Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Change of Address

This past weekend my parents moved from their home of 22 years to a new (but nearby) house they built and customized themselves. While I'm excited for my parents, I'm a bit sad that "going home" no longer means going to visit the house I grew up in and their move has drive home more than ever that my childhood is long over. Meanwhile, the seemingly perverse realities that my (unborn) children will never experience Christmas in my childhood home or swim in my parents' backyard haven't really fully registered. For now though, I'm still having trouble remembering that I need to take an earlier exit when I head out to the suburbs for a visit -- and still having trouble finding a place for all the childhood through college mementos that up til recently had been stored at my parents'.

While this is perhaps a bit superficial, I find some comfort in the fact that the new house is drop dead gorgeous. Certainly, change is a good bit easier to handle when it's not only for the best (which this move was), but it's to a prettier place. I think my favorite feature is the gorgeous slate roof, which works so well with the brick and stone exterior. Since I thought you all might enjoy a few pictures of the new place, I asked my mom take some shots yesterday to share here with everyone.

The house is entered through an outdoor passageway that opens out onto a side courtyard, complete with outdoor fireplace. My sister jokingly refers to this part of the house as the Cloisters, with its narrow passageway and brick and stone archways. Personally, I really love the intimate atmosphere this space gives you immediately upon entering the house.

I just love the new outdoor fireplace -- too bad the family won't really get to enjoy it for another 6 months or so! My mother plans to install two large planters on either side of the fireplace for some additional color. I'd also love to see something decorative over the mantle; perhaps some decorative metalwork or even a star of Texas?

The side courtyard is flanked on one side by a small guest house (or casita, as my mom refers to it), which is just a guest room and bathroom. The separateness though of this space is excellent for anyone who hosts a lot of out-of-town relatives. If my sister and I weren't both in town, I'm sure we'd be fighting over who got to stay out here whenever we all came to visit.

This is the view of the side courtyard and outdoor fireplace from the yard. My mother has big plans for the landscaping here and I can't wait to see it. My hope is that in a few years my dad will capitulate and put in a pool.

The back of the house opens out onto a second large covered patio. Since the house is oriented on a roughly north-south direction, this part of the yard receives significantly less sun than the west-facing side courtyard, making it ideal for hot Houston summers. Fans underneath the patio will also help keep this patio cool and comfortable, even in 90 degree weather.

Since the back patio is just off the kitchen, my mother had an outdoor barbecue and mini-fridge installed here. Dave can't wait to start grilling and I can't wait to sit outside and enjoy the shade and a nice margarita.

While I didn't intend to leave y'all with a cliff hanger, I'll have to save a tour of the inside for another day as things are (understandably) still a bit unsettled on the inside. Once my mother unpacks and gets things more in order, I promise to finish this up with a tour of the inside. Just wait until you see her new kitchen; it's incredible.

So what about you? Do your parents still live in the house they grew up in? If not, how did you feel when they moved?


Christy said...

I want a casita! And an outdoor fireplace! Both of these are regular features on houses on house hunters...and I drool over them every time I see them.

But seriously, this house is gorgeous. Magnificent. I can not wait to see the interior!

I totally understand your mixed feelings though. My parents moved into their house when I was three years old. I'm going to be 35 this year. I DREAD the day they move from our family home.

Joy said...

Ah, yes. I went through this very same thing about two years ago. My parents moved from my childhood stomping grounds to a beautiful new home about an hour away from where I live now. It was great that they moved closer to me and my sister, but it was still a little strange spending the first Christmas at the new place. Honestly, though, the strangeness of the new place was quickly overcome by the familiarity of the family and our traditions. So nothing important really truly changed.

What a gorgeous new place your parents have! Can't wait to see the interior!

Liz said...

I'm with Christy - I'm dreading the day that my parents move!! They've been in their house all but the first 3 years of my life, so it's really the only childhood home that I remember. I know I'll be sad when they move, but I can only hope it's to a place as gorgeous as your parents' new digs!!

annechovie said...

What a beautiful home, Averill! Thanks to you (and your mom) for sharing the photos. I love the outdoor fireplace and casita. The style of the home is so charming.

Beth Connolly said...

This is quite a different story from the others, but my parents' house was all Danish modern-teak, rosewood, black leather, red, orange, turquoise blue, ultra modern oil paintings. I always felt like a stranger in a strange land as my taste is quite the opposite-feminine, French and English, Chinoiserie, pastels. Once I left for college, I always preferred them visiting me!

Rev Kim said...

Your parents' new home is gorgeous! I covet the fireplace and outdoor kitchen!

We moved a few times while I was growing up, so there wasn't just one home in which I grew up. They've been in the same home for the past 24 years. I was still in college and living at home when they bought it. It's huge - two stories, 5 bedrooms, big yard, a view of the Pacific Ocean. After I moved out, they talked some about selling it, but I protested for selfish, sentimental reasons. Unfortunately, now that it's time for them to move into a smaller home for health reasons, it's harder for them to let go. I kick myself often for protesting. I wish they had done what your parents are doing. It would have made the transition so much easier. And when Dave & I visit in June, I'll be discarding & deciding what to do with many of my belongings that I left there.

zorra said...

So gorgeous! I look forward to seeing it in person.
My parents moved out of my childhood home when I was a senior in high school. More than 35 years later, I still miss it sometimes.

Dumbwit Tellher said...

What fun to see your parents new home. It is spectacular. I have wanted a "casita" since we lived in Las Vegas. Very popular there for all the visitor's most homeowners receive I guess? Next house, it's high on my list. I knew immediately how you felt re: your parent's move. My parent's sold their home a few months after we moved here to Houston. It had been our home since 1961. My father had one wall in our family room that he had done a collage of old newspaper articles, & programs from his days as a high school music director. His bands had traveled to 9 countries over his 42 yrs. of teaching & the wall was a testament to his accomplishments. I was busy here which helped, but so strange to know that I would never be going back to our family home again. They moved about 3 hr.s north towards Portland, OR. No reason now to go back to my hometown. Feels really sad (tear..tear).

Kathryn said...

Thank you for the tour...I'm a blog friend of your mum's and came visiting at her suggestion. I'm also a priest in the Church of England and the hardest thing when I was ordained was uprooting from the house where my children had grown up (they were in their teens at the time), while the hardest thing about moving to this job a year ago was the knowledge that for the 2 who are at university, this house will never be really "home" for them. They come to stay, for quite long periods, but their networks and their history are elsewhere. It feels as if I'm accelerating their growing up, somehow :(

Lauren said...

Beautiful outdoor living space!

My parents moved from the house where I lived during middle and high school the summer after I graduated high school. So, everytime I went "home" during college and law school, it was to a house in which I had never lived. But, while "my" room was not really "my room," and the living room and kitchen were not the ones of my growing up, my parents' house still felt like a home because all of our stuff was there and, of course, so were my parents. So, while this new house of your parents' will never be the same as the house you grew up in, you may still find that it has snipits of "home." Of course, my parents current house (which is yet another house) only sort of feels like a "home" to me, probably because I have a home of my own. I will be interested to get your thoughts on it, after its set in.

Patch said...

I moved around a lot as a kid, all over the country, so the current parents' house is the one we moved into when I was in middle school. I doubt they'll move anytime soon! I like their house but I wouldn't mind if they did, though.

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