Aging gracefully is not easy. If you’ve waited until signs of age start to show, it may be too late! If you’ve been meticulous about upkeep from the very beginning, it’s possible to keep a house (yes, a house, what did you think we were talking about?) looking great into it’s later years, but this is truly a labor-intensive process and most people prefer to change at least some aspects of their home every few years to keep up with trends and current styles. Others may wait longer – 10 to 20 years, perhaps – but there still comes a time when a house is showing it’s age and a decision needs to be made, especially if it’s being sold… Botox or full-blown Face Lift?
Older houses have quirks and character. This may be part of their charm, or it may be exactly what you’re looking to eradicate! This week’s houses are both senior citizens, by California standards. One is nearing it’s 70th birthday, and one has already celebrated 100!
521 Seaview in Laguna Beach was built in 1915! For the most part, you would not guess her age! She has been lifted and tightened, spackled and sparkled within an inch of her life. Everything is new-new-new. You may guess it’s an older home from the smaller rooms and lack of garage, or the slightly quirky layout, indicating add-on’s over the years, but the floors, walls, ceilings, fixtures, and appliances are all new. They have cleverly done everything possible to make the most of the 1600 square feet, but it is still somewhat tight. This house is a beauty, with crisp white walls, a high-ceilinged living room, marble counter tops, ocean views, plentiful windows, and surprisingly efficient closets. For all her beauty, the thing that was missing for me was a sense of history. Most of the character was remodeled right out of her, which may be exactly what you’re looking for!
Seaview’s love-scale will vary wildly, depending on what you’re looking for. The location is fabulous if you like downtown Laguna, and the finishes are divine, but if I’m going to take on a Centenarian, I think I want more character, more of the original details, lovingly restored. I give her 7 hearts out of 10.
2120 Seville Ave, on the Newport Peninsula, was built just after World War II ended, on the end of what was a much-quieter Newport Peninsula! Make no mistake, Seville Avenue itself is still quite tranquil, but you do have to drive through the congested part to get there, unless you take the ferry from Balboa Island. Seville has aged gracefully so far, and it’s up to the buyer what direction to take her! This house oozes history, charm, and potential. You can feel the stories all around you. There are pine-paneled built-in benches around 2 sides of the living room. In their day they were probably full of blankets and board games. The kitchen, while small, is nicely finished, but there is room in the layout of the flipped-plan upstairs to enlarge it to quite the chef’s kitchen! Seville is a quintessential beach girl, relaxed and friendly, encouraging you to invite friends over and cook out on the deck.
So what to do with her? Just a little botox? Freshen up some of the finishes, change out floors and countertops? Or go all out? Change the downstairs front bedroom with a fireplace into a den that opens onto a new front patio so that you can greet your new neighbors? Enlarge the kitchen? Change the location of the staircase? This house is a great size to offer some flexibility of floor plan and there are many inspiring avenues to choose from! I enjoyed my time in this house. I heard about her history and how she had grown and evolved over the years, as well as hearing some truly inspiring ideas of what could be done when a new family moves in. How would you help this house realize her full potential? I might go with the Botox option until I had a chance to get to know her better. Perhaps let her reach her 80th before going all out with a brand-new face. Check out the next Open House on Seville and see for yourself what could be done, as well as experiencing for yourself how nice it feels to be in a house with history.
Seville is an easy 7 hearts, with potential for much more!
What’s your aging strategy?