Dallas Weekend: Saturday, 14 August 2004

One is cuter than the last…

According to Christi Stephens, the very nice Coldwell Banker agent with whom we toured houses yesterderday, most people see 6-8 houses in a day of looking. If you’ve never gone through this process, you may not understand how tiring it can be. You drive from house to house, get out, wander through, and, if you like the place, spend several minutes picking it apart. “I’d replace the carpeting,” you muse aloud (if the owner isn’t home, and sotto voce if she is). “That swag curtain simply has to go.” And usually, also, no matter how much you’ve researched and culled your list of prospectives, there are a couple that sound promising, and turn out to be utter trash.

Knowing all of the above, you will have a better understanding of the level of exhaustion and overwhelmedness that Fuzzy and I had last night upon returning to our hotel (which, yes, we got lost trying to find, again). After all, we had barely slept the night before, and then had been up at six, gotten lost getting to Coldwell Banker (our own fault – we listened to the directions from the concierge instead of following our instincts), and I was temperamental from female stuff. And then, we saw something like a thousand houses yesterday…or maybe it was thirteen. Either way, it was considerably more than six or eight. And each one was cuter than the last.

I cannot guarantee that the following is in order. But here are the highlights.

  1. A 3-bedroom house that was very nice, but had no yard. And since it also was a true 3-bedroom, was too small.
  2. 4549 Jenning Drive, Plano – This is a sweet house. You can tell when you walk in that the owners love the house. It’s a 2-story traditional house. The floors on the first floor are mostly tile or pergo, and the upstairs is carpeted. Master bedroom has his&her closets separated by a mini-entertainment center designed for maximum comfort while watching tv from bed. Pool was pretty, but needs serious cleaning. There’s a lot of wood paneling, and I was afraid the rooms would feel dark, but they did not. Upstairs, there are three bedrooms, and 2nd full bath, as well as a central living area. For most of the day, this was to remain our number-one house, whenever Christi asked us to rank them.
  3. Around the corner, was a vacant single-story on Nevada. The rooms were huge, and this was our number two for a while. The master bedroom was in the front though, and I didn’t like that, and some of the rooms were too big, while the secondary bedrooms were practically cubicles.
  4. Next was an ultra modern house in a sea of neo-traditional houses. This is the one on teakwood that we pointed some of you toward. I knew within two seconds of walking in that the owners were Asian – black marble fire place, sleek track lighting, upstairs one of the bedrooms as big enough to be a second master, and both bathrooms were as big as small bedrooms. It was extremely monochromatic, with brush-painted tone-on-tone walls, and it was nice, if oddly misplaced, but the plumbing seemed to be done on the cheap, and we got an ‘off’ vibe from it.
  5. Cardinal Drive was a house that I’d wanted to see. People I’d shown it to on the net had agreed with my description of it as retro-hunting lodge, but in person, it was more cottage than cabin. Very cute. Nice flow. The rooms all formed double figure eights, but the back yard was too much pool and not enough yard (yes, there was a dog run, but still), so while we kept it at a strong #2 for the next while, we ultimately downgraded it.
  6. Next up, two huge tall houses, one on Grinelle and one on Nottingham. The first had plastic gerbera daises set into the ground. It was nice, but too much open space that served no purpose, while the rooms were not that big. Friendly dog, though. Nottingham was vacant, sponge-painted in Tuscan gold, a warm glowy color I love. It was a livable house, and we ranked it behind Cardinal.
  7. We next moved on to a development called Stoneridge Ranch, a planned community with HOA dues of $600/year, that get you into the golf club, beach club (white sand and a man-made lagoon), and parks, including a lake with paddleboats. The country club is a separate membership. The first house in this neighborhood was a single-story 3 bedroom, with a see-through fireplace that flipped to a game room as big as the living room! It was lovely, but not our style (I could see my parents living in it, or the Golden Girls).
  8. But the next house WAS our style, and was another of our picks – 209 Ledgenest Drive. Also in Stonebridge Ranch, this house is one of two that we’re waffling over. The entire first floor is white ceramic tile. The formal dining room is painted slate blue. The kitchen is cobalt. The master bedroom is sea-greenish-blue, and all are on the first floor. The yard is nice, with enough room for the dogs, barely. The pool cleaner was flipped over in the water, and kept attacking us – but it felt good because by that time, the day had gotten quite toasty. We could be very happy in it.
  9. Wren Cove was not our pick, but was another in Stonebridge Ranch. A FSBO, this is my favorite from yesterday. It’s only got three bedrooms, but there’s a game room, formal living room, and formal dining room, and the yard is perfect. PERFECT. The pool and deck are off the kitchen, and then the yard circles around the deck, which has terraced planters at the back. There’s enough room for a play structure and still a ton of green space. Even though this house might be a bit smaller than we’d dreamed, it’s incredibly livable. I love it. (It’s my number one, and Fuzzy’s number two. Ledgenest is his one, and my two.)
  10. Another one I can’t remember the name of. It’s not in Stonebridge Ranch, but ElDorado. It was lovely, if a teeny bit beyond the price we’d agreed on. And I liked it, but not as much as the previous two.

By the end of the tour, we were hot, sweaty, and exhausted. We said goodbye to Christi, and then made our way back toward the hotel, pausing, not for the coffee everyone expected of me, but for gelato. Fuzzy had raspberry and some variety of chocolate; I had violet and peach. Yes. Violet. It was good.

This morning, we’re off, as soon as Fuzzy gets showered, to Ft Worth and Arlington, for more houses. Aieeee!