March 4, 2012

House Hunters: Like that two-part episode of Saved by the Bell with Jesse's father's wedding

Description: Adrienne wants a Palm Springs vacation home her whole family can enjoy.
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So the only things I know about Palm Springs are that Jesse's dad got married to an aerobics instructor there, David Silver's grandparents' have a house there, and Kyle owns a vacation home there that she and Mauricio may or may not have stolen from Kim. And at least two of those things are fiction. Who knows more about Palm Springs than I do? Our house hunter, Adrienne.

Adrienne is a successful business lady who takes calls while getting tangled up in a dog leash. I bet she thinks she doesn't have time for love until a cute boy with a cute accent shows her otherwise.

We know she's a successful business lady because her meeting with the girl in black is interrupted by the girl in the American flag? shirt and then she gets a call from China she has to take.

God California pizza sucks. Real pizza doesn't have chicken and capers on it.

Anyway, Adrienne wants a modern vacation home in Palm Springs that has four bedrooms and three baths, a great room, a pool, a spa, and mountain views for $500,000. Can she get all of that on her budget? Hell if I know. That's why Frank's her realtor and not me. Also coming on the house hunt with Adrienne are her sisters Valerie and Darienne. All their parents did was switch the D and the A to come up with two of their daughter's names.

House #1 is a 4 bedroom 3.5 bath home built in 1987. 

I'm fairly certain they could have figured out when that house was built based on the carpet alone. 

Adrienne thinks the kitchen is out dated and she doesn't like that the countertops are granite tiles and not a slab of granite.

She does like the backyard and that you can see the mountains from the backyard.

In one of the guest bedrooms, Frank tells Adrienne that she could fit three twin beds to maximize the number of guests. Adrienne replies that the current bedrooms is "good for four or five Italians." Heh. (FYI, Adrienne is Italian.)

There's something about Adrienne's sister Valerie that makes her seem like an SNL character. I think it has to do with the red hair with the brown eyebrows and how she has the sort of face that looks like she's perpetually smelling something stinky. I guess she kind of reminds me of a Gap girl.

Upon watching the video, I guess it's because she looks like a redhead version of Adam Sandler's character. But getting back to our house hunt...

House #2 is a brutalistmodern 5 bedroom 4.5 bathroom house for $555,000. 

Adrienne loves the great room and openness.

And the backyard with mountain views.

Off the backyard is the casita, which is like a guest house but Spanish. This counts as one of the bedrooms.

There's also an attached casita, which also counts as a bedroom. Valerie doesn't like that two of the bedrooms aren't accessible through the house because the "object [I think she means objective] is to be together as a family." Yeah, if you want someone to poison the stew, force the family to be together 24/7. 

One thing Adrienne doesn't like are the monthly $100 HOA fees. I feel her on that. HOA's are notoriously awful. And sometimes homicidal.

House #3 is a very Brady 4 bedroom 3.5 bathroom home for $549,000. This house is bananas.

Truthfully, the living room isn't that bad, but the wallpaper, dining set, and light fixture in the dining room are total relics.

And the kitchen has some lovely yellow appliances. But the best room in this house:

The guest bathroom. I love how the homeowners decorate with yellow and purple towels to match the wallpaper.

Adrienne, Darienne, and Valerie discuss their options. House #1 is on budget, but needs work. House #2 is move-in ready, but is over budget. House #3 has potential, but needs major work. 

Adrienne picks House #2. She doesn't want her stew to be poisoned.

A few months later, Adrienne is almost done decorating. I love that light fixture in the living room.

But I do not love that shirt with that sweater.

House Hunters International: Parisian Stu-stu-studios

Description: The search is on for bourgeois studios in Paris' Montmartre neighborhood.
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Our international house hunter today is Tiffany from New Orleans. When Tiffany was 16 she went to Paris and fell in love with the city. She's the first American that's ever happened to! And it's the opposite of what happens to a lot of Japanese when they visit Paris. Tiffany is moving to Paris and her mom, Debra, is helping her buy a place there.

That's just Tiffany casually watching her mom play the piano.

The narrator points out that Debra and Tiffany's home is decorated in a French style. That's about as French as Franco-American Spaghetti O's. 

Debra, Tiffany, and her dad? uncle? way older brother? walk through the French Quarter and Tiffany explains to them - and us! - "I think one of the most striking things about the French Quarter is the prevalence of French architecture." And I always thought the name French Quarter was just a misnomer.

Tiffany and Debra's budget is $200,000US and for that they want a studio apartment that needs, at most, only minor renovations in Paris' 18th District. Their realtor Caroline knows that that budget won't get a whole lot in Paris.

House #1 is $160,000US. For that amount they get all of this:

193 square feet on the 6th floor of a walk up. At least Tiffany's thin, so she can fit in that bathroom. My fat ass would probably get stuck.

Caroline takes Tiffany and Debra to House #21.5, so they get a better sense of just how much, or rather how little, $200,000 will get you in certain parts of Paris.

And the building has a phone booth that thinks it's an elevator. I guess they needed to do something with all those old phone booths.

It was hard to get a shot of the whole apartment, but that's a bed and some shelving along the wall.

The kitchen is conveniently located right next to the shower. But the toilet is shared and down the hallway. So this place is like the hotel Tom Hanks stayed in in Big. Debra says that they could possibly stretch their budget so Tiffany does not have to live in a glorified dorm room.

Caroline takes them to actual House #2, a 151 square foot apartment for $250,000US, which, for those of you who don't want to do math, is an insane $1,655 a square foot. 

The apartment makes good use of the space it has and it has tall ceilings.

At least with tall apartments you can build up.

The bathroom has way more space than the bathroom in House #1, but

you have to climb up to get to the shower. They like the apartment and the nice finishings, but it's on the first floor, which Debra does not like for security reasons. I'd certainly never feel comfortable sleeping with the window open.

House #3 is 172 square feet for $160,000US. 

Obviously, it's small, but there's good natural light and a built in armoire. 

This place has the largest kitchen of all 3.5 apartments.

And the largest bathroom of all 3.5 apartments.

The bedroom area is located in a loft above the kitchen and bathroom. Tiffany says she's "never slept in a crawl space before." Clearly Tiffany and I are very different people. But at least the sleeping space is separate from the living space. And Genevieve and Apartment Therapy have already addressed what to do with a lofted bed.

Tiffany and Debra discuss their housing options at Montmarte and they must decide quickly because Paris has more buyers than sellers and apartments can be gone in a few hours. House #1 has a ridiculously small bathroom and it's kind of boring looking. House #2 is the nicest, but the most expensive and is on the first floor. House #3 is more reasonably priced, but has that somewhat claustrophobic lofted bed.

Tiffany picks House #3, which is what I would have picked as well.

A few months later Tiffany is settling into her new apartment, but she still has to get some different furnishings. She says that she loves living in Paris because no one there drives and if they need to get somewhere they take the metro or bike. It annoys me when people say things like that as to why Europe - or more specifically, western Europe - is so much better than the US. Like, they do realize that people in the States also take public transportation and bike, right, and that just because they didn't do those things doesn't mean that no one else does? Tiffany also says that when she tells people what neighborhood she lives in, they say it's "a very Parisian neighborhood." Statements like that also annoy me because all neighborhoods in Paris are, by definition, Parisian. What she means, and the word she should use, is traditional, because Parisian doesn't mean just one thing or one type. And now you know two additional things that annoy me, but that's only two on a list of thousands.