A good time to buy a house in this area. Since this last tax break
expired, sales have slowed considerably and volume builders are starting
to feel the pinch, again.
I've looked at Leon's floor plan and it is an excellent deal, and a sign
of the times. And Leon certainly knows more than enough about
construction to be comfortable with the build quality.
I certainly can't build a comparable home in the near SW area for that
sf price. Then again, I couldn't give away a single story house where I
build, even though I would prefer one myself and think it is a smarter
AAMOF, if it weren't for SWMBO, who's business is her passion and
extremely location sensitive, I'd consider selling and following Leon's
"upgrade" to a four car garage. :)
Ohh! yes those are pretty common place, not unusual to see several in a
home. My wife refers to them as dust collectors that will be hard to get to
to vacuum. From what I have seen in most homes that I have done some work
in, her observations are correct. In fact many I have seen require more
than a common 6' step ladder to reach. They are often 3-4' deep and at
least 10' from the floor in 2 story homes. The are best viewed from a stair
way or cat walk.
In the 80's I did a bit of business in Houston and liked the suburbs. What
I "think" I recall was a lot of Tuscan style homes, but my memory is getting
old. Like the homes in Austin, I recall a bit more detail and curb appeal
from exterior detailing than in many other areas, also.
Here, they seem to run about 2' deep and are quite common in living rooms,
dining rooms and kitchens.
Something else I've noticed here is that walls have a lot of "building out."
By that, I mean a wall, either a shear wall or curtain wall, might have a
second wall built beside it, such as the old plumbing wall or wall for
ductwork. They're done as much for detail as for function. That's where
some of the pot shelves come from: a second wall built beside the real wall
to give detail to a room. Despite the cost of these walls and the small
amounts of wasted space inside them (between the walls), they seem to be
pretty popular. An example might be a master suite that has one corner
rounded, rather than square. The wall between the master suite and an
adjoining room might be straight and square, but on the bedroom side, a
second curved wall is installed, with the enclosed area either ignored or
made to hold a small alcove with shelf for a vase or statue.
I think all these architects, designers, etc. read the same books.
Here, for upscale, Interior: stone and solid wood exposed beams
(cypress being one of the premiums) are favorites. Stucco exterior.
Quite a few arched windows & doors, rather than squared. Landscape:
Italian & Greek themes are popular... some western/ranch (USA), but
often a combo of different ones, for particular areas of the lawn.
For moderate housing, 250K - 500K, similar amenities as above, but
many of the homes are built 10' apart, in many subdivisions (as with
100K-250K homes)... no lawn to speak of. Packed in, this way, takes
away from all the expense put into the home, in my opinion.... It's
not a home, but simply a house.
For some with a bit of land, 2 - 5 acres in town or immediate
outskirts, the classic barn (smartly painted), for an outbuilding,
hasn't completely disappeared, yet, but its function is now for boat
storage, small tractor/mower, maybe a small flatbed trailer, air
compressor, misc storage, etc. .... electricity, plumbing....
What part of the country?
similar amenities as above, but
I seem to see that home exteriors remain a bit static, while the extra money
is spent on inside and back yard amenities, here in NV.
A half acre lot in Las Vegas/Henderson is considered huge, and usually
includes a parking area for an RV. We had 6 wooded acres previously, so the
difference is appalling.
in town or immediate
Oh, damn Sonny,
I've had some odd connections with Lafayette,
once back in the eighties, me and a cohort were
threatened at gunpoint by a robber that had just knocked
off a gas station in Lafayette, fortunately, neither of
us or the gas station attendant were injured.
Then some years later my (ex)wife ran off with a Cajun
from there. I don't hold it against Cajuns or Lafayette,
best thing that ever happen to me.
I have found that a lot of amenities in homes are overpriced and low quality
If a person is a craftsman, they are better off to find a floor plan they
like, or just a house that they like for some other reasons, and then do the
upgrades themselves, doing them exactly to order, getting probably a better
job, and getting it for less. And in the case of some really high end
amenities, (SubZero, Wolf, Dacor, Vulcan, etc.) the cost could be halved,
and moderately high quality amenities substituted without sacrificing a lot.
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What some people call "amenities" often look like "fads" to my wife and I.
We've looked at some new homes and remodeled homes where we both saw
features we predicted would look hopelessly dated in not too many years.
And frankly some currently popular features don't appeal to us even if
they're still fashionable, e.g. granite countertops. To each his own of
course, but fashion is a fickle mistress.
Very true. Today, appliances are SS, where 15 years ago, the best kitchens
had the built-in look, where refrigerators and dishwashers, for instance,
had a panel to match the kitchen cabinets. The color of wood changes, also.
I saw one home that hit me as obviously '70-90's. The flooring was natural
laid oak, as were the cabinets. Even things like built-ins have decreased
in today's taste. Our first home had a built-in set of doors and drawers
between two closets in the master bedroom and also for linen in the hallway.
You don't see that anymore.
What I see in today's market are natural materials more than man-made. One
person commented that Corian and Silestone were "cheap substitutes" for the
"better" Granite and marble on counter tops. Likewise, Travertine is a very
popular flooring in upper end homes, with large tile being a close second.
It then spirals downward into the man-made things like laminates, vinyls and
even carpet is not as popular here as it once was.
OTOH, things like skylights and sky tubes are increasingly popular, and
they're something that will probably remain in fashion for a long while.
You do see large walk-ins with all that stuff inside. The one thing
that our (2YO) house is missing that gripes my wife is no linen closet
on the first floor. There is one on the second, but it's mostly
useless since the master is down.
Corian was "cheap"? I never liked the stuff but never considered it
in any way cheap, even compared to granite. Vinyl was an immediate
'X' when we were looking a couple of years back.
I like the looks of them but get concerned about anything poking
through the roof. The idiot builders seem to have a hard enough time
with chimneys. Giving them more to screw up seems like a bad idea.
FWIW, we had them on our home and they were great. As Leon said, the glass
was broken by a branch on one, and another developed fogging. Outside of
those two glitches, we were pleased and would use them again if we needed a
A home we're considering has these in an inside hallway. I'm amazed at the
amount of light they give off, and there doesn't seem to be heat associated
Some built-ins make sense as anyone who ever lives there is going to need
certain forms of storage in certain areas. But I can see people wanting to
set up rooms as they please and thus not wanting a lot of built-ins, e.g.
built-in book cases push you towards using that room as a library or office
when maybe you'd rather it was a guest bedroom.
When we remodel our kitchen (next on the list after a successful bedroom
renovation that is getting rave reviews from SWMBO) I'm pushing for recycled
ground glass in concrete or resin for the counters. It's as close to
bullet-proof as you can get, which granite or marble certainly are not.
I can tolerate tile in the bathroom, but anywhere else I can't stand
it--cold, slippery, noisy. I like hardwood floors since they look good and
are easy to maintain. We have area rugs here and there, but wall-to-wall
carpeting (something I grew up with) is more trouble than it is worth to me
now--gimme that oak!
Yup, they make sense because it isn't like the cost of energy is going down
over the long term.
Swingman built a house and used that ground glass counter top material, IIRC
it had local beer joint broken beer bottle glass in it. Much of the top has
chunks of glass on the surface, it is flat, but I have to wonder how
bullet-proof that glass is. I could see a heavy object chipping the class.
The counter top appearance reminded me of taffy, strange indeed.
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