In early July, for the first time in a LONG time, I had a weekend that did not involve any Open Houses. Of course, that didn’t stop me from looking at properties! I was in Napa for a lovely weekend of wine tasting, but as I drove through the scenic countryside, I couldn’t help but stopping and wandering around the sprawling grounds of a few different properties for sale. What I took away from that weekend (besides the goal that I WILL have a house in Napa one day) was how the concept of wine tasting applies to House Hunting.
When I looked at houses this weekend, I applied the 4 steps of wine tasting.
- aroma or “bouquet”
- mouth feel
How do these apply to houses? The first one is a no-brainer… appearance. Perhaps you’ve already seen pictures online or maybe you’re just driving by and see the sign, but either way, that house’s appearance from the street is going to leave an impression in your mind. Does it change when you get inside? Are you impressed or disappointed? Perhaps some of each? Aroma or “Bouquet” doesn’t necessarily just apply to the way the house smells (although that does matter!) but involving all of the senses. How do the floors feel under your feet, how does the light come through the living room windows? Would there be too much sun in the morning? Is it too warm? Too cold? Is there a nice breeze or a chilly draft? That brings us to #3: Mouth Feel. I’m not recommending licking any houses (although there have been a few that I wanted to give a big hug), so what in the world would this mean? For me, it’s the livability of the house. Just as you would let a wine roll around on your tongue, let the house roll around in your mind. How does it feel? Different areas of the tongue are meant to taste differently, just like different areas of the house are meant to live differently. I’m looking for privacy in a bathroom, but not in a kitchen! I don’t like to feel isolated from the rest of the house when I’m cooking, but I am looking for some alone-time in the bathroom! I don’t like the laundry in the garage (as I’ve mentioned numerous times) but in the kitchen isn’t much better. Say it with me: “the laundry should be where the clothes are kept!” I like a kitchen sink with a view and a living room with a focal point. I like an office that hides clutter but isn’t too isolated. In addition to the layout of the house, there is that certain intangible aspect: how does it feel? If you’ve been to as many Open Houses as I have, you’ve felt it all. The good, the bad, and everything in between. How awesome it is, when a house not only functions the way you want it to, but it just feels good? And finally, the finish. After you’ve rolled it around on your tongue and consumed it, what are you left with? What are your thoughts as you drive away? What’s the lingering taste in your mind?
One of my Open Houses this weekend that passed the Wine Taste Test with flying colors was 2588 Fairway Drive in Eastside Costa Mesa. The appearance grabbed me right away. I’m a sucker for a craftsman, and one that appears new, fresh, and in pristine shape is a winner right off the bat. It was just as cute and personable in person as the online pictures. The house engaged all of my senses – it felt clean and well-built. Nothing was shoddy or of questionable quality. There was good light from all of the skylights without any glare or heat. The layout was excellent, with a laundry room near the bedrooms and a master that opened right onto the backyard. I especially loved the one upstairs bedroom – what a perfect guest suite to give your guests some privacy and a nice view of the lovely yard! The ceilings were high enough to give a feel of luxury, but not a cold intimidating volume of space. The finish was excellent on this home. I drove away saying “I love this house!” Among the features that stuck with me were the adorable inglenook in the entry, the ginormous kitchen island, the upstairs guest room, and the vast potential in the back yard. While the neighborhood was nice, it is pretty close to the planes taking off out of John Wayne, so there was some definite noise. Fairway is an easy 8 hearts out of 10, and would be even higher if it weren’t for the location. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
My other favorite tasting of the weekend was a masterpiece in the Westcliff neighborhood of Newport Beach, 1201 Blue Gum Lane. Appearance: stellar. Loved the varied roof lines, and the simple but interesting detail of the curved wall in the front yard. Once you open the leaded glass front doors, there is the instant “wow” of a vaulted ceiling, punctuated by glorious skylights, and a truly opulent great room. The high ceilings, natural light, and wide open spaces made the living space richly satisfying. The master bath and closet were true highlights, as was the well-manicured back yard – complete with koi pond! The kitchen was a little closed-off from the rest of the house and the laundry, while inside, was still pretty far from where the clothes are kept! Neither of these aspects were a deal breaker, in a space this wonderful. One of the features that left the best taste in my mind as I went on about my day, was the white carrera marble bar at the end of the spectacular entry hall. What a perfect spot for my wine collection!
What have you tasted recently? What resonates with you and makes you crave more? Please your palate at an Open House this weekend!