A recent photograph of my parents’ first house.
The five of us lived there with my paternal grandparents.
I really enjoy the show “House Hunters”. It airs here in the U.S. on HGTV. It’s similar to “Location, Location, Location” that used to air here on BBC America, except the home buyers work with different realtors in each episode. HGTV also runs the fun companion program “House Hunters International”. Chuck and I both get a kick out of “touring” the prospective homes and guessing (more like rooting for) which home the person, couple or family will (should) buy. The cherry on top is when the show revisits the new home owner a few weeks or months after they moved in and we see them settled into their new digs.
Recently, I’ve been struck by how big the housing budgets are for some very young buyers. And some of them seem to have champagne tastes, but are apparently not operating on a beer budget! Three or more bedrooms with three or more baths, a deluxe kitchen with all the bells and whistles and great rooms seem to be the norm. Remember “starter homes”? They were compact, affordable houses where kids shared bedrooms, the family ate in the kitchen and the only bell or whistle was the front door bell - maybe! Continuing along these lines, do folks ever buy cinderblocks and pine boards to build bookcases anymore? My Dad built mine when I was a kid. He stained the pine boards and polyurethaned them. Then we painted the gray cinderblocks to match the “decor” of the room. My grandmother, Gagee, made my curtains out of sheets and I sewed pillows out of bandanas.
If folks can truly afford deluxe and they want deluxe, that’s great, more power to ’em. I just hope that the folks who want deluxe, but can’t yet afford it, know that a starter house can be a very good thing to really live in - not just a property to quickly “flip” for profit. Most of us with clear recollections of the 1960s and earlier decades, started out with small budgets, in small houses. And a lot of us had pretty cool makeshift bookcases built with cinderblocks.