I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with houses. I love everything about them – I love to know their architecture, their era, whether the windows are transom or bay. I like to know if the roofline is gabled or ranch, if the garage was pre-1950s or post. I like porches. I like fads: I like formal living rooms that eventually gave way to “great rooms” that then went back to formal living rooms, and the fact that porches gave way to back yards in the middle of the century. I took an architecture/urban-planning course in my senior year in college, and it was one of those courses that makes you think your life could’ve taken a very different direction if you’d heard about it soon enough. …
Anyway, I like home architecture, but I also like what’s inside. I like the story of the house. I like houses that look lived in, not like pages out of a magazine. I like homes that have messy bookcases – filled with well-loved books and maps and maybe some postcards tucked in. I like frames on the walls – framed photos, framed T-shirts, framed posters, framed bookmark collections – I don’t care what’s in the frame, I just love to see what a person chooses out of his or her past to put up on a wall and remember.
I also like homes that have some color in them, and have some interesting items sitting on the tables. I remember a friend of mine had a basket of watch-faces sitting on her entryway table. I thought that was very cool. They were so neat looking, in their black-and-white way, and she’d collected them over a long period of time while working in antique malls. I like collections – Bingo balls, postcards under glass, beach glass in a vase, wine corks from life’s momentous occasions, or anything else that says this person has had a life.
I also adore good design ideas. I’m particularly prone to things leaning toward nature, but I respect and find fascinating other people’s tastes, be they MCM, Grecian, Regency or nautical. Some people can do the aesthetic part really well and some people can’t, but I’ve had a few girlfriends who do it amazingly well, and their homes are a delight to me. Every space is simply eye candy – every nook and cranny is one I can see staying in for a long time.
Here are some of the best homes I’ve ever been in:
- Dixie’s home in Grass Valley. She’s no longer there, but we visited her ranch house there and I fell in love with it.
- Dixie’s friend Ginny’s home in Nevada City. Really too cool for words. I think her home was even featured in Sunset magazine, if I remember right.
- Michelle’s home in Costa Mesa. Michelle makes all of her homes uber-cool, but this is the one I remember best, when we were in our early 20s.
- Libby’s house on Coronado Island. She’s no longer there, either, but I remember that house down to the dark-Italian-tile floor.
- Lauran’s “neat-o” midcentury modern Eichler home. Eichler homes are works of art in their own right. I have some pics of Lauran’s home that I’ll post for you soon.
In the mean time, what’s the coolest house you’ve ever been in? And what made it so memorable for you?