Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hidey-Hole Houses

Real-estate agents talk about “curb appeal,” the importance of a house looking good from the street. They speak of this as a good thing.

You know Sirius Black’s house in the Harry Potter books, how, if you didn’t know the house was there (and you didn’t know the secret of the spell on the house), you wouldn’t see it?

That’s what I want in a house.

I love what I think of as “hidey-hole houses,” houses or apartments that you’d never know were there.

There is a short dead-end street in the museum district in Houston. There are about six old, beautiful houses, crammed together, on that street, which you’d never know about if you didn’t stumble upon them. I love that.

They’ve been torn down now, but at my kids’ old school, if you continued down what looked like a short driveway, past the dumpsters, you’d turn into a little garden courtyard, ringed with apartments where some of the teachers lived. I love that.

I’ve heard, though I can find no trace of it on the internet, that there’s a private house, hidden on the grounds of the New York Botanical Garden. Wouldn’t that be cool?

One time, I was driving in a pick-up truck with my husband and my father-in-law on a ranch in the Hill Country in Texas. We passed an old, broken-down, abandoned house that looked over a creek, off a dirt road about eight miles from the nearest real road. I said I’d love to live in that house. My husband and his father looked at me as if I’d suddenly started speaking in tongues. But, hey, if I could get internet access and Fedex deliveries there, I’d be golden.

I might even invite you over some day.


  1. Our house is sort of that way. It's on a slight hill and on a curve, so drivers passing by don't pay it much attention as they go by. Fine by us, as we are definitely in the "pay no attention to us" camp. --jbs

  2. Not only my house unseen, but also myself unseen is good.