. . . in Orange County, that is, bastion of conservative politics and conspicuous consumption and where I grew up in the city of Newport Beach. A lot has changed since I left for college in 1980, particularly in my parents' immediate neighborhood, a housing development called Harbor View Homes. When my parents bought their house in 1970, there were five models to choose from, three two-stories and two single-story models: the Somerset, the Portofino, the Montego, the Carmel, and the Something Else. We lived in a Portofino, a marvel of modern design at the time, now a monument to 1970s style, which evidently does not suit everyone. At one time people were content to simply replace windows, upgrade kitchens, and have their cottage cheese ceiling scraped. These days, however, the whole thing has to go.
So we start with something like this, the house across the street from my parents, of their former neighbor Louise, who was carted off by relatives when she became old enough to be deemed unable to live on her own:
Or this, one of the two-story models (don't ask me which one):
The house goes on the market, sells, and the next day–kaboom. House gone,
and eventually a new house appears. This one is a few houses down:
This one is the next block down. It's for sale; check out its website. No price listed. I guess if you need to ask, you don't want to know.
Really, most of them are just lovely, but they're so large–many are built seemingly within inches of their property line–and neighbors are so close you can spit out the window and hit the house next door. It's amazing to me that people would spend this kind of money on a house and not want a little more privacy or land around them. Where do they plant their fruit trees? Where do they garden??
My parents pride themselves in being original owners of an original model, complete with cottage cheese ceilings . . . and plenty of room to garden.