Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Room with a View, a post by Nancy L. Agneberg

One of my favorite novels is E. M. Forster's Room with a View. I loved the movie, too. The story, set in part in Florence, Italy, involves a young woman from England and her chaperone who have been promised a room with a view of the River Arno, and they are incensed when they discover their room actually looks over a courtyard. If the book were set in 2012 instead of the early 1900's, I wonder if they would have pronounced the view a "major turnoff." 
     That's the feedback we received after a recent showing about the view from our kitchen, which is in the back of our home. We happen to love the view, which unfortunately is not given its due in this picture, and did from the very the first time we toured the house.  We love the rooftop view, the feeling of looking out and over and beyond. I stand at the sink and wonder about the families in all these homes. I love the diversity of roofline and shingle color and the mature trees framing and sheltering these homes. I love seeing the squirrels scampering on our porch roof as they plot how to steal the food meant for birds. I love seeing the sun creeping across our garage roof, conquering the dew on these cool fall mornings, giving me an indication of what to expect when I go outside. I love hearing the kids on their skate boards whizzing down the alley and seeing our neighbor working in her garden of every shade of purple. And in the winter I can see children playing in the snow in the open space on Strawberry Loop. I love being part of the neighborhood and yet having a sense of privacy. 
    Ironically, a neighbor the day of this showing commented,  "Today is a great day to show a prospective buyer the view from the back of our houses." Now I realize we don't all have the same taste and aesthetics, but honestly, this house selling process can make one feel crazy. How could I possibly have fallen in love with a house that has this kind of view from the kitchen? How could I possibly live in a home where I have to trudge from the garage through the screen porch and my office on the lower level to get to the stairs up to the kitchen? I could go on, but instead I stop, take a deep breath and gaze from the deck we refer to as "Paris," and did so even before our trip to Paris a year ago. 
     The view from the kitchen and the deck makes my imagination soar. I envision myself living in a Parisian garret, looking dreamily over the rooftops. The Seine is somewhere out there. Notre Dame is just beyond the trees. If I stretch maybe I can see the Eiffel Tower. What a magical and glorious life. 
     Here's something to consider. Looking for a home to buy is an invitation to stretch one's point of view, to think a bit out of the box, to imagine what it would be like to live here, rather than there. Living in a home is a creative venture and an opportunity to make something yours that formerly was someone else's. Buying a home is a way to challenge your values and priorities and to examine what really matters most in terms of how you live your life. If every time you stood at the sink, you thought, "I can't stand this view," and if that view made time in the kitchen much more of a negative than a positive experience, than that view clearly is not for you. Move on! I get it. After all, I happen to love water views more than mountain views. 
     I have apologized to the house for a comment that seems unnecessarily harsh and for other unkind things other prospective buyers may have said. In fact, these kinds of comments have made me think about my own words and reactions as I have looked at prospective next homes. I am cleaning up my own act, not wanting to leave a deposit of negative energy in someone else's home.  I have restated my deep affection for this house and the life we are privileged to have here. 
     We know this house is not for everyone. No house is right for everyone.  We are willing to wait for the person who will fall in love with this house, even the view from the kitchen, and will proclaim it in the spirit of Goldilocks, "just right."  

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