Saturday, July 16, 2011

The House Tour

When you are in love with houses as much as I am, a house tour is a spectacular way to spend a morning! I absolutely love touring homes, seeing various architectural designs, landscaped properties, and interior decorating too! Meeting my friend Michelle, we purchased tickets which provided us with a brochure and map to guide us to six private homes in the area. The first home we toured had beautiful views. I'd driven past the home several times but had never realized what a gorgeous backyard was there. The second home, built in the 1920s had little touches that reminded me of my childhood home. The woodwork and the glass paneled door took me back and made me smile.

The next home on the tour was built in the 1980s but was designed to look like an old fashioned farm house. The modified cape boasted a generous kitchen, sun filled entry way, and a spacious upstairs level with an office I could easily disappear into for years. As we munched on watermelon cups the homeowner pointed at a deer outside her kitchen window and Michelle and I spotted three fawns as we drove down the driveway. They were precious. Onto the fourth home on the tour, Michelle and I enjoyed a newly renovated home on Thompson Lake, where a classic wooden boat was docked and where the owner shared with us his favorite spot, an outdoor shower that he uses from April to October! At home number five, we took in the home and barn of a young family whose four children guided us to their baby turkeys, fish ponds, chickens, and cows.

At the sixth home, we again were given a tour of the grounds which featured a playhouse that had been built for the homeowners by prisoners who'd read of their plight moving from New Orleans to Maine after Hurricane Katrina. They'd designed the playhouse to look like New Orleans' on the outside but to look like Maine on the inside. Its mural inside was beautifully arranged with an image of the forests and the lighthouse. Next to the playhouse was a newly built tree deck, another favorite spot for their children. Inside the homeowner had painted her kitchen in Mardi Gras colors and she spoke of the renovations her family had made to their home so as to heat it properly during the cold Maine winters.

Having said goodbye to Michelle after touring six houses, I got thinking of the various homes I'd been lucky to visit and I tried to sort out what kind of property I would select for myself if I had unlimited funds to have another home. I would love a bigger kitchen and a master bathroom with a big soaking shower and a clawfoot bathtub. I'd love a library/office or even a writer's retreat on the grounds of my home. I'd love a wall of gorgeous windows to let in the sun or the breezes off a lake and surely, an outdoor shower would be heavenly too. To have gardens and animals on my land would be a nice addition, but knowing the amount of work it takes for their upkeep, that probably would not be realistic for me. So in deciding to redraft my ideas, I then made one more stop to a seventh home.

This house has a very private spot thanks to its long curving driveway that sets it off the road, and although I do love sweeping fields and lakefront property, this home is very pleasant in the way it is surrounded by woods in a very quiet development. At the front of the lot is a mountain brook, perfect for floating beanie babies and handmade boats there. There is a playground swing and tower off to one side of the house which surely entertained neighborhood kids for years. Out back there are two lovely adironodack chairs and a comfortable hammock hung near the tree line. The deck is comfortable with an outdoor sofa and a few chaise chairs perfect for either sunning or reading. The potted plants give great color and the grill is obviously well used.

Inside the home there is a great mudroom/family room addition with generous coat closets and radiant heating that would make the room very pleasant, especially on cold snowy days. A washer and drier are tucked away in a downstairs bathroom, a welcomed change from having to do laundry in the basement. Walking into the original part of the house, I'm greeted by a study which although lacking in bookshelves is decorated with lake-themed touches-- a poster of Mount Katahdin, a photograph of a gray haired man picking blueberries, a clay loon atop the bead board entertainment cabinet. The kitchen and dining room area are painted bright pink, in homage to the pink kitchen in the homeowner's childhood home and three over-sized silhouette paintings of the homeowner's three children grace the dining room walls. The living room with its classic brick fireplace is typically called the music room with the homeowner's Mom's piano in one corner and the childrens' instruments and music stands in another. Upstairs are three bedrooms, each pleasantly lit with white woodwork and ample windows. The master bedroom with light blue walls, black and white toile curtains, and shaker furniture is truly an oasis. Being in bed there on a calm summer evening one can hear the loons on the nearby lakes. The home may be lacking a clawfoot tub, an outdoor shower, and a view of the surrounding lakes and mountains, but there is just something special about this house. It gives me a feeling I didn't have when I visited the others.

Yes, this seventh home is definitely my favorite. Thank goodness it's MINE.

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