Someone wants to buy my house

Bob Borson —  March 26, 2012 — 13 Comments

Believe it or not, but my wife and I are living in the 5th house we have bought together … and I have loved them all. Looking back on all the houses we have owned, there wasn’t a single one that I would have said was a mistake. Most we lived in for just a few years – although that was never the plan. We would move in, I would start working on them and – well, (wiping away tear) they got to a point where someone else wanted them.

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My Modern House - 1960's style

This is the one that we are living in now – have been for the last 3 years. We moved here when the housing market went into the toilet and we could reach and buy into the neighborhood. It is a 2,000 square foot, 2 bedroom, 2 bath house with a grand total of 6 rooms if I don’t count bathrooms and closets. The house was designed by an architect and built-in 1967. Despite the fact that it is definitely showing its age, I love my house.

Apparently so does someone else.

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LoaA Front Patio

Towards the end of last week, we found a letter in our mailbox from a realtor who said she had a client who was looking for a home and blah, blah, blah.

While this is good news on one hand – confirmation that my house is desirable – it’s terrible news on the other because I’m not done with this house yet. In fact, I haven’t even gotten started yet. I have spent hours sketching up how I would amend certain things, adjust it to suit our lifestyle and bring the finishes into the 21st century.

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LoaA Floor plan

The floor plan for my house is compact by all conceivable standards in my neighborhood. I am surrounded by houses 2x, even 3x larger, most of which have been built or modified within the last decade (or two). Mine is still in its original 45 year glory and most would consider it a tear down – the only value being the lot.

Of course, my wife and I are trying to change that.

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summertime backyard

The weather in Dallas has been amazing lately and with Spring in full swing, it was time to log in some serious time on the yard. I took the picture above with my phone as I was laying in my hammock (a Father’s Day present from 2 years ago) watching my wife and my daughter Kate work on a planting bed that Kate claimed as her own shortly after we moved in. We’re making memories here.

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Lying in the hammock with Kate

Yard was looking good, everything cleaned up and put in its proper place so it was time for a hammock buddy. We sat and discussed animals, vacation trips, rollie-pollies … whatever came to mind.

It was a perfect ending to a day spent at home. Despite the sweat and effort, this is where we wanted to be – together. My wife took this picture to record the moment.

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lying on a blanket in the park looking up

 

This isn’t the first time a realtor has gone fishing to get something for a client so I’m not putting too much stock into this going anywhere. Having already sold 4 houses, I tend to know that when we buy a house, our aesthetic will make it desirable to other people – I mean c’mon … I am a residential architect and not just some guy in the next cubicle. What the letter did do was to get me to spend some time thinking about how important a house can be to a person … or family. We are  making memories here and despite my earlier predilections to sell my house and go on to the next challenge, things are different now. My daughter goes to a particular school, she has friends, I have friends (sigh)

I had something else scheduled for today but as I sit here on a Sunday night, I couldn’t turn my thoughts away from just how lucky I am to do what I do for a living. My house plays an important role in my family’s life – it’s a silent contributor to our lifestyle, for better or worse, and for the first time in 5 houses, I am reluctant to think that this wouldn’t be my home. I hope that the residential projects I work on are as well received by the people who live in them.

Cheers,

ps – if you wanted to catch-up on all the posts I’ve written about my house, this is the place to find them (here)

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  • http://twitter.com/Parthenon1 Tara Imani, AIA, CSI

    Great post, Bob.  If that’s the existing floor plan (only flipped?) I like it…as it is.  I would be curious as to how you would change the exterior given your bent toward more modern design. 

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Hi Tara,

      I wouldn’t change the exterior – the wood siding and stucco actually fit into a modern aesthetic quite nicely. If I added on, it would either be more of the same, or a modern interpretation of the wood siding (like G90 metal standing seam vertical siding).

      ps – the plan isn’t flipped

  • Pat Leitzen-fye

    Once again, you cause your readers to reconsider, to think anew about the space we call “home”.  Just yesterday, my architect husband and I were tearing out the circa 1949 picture window from our kitchen and replacing it with an energy-efficient triple double-hung unit.  As I sat on the deck, awaiting my next instruction, I too pondered the 21plus years we’ve been in our house – intending, like you, to fix it up (it’s an 1890’s era house) and move on.  Well, yes, here we still are.  Still improving, still making it “better” through design and maybe mostly, through love.  Three kids, all but one grown and resettled (the third will soon move on too), the memories, the love and the “community” are totally palpable.  We talk often of moving – c’mon, we don’t NEED a four-bedroom old Victorian house anymore, and we long for a sleek, smaller modern home.  And yes, our local residential real estate market stinks, and selling seems unlikely.  Still when push comes to shove it’ll be dang hard to leave this old place!  Home is ohsomuch more than just a house; 

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Pat,
      Thanks for sharing – I hope I am sitting outside my house positively reflecting on the past 21+ years.

      Cheers

  • TALV58

    I know that can be a tough decision. As a builder it has never been an issue, build it live in and build another one. Each one having better features than the last. In the last 30 years the number of homes we’ve built, lived in and sold is a lot but I know not everyone can do that. “Dad’s finishing the cabinets so are we moving?”

    • architectrunnerguy

      “Dad’s finishing the cabinets so are we moving?”

      • architectrunnerguy

        Sorry, the thing posted before I was done and I can’t delete or edit it.

        I’ll try again:
        “Dad’s finishing the cabinets so are we moving?”
        A finished house is a listed house.

        Doug

        • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

          my site is hardcore – there is no deleting!! (unless your me but ownership does have it privileges)

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      I know a few people who follow that pattern and even thought I never planned to be one of them, until I had a child that was what we did. Since my daughter arrived, I have been making decisions based on what’s best for her rather than what’s best for me.

      That sounds wrong, I am not speaking ill of the people who buy or build, and then sell, everybody’s circumstances are different. We made our decisions to get into a quality school system and avoid the financial burden that can come with long term (13+ years) private school tuition. 

      Bu this mentality can start a whole bunch a tangent conversations. If I sold my house and moved out of the city, I could get something bright and shiny with all the bells and whistles – or I can live where I do and the lots run $700k per quarter acre. 

  • pixiedust8

    I wouldn’t mind so much (other than the environmental impact) if people who did teardowns replaced a house with something lovely, but they tend to be these monstrous houses that are built for size, and not necessarily for layout or longevity.  I mean, granted, a well-constructed new house could be very energy-efficient, but I don’t think most of these are built with a thought beyond “must have as much space as possible and must impress my friends.” Sad. I wish our thinking as a nation would change.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      the conversation associated with your comment is a long one – part of it starts with education but it is hard to argue with someone who is happy in their home – despite that it was built for economy and size rather than longevity and efficiency. 

      The process is a long one – will be a long one, though I seriously doubt that unless something drastic happens, what we have will roughly stay the same.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gits.standalone Suong Chong

    Poignant and a lovely read. All your pictures show what a home should be – joyful, serene, relaxing. I don’t think a house would be a proper home without love and family. No doubt the architectural aspects of a house play a considerable role as well. A home should be a place to nurture your mind and relax your body; a house is the facilitator and a monument of your values.

    There’s just something sinister about cookie-cutter homes (especially the ones lined up in endless straight rows) that instill within me a conscious repulsion. Maybe because they make me think of machine assembly lines… family goes in, robots come out. I know that’s quite a biased sentiment and I don’t really believe suburban families are all conforming robots (say, don’t you have a robot costume Bob? :) ), but that’s what it makes it think of.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      nicely put

      Hmmmm … I do have a robot costume