There are many charming & beautiful things that bring us pleasure #702

#702 in a series of true experiences in real estate

Once we held open a beautiful turn-of-the-century house, a house full of old wainscoting, box beams and plate rails, and a fine and shiny new kitchen. People loved this house, the warm, old wood details and the fabulously appointed kitchen. They exclaimed and pointed out their favorite features to one another.

I remember that as we were greeting people I looked at the house again and I decided that there was one exceptionally appealing thing, something so good that, although no one specifically commented on it, it sold that house: a bay of kitchen windows.

There were five sets of original, wooden casements in a shallow bay on the back wall of the house. They’d been painted many times, they were scarred in some places, didn’t even meet well in others. The center pair was flung open to a breeze.

Beneath the windows was painted bead board, the kind of narrow-ridged wood used often in old kitchens, and just outside were twining wisteria vines and window boxes of yellow, pink, blue and orange flowers.

When you walked into this kitchen, your eyes took in the sleek white tile, smooth white cabinets and the big steel stove. Then they skip beyond to a dining table, the windows, the shape of the bay, the air and light coming inside.

You couldn’t help but place yourself in France, or in New England near the sea, or almost anywhere you’d been out in the country and remember fondly.

There were a number of offers on that house and, of course, there are many reasons people wanted it for their own, but I believe that it was those kitchen windows that were at the heart of the sale.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could tell people who are building or remodeling what visual details would bring them the most pleasure as they live with them and later, when they sell, be most appealing to others?

I don’t know how to do this but I am greatly interested when I recognize something in a house that succeeds very well. These successes seem usually to be reminiscent of something good, they are often subtle, and frequently they intensify the relationship between the house and the outdoors.

At another house on tour, a lovely little cottage, scrubbed spotlessly clean, airy, with a bathroom that was larger than usual, a nice kitchen and a long-view garden.

Plants grow along the sides of the yard making a frame. At the back is a large, beautifully shaped tree, and the center of the space has been kept open, green. This garden beckons, offering enclosure, calm.

All of this would have been plenty and more, but there was one other, very alluring thing about this house. At the rear is a porch sort of a bedroom with a back door and a wall of wooden windows, the walls and ceilings covered with painted horizontal boards. In this room is a double bed – facing out to the windows and the tree – high with soft blankets and pillows.

I’ll bet everyone who saw that bed in that room felt as I did that sleeping there would ensure everlasting happiness.

I was torn between hurrying out to see the tree close up and jumping into the bed, pulling the covers up to my nose and lying quietly for a time.

This house also sold very quickly with more than one offer. Just to be sure I was remembering the porch as it really is, I called the agent and was surprised to find that the walls and ceiling of the bedroom are plaster, not wood at all.

Isn’t this interesting? The feeling of the room is so evocative that in the short time I was in it, I must have been transported to screened porches in summer cabins I have slept in, or perhaps to others I have read about. Images I didn’t even know I had stored away were tapped by what I saw.

There are many charming and beautiful things in this world that bring us pleasure. Some we actually see, others we imagine that we have. Either way is fine.

This entry was posted in Information for Both Sellers and Buyers. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

  • Sign up to receive our newspaper columns: