We live a block from a large body of water. When the automobile was invented rich people started to build huge vacation homes along the coast. behind them were carriage houses for staff, horses or cars.

I look at these homes from the 15th floor of an apartment overlooking said body of water and wonder about floor plans and rooms. My husband is a physicist and learned to be a software engineer by technical books. I have many cookbooks but he has Numerical Recipes.

When it comes to life, not work, he wants to read about white water rafting, I want to do it in a huge rush of water with a guide and learn in real time. When it comes to a place to live, he needs to see it. I need a floor plan and to find out places and amenities, parking and moving truck and reserving an elevator. He wants to see security (for my and our old dog’s sake) and trim level. He’s a consummate “shopper” researching everything from guitar humidors, headphones to cell providers. He wants to spend time checking them out so we partner as my goal is to weed places out so he has to spend less time looking for a place to live.

So, I look down at these homes by the sea and see two huge places, one French, one English, ten feet away from each other. I imagine 100 years ago that two family members purchased them as beach get-aways. Now, they are student housing.

There’s a place my mother-in-law walked by a few years ago and said “I love this house! It must be 1910.” The owner was mowing the lawn and said, “yes, it’s 1910.” It’s a Tudor with attic space, smaller but gorgeous and beautifully maintained.

I look down and see huge places built like Dutch barns or Colonials or modern condos and wonder why they live here. I figure out in my head the floor plan and how many bedrooms and know where the kitchen, dining and living rooms are, and the master bedroom. Of course the trees have grown over the years so they have proximity to water but not a view.

There’s the “castle” a quarter mile away that must have had some parties back in the day. Round drive, porte cochere, many fireplaces. The top floor has plywood in the windows. The woman who lives there (my husband has met her while walking Zoe) drives an inexpensive car and I opine that she lives on the first floor and keeps the pipes working but was left the place by grandparents and doesn’t have a million dollars to fix it up.

The carriage houses are another thing, built on a back street behind the home. I’ve only been in one. The main floor was gorgeous. Basement tolerable but needed updating. The carriage garage was lovely, big enough for a car and motorcycle.

Since we do and have had new snow I get to notice which homes have snow on the roof and which do not. My mother-in-law, a nurse, home builder and renovator, liked that. If it still has snow it has good insulation and a good roof. One would not wish to purchase the reverse.

We’re having a cold week but it may turn to Spring soon. I’ve got a welcoming sign with bluebirds and leaves on our door. Last week it was warmer and I heard birds chirping and saw squirrels (luckily Zoe didn’t see them, though she’d never catch one).

When I look at a floor plan, I consider if we can live there, if our needs are met and if our furniture fits. Unless we are buying all we can do is set up and put up some artwork. I enjoy a five-piece master en-suite. Spoiled. I know. Two sinks, toilette, shower and tub.

Most 70’s and plans before that have closed off areas where the maid made dinner. I make dinner and we prefer to interact with family and friends. We live in a small, open (2 br) space with floor to ceiling windows in every room. A while ago we had a MYOP (make your own pizza) party for a family with two kids, six and two. I made all the dough and toppings in advance and let them roll out their dough and choose. Then they made dough to take home and let rise. They liked it (except the smoke alarm going off for the pizza) because there were hand prints all over our windows!

That is the kind of home I’d like. View, safe, secure, parking, dog-friendly, friend and family ready with space for guests and an office for me. And no plywood covering the windows. What, is that too much to ask? Dee


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