“Love It or List It” is probably my favorite series on HGTV. Generally each episode includes couples with mixed allegiances to the home in which they are living. Generally, one wants to move and one wants to stay. Based on my observation from the episodes I’ve seen, most often the issues deal with lack of space and ten-to-fifteen years of clutter. Honestly, if our home ever looked as disheveled as most of the homes featured on Love It or List It, I’d be at risk for striking the match that burned it to the ground.
The thought of living in a pigsty is pretty unappealing and I’m not even Jewish. I don’t know how anyone could opt to go home to that level of clutter on a daily basis. If you think I’m overstating reality, I challenge you to watch the series for yourself. You’ll be surprised at how upwardly mobile, responsible and financially well-to-do people succumb to living in squalor. I personally couldn’t stand it for a minute and the General would declare war and be outfitted for battle before she’d succumb to that kind of lifestyle. (Pardon the pun, I meant “lack of style”). As they say in the country, “That dog won’t hunt here.”
Hilary Farr and David Visentin each represent themselves as the solution to the home-owner’s dilemma. Hilary, with her keen eye for design and ability to generally deliver what she’s promised, works magic and routinely makes an incredible difference in the appearance, functionality and use of space. I am often amazed at her level of professionalism and expertise. David on the other hand, knows his way around the real estate market. He also has the ability to know that regardless of what Hilary does to add pizzazz and functionality, at the end of the day, lack of available space is still going to be a barrier that precludes meeting the homeowners real need.
I’m generally extremely impressed with the work that Hilary has done, but “impressive and beyond” generally encapsulates David’s ability to locate what the homeowner has articulated as most desirable. The only margin of error in the equation is that sometimes the “perfect” property is just outside the expressed desired location of the homeowner. Either that, or it is about $100,000 over budget. Either at times pose a problem for the homeowner.
I love where the General and I live and I have absolutely no desire to move anywhere unless it is to Chicago for a three-month period (June through August). Of course, I want to live with a view of Lake Michigan and the sights of the city from a high-rise, high-dollar penthouse. Of course, at the end of three months, I’d want to end the sabbatical and return to my edge of heaven and resume the life I left behind.
Yesterday I had coffee with a friend who wants nothing more than to both own and live in the midst of a vast landholding. He wants to be located where cattle graze, crops grow and opportunities abound to be people-free (perhaps “free of people”is closer to his intent) and focused on the outdoors. He doesn’t even mind doing some of the ranch/farm work himself as long as he has an air-conditioned climate controlled enclosed tractor to drive.
I don’t’ know about my friend’s pipe dream, but I can guarantee you the chances are second to none that I’ll ever live in a downtown high-rise in Chicago. Besides that, I’m sure in three months I’d grow more than a little tired of deep-dish Chicago style pizza.
One of the observations I’ve made regarding “Love It Or List It” surprisingly is that most folks choose to “Love It”. When push comes to shove, they want to stay in their original home despite the fact that from my perspective, they’d be better served to move. I still maintain, “If the issue is space, “Cute and quaint won’t cut it at the end of the day.”
Honestly, nine times out of ten, I think the folks featured on “Love It or List It” are making the wrong choice to “Love It“. As I’ve watched the series, I’ve even wondered if I there is something wrong with me? Do I have attachment issues concerning houses? When we lived in Midland, we purchased four different homes in just over a decade. Of course, we never moved more than a mile or a mile and a half from the first home we purchased. I get it that folks want to stay in a neighborhood where they have connections and a sense of community. That is one of the drawing cards that makes our home in Henly so attractive. We like our neighbors (In addition, did I mention that cows make great neighbors?) and I like folks in the community.
The home where we currently live is record setting for us. We’ve been in the house 13 ½ years. Prior to that in terms of longevity, we were in our previous home in Henly for 10 years. Everything else in the other 33 ½ years generally fell into 18 to 24 month increments.
Over the course of 47 ½ years we’ve lived in lots of different places. We’ve lived in small places and we’ve lived in large houses. We’ve painted, we’ve stripped and put up wall-paper, we’ve landscaped, we’ve invested disposable free time in pursuing the dream of getting it right. Sometimes we did. Sometimes we didn’t. When we didn’t get it right, we opted to do it again. Ask me about the cabinets I painted blue? Before the project was finished, they were stripped, stained, sealed and better than new. Truthfully, whether it was 500 square feet or 4,200 square feet, it always felt like home and we were grateful for the experience of living there.
“Love It or List It?” At this stage in my pilgrimage, there is no place like home. I’m going to “Love It”, I already do.
All My Best!