Sunday, February 24, 2013

A word on that tag line

I swear, I do more with my spare time than buy new stuff.  If one reads only this blog without any context on my intentions, one might think that I'm every cash register's best friend and every credit card's worst nightmare.  That I'm a one-woman Borg of buying (resistance is futile).  Gardens, landscaping, fences, light fixtures, unconventional furniture, unconventional wall art - you name it, it's in here. 

I can offer some perspective on that.

It was always our explicit intention to develop a suburban work of art that illustrates the following principle which is very simple, but which nonetheless appears to be totally lost on many greater Houston homeowners: You can buy a smaller house and customize it for less money than you'd pay for a larger generic house in the same neighborhood
Some folks downsize their houses in order to save money.  We downsized so that we would have more financial freedom to customize.  In coming to Centerpointe, we were actually move-up buyers who decided to slim down, at least on the size of the structure. 

Motif screengrabbed from this CBC quiz on downsizing
Houses in Houston (and elsewhere) are largely still priced (and taxed!!) on that one antiquated metric: square footage.  But the square footage doesn't say anything about how well a house "works" for its owners because the functionality is more a derivative of design than absolute size. 

Screengrab from this WaPo piece succinctly titled "Price per square foot can obscure a home's real value".
Our house is intentionally almost seven hundred square feet smaller (wow!) than the Centerpointe median.  We paid a correspondingly smaller base price on the front end, but it was always our intention to put some of the corresponding savings onto the back end - and invest it into forms that are both value-added and non-taxable.  That's the reason why I do things like develop a room with multi-functionality that derives from its fixtures rather than its footprint, and why I shoe-horn wildly productive (and largely portable) vegetable gardens into a postage-stamp-sized back yard. 

Anyway, my point in saying this is not to be defensive, but just to note that I'm conscious of the fact that some of my posts, if viewed in the absence of this perspective, almost appear antithetical to the tag line I chose for this blog (i.e., the pair of sentences at the bottom of its hit-counter-changing frontispiece). 
THAT tag line.  Pretty cool recursion trick, eh?
My original point in choosing that subtext was to elude to the fact that life in an American suburb can be much deeper intellectually, creatively, and socially than the superficial anonymous exercise in mindless consumerism that stereotypical representations often make it out to be.  With that in mind, my ongoing buy-a-thon is not an exercise in mindless acquisition of cheap crap from China.  It's all part of a master functionality plan that is still in the process of executing three years after we built this house. 

In taking this approach, we put the "fun" back into "functional" for ourselves.  Between my husband and myself, our Centerpointe home is the sixth suburban house that we've owned.  Sooner or later, one gets to the point of tract-home boredom where quality-of-life concerns start giving purely-resale concerns a run for their proverbial money.  That's where we are in our respective lives, and why this little work-of-art suburban dream continues.
A trippy commentary on cookie-cutter-ism screengrabbed from this rather avant garde site

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