Sunday, January 23, 2011

And now to introduce you to the new house

Also known as "why I've disappeared for the last 6 weeks or so" and "what I'll be up to my eyeballs in for the next few months."

Front windows of house = Master Bedroom

As I mentioned in my last post so long ago, we've been in the process of moving. We had a very crazy eight weeks - all right during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays - of getting our house ready to sell, finding a place in Houston and moving. Things rolled out muuuuuuuch faster than we had planned on, but it was good, because everything fell right in to place so seamlessly I can't imagine having done it any other way.

Door knob surround

I'll try to sum it up quickly: husband got a job offer in Houston he couldn't refuse, I freak out at the thought of leaving Austin, my family, close friends and great neighborhood/school, we decide we'll try to live close to downtown Houston since that's where his office is, I scope out neighborhoods with Claire, but can't find anything that fits our safe/affordable/good neighborhood schools trifecta, we decide to pursue suburbs, I realize the only suburb I'd want to live in is the one where I can see rockets on the way to the grocery store, we focus our search on the Clear Lake area, we get our house all spiffed up and on the market and head to Clear Lake to scope out the area, our house ends up selling the first weekend it's on the market, we find a Dream Home in Seabrook, everything falls into place with coincidences and "signs" that are enough to make your head spin, we find a rent house one mile from our new house where we can live for a few months during renovations, we move down on New Year's Eve, kids love the new school, we love the new neighborhood, it's all good.


If you'd told me three months ago that I'd be living in a new city, getting ready to start renovations on an awesome old house, I'd have laughed hysterically in your face. Oh, life, you're so funny with your curve balls!

Family room

And so here we are, in Seabrook, Texas. I'm in Space Geek Nirvana, the kids' school is amazing, we've already made some really lovely friends, and the house we bought is not only totally rad and a "dream house," but we also made a really wonderful connection with the sellers. More on that in another post (or three).

Sink - LOVE!

When we started looking down here, we found some great, cozy neighborhoods with fun older homes. One MLS listing had me intrigued. The pictures weren't great, but it was a 1961 ranch with a pool and - most intriguing of all - an art studio and darkroom. I've always wanted to live in a mid-century ranch, so I kept going back to that listing. When I first met with our Realtor, we previewed loads of homes before heading out with my husband the next day. After going through house after house after house, we headed over to this one. Just pulling in to the neighborhood was completely dreamy. Idyllic is an understatement.

Back of the family room, looking out to backyard

When we walked into the house, it was ON. I liken it to looking for your wedding dress: you try on a bunch of dresses, and then the second you put on THE ONE, you know it is THE ONE. This house was THE ONE. It needed some updating, but the bones were incredible, and it had a great spirit about it. And then I walked into the studio. The glorious, amazing, jaw-dropping, can't-believe-it's-real art studio. My creative juices started boiling. I'm planning several posts on the studio alone, and the woman who designed it and worked in it for the last 30 years. Let's just say that I've never experienced kismet as strongly as I have with this home.

Studio - looking out from back corner.

So today, I introduce you to THE ONE. We're planning some pretty big renovations over the next two months, so I'll be updating on that as well. We've never done a renovation before, so I'm a little nervous (ok, A LOT nervous) but I'm excited, too. We're taking a place we love and are just making it even more lovable. I'll share as many of the resources as I can, and welcome any tips/advice on renovating a mid-century home. We're working to keep it pretty true to its time period.

I've given you a sneak peek with some pictures here, but I put together a complete slide show over on Flickr. It's easiest to zip through the pictures that way, and I ordered them such that they take you on a full tour of the place. If you are interested in the notes I've made on the pics, you can view them in the set. I'll be keeping it updated as the renovation beings.


  1. Congratulations on your dream home!! Looks awesome!

  2. I know envy is ugly, but I'm suffering from some. I live in a 1959 ranch, but it's not as "mid century modern" as yours. A little more sedate, but good bones. I knew it was THE ONE the instant I walked in and saw the arched entryways.

    Cannot WAIT to watch this place bloom!!!! Congratulations to you all!

  3. Woweeeeee! Thanks for sharing, Rachel. I'm wiping my drool off my chin now. The space, the lighting, the details, the coincidence of it all...holy cow!!! Nice to hear some of the story of how it all came together. How much do you charge for Quilt Market guests?? ;) Enjoy and have fun!

  4. Wow Rach!! Coming from someone that lives in a cookie-cutter 'burb house, I am totally in awe of your find. Drool. Huge congrats!

  5. Congrats!! This place looks incredible. I hope you have a lot of fun making it your own. :)

  6. Oh. My. Gawd. Can I come live with you?

  7. That house looks like an amazing base to build on -- can't wait to see what you do to it.

  8. @Mama - thank you!

    @Meadowlark - I don't think there is any such thing as a "sedate" mid-century home. ;) I know exactly what you mean about archways. The first house we ever bought was a 1954 bungalow, the archway that you saw when you first walked in the front door totally clenched the deal for me. That and the swinging kitchen door and phone nook and pink tile bathroom ... ahhhhhhh ... mid-century awesomeness. We didn't get to do renovations on that house, sadly, so I'm finally getting my fix here. :)

    @daisy_janie - thanks! Indeed, the house is awesome on its own, but the connections we made with the sellers and the neighborhood just put it right off the charts. I'll write more about that soon. Just so awesome, and we feel really lucky. Also: I'll totally put you up for QM, but be warned - it's a trek to downtown Houston. ;)

    @Patricia - heh! I cut out a few paragraphs about our house-owning history from this post (it was getting too long). But I had a whole thing about living in two suburban cookie-cutter homes (the exact wording!). We had one that we actually loved a lot, because it was a great layout for our family and was highly functional and we used every inch of it. The other ... notsomuch. BUT we were also heartily burned by the first old house we ever lived in, so there are advantages and disadvantages to both, ya know. I just feel lucky that we're finally moving in to a home that *feels* like us, and that it is in pretty good condition for its age and is in such a great neighborhood with great schools - that can be really hard to find, especially in the Houston area. I can't wait for you to visit! Our annual summer visit will be even more fun (and we can do more than one. ;)

    @CM - thank you! The "making it our own" part really excites me, but it also already strangely feels like our own. Love that so much!

    @Denise - heheheh! I'm still pinching myself - really. :)

  9. @Saroy - Thanks! I was serious when I said I'd do a SpaceTweep embroidery night once we are in and settled. You game? ;)

  10. How totally awesome to be in Houston, home of Mission Control. You'll have astronauts at your PTA meetings! How cool is that. And a home you are already in love with. Best of luck!


  11. Oh. WOW. Now I see why you were so excited! The space looks AMAZING. So much light, air, and style. I even love the wallpaper on the ceiling!

    I'm putting in my request for a tour early: I'd love to see the place during SpaceUp HOU--finished or not!

  12. How funny to read about my home town in someone's blog post! I'm from Clear Lake, spent a ton of time in Seabrook in particular (still do in fact... my brother lives there and I still go to a great plant nursery there). Now I live in another suburb of Houston but Clear Lake still feels like home. In fact I drive there to do my banking and run errands or go out to eat. Enjoy your new house!

  13. What an amazing house! The light, the studio and darkroom, the space! I would be endlessly inspired and motivated in that home, I'm sure your family will love it - can't wait to see the projects you are tackling!

  14. I am soooooo jealous! Space geekery and mid-century modern - all in one move. Aaargh!!!

  15. Wow! It looks amazing! I'm super jealous of your art studio!

  16. You just don't know how happy i am that this all went so well for you. Di and i were both so worried about you for a while. So many challenges to face - mostly alone. And now - things couldn't look brighter!

    I can see why you fell in love with your new space. Just wanted to pop in and tell you that I am very, very happy to hear YOU sounding so happy and that you have so much that is exciting to look forward to.

  17. I grew up in Clear Lake/Seabrook!

  18. Amazing house and "feels" as kismet-y and wonderful as the pics and your sentiments!
    Best of luck!
    Amy in Sebastopol, CA

  19. Wow Rachel! I'm so excited for all of you - what a fantastic place! I can't wait to follow your plans and renovations, very exciting!

    Have a great weekend,

  20. congrats on your new home very nice :) have a wonderful day.

  21. rachel It is so beautiful, so happy for you, Those friggin' stacked paper drawers are AMAZING
    and the wall paper in the bathroom...i would die for some fabric with that print, Thanks so much for sharing your lovliness
    can't wait to follow the progress

  22. Rad, indeed! Love it!!

  23. It's gorgeous!!! I love all the windows and shelves.

  24. Wow, it's going to be really fun to watch your journey! The house is amazing!


Thank you so much for your comments! I read every single one of them. I do my best to respond when I can.

Have fun and be nice! :)