. Apartments, or townhouse rents, are pretty close to that in most major cities.

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    5. Margaret - I don't think that all homes less than 650K are "shacks". And I would assume that a "young" couple just starting out is in their 20's...ergo the "just starting out" and "young" descriptors.

      I'm sure there are many younger people that can swing a 3500$ mortgage or rent payment. But proportionally? A rarity. Just because there are, for example, 1 million couples in their 20s for whom this is a reality... the fact that this one million out of 50 million such couples still makes it rare.

      Yes, we all love beautiful homes. Just don't call a mansion, or anything over half a million dollars, a "starter" home. In MOST cases, it's simply not true.

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  60. Joni, As always, very thought provoking. I love the look of the seagrass, linen, and the textures. The window blinds in the second house are very nice throughout the home. I used to live on the water and had a home with soft tones and lots of texture. I don't decorate that way anymore, but I can certainly appreciate how restful it is. The quality of the finishes and the details of these homes is above the reach of the average income. The feel of the rooms, however, is available to anyone who wants to create it on a budget. I enjoy your blog for the inspiration and always enjoy the lively comments. Anne Boykin

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  61. Well, these comments have turned even more interesting~some honesty without meanness. I like it! My lovely MIL always told me to educate my eye upwards and find my real budget on the way down. I think that's what most of us do in our homes. I came rather late to blog world and I could not believe my good fortune of finding blogs like Joni's to to teach and inspire: FOR FREE! So glad Joni accepts advertising these days. Makes me feel less guilty. I also think that the people who comment are an amazing group cutting across all socio-economic levels with one thing in common: we love homes and we love to make our nests more beautiful. Not such a bad world to be in.

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  62. I like the wooden textures and rustic elements. The reclaimed stone countertops are an interesting addition to that home, but personally, I think the second home you shared is more liveable.

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  63. Refer to Joni's post recently of a reader's house in which the wife and husband did most of the work, was transferred and purchased a larger home and inquired about some of the design elements on the exterior. I believe the name of the blog is Love What you Have or something similar. There are couples who have not only a vision, but the talent to make it a reality. Look up this post and you will be inspired by this young couple and the great taste they have. They have a beautiful fixer upper and it isn't a $3 Million home, but it has the bones to be a stunner and a $1million plus house.

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  64. The post:

    http://www.cotedetexas.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2012-07-02T04:06:00-05:00&max-results=1&start=4&by-date=false

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  65. Really beautiful, perfect combination of ethnic design representing the old era and stone age ...
    Sydney kitchens

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  66. Love the bungalow! (The painted baseboard is genius.) Being from New York, though, I have to laugh at the idea of 2,000 square feet being too small for a family. That's the size of a typical Manhattan "classic 6."

    - Lisa (Anonymous only because I don't have a blogger account)

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  67. hi
    thanks for important blog posting this posting is very excellent and very useful of information.thanks again..
    Home for Sale Charlotte

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  68. I am over 50, and just purchased in a manned gate-guarded community. It is a 3 bedroom home where the master bedroom is downstairs, the garden is small (and manageable), and there is a pool where I can exercise every day and it will be easy on my joints!

    I didn't even think of those things when I was in my 30's - then, I just wanted "big", a two story was fine, and the maintenance of 5 bedrooms / 5 1/2 baths and a huge garden didn't bother me.
    Now at this quieter stage of life, I like things far simpler (albeit luxurious).

    Good question, Joni!

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