Let’s Play “I can have whatever house I want” for a minute.
I have serious big house envy. Living in Chicago and NOT being a bazillionare leaves most of us normal people in the starter home market. That means for one-third of a million dollars (sounds more impressive that way) you can get yourself a 60 year old starter home that comes in at 980 square feet with 2 bedrooms and 1 bath.
I love my house, I really do. It’s cute and sweet, but not what I grew up in and not where I thought I’d put down roots. So every now and then I stupidly let my mind wander on a creative little trip called “I can have whatever house I want”. Then I wake up and wait in line behind my husband and daughter to pee.
Most days, if I could have any house in the world, I would probably re-build the home my great-grandfather built in Galveston. It’s the one my great aunt lives in now and I get plenty of time to enjoy it. I’m so glad it’s still in the family after all these years. BUT there are days when I drool over another house a few blocks away on Sealy, just up the street from my grandmother’s home. It’s gor-geous. Typical Galveston with a little Craftsman thrown in. Huge wrap-around porch, lots of right angles, big and stately. I still drive past it when I go down to visit as part of my nearly 40 year old case of house stalking.
Then there’s my grandmother’s home right up the block. It’s very typical southern architecture from way back when they had to engineer the layout to create natural air conditioning. The front door opens to a hallway that goes down the center of the home, right out the back door. There are doors with transoms on either side of the hall. Back in the day you’d open the front door (shaded by the porch and trees), and the back, closing the shutter doors but leaving the shutters open. The air would shoot right down the middle of the home, cooling it off, making those 100 degree Gulf Coast summer days somewhat bearable. The house is divided in half, then half again. On either side there are two big rooms, separated by giant, heavy pocket doors. Smaller rooms, easier to keep warm in the winter, but could be opened up to a large room for entertaining. I’ve always thought it was so interesting how they managed to address so many concerns with their architecture back in those days.
If I could build any one of those houses and make it my own, it would be somewhere close to fresh water on at least an acre of land, with lots of family around. Somewhere not too humid that doesn’t get so hot in the summer that you’re locked inside. All the ceilings would be super-high so my lovely husband never has to duck. There would be a huge dining room with a big dining table so everyone could gather for holidays. You’d never have to wait for a bathroom and all the kids would have their own bedroom. There would be at least one fireplace, a big front porch, and a kitchen big enough to accommodate a breakfast table. At Christmas, there would be decorations in every room, making it a festive and warm place for everyone to be together. We would live there forever and our kids would bring our grandkids to visit.
And the property taxes would be about $500 a year.