February 12, 2012

House Hunters International: With the boys from the Mersey and the Thames and the Tyne

Description: Miles and Kristy hunt for cottages in Oxfordshire
Available on HGTV.com

Meet Miles and Kristy. They're married Mormons in love in Salt Lake City. Miles is a racecar designer and he's taken a job with a formula one racing company? (I don't know if that's what it is normally called) in Oxford. This immediately makes me think of Mike from the Real World London

Mike's very 90's with his earring and hair flopped to the side. I don't remember middle school that well; is it the left ear or the right ear that's gay?

But the rest of the cast doesn't look too dated. Kat would still fit in at NYU in that outfit. Lars's hair is a little too slicked back, but you could still chalk that up to being German. I think Jacinda's outfit still looks really cute, but I may be stuck in the 90's. Remember when Sharon lent Jacinda her magazine and when Jacinda returned it some of the pages were torn and it led to a big fight about Jacinda being inconsiderate? I miss the old Real World. It's all been downhill since Vegas, as most things are.

But back to the episode, and decade, at hand. Kristy is a big Jane Austen fan - uggggghhhhh - so she's looking forward to the move. Jane Austen fangirls do realize that Mark Darcy was a fictional character, right? And that even if he weren't, he'd be long dead by now?

Kristy asks the UPS Store employee if they could please have their box shipped to England. I think he's going to need a more specific address than that. 

Miles and Kristy ideally want a two bedroom English cottage near their church. Their budget is $18,000US a year and helping them with their house hunt is realtor Jackie. House hunting has actually replaced fox hunting in England. And they still wear those red jackets and bring those cute dogs with them!

The first house they look at is a 150-year-old two bedroom cottage and is on budget at $17,250 a year. 

Kristy says they're not used to such small appliances or having the washer in the kitchen. I've mentioned this before, but I do not understand how people planning a move to Europe don't know about the washer being in the kitchen. Come on dummies. And that refrigerator isn't that small. You're two people, how much food do they need to store? Unless they're planning for the second coming. Everyone knows that no one in Western Europe is going to get saved.

The living room has a nice old fireplace and great arched doors. 

The master bedroom is a really good size.

Miles is excited that there's built in closet space. If you'd like to know why that's exciting, just go to Ikea with my sister. Without fail, when you get to the wardrobe section, she'll explain to you why Ikea has such a large wardrobe selection, regardless of how many times she's told you before.

There's lots of outdoor space that they don't even have to take care of themselves.

House #2 is a two bedroom 1300 square foot home. It's not the English cottage Kristy wanted, but

being on the Thames more than makes up for it.

They like the updated kitchen, but Miles thinks it's too orange. Orange would not have been my first choice, but it's nice to see a little personality. I hate those staging shows and Bang for Your Buck when they advise people to make the space as generic as possible so it will appeal to as many people as possible and have a better resale value. Most people have shit taste, so do what you want and don't worry about it, I say.

The master bedroom is smaller than in house #1, but there's good storage space.

The best part of the house is the second floor living room. Some of the original beams are still in tact and the view is fantastic.

There are certainly worse views, such as of war crimes. Miles and Kristy will need to invest in good window treatments, if they go with this place.

House #3 is another two bedroom cottage, with parts of the home dating back to the 1600's. This cottage is over budget, though, at $19,500 a year. It's in a more remote location than the other two homes.

But there are nice views of the open fields. 

The house has more nice old details than the other two homes.

Like the cheese maker.

And the gun cupboard. I'll let Wayne handle this.

But replace rack with cupboard.

The kitchen is teeny tiny.

And the refrigerator is smaller than the one that was in my dorm room. Perk of going to a second tier state school: small refrigerators/freezers were included with the room.

But there is a nice view of the courtyard from the window above the kitchen sink.

The guest bedroom is off the kitchen. I wish my bedroom door looked like that.

There's more good closet space, but a non-functional fireplace.

The sunken living room is way classier than 1970's sunken living rooms

I can't figure out if that's a window or a people-sized fish tank.

But getting back to the 1600's, the master bedroom is in the old wine cellar and the original limestone is underneath the carpet.

Miles and Kristy discuss their options. House #1 is the smallest, but it's close to Miles' work and to their church. House #2 is on the Thames, but is not the cottage Kristy wants. House #3 is the oldest, but is over their budget and far from their church.

They decide on house #1 because Kristy thinks it's the "quintessential English cottage that [she's] always dreamed about when reading [her] Jane Austen novels."


Rate My Space: Living Rooms

So on the HGTV website, they have a section called Rate My Space, where jerks go to show off their homes and seek validation from total strangers on the internet, even though the internet is actually an awful place. 

The spaces are broken down by rooms, so let's take a look at the living rooms. I've only included the "top rated" spaces. I don't want to kick people when they're down.

These people just threw a flat bed sheet on their couch and like called it a day. Seriously, it looks tragic. Get it reupholstered! And get some dignity.

Khaki, white, and gray? Get crazy with your bad selves, homeowners.

There is entirely too much shit in this room. Especially the faux foliage.

There's entirely too many florals in this room. And a couch - not the throw pillows, just the body of the couch - should have at the very most two different kinds of fabric. This couch has at least four.

I'm sure the tile floor, and the lack of an area rug, contributes to it, but this room is too cold. And too symmetrical.  Two chairs on both sides of the sofa is too much. They should have taken away one of the chairs. The fabric on the orange/red chair is out of place. Everything else in the room is white, black, or gray, so the warm colors seem really random. I also don't like pictures on a coffee table. If someone is sitting on the right sofa, they're only going to see the back of the frame. That's also why theater-in-the-round is stupid.

I hate these people. Kind of a lot. They're label whores. Don't even mention Design Within Reach to me. For Assholes, By (Buy?) Assholes. Using a daybed with no back in lieu of a couch really says to your guests, "I don't want you to be comfortable. I just want to be pretentious and I want to get you out of my house as quickly as possible. So please, make yourself uncomfortable." 

Are oversized non-working decorative clocks a thing now? (Two's a trend.) I mean, these people could buy like a $5 clock kit and make these oversized decorative clocks work.

Are non-functioning curtains a thing now? (Three's a meme.) Because like what's even the effing point? Just pay the $10 extra dollars for a full curtain rod and $10 extra dollars for more fabric to turn these into functioning curtains. This is like a thousand times dumber than the oversized non-working decorative clock.

So as not to seem too negative (too late), I'll include a couple things I like.

Ok, the decor itself is ugly. (Seriously, the rug, chair fabric, and table cloth don't go together at all and those wall colors are not good.) But I love the fireplace and the built-ins. Too bad they're wasted on people with no taste.

Black, white, and yellow is a fantastic color combination and I've already established my love of fuzzy throw pillows and mirrored furniture. Of all the rooms I looked at, this one was the best. Ending on a positive note. Boom!