Recent Posts

December 30, 2008

Glamorous house tour... and use online coupon?

December 30. Day 183.

The house I made arrangements to see two days ago was as gorgeous inside as it was out. Here are a few pictures my dad snapped.

For a man who could talk an hour about the pros and cons of corbels versus lintels versus mantels, this place was a 5,000 square foot treasure trove. I used to grumble on family vacations that I didn't want to visit the Craftsman firehouses of Denver or the Bauhaus fountains of San Antonio (I'm making up the details, but not the grumbling), while he would have been happy spending hours with his camera wandering around an interesting building, watching how the shadows changed. It was nice end up on the same page, years later, as "tourists" in a familiar city.

Even more amazing than the decor and features is the owner, Grace. She's a mother of two boys, and while working as a nurse and getting a master's degree in nursing, she redesigned the house from top to bottom. She and her husband, a lawyer, bought it as a fixer-upper in 2002. Since then, she's drawn and implanted the mosaics and tile work with her own hands, selecting the fragments from here and there. Every detail, from the sconces under the bathroom sink to the recessed lighting in the kitchen to the preservation of the traditional cantera and the use of functional niches in the family room was her idea. Hearing her speak about balancing historical authenticity and organicity, I'd have guessed she was an architect, an art historian, some sort of restoration and conservation professional. Goes to show that love of a subject carries its own credentials.

When I asked her if she ever thought about doing this full time, she said she'd love to, but she also enjoys nursing. "I tell my friends, 'If you ever have a project, call me! I'll do it for free!' " My dad took her number, saying he occasionally gets projects in restoration design and/or artistic tile work, and she seemed open to that prospect. Whether or not it becomes a full blown career, I have a feeling I'll see her name and designs in a glossy magazine, one day...

After this visit, we went to Office Depot so my dad could upgrade his own fixer upper -- a telephone. He looked at a few models and settled on a GE cordless set.

"Hold on a second," I said on the way to the checkout stand. "Let me see if I can find a coupon online."

I did see a few options, for various percents off and with various exclusions. We were in a hurry, so I didn't read through each of them. Instead, I took my cell phone to the register.

"I have a few coupons here -- can you apply any of these?"

"We need the printout, and those don't work for technology."

The first excuse was b.s., since I've used my cell instead of a printout before and there's never been a problem. Could have argued around that, hands down. But I had nothing to reply to the second. The phone is, indeed, technology. But if I ever need 40% off of a $100 purchase of toilet paper and pencils, I'll know where to go.

Gained: A beautiful house tour, and a gracious new acquaintance in McAllen. Thank you, Grace!
blog comments powered by Disqus