The model home

Today, in the middle of the dust bowl (Texas has been above 100 degree temperatures for over a month now — with no rain), the family embarked upon an adventure.

With a baby strapped to my body and a toddler clinging to my side, the husband and I went on a tour of “model homes” in a newly built neighborhood.

The row of model homes sat against the main road, each front lawn boasting the name of the builder and a big “OPEN” sign.

They were nice. We ooo’d and ahh’d at variations of vaulted ceilings. Ran our fingers across granite countertops. Commented on crown molding and walked in walk-in closets. We buried our bums in the fluffed leather seats in the “in-home theater” rooms — and mused about the murals painted upon the nursery walls.

But as nice as the homes were — as fancy as the facades — as happy as the smiling faces in the framed stock photos — something was missing.

Sure, the homes were nice. And sure, I would like a bigger kitchen.

But once we left, I felt… underwhelmed. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until we turned the corner onto our modest street — and pulled into our leaf-covered driveway. Until we crept open our squeaky front door and walked into the toy-spotted livingroom.

You know what was missing in those picture-perfect houses?


Real life. Where dogs make hair and kids make stains and people make memories. And without the real stuff, a house is just that: walls and bricks and vaulted ceilings.

So often, we think we want what’s in that magazine — the clean, perfectly-placed, museum of a home — and there’s certainly nothing wrong with the models we viewed today.

I was just reminded that the real “models” are the homes that are filled with love: no matter what their price tag.

(Though I did like that kitchen.)



  1. Claire Warner

    So very true. It’s easy to fall into the trap of always wanting more than we have, and thinking that bigger and fancier is better. And certainly, sometimes bigger and fancier can be nice. However, more often than not, we already have all we need and just forget to fully appreciate that fact and to live in the here and now. As you say “life” and living is what’s really important.

  2. Catherine

    My husband and I moved into our first home a little over two years ago. It had belonged to his grandmother (she had moved in as a new bride) who had recently passed away at the age of 85. There had not been any children in that house for over 30 years. We came with two rowdy boys and proceeded to debut two more little ones, all blessed with healthy vocal cords. I was worried that our new neighbors would not welcome the change. I need not have worried. Just a few weeks ago my neighbor commented (after delivering an icecream container full of wild raspberries) how wonderful it was that the house and yard were full of life after being quiet for so long. :)

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