The Next House: A Manifesto

October 25, 2012


Image via LDa Architecture & Interiors

They say you should be mindful of what you put out into the universe as The Universe has a way of listening and bringing that very thing to you.

When I wrote about aligning my life and style, I mentioned I had every intention of selling this larger house and looking for a smaller, well-designed one. I didn’t really include any sort of timeline, but, it would appear The Universe is listening.

Last Monday I dragged Husband to go look at a house. I say “dragged” because up to that point I believe I can say that Husband wasn’t FULLY on board with this new plan, but he was willing to go under the guise of “neighborhood research” and “what might our options be.”  Plus there was a promise of a good lunch afterwards.

Image via House Beautiful

We did not expect to love this house. Imagine our surprise when WE DID.  We looked across opposite ends of an enormous potential formal dining space and telepathically said, “Oh, shit.”

And just like that, everything accelerated. I cleared out this five-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath house for a garage sale in TWO DAYS. (It’s Saturday. Y’all should totally come.)  There were emails and calls to lenders.  You could feel the downshift.

Earlier this week we lost that house because another buyer could move faster than we could. I knew it was a possibility.  After all, it was a great house in a hot up-and-coming neighborhood at a STUPID price.  I was, to put it mildly, really sad and slightly angry. But, because The Universe is a wily creature, Options 2 and 3 showed up that day. And so our path, while only slightly slowed down, is still a path and Things Are Happening still.

As I also mentioned in that previous post, there are lessons in this process. One of the options we’re looking at involves being able to really renovate a house – to really make it our own.  And so, I allowed myself entirely too much time on Houzz to daydream about what that might look like FOR REAL.  Much like when you spend too much time looking for one thing, like black boots, everything started to look the same. Regardless of style. I couldn’t figure it out.  How could a “modern” home feel so much like a “traditional” one?  Why was I so bored? So uninspired?

Image via Vanity Fair

I put two images up – one from Houzz and one from Pinterest.  I remembered I had loved the Pinterest image I had collected, but couldn’t figure out why.  And then it hit me.  Everything I saw on Houzz looked so DESIGNED.  It was too meticulous, too clean.  Too exacting and measured. There was no story.  I want the house to look “collected”, not “designed”.

And so, I wrote a manifesto for this next house.  My four guiding words still lead the way, but now I have a guiding phrase.  I’ve started to define the rest of the details, the rest of the feelings and the approach for the spaces.

Simplicity  *  Luxury  *  Function  *  Flexibility

Not “designed” but “collected”

Unique pieces


Strong color statements in accents

Large art

Heritage pieces

No one, guiding extreme – too modern, too sleek or too traditional




Controlled drama

Elements of whimsy

Image found on Tumblr - source unknown

It feels really good to have this list.  I’m curious, though. What would be on YOUR list?

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One Response to “The Next House: A Manifesto”

  1. Jonathan Says:

    I don’t know… I walk away from you for five minutes (ok… six months), and you’re uprooting your family, moving house, moving schools.

    Great post though. I’m still sworn against us moving for at least another ten years. I still remember breaking my toe last time.

    p.s. I’m blogging (properly) again.