I don’t know if I have to disclaimer this but this is indeed still safe for work! 😉 I don’t talk too much about real estate here but this is an obligatory real estate opinion that I feel should be read.
My sideline amusement these days is browsing beautiful historic homes on the Redfin app. It’s a real estate application much like Trulia, Zillow, Realtor etc. that catalogs MLS data for home shoppers and house perverts like me. All these real estate apps have more features in common than they are different but I prefer the Redfin app a little more just because of their home estimate feature. I find their home valuation estimator to be usually within 90% correct of market value which makes the whole houseporn viewing experience more realistic for me. If you like to know the general cost of the area and care about neighborhoods with good schools then Trulia might be better.
It’s not a house shopping thing. I don’t have much of a plan except to satisfy my weird visual attraction to man’s concrete and slab designs.
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Minus the gross decapitated moose head, everything else here is stunning.
Ceiling beams, purrrr.
So much history, so much detail.
Tudor style with the pointy roofs.
I like big beams and I cannot lie.
An age-old guilty pleasure of mine is looking at the creative architectural designs of traditional American manors. American – because we have borrowed from others and create our own style after our own diverse history. I especially enjoy perving on classic century-old restored manors because I can better imagine the superb quality and mindfulness behind each design. I’m talking about the detail-rich, century-old Southern manor beauties you would find in places like St. Louis, Missouri.
Those historical period details are rare in the Pacific Northwest. Up here it’s the classic Craftsman and recently, an endless supply of McModern luxury condos. The McModern is a millennial refinement of the McMansion stereotype, if you believe Baby Boomers carried themselves away with the McMansion, millennials have their own version with the McModern.
These ‘McModerns’ are popping up in Seattle (and in many other large cities) like mushrooms. As I speak, less than 3 blocks away from our residence, they are building an entire city block of McModerns and they were all sold even before completion. It is a stark contrast with the rest of our neighborhood that is traditional, 1,000ish square foot, lakehouse craftsman cottages for retirees and small nuclear families. I don’t think most McModerns are ugly but after you see one, you have seen a lot of them because they lack detail while making it up in sleek stylin’ and coolness.
They go really well with IKEA design furniture and they’re loaded with huge clear windows. I can’t begin to imagine the utility bills associated with these monsters. McModerns tend to be built by “eco-friendly” builders. That makes a lot of sense. Millennials are sort of on the sobering end of the Baby Boomer’s obsession with Californian King sized everythings so you have McModerns and Tiny Homes covering the whole spectrum.
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Houseporn doesn’t mean I don’t love my home.
It seems odd and definitely ill-fitting for someone like me who enjoy living and being frugal to profess my love for a perfectly spacious 10-foot vaulted ceiling, travertine marble, and the rich mahogany of finished Western Red Cedar wooden exposed beams but….well, I have needs! Is that odd? To me, it’s like staring at a beautiful man/woman.
But then again, let’s be real, it’s not just McModerns or McMansions. Those 1940s, 7,000 square feet, St. Louis manors would be pretty inconvenient for the modern family today too. You have to walk 2 city blocks to find the right person you’re looking for in those manors. It’s not practical either.
And yet, I end up looking at them for hours by going through each year by sold date. I’ve spent more time browsing 100-year-old refinished period pieces in St. Louis on the Redfin app than the actual city I live in. Hell, I’ve definitely spent more time browsing on the app than the ACTUAL house shopping in real life we did for the current house we live in!
Fun fact: we found our current house on the 2nd day and ended the search. When I told a friend over dinner this she proceeded to spit out her water. Our realtor said we were her speediest clients ever. The entire house search, buy and closing process from start to finish took us less than 35 days.
Believe it or not, I hate house shopping. I hate the waiting, the turmoil, the negotiation, the waiting and the heartbreak when something does go awry. Buying a house is an ordeal. You are fighting yourself and second-guessing everything, especially during inspection and negotiation.
My visual attraction to houseporn has nothing to do with a desire for ownership or house shopping.
It’s just like a relationship. Yeah, you see a spicy lookin’ Dutch craftsman as you walk down the block but it’s just for the eyes. You don’t want to live with the hot Dutch craftsman because you have a functional reliable house waiting for you to come home. Our three story ugly yet functional house brings in $50,000 a year hosting on Airbnb. What’s the craftsman going to do to keep you on different levels for guests? It won’t have a nice view from the third story balcony either.
Here is the thing:
Houseporn is a fantasy. It’s eye candy. HGTV is all unrealistic, spoonfed houseporn to the masses. Looks are important but a good house is more than just looks.
It has to be practical for your needs.
Maybe the additional converted mother-in-law unit will make the house incomplete without a garage to park in but it keeps one mother-in-law sheltered. Maybe the fence hides the exceptional garden you love to show off but it also keeps your dogs from running away.
My husband and I could afford with an 8,000 square foot lot with an L.A. party mansion style infinity pool in the yard…technically…but I don’t want to pay property tax on an 8,000-foot lot nor do I want the maintenance of a pool.
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When buying a house, it’s not just about aesthetics.
It’s like finding a soulmate. It’s not about how incredibly attractive they are or how much you would like to be in one. McModerns and McMansions might not be fitting for those of us who would like our utility bills to be under $500 every month in winter.
No, I don’t want to move. We’re happy in the house we live in. There is nothing wrong with our house, we love it.
A person can have houseporn fantasy and it is not a reflection of their characters as a person.
Houseporn viewing does not destroy my relationship with my dormitories. In fact, I grow to love our house more and more every day.
My house is real, with scraps, smears, and the occasional “Ewww the dog is dragging her butt across the floor” remarks.
Those big mansions are imaginary and I cannot love them more than what is my real home. Our house will never be anything like my dream 100-year-old St. Louis manor because…100-year-old houses are a can of worms. Plumbing, heat, and A/C are relatively new inventions and that’s a ripe old age for a house. If we buy an old manor, we have to upkeep an old manor. They’re beautiful but they’re hiiiiiiigh maintenance.
I rather have something that will take care of me at the of the day by keeping me warm and secure even if it’s not what you call an HGTV super model home.
Our reality house fits our needs and our budget but there is nothing wrong with a fantasy about a beautiful, buxom creation occasionally. Home is home.
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