House TalkN is a fun lookiloo at houses, houses, houses. It will answer pressing questions like, "When folks build a McMansion on a small lot, what are they compensating for?" or "Was the real estate agent drunk when they staged this house?" or "Why don't the Smiths' ever leave their drapes open when I am on a harmless walk-by?"

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hubba Hubba...

I drooled all over this corner bench and split door while visiting House of Turquoise. Click here to see more from the same house.
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Monday, May 30, 2011

Meet Me In St. Louis!

The Fisherman Home, Voted Friendliest Home Owners of 2011 by Kerry Rossow
Doesn't that yellow door just scream "HAPPY!"???

"Word on the street" is that these medallions are markers for 100 year house birthdays!

While visiting St. Louis this weekend, I discovered a new (to me) neighborhood to admire!
I was driving down Elm Avenue in Webster Groves when I almost gave myself whiplash jerking my head spastically side to side so as not to miss a single lookiloo!
"Best to just stop for a little walk", I told myself...."with my camera."
It was a candyland of Victorians! I felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz- I was practically skipping down Elm Avenue!
The wraparound porches were stunning, the ornate details were perfection, the yards were sprawling and then....
Be still my beating heart! A brick colonial with a yellow door! While I love Victorians, my heart belongs to brick Colonials.
Anyone who would paint their door yellow must be a cheery, friendly sort, right? This is what I was repeating to myself as I was walking toward that beautiful yellow door.
What a wonderful family I was greeted by! Jan and Charles Fishman were the most gracious hosts and did not appear to be frightened at all by the house stalker admirer at their door!
I met their lovely daughter who is home to plan her wedding that is two weeks away. They shared Webster Groves history and even printed information on the Webster Groves Historical Houses walk.
I was starting to feel like Bill Murray in "What About Bob", the guest that wouldn't leave! I tore myself away, fighting the urge to ask if I should expect an invitation to their daughter's wedding, now that we are bff's and all.
For more information on the Webster Groves Historical House Walk, click here.
To see pictures of the "What About Bob" house, click here.

(linky party at House of Hepworth's)
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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Have A Wonderful Memorial Day!

May you sit on a porch this lovely and raise a toast (or 2 or 32) to those who have gone ahead...
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Saturday, May 28, 2011

I Feel Pretty, Oh So Pretty!

This bathroom must make for a wonderful start to your day.

I would skip out each morning singing, "I feel pretty, oh so pretty".....
instead of "Do you have your homework, Did you brush your teeth, Grab your lunchbox, Don't pick your public, Where is my COFFEE and the one syllable iloveyouhaveagreatdaygolearnsomethin'!"
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Houses Are Like Relationships, Day 5

This is how my children respond to the prospect of leaving our house...
The House Adulterer!
I was stopped in my tracks last night.
I was rushing around in my "hopped up on too much coffee" way. I was running through the mental checklist- the small people had been fed, laundry load #87 was started, baseball bags packed, water bottles included, camera in car, phone in purse, and schedules/carpools coordinated!
"Kerry Rossow?" I hear from a slow moving sedan in front of my house. (Full disclosure -I have seen too many movies and I have an overactive imagination.) This is how it always goes, the slow sedan drive-by, the identity confirmation, and then Al Pacino would open fire on me.
Not to be on this night, whew.
It was Mr. Cole - the man who grew up in the house I now call home and his family! We bought this house from his mother almost 15 years ago. (More house history to follow at a later date)
It was such a great experience to watch them tour the house that had been in their family for 43 years!
As we compared house stories and neighborhood gossip, guilt set in.
I have been traipsing around the city, spending too many hours at open houses, writing love letters about other peoples houses, lusting after my neighbor's stainless steel appliances, and taking long walks with the full intent of "admiring" other houses!
Seeing Mr. Cole's eyes light up as he shared old house stories, hearing his wife's memories of Christmas's past in my very living room, and watching his daughter make her way through the house she had toddled through under the loving eye of her grandmother, made me re-appreciate what has been under my nose all along.
I woke up this morning and walked through my house that has been so good and loyal to me. We were young and carefree when we started this journey. Fifteen years and four children later, I still love this house somethin' crazy.
I see countless family gatherings around our dining room table. I see the bedroom that I paced while making the futile "hee, hee, hee" noises. I see the hallway where my babies learned to walk - bumping from side to side like bumper cars! The big wins and the big losses have all been celebrated or mourned right here.
I love my house.

*Update: While running cable into our basement, the cable guy found an old GI Joe Tanker that belonged to Mr. Cole. Imagine his surprise when he opened a package from miles away to find his toy from years ago.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Aaah, Summer...

One of the great things about being a teacher is that I get to maintain that childlike (not to be confused with childish) excitement of summer days to come. The anticipation of long, lazy days- outdoors!
We will celebrate birthdays and the Fourth of July. We will cheer loudly at baseball games. We will camp and swim and hike and fight over sunscreen.
I will spend as much time as I can with my hands in the dirt everyday.
We'll eat dinner on the patio.
The neighborhood children will blend from one yard to the next, mother's calling to not just their own child, but also to their neighbors child - "Where is your helmet?" "Does your mother know you are doing that?" "Pick my flowers again, and see if I don't chase you down the street and beat you"....
The mother's will congregate in my adirondacks, on Becky's porch, on Karen's veranda, or an impromptu "drinks in the driveway" will spring up.
Summer is finally here - see you on the porch/veranda/stoop/driveway or lawn!
I hope these porch pictures put you in the mood for a wonderful and relaxing summer!
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Some houses are just so....well....sweet. When I look at these pictures, I want to live there, read house magazines all afternoon and top it off with a gallon of peppermint ice cream before running through the sprinkler in my imaginary polka-dot bikini!
Click here for more sweet, small space ideas...

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dining Room Blunder....

If you have a dining room like this, you better have a fantastic personality.
I have self diagnosed myself with what I like to call "situational tourettes syndrome". If I find myself at a dinner party, ladies luncheon, fundraiser or worse, yet, an afternoon tea in a too fancy home, I have a flair up of "situational tourettes syndrome".
I peptalk myself ahead of time - be appropriate, be sophisticated, stand up straight, be complimentary and for goodness sake, use good manners. I might wear a fancy hat - people in fancy hats don't blurt out "Where is the freaking ketchup??" or ask if the lovely white sauce is "brown gravy in disguise?" "Are these plates from the Walmarts?"
It never works out. I can't help myself. Before I know it, I am laughing too loudly, telling a sex joke or using the teeny corncobs to make fangs.
Taking personal responsibility isn't my strong point but I am really great at blaming others. So...if you have a super fancy house, you are asking for trouble. You better have a great personality, be self-effacing and most importantly- BE FUN! Otherwise, we are all intimidated and afraid of a misstep with the wrong fork.

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Dear House,

Is there a special house in your past? If you have warm fuzzies about Grandma's house, a nostalgic memory of the house you grew up in, or you love the house that you are currently raising your own family in, please consider writing your house a letter.
If you are interested, zip me a note in the "comment" section.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A fellow "House Nut"

To see Kelly's reading from The Middle Place, click here.

Don't tell my girlfriends or my sisters, but I usually delete all "forwards". 
You know the ones, fluffy "You're ok and I'm ok" themes. 
They finish with threats of what will happen if you do not respond immediately. I always have the urge to respond immediately with "Bite me", but my husband's common mantra of "Don't be a hater" guilts me into just deleting the message. is a miracle that I actually watched this clip, LOVED it, went to the dark side of "forwarding", sent it to everyone I know, bought the book for myself and some girlfriends and proceeded to internet stalk the author of The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan.
I realized that she reminded me of my friend, journalist extraordinaire, fellow house stalker, Julie. When I moved to town, Julie was my first friend. Our husbands were both sports writers and we connected right away. We have commiserated about our shared talent of placing foot in mouth disease, the birth of our six children, baptisms, husbands that cannot seem to find the @$%^!*& laundry basket, new schools, new jobs, new friends, countless sporting events, the death of loved ones, finished 5k's, and the heart wrenching process of allowing (or not) our girls to audition for The Nutcracker.
The one constant in our relationship has been our love of houses, houses, houses. We have spent many a Sundays, with our kiddos in tow, cruisin' the open house circuit.
Our conversations often begin with "Did you see that gorgeous house on University Avenue?" or "Can you believe what they are asking for THAT?"
Our houses have been the landscape of all those "middle place" moments - our soft spot to fall at the end of the day.
Julie just wrote a beautiful piece about Sunday drives with her family (and mentions this blog!) called "We're All House Nuts At Heart" Check it out.
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Fried Green Tomatoes

I am ashamed that I am about to link to a Fried Green Tomatoes clip with a TAYLOR SWIFT soundtrack.....
How low I will stoop for a lookiloo...

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fried Green Tomatoes- My favorite movie house EVER!

Fried Green Tomatoes is my all time favorite movie. I have seen it no less than 24 million times.
I am a sucker for a center hall, open staircase layout. Throw in the front wraparound porch, and I am out for the count!
Call your girlfriends over for movie night and enjoy!
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Monday, May 23, 2011

Memory Lane...

                                        A Walk Down Memory Lane...Liberty, Indiana

       This brick piece of Heaven was my "first love". I still get weak knees when I see it.

                                    This yellow gem (above) was my childhood doctor's office.

                                  The home of my first grade teacher, the lovely Mrs. Bossert!

Road trips to my hometown are usually a whirlwind.

We roll into town with our four children and our unending amount of equipment, snacks, entertainment, sports gear, and more stuff, stuff, stuff than you can shake a stick at!

My younger sister and our mother live 3 houses away from each other, 6 acres surrounding them.

There is no McDonalds in my hometown. No Wendy's, no Starbucks (gasp), no Blockbuster, no Barnes and Noble, no movie theatre, no museum, and no city pool.

AND, it is the time of our lives!

Just when we have enjoyed all the basketball/baseball/soccer/capture the flag/bloody murder, storytelling (aka extreme embellishing) and midnight in the graveyard we can take, we head for home.

Last weekend, I vowed to get out and take a tour of my hometown and as my therapist sister would say, "process" the roots of my house obsession!

I realized that these are the houses that set the stage for all of my house loves that followed. We all have a "type" and mine is a direct result of the beauties I grew up with.

Each house in my hometown has a history. They are referred to by old family names.

My mother and her sister live in what used to be my grandmother's home. 

 My sister lives in "The Floyd's old house, the one with the pool"
"The Hensley's live in Montgomery's house" and "The William's live in Mrs. Bossert's house." 

 It goes on and on.
Mr. Fleetwood's house with the double staircase, the Aldredge's house with the elevator, Mr. Bryant's house with the cabbage wallpaper, Aunt Mary Anne's on Union Street, Uncle Don's with the greenhouse....

I love these houses. I took pictures and hoped that the police would not be called. (Although, the police officer would most likely be an old classmate!)

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Coldwell Banker | Home Alone House

FOR SALE! 2.5 million buckaroos!

I would stay "home alone" in this house everyday! I would stand on the front lawn and shout "Yoohoo, y'all! Look at me in my big ole fancy house!"

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Houses Are Like Relationships, Day 2

It's Not You, It's Me House
We have all been there. It should be perfect. Everyone tells you so.
It has everything you are looking for- looks, smarts, fancy finishes and all your friends love it!
This house makes you look good, lets you shine, it's well....very nice.
When your mother offers her seal of approval, it feels more like the kiss of death than the final piece of the puzzle.
There just isn't the butterflies in the stomach, blowing your skirt up, shout it from the rooftops feeling that you have been holding out for.
It isn't fair to drag it out. There is a buyer out there who will find this house to be the bees knees. Give their love a chance.
You have to accept that the chemistry just isn't there and utter those harsh words....
"It's not you, it's me."
$949,900 MLS #2110815
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sleeping With The Enemy House Is For Sale!

The house from Sleeping With The Enemy is one of my all time favorites!
I cannot seem to convince my husband to uproot our family and buy this gem!
I might, however, be able to convince one of my sisters to take a road trip, sit on the historic porch, drink a skinny girl margarita, and pretend we live there...
I would be remiss if I didn't point out that this movie sent OCD folks around the world into a tailspin. There is NOTHING wrong with alphabaticizing one's cupboards!
Patti Nickles, with Prudential/South Carolina, is selling it for a song- $219,000! (MLS #102619)
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When I stumbled onto, I almost screamed "MY PEOPLE!" I knew I was home when I took the "Are you hooked on houses?" test.
If you also pass with flying colors, please join me as I share my HOUSE thoughts, HOUSE opinions, HOUSE loves, HOUSE lusts and HOUSE rants!

Are you Hooked on Houses? Give yourself a point for each of the following statements that you agree with:
  • If there’s a “For Sale” sign in my neighbor’s yard, I can tell you how much they’re asking for their house–and whether it’s worth it.
  • I have a habit of checking the real estate listings online, even though I’m not planning to move.
  • I think the best time to take a walk is at dusk–after people have started turning on their lights, but before they have closed their blinds!
  • I’ve been known to visit Open Houses and model homes, just for fun.
  • I will stop to take a photo of a beautiful house if I have a camera with me.
  • When I visit someone’s home, I immediately start looking around to see what changes they’ve made since the last time I was there.
  • I get upset when I see a beautiful old home that looks neglected and unloved, and I fantasize about “rescuing” it.
  • I would go to a neighbor’s party just to get a look inside their house.
  • I have considered becoming a real estate agent, or have been told I should be one.
  • I’ve been known to check out the local house listings when I’m on vacation to see how much it would cost to live there.
  • If I drive through a pretty neighborhood, I slow to a crawl so I don’t miss anything.
  • I’m always redecorating my house. It’s never “finished.”
  • There are certain movies I have watched repeatedly because of the houses featured in them.
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