March 3, 2009


We’re all a little quirky, and some would say I’m the queen of quirk, but I’ve discovered there are people out there who might be quirkier than I. For instance, during my recent house browsing, I've been amazed at what people have chosen to do with their homes. Odd things such as adding on a very narrow enclosed space that runs the width of the back of a house, covering up several large windows and adding only one tiny window and a door. Now the large windows look into a narrow, dark room with a concrete floor. What is the purpose of this area? I have no idea.

And then there is the house that has a huge backyard with plenty of room for enlarging the square footage of the house, but the owners chose instead to increase their bedroom size in their driveway. Yes, they blocked their only access to parking their car in the garage in favor of a larger bedroom and closet. So now they have a driveway that goes through their bedroom. Really. It disappears under the house and reemerges on the other side.

One of my personal favorites is the very small house (750 sq. ft.) with three dining rooms. OK. Maybe not all three areas are actually dining rooms, but they've placed dining room type lighting fixtures in the rooms and they hang awfully low. You enter the house through the front door and are in the living room. Turn to your right and there's the first dining room area. Walk to this area and look to your left, there is another dining room area. Beyond that is the kitchen which has a bar that looks out onto, yes, another dining room area. What amused me most was the marketing verbiage. "Plenty of dining space for cozy family dinners!" You've got that right.

But the grand daddy of all quirkiness has to be the house I visited on Sunday. This was truly an OMG! moment. This house is just down the street from my mom's and I've often wondered what it looked like inside. You see, from the outside it had, since I've lived in Spokane, looked like a homemade fortress patched together with corrugated metal, plywood, and chicken wire; quite a thing to behold, I assure you, especially inside city limits. But last year, something happened to the residents. An estate sale was held (I wasn't brave enough to go) and someone attempted to clean up the yard and put new siding on the front portion of the house (just the front and part of two sides). They also replaced the front door so I assumed that they had worked on the inside to prep it for sale. When I saw that they were holding an open house, I raced to my mom and talked her into walking up the street to have a look. The pictures I've included do not do it justice (see below).

The owners were apparently fond of electric blue and painted all of the inside this eye popping color in various shades (floor to ceiling blue, cabinets blue, carpet blue, everything blue). On the living room wall is a very large mural of an ocean scene and they attached an equally large wooden boat structure to it. The lucky new owner gets to keep it for free. The bedrooms and bathroom were old, electric blue and quirky but nothing compared to the "bonus" room the owners had added on without bothering with the legalities of permits, inspections, and what not.

So you walk into the house and you're in the living room facing a bank of windows (which you see once you stop looking at the large mural and boat). If you go further into the room, you'll see the electric blue kitchen to your left with its own bank of windows. Both sets of large windows look directly into the "bonus" room which is two stories tall. Talk about vaulted ceilings! There is no backyard to be seen from this view, only blue carpet, plywood walls, odd wooden pilings, and two strange concrete squares. It’s about the size of a basketball court. I felt sorry for the poor real estate salesman. He really was giving it his best shot and offered that this might make a good day care. Um, yeah. I don't think so. But points for creativity.

The owners had apparently built the room as a place for their grandchildren to play. In one of the odd square concrete areas, they had once had a tall tank with a wooden structure the kids could climb onto so they could dive into the tank. No safety issues there. The other concrete square used to hold a hot tub. There were two or three sets of handmade wooden ladders that led to platforms high above the vivid blue carpet and concrete squares. A basketball hoop adorned one wall, although I don't know how they kept from knocking the plywood walls down when making shots. Maybe they were just very good.

It was shocking. There was a finished basement, but Mom and I were so entranced by the "bonus" room that we never made it to the basement. OK, maybe there was a bit of fear involved too. This was the ultimate in quirkiness. I have to really wonder what people are thinking sometimes, but then I look at my own life and I see things that, if I were to disappear suddenly today, would make people wonder.

We’re all a little quirky, and most of the time I think that’s a good thing; however, when you’re trying to sell your house, you probably don’t want your quirkiness to come through. But then again, they say there is something for everyone out there. Perhaps there is someone who is looking for an odd narrow room, a garage with no driveway, three dining rooms in a small house, or a plywood bonus room with retro blue carpet. I’m sure the place I ultimately end up living in will have a bit of quirk as well. The difference will be that I will think it’s charming simply because it's mine. That's the nice thing about being quirky, there's always someone who thinks it's loveable.

If you have a quirky feature you’ve added to your house and you’re willing to admit it, I’d love to hear about it. E-mail me or comment below.


  1. I couldn't have described it better:) As far as quirky that I will admit to, well, maybe not since I love my home just the way it is (even the basement dweller). Quirkiness is what makes us unique and there is a lot of uniqueness in this home.

  2. I think I know which house you're talking about when describing the chicken wire, plywood fortress. Very interesting. At least it looks a little better from the front on the outside now.

  3. Wow, and I thought my orange living room walls and theatre bathroom were quirky. Apparently not so much! I'm not sure whether to be glad or sad about that.

  4. Wow, and I thought my orange living room and theater bathroom were quirky. (My realtor certainly did.)Apparently not so much! I'm not sure whether to be glad or sad about that.