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Estate Envy

I Spy Potential

During a routine cruise through my local real estate listings I saw this jewel. If you’ve got the feeling that you just want to ship lap some walls, bring some character back, get your modern farmhouse on and just generally do it up Chip & Joanna Gaines style–this house is for you. This house would almost certainly be one of the three properties that a Gaines client would see, we’ll call it the “pond house”.

It’s a whole lot of 1990s goodness but I’m guessing the upside is that all the renovation would be cosmetic. For $275,000 you can buy a 3,200 square foot house with a detached mother-in-law apartment, 25 acres, a shabby barn, a pond that needs some TLC in the form of carp to eat the algae and a whole lot of potential.

Do you see what I see?


farmhouse back porch

The decision to cover the entire porch on the back of this house was clearly a good one.

You could tailor the exterior to look similar to these examples that have been in my inspiration file since the onset of my Farmhouse obsession.

farmhouse historical concepts

We need to get an outdoor fireplace happening and screen in some of the porch and put a metal roof on.

farmhouse screened porch

Moving around to the front, we can get some windows, new front door, remove the vinyl siding, update the columns and railing, add a few architectural elements and we are in the business of modern farmhouses.

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farmhouse columns



If you think you are going to take this on please email me, I’m happy to be of service!


I’ve got dreams to remember

If you’ve been hanging out with us for a while here on TEOT, then you might have gathered that I move around a lot. I can’t stay in one house for long. For the record, I’ve been at my current house for a little over two years but it feels like at least…an eternity.  I don’t move from state to state, it’s more like one house over or maybe the other side of town. When I think about homes around here (everyday), I’ve come to the conclusion that as long as I’m physically able to move around I’ll never be satisfied with one house.

During my weekly visit with the MLS, I ran across this house.  Although I’d seen it before, it was far more interesting to me this visit.

I sent Betsy a text that said something like “I wanna move here, now. It’s like Betty Draper meets Southern Living later meets Betsy Burnham” Then I emailed it to a couple of people and then I leaned over to Dan and said look at this house. He did and remarkably he played along for a bit and was interested too.

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What I loved the most about this house is the way it sits on the property, especially in the backyard.

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It was built in 1928, but remodeled mostly by Betty Draper in the 1960s.

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Dan said you almost have to leave the wallpaper for a while because its so weird.

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Hats off on the acid yellow laminate.

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Betsy’s response to me was, “I wanna see you do that” but followed by “that place needs a serious update”. It really does, the bones are good, the potential is there as it almost always is but it truly needs a major overhaul.

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Dan’s favorite part was the little hidden basketball court

535 fairway



House Hunting: Silver Spring

I can’t get this home out of my head. The moment that I stumbled upon it, I gasped and frantically copy/pasted the link over to Sarah as soon as possible and then the dude. I’m sure he’d appreciate that I toss links over to my homegirl before him, right? What dude buying a house wouldn’t?

At any rate, I needed her help, because this home needed a game plan. It was a total tease in its description which wielded but 2 bedrooms, an obvious write-off for the dudliest of dudes. He’s pretty set on 4 at this point and selective memory forgets that we once were perfectly content with only 3. But with this house clocking in at 2800 sq ft – well that is more than enough living space. So what gives with the 2br status? Maybe something unpermitted is going on?

Here’s the part of the description that had me trippin’.

The seductive master suite w/office, opens to the garden terrace with splashing fountains and lush greenery. A cozy guest suite on the main level and a separate guest/maid’s apartment on a lower level complete the picture perfect environment.

See, that kind of sounds like 4 bedrooms to me. Hell, it sounds like veritable inn. A bed and breakfast if you will.

His response was just as I suspected… a pretty quick write-off due to the bedrooms. Sarah and I plotted. We MUST get the dude to this house to see what is going on with those rooms, the photos just don’t tell the story. Here’s what we’re looking at! I’m so full of wanty that it’s painful. The blue windows captured my heart.



Estate Envy: Ruffalo Wannabe in Westwood

nickey kehoe ruffalo home
Pretty much since I moved to California, Sarah has been trying to get me to decorate my home(s) like Mark & Sunshine Ruffalo’s sweet little surf shack in the hills of Hollywood. She’s stalked the home on the real estate market and here on the blog we’ve consistently referred back to his mix of masculine and feminine pieces for the Heffe House and I’m sure it is why DC got the Jenny Lind for her first big girl bed.

I guess that says something about Sarah’s consistency in her style and taste, and it also speaks well for the timeless design choices made by Nickey Kehoe, a design house that we all grow more and more in love with each and every day.

Here is a little refresher eye candy of that project!



So, this past week, in my ever persistent search for the right westside home, I stumbled upon this little charmer and immediately thought of Sarah and her desires to channel her own inner Kehoe for a flip, style, shoot and sell fantasy. We want to renovate, bad.

Have a look for yourself. This little Westwood 3BR/2BA baby is on the market for $1.2M and is sized right at over 2,400 square feet. The early century Spanish surf shack style is itching for a lot of layers of global textiles alongside of a mix of traditional and midcentury furniture.

Let’s tidy her up and make her shine like the Ruffalo home!


House Hunting in the Pacific Palisades


Pacific Palisades

A few amazing things have happened since I last dumped a little house hunting progress on the blog, not least of which being that the dude and I have zeroed in on the Pacific Palisades for the hunt. I no longer have to keep an eye out for every great house in Mar Vista, Venice, Santa Monica, Altadena or the town of Los Angeles in general. We are decided. Our love for the canyon supercedes. We will live in the Palisades.

Before we arrived at this conclusion though, we definitely shared some words about our disparate approach to our needs. Truth be told, I think that Heffe was gettin’ a little antsy, and he just wants to be in a new space where we can do some things… and he wants the search to be over. At this point, we’ve been actively looking for a full time home since May of 2014. We’ve been beat out on 4 offers and we’ve toured more than 15 homes.

It came to a peak when he had me reeling over some ugly behemoth cali traditional specimen in Mar Vista last week, that was built in 2001 and featured a leaded glass door that fairly represented the unappealing character of the entire home, in my humble opinion. In my haste and humor, I told some story about how much work would need to be done, and how  I couldn’t imagine we would see any point in replacing that leaded glass door, yet I’d hate it and complain about it daily, and he’d grow to hate me and our lives and love would fall apart, and it was all very melodramatic… and suffice to say he didn’t appreciate it because he just sees a door that leads into a gigantic 38000000000 sq foot home in our budget. I guess my tragic distaste for the door or my penchant for drama isn’t as endearing as I like to think.

At any rate, it led to some emotions running high over the frustrations of our endless fruitless searching. But while I was away on a quick biz trip to San Fran, he and the kids took the scenic route home, which means a jaunt through Topanga Canyon from the Valley to our home in Santa Monica… and for him it cemented his desire to live in that part of town, beside those hills, by that ocean, near enough to the life we’ve made here in Santa Monica. And this just made my heart sing, b/c I don’t want what Mar Vista’s got.

Pacific Palisades it is. We will not settle.

Eventually, we are gonna live in that photo somewhere on that oceanside hill. I’ve toured 4 homes in the Palisades since we made this decision and it’s getting real. We haven’t found our home yet, but as one realtor put it, the Universe is opening itself up to us! Any day now. It only takes one.

Here is a quick look at the living rooms of three homes we toured this weekend! For more house hunting stuff, follow my instagramZ.

living room silver spring

Sarah and I started to refer to this home as “Silver Spring” since it’s on the same street where Stevie Nicks holds residence, and because you know… ♫ blue-grrrrreen… colors flashing…. ♫

This was a flip complete with fantastic finishes chosen by a PacPal designer, Noelle Schoop.

This was a flip complete with fantastic finishes chosen by a PacPal designer, Noelle Schoop. I loved her choices, all of them.



Now, this is my own cell phone photo, but they really left out the most charming angle of the living room in the real estate listing. However, that round beam was a weirdy.

Hopefully I’ll get to report someday soon, that we found our new home!


House Hunting – What a Million Bucks’ll Get You

The holidays put a big dent in my house hunting obsession, but the market is waking back up and we’re starting to see some interesting options creeping back into our Trulia search results.

Here’s a little bit of recap of some things that happened last year, that may bring us up to now.

I whipped up a map for Sarah. She is a doll for offering me her expertise in all things real estate and/or renovation. We really want to find an old dog of a house (in one of these mapped out areas) with enough room in the budget to call up Barbara Bestor‘s firm for a hand. Think that’ll happen!?

I like to be near where the map imagery goes green! My Western North Carolina blood courses strong, and it’s hard to feel right when you are stuck out here in this arid sub-tropical mediterranean climate and aren’t near some trees and hills. The red handwritten hoods represent the areas where we would consider residence. We’re looking at the next ten years here, so we have to think long term about lifestyle! That means a ballsy move clear across town might be in the cards, depending on what is out there. Personally, I’m zeroing in on Pacific Palisades.

Househunting in Los Angeles MAP two copyIt is tricky to find a home with trees and that rustic feeling that we crave, one that is also close to the freeway for Jeff’s daily downtown commute. Please note that my map here is super simplified, and I’ve only hit the highlights as they relate to my particular search. If you are a total map nerd, you can really drill into LA’s ubiquitous hoods here.

So, here we go. Here’s what a million bucks will get you.

A WESTSIDE MODERN  I  3BR 2BA  1600 sq ft
What do you think of this modern? The kids came with us to view this one, and they loved it. It had a radical rooftop deck with a view to make up for the smallllll yard, but the monster stairwell smack in the middle of the living space was the deal breaker for me. We toured this home back in August, and it just recently sold for a little over a million. It was fun to imagine our family in the modern setting, I think we’d be happy with the style – but this particular layout wasn’t for us.

This lovely is in Highland Park (up-and-coming type area, right by Eagle Rock that Curbed LA named the top most gentrified hood of 2014.) The home is priced at $1,099 with LOTS of room including a fantastic yard to play in, plus a nice view. Sarah will like it because it is a Craftsman that was built in 1910 and of its 3 owners, no one has been too precious about painting over the oak trim throughout. Lots of fantastic detailing if you are into that sort of thing. One thing that it is missing is a porch that clear curb appeal portrait shot. The perks are in the large yard and the detached garage. You can get SO MUCH MORE for the money on the other side of town. 332 N Avenue 66 Los Angeles,CA90042 (Highland Park)

This makes you wonder what you’d rather have – beach breezes, or almost 1000 sq feet more of living space and a donkey yard?

Here is another one in Highland Park and it’s a biggie. It’s already been updated, so let me take this opportunity to say that when I see a really great home updated in an area where you can just as easily spot a homes with good bones for a fraction of the price, I definitely start fantasizing about flipping. That being said – the dude and I don’t even bother going to look at these homes. Even if the flippers made fun choices (like these guys have), I’d just rather make those choices myself. But dude, check out that bathroom. I mean, dayum. Also making his particular home special is that it is a donkey with 6 bedrooms and 3600 sq feet. We’d have room to add a whole gaggle of kids to our current not-so-nuclear family. 5655 Range View Ave (Highland Park)

So, We never really looked at this sweet little cottage together here on Teot, but back in September the dude and I actually put in an offer at just a hair over a million. Hard to imagine going back to looking at neighborhoods like this one now after all we have seen – but who knows where we will end up. We had decided that we could deal with the small yard b/c of the detached garage. We envisioned opening it up with some sliding doors and making a project space out of the yard. I didn’t love the lack of trees back there, but I did really dig the wall of ivy. It was also a fun project to think about b/c the bathrooms & kitchen needed an update bad and so you can imagine how I started planning that out while we awaited news on our offer. Also, there was this sweet little unfinished area in the attic that was sure to become some strange Betsy hideout where I would sit for hours and real old journals from 1999 and play dress-up. Ultimately, this place was a major compromise on hood though, as it is located pretty close to the freeways and just outside of Santa Monica proper. If we want to live Westside for a million though, we’re going to have to live like this, and compromise big on space. (Walkability and remaining near our westside friends can make up for that though.)

A few other million dollar options in Altadena really got our wheels spinning. You can get a lot of house for that price. See those two stories here and here.

We’ve looked at a bunch of homes over the course of this Los Angeles House Hunting process, but I wanted to document these on the blog for posterity. These have all been an important part of the thinking process that has led us from the north, to the west to the east and now back to the west.

See more here, and follow along until we eventually find the right place to call home!