Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Model Home

The Mister and I spent at least a year and half looking at dozens of distressed properties in nice neighborhoods and iffy properties in iffy neighborhoods before one auspicious afternoon in September, we found ourselves standing on the sidewalk in front of Holtwood House. See, we each had slightly different and specific ideas about what we were looking for, which let's face it, rarely works out when you're in the market for your first home. I tend to gravitate toward mid-century floor plans- the sweet spot being somewhere between 1960 and 1969.  The Mister grew up in a 2400 sq. ft 1980's hillside development and had other ideas about what we should be looking at. I'm a DIY kind of gal with instant visualization. He, one with style, but not with hammer and nail. So, it was quite the fun little battle when looking at listings and interviewing prospective candidates for our new abode.

A bit of serendipity provided a compromise better than we could have hoped for. The house had surfaced on my radar a good 3-6 months before we ever viewed it, but had been quickly picked up by another buyer. In the meantime, we found another home and decided it was the house of our dreams, only to watch it go to another buyer who bid well past the already overpriced listing. A bit depressed and certainly frustrated, we jetted off to Palm Springs for the weekend to soak and sulk. On a whim, I had printed off a couple of homes we could potentially look at on the way back into LA and a bit recharged, we decided to take a peek at the house that had just come back on the market.

I knew it when I saw it. Nice neighborhood. Clean lines and mid-century vibe with vaulted, beamed ceilings and so, so many windows. Though decor-wise, it had probably not been updated since it was built in '67, the house itself was in great condition. Quite honestly, the fact that it had not been updated appealed to me. We saw so many great houses defaced with quick and cheap Home Depot upgrades during our search and I was determined to find something we could make our own. Did I mention it was also sporting a gigantic swimming pool to boot? Apparently it had just fallen through with a previous buyer the week before. The Mister grew up in the adjacent city, so we already had some familiarity with the area as well. It felt meant to be.

We're a year in as new home owners and though much has been done to upgrade the inside, Holtwood House still is in need of a bit of curb appeal.

I'm always running with ideas and I've been prone to crude drawings that sometimes get polished up graphically. But I've always longed to frame them up more formally- sort of a sneak peak of what might work aesthetically before we commit to the investment. Recently, I was turned onto SketchUp, a modeling software that Morgan Satterfield has been using as she renovates The Brick House.

I'm still learning how to use the software, but over a couple of evenings I've come to at least one version of Holtwood House re-imagined.

Here's a quick rundown:

Though my imagination would like to take the final design a little more modern, in the end I think we'll go with an update strategy that will compliment other homes on our street while staying true to the mid century lines that drew us in in the first place. We also have some budget limitations. Renovating an entire house is rough on the pocket book and admittingly, we will be doing a lot of the work ourselves. I'm still tinkering with some ideas and I'm sure the final result will have gone through many mock ups. But it's nice to be able to take the idea beyond simple lists, doodles and even element laden concept board as we make decisions.

We'll be kicking off this project soon. Don't be surprised if I impulsively start ripping off old fascia boards and dig our way out the forest of unwanted plants sitting out there this weekend.  I'll be sure to post final plans and progress shots throughout in all their dirty, messy, frustrating glory.


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