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House Hunting

House Hunting – Considering PreFab

I have a gypsy fantasy that I refer to as Seven Wanders. It is a fluid fantasy that has something to do with renovating my camper, something to do with Heffe brewing beer, something to do with launching an entrepreneurial hospitality business, and something to do with weekend getaways in Southern California and North Carolina.

Do you do this? Is it normal for people to have abstract fantasies that they name and build a website for!?

So, getting back to the fantasy of living on some mountain land. Once we find it – let’s erect a Pre-Fab! Here are a few options that I dig. I especially lean toward the lean-to shape shed roofs with rustic and modern elements mixed together, lots of texture in the reclaimed woods and walls of glass! So lovely in a natural setting like Topanga Canyon.

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 11.42.18 AM
PreFab homes the estate of things
Connect Homes Model 7.4
eco space studios
jenny pre fab

The Sierra by Jenesys 

 

The fantasy is ever-evolving on my Pinterest Board Mountain Land Dreaming
Follow Betsy’s board Mountain Land Dreamin on Pinterest.

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House Hunting – Disappointment

Gaywood

Whew! In the past two and a half weeks we’ve visited three homes in Altadena and placed offers on two of them, and LOST BOTH. And even though this home tour is old news… I’m still pleased to look at the photos and think what if…

Truly, I’m pushing to remain about as hopeful and positive as I can throughout this process. It’s really started to feel like a game. Losing out on this house (number 3 of 4), wasn’t so bad because I could immediately set my sites on the fourth that I showed you previously. But by now, I admit, I’m feeling a little defeated.

Throughout this process, I just absolutely pour over the photographs of hundreds of home, but when I find one that we visit that we think can work, I grow a bit obsessive. It’s fun if not borderline unhealthy, but I have no self control. I just love to flip through pics and dream up ideas for renovation and decoration.

Our friend Billy showed us this particular Midcentury Modern, and that is what steered the dude and I toward Altadena. We were already pondering moving the home search out of the Westside because it was feeling like we’d exhausted our options. The disappointment of the last few westside tours really helped me to realize that the budget wasn’t going to get us what we deeply wanted in terms of our lifestyle at home – it felt like we should expand our search.

The time capsule quality of this particular home, plus a nice night exploring town with our soon to be neighbor friends got me all bent on living in this sweet hillside community just north of Pasadena.It was easy enough to wrap my head around decorating, and I was stoked about all of the space, the night time glow of the city over the vast landscape in the backyard, and a spot for the camper, plus just the right amount of opportunity to update kitchens, bathrooms, etc. If nothing else, the experience definitely cemented a big move from Santa Monica to Altadena as a true prospect for the dude and I.

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House Hunting – Things Are Gettin Crazy

I have more homes to show you, I do. Because last week, while I was NOT posting, we had put in an offer on a midcentury modern (seen here in my Instagram feed) up in the hills of Altadena (record scrrrrrraatch – what?) We were on pins and needles awaiting word, when this one hit the market with a bang. Spoiler alert, we did NOT get the other one… despite our best intentions.

I say that the home hit the market with a bang, because we were literally awaiting final word on the other house when we discovered it, and mere hours after we had the realtor looking into it for us, it appeared on Curbed LA. I’m like “no, no no no no, don’t be on Curbed, we don’t want ANYONE else to know about this home for sale but us. We had a feeling that the other home was going to fall through. That put the tally to 3 offers, 3 times beat by all cash.

So, here she is. This home marks our 4th offer. I’ve skipped a few steps in the natural storyline b/c we went through a bit of a process to move our search over to the clear OTHER SIDE of Los Angeles. But this post is in real time, as we are currently sitting on our hands, awaiting news of on acceptance. I’m not built for the real estate game. I’m way too emo!

Will they accept? Will we beat out by yet another all cash offer that doesn’t give us an opportunity to play for it? I don’t know. But this time I took a moment to write a personal letter to the seller, to let them know why and how we might take up in their house, to pick up where they are leaving off in calling it home.

This is what she looks like…. she is practically a fantasy glass ship having sailed right through the fairy tale land of the Sierra Nevada, anchored in the hills overlooking all of Pasadena and downtown in its orangish purple glory. Wax poetic much? I just hope we get the opportunity to dig into this midcentury with the right guidance to make it home for our future and our family. We are talking renovation budget and honoring midcentury legacy already.

PS. here is a snapshot at the floor plan that the homies and I doodled on while we were fantasizing. How cute right?

EPSON MFP image

 

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House Hunting in Los Angeles – Spanish meets Modern

This little house has been sitting on the market for some time, toying with us, taunting us. It’s in a sweet little neighborhood that is quite near the future Metro train stop, on a quiet street with alleyway access. It has ample parking, beam ceilings, and an incredible indoor/outdoor living vibe. The price just recently shot up which is an interesting strategy. We have been feeling trigger shy for two reasons. Top of budget, plus just imagine – is it awesome or awful to share your shower experience with the entire master bedroom plus the backyard? Peep the pics below for the master bath with floor to ceiling windows in the shower stall!

I was kind of digging the idea of looking out upon my vintage camper while taking a long soak in the tub.

The surprise of such an architecturally aware, if not starkly modern addition to the back of this typical Spanish Colonial Beach Bungalow, plus its updated exterior color were appealing. It was updated inside as well with bold bathroom tile choices that I didn’t mind. Heffe and I agreed that we’d need to make some changes though. I can hardly stand the sweet honey oak overload in that kitchen, and check out the strange exposed closet system in the master!

The home has 3 bedrooms and a nice little patch of yard plus outdoor living space that totally makes up for the small living space inside. It also features a detached garage along with 3 parking spaces. Kinda seems like it might work for us if we were willing. I really do love the idea of hopping on the train in 2015 and having car-free LA adventures at my fingertips! I could definitely imagine my Santa Monica posse popping over for evening entertainment.

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House Hunting in Los Angeles

House Hunting in Los Angeles with The Estate of Things

Not that we aren’t ALWAYS looking at Trulia.com for casual evening entertainment, but the dude and I are actually in the market for a new home in Los Angeles.

It’s a tough job, but we’re getting after it. I try to keep my wits, and between searches on Trulia and FSBO.com, I cruise the internet and shake my head as I read articles like this, about LA’s unaffordable housing.

Initially I illustrated the boundaries of our search for our realtor. I’ve since added the blue opaque highlight, b/c that is the more realistic compromise for the part of town we have to live in if we want hit the desired square footage plus yard. Pretty much any where in that area is fair game, but as is the game with real estate – all of the pros and cons must align. E.g. Sure, we’ll live way down there in Venice by the blvd IF the home has a killer yard… okay, we’ll cram ourselves into a tiny home with a patch of grass IF it’s in Santa Monica proper and walkable to our favorite Sushi restaurant, etc.

Places we will live in Los Angeles The Estate of Things

Thus far, we’ve toured more than a handful of homes, put in the offere and lost out to all cash on two, and now we’re thinking about expanding the search even further, cause maybe what we want doesn’t exist in that purple or blue area?

We recently toured this house in Santa Monica’s Ocean Park neighborhood b/c it appeared to fit the bill. It seemed that it was rather perfect for us, except for the price. At 1.5 million, it’s at the tippy top of the budget and yet it needs a lot of renovation. We aren’t afraid of renovating, in fact I think we both prefer the challenge to a turnkey move-in ready joint that looks like someone else’s dream home – but I guess the hope was to find a dog for a deal… not a dog at our max budget. Emotionally Tragic.

Doesn’t this look like a fun one to reimagine?

This is what my headcase fantasy looked like while I was walking around the backyard. I was buying the pottery wheel and tearing down the alley wall to pull in the camper in my mind.

A Yard is important because of dreams

Sarah advised that I not let any emotions any where near my process. That is sound advice that I have to remind myself of constantly. It’s hard not to feel emo as you to try to separate hopes and dreams for the future from the floor plan of the home where it will all unfold. I’ve narrowed in on this list as important, and perhaps I log it here more for posterity’s sake than actual reader interest. Nonetheless:

  • As illustrated!!! A yard is super important, it supplies my heart with deep contentment
  • Detached Garage PLUS ample parking is ideal (so we can use the garage for project space when we want to make our own coffee table)
  • Exposed Beams are lovely, I’ll take them in the midcentury style or the craftsman
  • We don’t mind if the kitchen/bathrooms need renovation – we probably would prefer it actually
  • We aren’t going to be mad if we are within walking distance of Grocery, Beer, Burger, and/or Sushi, not a deal breaker though
  • We need a dog friendly home with a fence!
  • Architectural Intrique of SOME sort… whether it’s Post & Beam, Craftsman, Bungalow, SoCal Ranch, etc. These are all acceptable New Construction is not as likely to be interesting, unless it’s particularly nuanced.
  • Room for our vintage shasta camper would be a SUPER RAD bonus
  • Our budget range, which for LA is a little more than a million… a by a little more I probably mean like $500k more.

If you like to get a peek into the other homes we’ve toured in Los Angeles, from the next door neighbors to the lost Topanga dream, to a trailer park by the sea – check out Estate Envy.

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House Huntin’: Horse Country

Continuing the house hunting series, we venture out to horse country. There is a large equestrian community in the Southern Pines area existing in the beautiful fields and pastures that surround the downtown area. It’s beautiful land and an equally beautiful view outside your window.

On this particular day we toured a property on Camp Easter Road. The house was appealing to me because of the beautiful property that the house sits on and the proximity to downtown Southern Pines but still feeling as though you lived in the country.

Some Fun Facts:

  • Built in 1920
  • 6+ acres
  • 1,000 square foot guest cottage
  • detached garage
  • a sprawling 4200 single level brick house
  • large photography studio
  • officially a 3 bedroom

Before we begin with the photos I have to tell you that you basically need to start over with this house. It is a total renovation, it basically needs everything. Some of the bedrooms can stay where they are but most of the house needs a new layout. The asking price is…wait for it…$489,000. Let’s look at what we get for almost 500K, prepare to be astonished.

Long driveway and buffer from the road, I love a long driveway

camp easter driveway

Some of the side yard, looks like some old overgrown brick hardscaping,

camo easter side yard

this is the main entrance to the house,

camp easter house

you can see the relationship of the garage to the house,

camp easter garage

there were two of these cool lamp posts on the property, I think they are original

camp easter light

And welcome…to the land of the darkest paneling you’ve ever seen,

camp easter entrance

to your left you would be looking through a window that was originally the outside of the house,

camp easter living room

walking through the living room you pass by this nook that almost appears to be a foyer but its not,

camp easter nook

continuing on through to what appears to be a den or a library, also could be a 3rd bedroom I guess

camp easter library

if you continue around the house you get to this big sunroom addition added sometime in the 1990s, there is a partial kitchen in here for entertaining. I think this is where the kitchen should be moved to if the house was remodeled.

camp easter sunroom

Walking through to another added sunroom, judging by the wood paneling it was added some time in the 1970s,

camp easter sunroom2

Once you get through all of the sunrooms you arrive in the master bedroom which is huge,

camp easter master bed

This is the master bath complete with avocado green cultured marble,

camp easter master bath

Still in the master bath,

camp easter master bath2

This is some sort of media room,

camp easter den

Central hallway leading from master around to a 2nd large bedroom with its own bathroom,

camp easter hall

welcome to the kitchen that hasn’t been touched since the 1970s,

camp easter kitchen

camp easter kitchen2

this is the breakfast area,

camp easter breakfast

a very raw laundry/mudroom area off the kitchen,

camp easter laundry

and to round out our tour we arrive in a utility room off the mudroom complete with exposed electrical wiring

camp easter utility

I’m sure you agree that the sellers need a reality check here and even their agent recognizes that. Its really disappointing to see the house in this condition with this price tag. I’m confident that I could transform this house but I simply don’t have the dough to do it. Considering the price tag and the condition this house is not a possibility for us–so we’ll keep looking.

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