Reader's Exchange

Very very very fine houses

This week, I found myself tracking former residences the way some people Google their old flames.

Leave 'em and love 'em: that's my motto.  Of a dozen former homes, we've owned two.  We were fond of them then, but they've acquired nostalgia value over time.  The soft focus of receding memory masks recollections of the porch roof diabolically engineered to layer six inches of ice on the steps below, not to mention the second-floor A/C unit that expired, soaking the ceiling, the day after we took possession. 

Memory isn't the only agent of flattery or enhancement.  Thanks to Google Earth, I just viewed the charming effects of a subsequent homeowner's generous budget and vision.  Reveling in its clever half-story to full-story metamorphosis and the perfect front door replacement, that property has manifestly not been mourning our departure. 

I'm pleased for the home and its inhabitants, for myself, too: Google Earth's street view revealed that a tree cutting with sentimental value I planted there in the late 1990s survived and is flourishing.

Property ownership and romantic partnerships can similarly delight or break your heart, broaden your horizons, and furnish evidence that the other party has prospered in terms of success and attractiveness after you've parted ways.

Cute bungalowDream bungalowAll houses are potentially historic--at least to you.  While the library isn't generally equipped with files of through-the-decades interior photos of local properties that we are sometimes asked for, we can share some engaging options for exploring property-related interests.

If the building in question existed a few decades ago in an area covered by Texas Digital Sanborn (Fire Insurance) Maps online, you can view its shape, proportion, and context (Was it next door to a livery stable, church, etc.?).

Our Historic Map Works resource offers graphical insights into both edifices and communities.  I love its slogan--"Residential Genealogy".  It's not just apt in perceiving what interests us amid bricks and shingles; it also suggests that, as in other aspects of family research, the odds of discovering what you hoped for are sufficiently uncertain as to guarantee jubilation when you succeed!

We continually discover informational gems regarding Round Rock's historic buildings in the Planning Department's Historic Preservation pages.  If your home is not officially historic (yet), you might be more interested in Planning's other offerings: Building Inspection and so forth.

If you love before-and-after scenarios, don't miss WhatWasThereFor numerous Round Rock locations (and some other cities and towns), you can adjust the Google Street View slider to fade back and forth from past and present.

And of course our book collection, with selections ranging from Green By Design, Bungalow Nation, Creating the Not So Big House to House to Ourselves: Reinventing Home Once the Kids are Grown, can inform and abet any questions, plans, or fantasies you may entertain about your abode.

My fantasy: to own a Craftsman Bungalow someday.  Not that I don't appreciate my 1980s two-story; we enjoy a wonderful neighborhood--and dry ceilings.

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