I’ve been in love 3 times now. The kind of love that makes you want to change all your plans, move in, and live happily ever after. You dream about sunny mornings and quiet evenings, you imagine perfect holidays, and all of your vacation plans turn into staycation plans.
It didn’t work out for me, any of the 3 times. The timing was off, or someone else got in the way, or we just couldn’t quite come to an agreement on the purchase price. But those 3 houses captured my heart in a way that none have since, despite the constant search.
I love houses. Real Estate sites are my Tinder, and I search endlessly for the right one to “swipe right” on. 1:00 to 4:00 on Saturdays and Sundays are the golden hours, the kid-in-a-candy-store times. Sometimes I go with a plan, sometimes I just drive and see where the signs take me. Open Houses are a chance to see if the pictures online were just a tease or couldn’t begin to do it justice.
I never know when I will fall in love again. It could be right around the next corner, or it could be hundreds of open houses away. There will be crushes in the meantime, and the looking is half the fun. What kind of house turns your head? Which ones make you weak in the knees? Have you ever gone around the block just to take a second look?
Sunshine is a major contributor to my love for a house. My current home is shady all day and I long to have sunlight streaming in the windows while I make coffee in the morning, or the beautiful glow of late afternoon sun on the patio. One of the houses I saw this weekend leapt past my expectations simply because it was sunnier than it’s online pictures. 2594 Willo Lane is in Costa Mesa, but very close to the Newport Beach border. It’s location is super convenient to the Irvine Ranch Market, the 73 freeway, and trails around Back Bay. It does suffer from jet noise, as all the homes do in this area. This newly completed home is built around a central courtyard that gets lovely morning sun. There is a big grassy backyard in addition to the paved courtyard with plenty of room for a pool if you wanted one, which I definitely do. Beyond your back fence is a Montessori School, which may be a source of noise during school days. The street itself is a quiet cul-de-sac and this house is one of the nicest on the block. Inside it was impeccable, with all of the finishes I love: wide-plank white oak floors, crisp white walls with high ceilings, grey quartz counters in the huge white kitchen, and a giant glass-walled shower in the master bath. The laundry was next to the master suite, which is a huge plus on my check list. The master suite opened onto the courtyard, as did the family room, dining room, and kitchen. There was a ton of storage and a big pantry. I loved the floor plan and the finishes. Detractors for me were the school behind the house, the proximity to the airport, and the fact that the street is spelled Willo, not Willow! What’s up with that?
I give it 6 hearts ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ out of 10.
My second pick of the weekend is more of a project, but not a difficult one. You know when someone has a few self-esteem issues but you are sure that love and a positive influence will turn it around and they’re just so darn nice that you want to take on the project? 1912 Highland is like that. Located in the Baycrest neighborhood of Newport Beach, with wide streets and beautiful homes, it is far enough from the airport to pretend to ignore the airplane noise, or at least get used to it. This one has clearly been well-loved. Carpets in the bedrooms could use replacing (or removing, although I am one of those people who doesn’t mind carpet in bedrooms.) There is also carpet in the added-on-at-some-point family room, but again, I’m fine with that. Sometimes you want to sit on the floor or play with the cat, and an area rug just doesn’t offer much padding. There is a lovely small-ish pool in a slate-covered backyard with a nice jacuzzi. The bedrooms are a little small but workable. The kitchen layout was a little wonky, as they’d obviously done the best they could to expand the kitchen without completely taking over the living room and moving load-bearing walls, but it does have nice pantry cabinets and a sub-zero refrigerator. My favorite parts of this house were:
- the wood floors (well… “wood” floors) and the stone mosaic backsplash in the kitchen
- the backyard
- the curb appeal (shingles with white trim) and the craftsman dutch door where the top opening is only 1/3 of the door instead of 1/2. This feels more secure to me (no one can just reach over the top to open it from the outside, and it keeps the cat in) but can still be open for those ocean breezes. This door was red, but in my head I’ve already painted it turquoise.
- the price for a pool home in this neighborhood. I’m surprised no one has snapped this one up yet.
The house itself earns about 4-1/2 hearts, but it’s potential and price/neighborhood bring it up to 6 hearts. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
If you aren’t yet an Open House aficionado, give it a try this weekend! Perhaps you are no longer head-over-heels for your current house, or maybe you never were. Take a look, there’s no commitment. and you might just fall in love!