So we spent most of the afternoon in one of those typical bland, cookie-cutter, modern suburban neighborhoods...inside of one of the coolest houses I've EVER been in!
The kids loved it and wish that it was our house. They've taken one of those soulless high-ceilings, white-walls houses and transformed it into a multi-cultural oasis. The dining room was like being in Morocco, the master bedroom was like being in Italy, another bedroom was like being in an early 20th-century doll shop, the living room, kitchen and breakfast room were just super comfortable with a kind of Moorish-feeling, the schoolroom was bright and inspiring and covered with horses. Next time I'll take pictures and show y'all.
One of the things I liked about it was that even with the high ceilings and hardwood floors there was no echo in the house; which is SO typical of those style houses. You know what I mean, that harsh clangy noise that hurts your ears and makes you yell at the kids to be quieter. The trick was that they had wall hangings. Not framed pictures but actual hanging tapestries. You know, that's what they used in those castles in days of yore to keep out the cold and keep down the noise. And it wasn't 'Keep Austin Weird'-type tapestries (beach towels or Mexican blankets) they were REAL tapestries with a picture woven into the fabric and shiny metallic disks sewn onto them and fringe on the bottom and hanging by a real tapestry rod (not held up with thumbtacks).
My friend has done a HUGE mural in the master bedroom of the view from the patio of an Italian villa. She did it herself and it looks GOOD; pay-money-to-someone-to-paint-it good! She's actually still working on it; I'm sure that from lying there in bed looking at it every day she notices all the errors but to the normal eye it looks done. The rest of the walls of the bedroom are painted to look like the rest of a villa patio - stucco walls that are missing stucco in some places. Oooo, maybe she'll eventually do the back wall as the view of the outside of the house, or not.
Probably the coolest thing about it is that even though it had a total exotic feel, it didn't have that museum feel, it felt like a real house that real people live in. It had warmth, not at all sterile or 'oh, don't touch that!'. I tell you the house was AWESOME!
The only downside is that it's on the polar opposite side of town from us, maybe about 30 miles (I forgot to check the odometer). I guess that'll only make it more special every time we go over. BTW, the kids wanted to go back tomorrow; I told them that maybe we'd do it every 2 weeks.
37 minutes ago