Looking for Character
Several years back, my wife and I spent a painfully large number of hours hunting for a new house. After the 19th house, they all start to blend, and you can’t remember which one had the great deck, and which one had the kicked in sheet rock.
Very quickly, though, you become an expert on neighborhoods and home design.
I noticed that certain neighborhoods were full of cookie-cutter houses. It didn’t matter which decade—there were streets with ‘60s single-level ranch clones, mirror image ’80’s split-level homes, and matching ’90’s McMansions each with “dry stack rock” veneer on the front.
These homes were built quickly with little care. They used the same floor plan over and over again, only rotating it for variety. None attracted me.
The homes that drew me in had something unique about them. There was the 1908 farmhouse expanded multiple times over the years, with the remnants of an apple orchard in the back. Another was a ‘60s ranch with the big windows that had a host of interesting built-ins, including a trap-door in the kitchen counter so you could drop your trash and recycling directly into bins in the basement. We ended up buying an ’80’s two-story with big decks in the front and the back, and an inexplicable little inside/outside sunroom with a leak in it.
It’s these unique features–sometimes strange, sometimes wonderful, sometimes messy–that give the home it’s character.