HGTV Green Home 2010: I saw it and I have the answers!

Disclaimer: I'm not associated with HGTV or the Pinehills in any way. I'm just a fan and hopeful contestant to win the house. I love daydreaming and daydreams are always much more fun when they're realistic - and having the facts helps Pisces daydreamers get lost in their heads! I'm just here to talk about what I saw at the Green Home.

Also, about that picture. There is an explanation below as to why I look miserable. Huge disclaimer: I don't look so potato-like in real life. I was hunched over and my puffy rain coat was riding up. BUT, you can see how uncomfortable I am...too bad the pic isn't clearer, my mom was trying to figure out how to use the phone and we didn't know if we'd get in trouble so it was rushed. The little sign on the counter top read: DON'T F**KING TOUCH. Well. It does but more nicely. It's nice to know when we all move into this place (since we all want to win...) that our couch and stuff will be nice n fresh.

The development is right off Exit 3 on Route 3. It's about 1 hour driving from Boston without traffic. It would be a long commute into the city in traffic, though, there is a commuter train.  The proximity to the Cape is both a plus and a minus. Plus: You're near tons of beautiful explorable places. Minus: Learn the back roads, otherwise you will not being getting anywhere very fast on the weekends Memorial Day - Labor Day. Plymouth has beaches and ponds if you're into water sports. There is a lot of stuff within about 15 minutes driving (a half-way decent) mall, an Ulta (cosmetics!), Target, Best Buy, Home Depot, etc. It's convenient but removed from the hustle and bustle - which is what so many of us want.

The Basement:
For anyone outside of New England, basements are fairly necessary around here. You will probably not be able to find a house without a basement. Yes: the door under the stairs in the kitchen does go into a full basement. The basement is the footprint of the house. The utility equipment was off to a single area so you could easily build it out to separate it...and then finish the rest of the basement. The ceilings are nice and high, however there are some beams that are probably 6.5 - 7 ft. An easy solution for taller people would be to keep the high ceilings but have a carpenter finish the beams so they look nice and are covered up (that way you only would have to duck sometimes). The basement could probably fit another bedroom and a rec area, however it would be a pretty dark bedroom (unless you're willing to dig out a well and put in some windows - which might not be allowed. There were small standard basement windows but I think only like 2 or 3). As far as adding a bathroom down there: I have no idea what the land is zoned for. If enough people ask, I might be inclined to call the zoning office in Plymouth and ask if another bathroom could be added. Also, the land in Plymouth is VERY sandy. This is excellent for water drainage. I doubt the basement will "get water" (like a house built on ledge would).

The Kitchen:

The island counter top looks orange in the online tour. But it's not orange, it's deep red. Not quite a deep cranberry, but a true blue-red (make up junkies will understand what I mean!). It also has pretty specs sparkling across the surface. The cabinets are full of nice Crate & Barrel stuff (square plates!) - you can keep all that if you win. 

Master Bed & Bath:

There are two closets flanking the bed in the master. The one on the right (if you're facing the bed) is actually a fake-out. When you open the door there's a mirror. The "kids bathroom" is actually behind there. The door on the left has a small closet - obviously they just wanted a uniform look. The bed is queen-size and the frame was custom made by the builder. It's really gorgeous but a queen sized bed is small for two adults and a big boxer! The closet was as you'd expect and the light from the solar tube is great. The master bath had a huge let down. When I walked in and looked at the tub I thought it was a joke: the tub is about half the length of a normal tub. It's a "soaking tub" according to the staff member in the bathroom. When she left the room I climbed in and the only way I could sit was if I was sitting upright and my feet flat on the ground (like if you're doing sit-ups and you're in the "up" position). I guess it's to save water (the whole "green" aspect). But I have to ask: what's the effing point? I'd much rather have no bath tub than have this one in there taunting me every time I'm sore after the gym. 

Bathtub: You look like you just worked out pretty hard. I bet your ass is sore from all those lunges.

Me: Yeah it's continuously sore because I'm on the Mattie Special: Lunges, squats, more lunges, and more squats. 
Bathtub: So why don't you pour some wine, grab a book and come relax?
Me: Because it's not relaxing to be in the fetal position. In fact. The fetal position + warm water + dim lighting is pretty much a uterus. I don't want to feel like an adult fetus. 
Bathtub: But you won me and I'm so much better than the tub in your old house which was 35 years old and was uncleanable! SOMEONE ELSE COULD BE TAKING A BATH IN ME RIGHT NOW YOU BRAT!
Me: I can't help it if I have legs, you ass! 
Bathtub: I can't help it if I'm too short for you!

And then there we are. In an awkward silence, backs to one another. Where do we go from there, people? The bathroom is an emotional crisis. I love the environment but honestly?

On a lighter note: the bathroom is beautiful. The shower and vanity are gorgeous and spacious (I'd rather have a smaller shower and a nice long tub, but I'm not gonna win anyway!). The high windows bring in tons of light but without sacrificing privacy.  

The Kids Bedroom:

There is no closet. Because apparently, truly eco-friendly children go nekkid. There are two 1-foot-long rods in the little niche by the sink area. You could easily install some proper rods and a pretty curtain (to do it inexpensively) or build out a closet.

Overall: I love the place. It's beautiful and the craftsmanship of the home and the furnishings don't disappoint. The woodwork detail is really stunning - the bead board/coffered ceilings are very beachy + classic New England. 

If anyone has any questions please leave it in the comments and hopefully I'll know the answer. 

Thanks to the ladies working on the tour. Everyone was incredibly informative and friendly. 

*If I get enough response and questions, I might be able to revisit the tour and take your questions with me.*


Peter said...

Did the neighborhood look charming? From the GH Special that aired, you could see large apartment buildings in the distance behind the furniture van. I could see living green on a small lot in a walkable neighborhood, but how many apartment buildings will be within eyesight?

Gretchen said...

Thanks for visiting, Peter!

The neighborhood IS charming. There are apt. buildings and they're very nice. There are lots of well-manicured green spaces (for dogs - you can have up to 3 pets, per one of the tour guides) and paths for walking or biking. It's kind of like a town within a town.

The lots of land are much smaller and the homes much closer together than we're used to in MA. Most people around here have large yards but in the Pinehills the lots are small. You have some entertaining space outside but the majority of grassy areas are those green spaces. It's all maintained by the HOA fee (Idk what that is). The homes are designed with the need for privacy in mind, though. You'll find lots of strategically placed plantings, little picket fences and well-positioned windows.

There's a little fire station and a cute downtown area. That's covered on the HGTV site. I went to The Market. It's very nice and convenient (short walk from the house) but pretty $$. The butcher department is really, really great. Lots of yummy cuts of steak and pre-seasoned meats to take home.

The development is a great place to be if you don't want to spend hours doing yard work on the weekends and want to enjoy the friendly spaces with your family and pets. But if you're someone who needs an excuse to ride around on his John Deere mower you will probably be disappointed.

Sandy said...

I really appreciate you taking the time to give out all this great info. I know there is a house being built on 1 side of the Green Home but what about the other side and the back of the house? If the lots are vacant are they for sale? What does the half bath look like? All I've seen is the sink. Is there a microwave and/or a garbage disposal in the kitchen? Do you think the tower could be used as an office? Do you know how I could get a copy of the covenants/restrictions for Pinehills? Thanks is advance for your answers. Sandy

Gretchen said...

Hi Sandy. I actually didn't see a microwave in the kitchen. My mom has a tiny micro in her kitchen pantry. If you could get an outlet in there, that might be an option (that way it's hidden!). I didn't look for a disposal! That can always be plumbed in after you move in. I know some towns don't allow a disposals but no one will know. Shh. Just keep the original drain for when you need to sell it, as you'll want to swap it out to sell. If you're handy it's not too $$.

Right now the house is flanked by a model home (which is gorgeously decorated - you can go in there, too. It's a slightly modified Windsail design by Whitman Homes) and a dirt parking lot. Another house is going in the dirt parking lot.

The development is set up so that there is a sidewalk along the front of the house and the road/driveway/garage are in the back (even though I feels like the "front" since it's what you see facing the street). It definitely gives it a planned community feel. So: Front of house - sidewalk then green space. Back - the street. Sides - houses. There's probably only a 10 foot wide strip of land that borders the entire house. Any kind of soccer games or exercising the dog would occur in the public green space (which is kinda cool).

The water closet on the first floor is pretty standard. It's red (ceiling, too) and very moody. There is a toilet tucked behind the door and it's a bit hard to reach, I would imagine a larger person would have difficulty squeezing the door shut b/c you essentially are wedged between the sink and door. I think the "tour" of the half-bath isn't too extensive b/c there isn't much to see! Just a toilet and sink, plus that driftwood mirror. Or as we say over here, "mirrah".

You could use the tower room as an office. There's a desk up there already. If you removed the chaiz lounge you'd have room for small storage units. You cannot really close it off, though. There's a safety rail but it's open to the floors below. It wouldn't make sense to erect a wall there. You might be able to put up a door to close off the "sitting area" and remove the chairs/side table/coffee table and put a desk in there. You'd get privacy but it would be tight.

I can't find anything on the community covenants. My aunts good friend lives in a townhouse there; I will ask her if she has a PDF file she could send me.

I hope this helps.

Gretchen said...

I just found this doc. Haven't really read into it that much. I'm not sure what "Great Island" is...but I do know that Pinehills is on its own water and sewer (doesn't use town of Plymouth's).

This might be relevant but again, not sure yet.


Felix said...

Gretchen do you happen to know the square footage of HGTV's green home?