Friday, July 30, 2010

I had to use the phrase sometime...might as well be now.

Location.  Location.  Location! 
Some properties are featured on this blog for their architectural or landscaping features.  This is not one of those properties.  Instead, I would like to present you with a cute, simple, move-in-ready house in one of the four areas around Austin I've put on my "would love to live here" list.  This quiet residential area is still in North Austin, but it's just inside the 183 loop.  Lots of old trees are in this neighborhood.  There is a bike lane on the main road that goes through.  It's convenient to the school, convenient to my work, I'd take it in a heartbeat!  And this elusive locale is: 404 West Odell Street. 
The other big plus about this home (blocks from the Airport Metro station) is that it's been recently remodeled.  Now, for me, this would be a slight negative.  I'd rather get the house for less and do the remodeling myself.  But for a lot of people, the idea of a cute move-in-ready place is absolutely irresistable.  Take, for instance, this lovely granite countertop, travertine backsplace and nice double sink.  That's right folks, the kitchen is all modern and clean and lovely.
Of course, the space has to have SOME character or I wouldn't even consider it for the blog.  Look at these lovely old hardwood floors - just look at them.  Don't they make you happy?  They make ME happy!
By now you may have realized that I'm a sucker for outdoor spaces.  This one is a beauty - nicely landscaped with old, old trees.  There's a lovely little patio to the right there - but I wanted to give ya'll the view with the path & the trees.  Why?  Because.  That's why.  Now eat your vegetables.

So, if you're looking for a lovely place at a lovely price ($169,000), take a tour of 404 West Odell Street and see what you think.  For me at least, the neighborhood is full of character and is being well taken care of.  It would be my guess that in just a few years, your $169k house would be worth a good deal more, I predict this neighborhood is up and coming!

An Eventful Week means less blogging

It's true - when things happen in your life, especially those you can't plan for, you tend to put fun, interesting, creative things to the side.  This is just a note to say that one of those things has happened to me.  I hope to be up and blogging soon.  'Til then, here's a great place on Lancaster Drive:
2406 Lancaster is a charming home with a lot of South Austin features.  I've noticed that Austin can be divided in a lot of different ways.  You'll always have downtown, historic and modern - but there are neighborhoods that feel like you could be in any of a number of cities and there are neighborhoods that feel like you're somewhere unique.  This property is unique because it manages to be out in the 'burbs without feeling like a cookie cutter. 

Actually, it really feels like it belongs in one of the older, more historic* areas.  Built in 1975, this home typifies the best of the 1970s architecture.  This brick fireplace with built-in makes me feel like I'm at a friend's house, about to watch a movie in my jammies.

But something my friends houses didn't have, but this one does is an incredibly spacious sunroom.  This stretches all along the hosue and is absolutely beautiful.  A truly "Austin" feature - I'm sure there's a future homeowner out there who just can't wait to open a couple windows and let the breeze blow through.  Listed at $239,000, this 2,170 square foot home will easily house a family with a spacious master bedroom, two dining areas and two additional bedrooms.  Me?  I'd sleep on the porch!

*By "historic" I mean "built before the suburban expansion & housing bubble, with character" - there are houses built both earlier and later than this one which lack such a lovely historic feel - but this house was built in a nice traditional style, so when it shows its age, it does so gracefully, looking not old, not young, but timeless.  (Although I'd totally take the carpet off the stairs and have wooden risers.)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The house looked at me with puppy-dog eyes

No, really, it did!  See!  This is one of the photos for a listing on 1701 West 34th Street.  And not only is it adorable (the labrador, alas, does not convey), it also shows what amazing architectural details can do!  So, please take note, that this quite tightly focused photo shows many interesting things about the house, besides that you should prbably pay close attention to any exposed wires that might attract a growing puppy's eyes.  The half-window door, solid molding and deep blinds are all details that a new homeowner might want to take a look at.
Continuing to look at details, here'a grand architectural feature that the Realtor has made sure to point out.  These french style doors open up to the patio, making the living/dining room into a wonderful indoor/outdoor space.  So much of Austin living is outdoor living, this feature is decidedly awesome.  I sure hope whoever ends up in this house appreciates it and hosts lots of barbeques.  They could invite me!
The final details can be seen in the walk up.  With driveway access in the back, we have a charming approach at the front.  Shutters make the "eye" of this house pop.  IMHO, additional shutters on the other window would be awesome, and I'd paint the front door to match the color scheme instead of adding another color.  However, the rocking chair-ready porch, white trim and long sidewalk with steps all call back to a very specific era.  I'd live here in a heartbeat!  And, for $359,000, this 1120 square foot 2 bedroom, 1 bath house in a very desireable neighborhood, could be yours. 

Style notes...

It's Thursday.  I never could get the hang of Thursday.  To me, Thursday is often one big long prep for Friday.  But, then, you still have to go through the DAY part of Friday, before you get to the WEEKEND part, which is what the prepping is all about, no?  So, anyways, to the purpose.  Prepping for Friday. 

At the risk of spoiling a surprise or two, I'm going to tell you a bit about my Friday plans.  This Friday has gained a couple of levels of awesome, as we are going clubbing at a Steampunk/Goth club that emerges out of another club like a lemur scenting lemons.*  So yesterday, I schlepped over to the Salvation Army** and bought myself some fun and awesome steampunk clothes.  Given the potential readership of this blog, you may or may not know what a good steampunk/goth costume worthy of clubbing might look like.  So I shall endeavor to give you some clues.

First, a little word about Goth.  Goth is no longer as simple as wearing black lipstick and black clothes and having odd piercings.  Here is a tip:

This girl may look creepy, but that's kinda the point of the Goth look.  She is also stylish.  Goth stylish.  My plan is to take this look, keep the black eyes, make the red shadow green, and the lips bright red.  It'll be a little less "Darkness abounds" and a little more "Poison Ivy."

Said persona is another step closer to what I'll be going for.  So, here's an image to get you thinking "Steampunk."  People embracing the Steampunk culture imagine what life might be like if we hadn't had the industiral revolution, if we flew around in airships instead of airplanes, if we merged the Victorian aesthetic with our current modern technologies.  This image is actually not terribly far off from the persona I'll be taking.  But, there's a final element. 

When Scott saw my outfit, he said "That's very Gypsy"  - and he's right.  So very, very right.
In the end, it'll be a rocking combination of all three:  Goth make-up, softened up a bit to go with a Victorian romantization of a Gypsy, black ruffly skirt and lots of different fabrics and lace, and a pair of goggles.  Oh most definitely a pair of goggles.*** 

There are, of course, no pictures yet.  But there will be.  I fully intend there to be lots and lots of pictures.  So, now you know, my late Friday/early Saturday plans are made.  Now all I need to do is go buy some earplugs.  I'm taking some good advice given to me that will hopefully make clubbing a much more enjoyable experience.   Cheers!

*Don't ask me why lemurs like lemons, I don't know.  But it's a scientific fact!^
^Not actual scientific fact.

**Did you know that Wednesdays are 1/2 price at the Salvation Army in Austin?  Well, now you know.^^
^^See!  I'm keeping to the theme of the blog!  You have learned a new and valuable Austin fact!
***In case I need to, you know, hijack an airship.  Hmmm...probably not the best idea to bring a 10 inch dagger to a club.  Alcohol + dagger = baaaaad plan

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

If I had a million dollars...

I probably wouldn't buy this house.  But, if I had 4 or 5 million dollars just sitting around, languishing for a place to go, I'd buy this house and put the remainder into an "upkeep" savings account.  With that many windows, you've gotta hire a professional window washer and if you think I'm buying a million dollar home and then sweeping the million dollar floors myself, well you don't know me very well!  (Actually, if you think I'm buying a million dollar home, I'd love to hear your logic - maybe I COULD!)  All that to say, this a very specific kind of Texas Modern, and it's designed around the omnipresent feature of the Texas landscape which is, of course, LANDSCAPE.  Hence, as you shall see, the need for a professional window washer. 
Now, I'm not much of a fan of modern architecture...generally.  But this one caught my eye.  I love the care the architect took with not only the structure, but also the holes.  I especially love the way the light reflects softly on the concrete.  The whole thing looks like it's teetering on the verge of becoming a castle. 

So, of course, in the back it stops teetering and falls completely into the metaphor.  Narrow windows, a turret and a moat make the castle illusion complete. 
The master bedroom has the look of a great hall.  Modern furniture and pot lights cannot change the general theme of this room, which is "Lord of the Ranch."  The wide room and open spaces echo the long, open spaces of the Texas landscape that the many, many windows look out on.

BTW, for all you modern lords in search of a castle and vassals out there, this property is on 3684 Ranch Creek Drive and it's listed for just UNDER a million dollars - $993,000.  Let me know if you buy it - I'll come visit you and fill that lovely, lovely kitchen with tasty, tasty Italian food. 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Green on the scene

So, it's time to show some multi-family love.  Because so many Austin residents are transitional, there's less of a cachet about beinng one of the renting masses, and a lot more unique properties out there to rent!  This house shows off one of Austin's best features - the great outdoors.

Located at 607 East 49th Street, this little gem of a duplex shows what a homeowner/landlord can do when they take the time to make things green.  And, really, this is all about the trees and the grass.  There's not a lot of work that goes into making this yard lovely, but boy, oh, boy, is it ever.

Okay, so they had to create that pergola.  And put vines on it.  But I'm thinking all this is pretty low maintenance.  My only question is, does the rocking chair convey?

And because we can't get away with just showing the exterior of a house (that's almost cheating, really), here's a sunfilled living room to warm the cockles of your heart, or the fur of your cat...whatever.

I've gotta say, I love how that's the entry to the house.  There's no wasted space here.  And the saltillo tile really, really works with the wood paneling.  If I bought this place, I'd have a tough time renting it out, I'd want to live there!  It's listed for $349,000 and recently rented for $1,100 for the 2:1 and $775 for the 1:1.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mint Tea

Okay, so I freely admit it, Whole Foods is my favorite store.  No, not just my favorite grocery store, my favorite store.  And, now that I'm here in Austin, I live in the same city as the biggest and best Whole Foods, the corporate headquarters.  Located at Lamar & 6th Street, this is the big daddy of all Whole Foods stores, the one others are measured against and found wanting. 

It is also where I get my tea.  I have an addiction to loose leaf tea.  Fortunately for me, this is one of those pretty-healthy, bad side-effect-free, good side-effects-included addictions.  My mom was a great tea drinker, but she always got the bagged tea.  And there is something magical, something wonderfully tasty and tastefully wonderful about loose leaf tea.  Plus, (here's the realist in me) it's cheaper!

So, here's to you, Whole Foods.  I'd raise my mug of mint tea to you - but I've already finished it.  All but the last, few, leafy dregs.  Which act like potpourri for my desk.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Size matters not...

This cute little cottage was built in 1939. 
It's located in the cozy little neighborhood of Hyde Park, which is trendy and decidedly tending towards hipsters, college students and old houses with character.  This house caters to all of these people.

I am rather intrigued by the furniture choice the current occupants have made.  It definitely labels them as either hipsters or college students.  They have certain priorities. 

 ... like I said "priorities."

But what made me pick this house, which is listed for $189,900, is the features.  Scroll back up and look at that covered entryway.  Too cute!  Also, this bathroom:

Clawfoot tub? check!  Pedastal sink? check!  Patterened tile?  check! 

Yup, this property has it all, location, charm... well, all except space.  At 823 square feet, you'll be comfortably bumping around in 2 bedrooms and 1 very cute bathroom.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Just a little bit every day...

Ever look at a job you know you have to do, think about how long it's going to take, and decide your time would be better spent catching up on your favorite TV show before it goes off of Hulu?  I have.  In fact, I can directly attribute that feeling of "too huge to handle" to why there is a giant pile of lumber, roofing materials and such in our back yard.  But I've resolved to get this job done, and to do so, I've decided that it doesn't have to be done... immediately.

But, instead of putting the whole thing off 'til later, we're breaking things down into tiny pieces.  I have resolved to spend the first 15-45 minutes of my evening working outside, getting rid of that trash pile.  Thankfully, my hubby has decided to join me in this task.  We know that we won't finish the job soon, doing just a little bit every day, but by breaking the job into smaller pieces, it will eventually get done, and we will have a feeling of accomplishment every day, as we work towards our goal. 

Some tasks are just too big to accomplish on your own.  It's important to ask for help, and to break it up into manageable pieces.  Not only will you increase your enjoyment of the job, but you'll probably find that you'll get the thing done more quickly than you would've otherwise.  We have busy weekend plans for the forseeable future, but we're not letting our weekends get in the way of the job we need to do, or the job get in the way of the fun we want to have on the weekend.  And that, my friends, is good!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Original Purpose Revealed!

So, originally, I thought I'd take this blog and use it to showcase interesting properties I found in the course of my job at Hindsite 20/20 Real Estate. But then things got crazy and I forgot to keep an eye out, and the interesting properties flew by in a whirlwind of colors and pictures and windows and flooring. So here, for the first time, is a "Austin Original" property that I think is pretty awesome.

917 East 51st Street.
currently listed for $188,000

Look, it has exposed brick! a cool looking island, open cabinet kitchen!  Very nice, you say, and the location, she is good, but Hannah, we see that it has lots of great lighting, but where is the really awesome "Austin" feature? 

Fear not, gentle reader, for 'lo, this 3 bed, 2 bath has a LOFT!

...and behold, from the kitchen, one may venture upwards into a beautiful little gabled area!  So cozy, so cute, so very bohemian.