When one takes on a new endeavor -- I'm looking for a small (read, inexpensive) studio/workshop space/informal gallery, AirBnB offering and overnight in-city haven -- the eyes take on new importance. What we see is so shaped by what we are looking for... and it's remarkable how emotions that we don't really have words for take over.
As we've looked at dozens of little houses, condos, thises and thatses in person -- and hundreds online (the real estate market must be as affected -- or more-- by the internet as any other of our modern commercial efforts and activities), my eyes have learned how to read the sites and sights beyond what shows up on the screen. Oh yeah, that looks great, until you see the actual streetview map! And interior photos -- especially those where the residents' belongings are still in place (or out-of, more likely)-- show a depressing degree of what rampant consumerism has made of the American household. No wonder they want to move, not a square inch to stand in, much less a space to rest the eye upon. The empty houses start looking pretty darn good. I see why house staging has become a career in the realm of house sales on the upper end of the market!
Amid all this looking, there have been only a couple of places that pass the see-test. I guess it's no surprise, but those couple or three have been houses that speak with their own distinct visual styles. The heartstrings otherwise are disengaged. And, believe me, I want to be practical, to be investment-wise, to pick something that meets all the criteria that I've described in lists and conversations with our realtor who's on the job. But I have a feeling that the heart is going to insist on style, honesty, imagination on the part of the builder (whether in 1910, 1949 or 1977) and at least some sense of potential beyond the present state of affairs. Do I need another project? Hell, no. Will I get one? Probably!
P.S. NO, we are not leaving the our heavenly space in the country. I will continue to live here and to offer artist retreats out here in the future, alongside the pool, hot tub and 20 mile view into the valley. In fact, a spot just opened up in my Fearless Sketching workshop April 12-14, the last of the workshops for several months. One of the group who was signed up has family issues to attend to. For info, see the previous post here.