Thursday, May 30, 2013

Is It Your Forever House?

I remember my childhood as a series of moving house. My parents were renters, until they retired to a lakeside camp where they owned a home fashioned from combining a collection of odd outbuildings. I remember at least six homes we lived in. I went to a different high school for each of the four years until graduation.

As an adult I had several apartments in New York. I can think of seven of them, and four summer rentals before I bought (and since sold) a summer home. Since I left New York, I have lived in four different homes, the fourth being the present one.

I like to think that this present house is our forever house. But you never know. Of course Mother Nature could take it away (hurricanes). Perhaps hard times would force us to sell. But if nothing drastic happens, this could be our forever house. I often joke that if money were no object, I could own one last great house, maybe a center hall house, or a townhouse (with parking) in the French Quarter.

Recently I did a post about Julia Reed's house being for sale. It seemed like her forever house as she wrote so lovingly about it in her book The House on First Street.  Everyone asks me why she is selling, and really I don't know, and can only hope that is a decision she made in order to move onto something good.

Tricia Guild has been inspiring me lately

I have been on Tricia Guild visual journey for the past few weeks, exploring her body of work through images. In my research I see she is selling her vacation home in Tuscany, a house she has owned for over 20 years. It seemed like a forever house if ever there was one.

For sale in Tuscany - could it be your forever house?

Tricia Guild's living room in Tuscany

The house has gotten plenty of press

Blue bedroom in Tricia Guild's Tuscan home

Another blue bedroom

This photo was in an article about Tricia Guild's Tuscan home, but clearly it is not a room in that house

This is another gorgeous Tricia Guild room

Loving the ombre Tricia Guild did in this room

More press for the villa in a Greek decor magazine

A guest room in the the Tuscan villa of Tricia Guild

The dining room in Tricia Guild's Tuscan villa

A pretty pink sitting room in Tricia Guild's Tuscan Villa

The kitchen in the villa of Tricia Guild

Love the citron

After twenty something years Tricia Guild is leaving her Tuscan villa

For sale HERE

Is the concept of a forever house a thing of the past? There are starter homes. Then there are larger homes to accommodate a larger family. And then there's the senior downsizing. And maybe that can change too if good health goes out the window.

Here in New Orleans, generations of families live in the same house over the years. Kids grow up and move into their own homes, but mom and pops stay put, and the house is often a legacy that goes back to the kids who tend to keep the house in the family. Hurricane Katrina wiped out many of those forever homes.

A sweet townhouse in the French Quarter for sale HERE

So, do you live in your forever house?

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  1. I believe in a forever house. My parents bought their home...a large 1939 cape cod when I was two and my Mom still lives in it. She will never sell it. She will live there as long as possible. She is still going strong. I notice that people live in homes about 7 years and then switch. When I bought my house everyone said..."Oh that's a great starter home!" "You'll make a bundle when you sell it." I told everyone I never planned on selling it. And I don't. I could see that if I had a husband or kids...I'd need a bigger home but just I have noticed the larger homes in my neighborhood stay in families but the small ones don't. But then most people have more than just themselves to house. I hope to always be in mine.

  2. Valorie, your multiple moves may have brought a lot of disruption to your life, but it also gave you the opportunity for a fresh beginning. I love the concept of a forever house, and I have been in mine now for more than twenty years after designing and building it. With grown children, the idea is slowly beginning to dawn on me that this house will sooner than later belong to someone else. It's hard to swallow, but then again, I get to engage my design passion once again and who knows I might come to love a new place despite its lack of history and memories. There is a lot to ponder in your post. I hope you can buy that cute townhouse in the Quarter.

  3. I would love to find my forever house or more aptly the forever house I dream of but could never afford LOL! Really beautiful and affordable homes are very costly in my area so until I move elsewhere I will have to be content in my temporary house.

    LOVE the Tricia Guild photos- I adore her use of color!

  4. sometimes lives change -and at the end of the day - a house is only a house (even if we love them!). Life goes on but you'll have your memories if you're lucky.

  5. I love Tricia Guild and her use of color, those ombre walls are great. I feel like we're in our forever home, a senior downsized apartment with lots of storage and big rooms and shopping within walking distance. BUT, if we won the Lottery I'd buy a place in the Quarter for a getaway. You'd have a key..

  6. I simply have to comment, since you asked! Your post is so timely and poignant for me. I'd thought I was finally in my forever home. It is a lovely Cotswold cottage in Southern California, custom-built for a wealthy man in 1923. He and his wife were older and apparently wanted to downsize to a not-so-big home but everything in it is top-drawer and any workman here has said the house is built like a tank. Plaster walls, 17-ft carved wood (by a woman!) ceiling; we're on a half-acre-plus hillside location with a view, in a still-nice neighborhood. I inherited the house when it was in a very-deteriorated condition despite its good bones. It took everything we had to renovate (not restore, not remodel but renovate; I learned the difference; we cut some corners and did our best to honor the vintage); all of my great-aunt's equity went back into her house, so this special home is now preserved as it should be...but we still never got done, now in our 60s with a huge monthly payment...which wasn't unreasonable before the economic downturn because the house was worth quite a bit, now dropped to less than half its value (welcome to
    California real estate; never a sure thing again...), so we have been under-water with the mortgage for the past few years. Add in unexpected plumbing issues...when we thought we had it all replaced...and other landmines typical of old houses and, well, we just can't do it anymore. We are facing retirement with no way to save money, house-poor and with other debt. And we went thru hell to get this house, fighting a bi*ch of a Trustee. We thought we were set; NOT. I never would have thought we'd move from here. Stuff happens. mother has now died and if I can refinance/buy out her reverse-mortgage loan, we could have a low house payment, low property taxes, be able to eradicate other debt and save some money for the elder years. It's a shabbier neighborhood because it's old...she lived there 60 years...first-time home buyer territory/entry level market...and the house is non-descript (tract home) and even less square footage (I've got to get rid of stuff I don't want to, because there's simply no space for the things, dammit!) but it's familiar to me as a second skin...I was brought to the home as a toddler. New families are moving in and planting flowers; hardworking people, glad to have a home. There are some investor rentals I'd like to see get cleaned up. But, with the great inspiration of you and other designers, I know I can take my possessions and work to make my parents' old, plain house into a safe and protective abode; a hedge against anymore economic storms. Sometimes we have to do what we'd rather not, but I'm not looking at it as the "come-down" my cousins are sniffing over; rather, being practical and smart. Pray I can pull this off; I'm a baby boomer who ran amok in the middle years with lots of over-consuming and spending, now trying to re-purpose/re-use, learning to love thrifting, coming to admire frugality (which doesn't have to mean BORING). So, that's MY story...and there's a postscript: I got diagnosed with cancer in March; had the surgery, they "think they got it all." It gives you new perspective. It makes you prioritize...and it's a shame that sometimes something like a life-threatening disease is what it takes to level your head. I want to concentrate on LIFE and have my home serve ME rather than the other way around.

  7. Well I have moved over 40 times and this is certainly not 'my forever home'. I am enjoying it now but the west is calling our names and I look forward to what home comes next...who knows, maybe it will be forever!

  8. I moved a lot when I was young. I'm a real nester and a homebody but I am now in my mid-40s and am worried about my future job security and retirement. I think I need to start flipping houses in order to have a comfortable retirement. I'm seriously thinking about house flipping 1 or 2 bedroom apartments in order to facilitate some financial security.

  9. I do like the concept of a forever house. Perhaps because I moved so often during childhood. I wanted a home where my children grew up and could come home to with their children! We live in a house built in 1931 by architects N.W. Overstreet and Hays Town. They were experimenting with poured concrete! So, the house has its' issues but we have been loving it for 20 years now and are only the third family to live here.