Thursday, January 14, 2010

Loving the Beige Off

I love my house.  My family dwells here.  We run and play and grow and love here.  We make noise and messes and memories here.  We gather in, and go out, and always return to this small house that is part of the family now.  But, I must admit.  I never thought I could love anything so boring.

My house is twelve hundred square feet of beige, in a neighborhood of beige houses, in a town of beige houses.  There are twenty identical houses in a quarter mile radius.  It is a soulless little cube of America.  Or it was, until it became ours and we loved it.  Now, it is like the Velveteen Rabbit of houses.  It is something more than the sum of its beige parts.  Now it is our home.

Not my neighborhood,  or even my town, but honestly, who can tell the difference.

I grew up in a similar house.  They weren't painting them all the same color back then, but every sixth house was identical.  I was not rebellious by nature, but I wanted out.

I remember the first time I went to the older part of town as a child.  Brick.  Color.  Every house was different.  I wanted to live there.  And, for awhile, I did.  I never had the nicest house on the block, in fact, it was usually an apartment or a flat conversion, but when I was single and childless, I made a point of living in those older neighborhoods.  I was never going back to the suburbs.  Never.

Something happens, though, when you get married and have kids.  Good schools and modern wiring have an allure.  So, here I live.  In a good school district.  With modern wiring.  An easy commute for Hubband (which was the big selling point).  And, an open floor plan.

Have you ever heard of an "open floor plan"?  This is the new thing in American tract homes.  It has its pluses and minuses.

On the plus side, the kitchen, dining room, and living room are all one big room. It is called the Great Room, which is over stating it a bit.  As a mother with three small children, this is perfect.  I am queen of all I survey from my kitchen sink.  Pretty handy.

"I am queen of all I survey from my kitchen sink"

On the minus side, the master bathroom has no door.  That's right folks.  No door.  There is a tiny "water closet" in which to tend to the very private, but that is all.  The sink and shower are, uh, open, to the bedroom.  As a mother with three small children, this is not so perfect.

I have taken to dressing in the closet.  And I must perform an elaborate "fan dance" with towel, curtain, and robe to get in and out of the shower when the children are in our room, if I want to maintain any privacy.

I could just lock them out of the bedroom, but then they would scream and cry and wake someone.  I'd rather my children see me walk naked down our beige street than wake some one.  Come to think of it, that might liven things up around here.

I know we won't live like this forever.  Though he loves our house as I do, and for the same reasons, Hubband isn't fond of beige either.  Someday we will have a house with a little more character.  Until then, I must provide it.  That is why when giving instructions to first time visitors, I always say, "You can't miss it.  It's the beige one."


  1. The Brady Bunch homestead was the image that your description brought forth.

    In the photo, what is the cloverleaf thing at the bottom of the shot. It looks like a target for God the toss darts.

  2. Vince, that is a baseball diamond. Four of them actually with the home bases all meeting in the middle. I like your description better.

  3. I was thinking of the theme song to Weeds (little boxes on the hillside...). All kinds of crazy things go on in those neighborhoods, if you're to believe TVland! But yes, a great place to raise children. Ill bet there are scads of kids to play with.

  4. A good tribute to your house. Lovely. I have lost mine adn am getting used to flats again. ugh.

  5. When I was young we lived in an old house with character. But I didn't like it at all. Most of my friends from school lived in newer neighborhoods in the burbs. It was my greatest wish to live there. too. In junior high, being like everyone else is very important : ) But now I love the old houses with character. I guess age does make us wiser.

  6. I have never met anyone else who says 'hubband'. He calls me 'wif'.


  7. Yes, I too live in a beige house. We call them 'BC boxes', built in the 70's but with generous sized rooms, lots of light and family friendly to the max. I grew up in a character home but like LadyCat says I longed to live in a 'normal' neighbourhood in a 'normal' house, like the 'normal' kids. (But ever since I was a teen spending hours looking through Architectural Digest at my friend's house I have preferred character houses).

    I do know what a great room is - along with the real estate agent's favourite selling point: granite countertops :)

  8. What a wonderful attitude you have about where you live. I think it's marvelous. Home is definitely what you make of it! We lived in a garage for 4 years. We are now in a loft. We feel like a king and queen in a palace!!