I still love watching many of his old movies including one of my very favorites "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House". By chance that movie was on Turner Movie Classics this past Sunday. For the reader not familiar with the plot, Mr. Blandings and his family plus maid lived in a small post World War II New York City apartment. The Blandings had two pre-teen daughters who needed space to grow into young ladies. So the family decided to look for a real house outside the city. They found a run down house in rural Connecticut that supposedly dated back to the Revolutionary War. It had "character" but it needed tons of work. The location, however, was ideal and the couple decided to buy the old place.
I tuned in after the movie started just as Mr. and Mrs. Blandings were showing the house to their friend Bill who happened to be an attorney. Bill complained that they had made a dreadful mistake to which Mr. Blandings announced:
Muriel and I have found what I'm not ashamed to call our dream house.
It's like a painting. You buy it with your heart, not your head.
You don't ask, "How much was the paint? The canvas?"
You look at it. And you say,"It's beautiful. I want it."
And if it costs a few more pennies, you pay it and gladly.
Because you love it.
And you can't measure the things you love in dollars and cents.
Well, anyway, that's the way I feel about it.
When I sign on Saturday, I can look the world in the face and say, "It's mine.
My house. My home.
To which Mrs. Blandings added "Our house. Our home."
We get to watch the Blandings go through buyer hell as they realize the little fixer needed more repairs than imagined. Ultimately, they hired an architect and decided to design and build exactly what they wanted: their dream house. Of course dream houses cost more than one could imagine. Simple little things eventually add up to very large sums of money. Disputes, delays, budget overruns, and misunderstandings sometimes turn a dream into a nightmare.Near the end of the movie we see Mr. Blandings reach his boiling point over perceived price gouging. He even suspected his wife and best friend of infidelity. Yes he paid more than he planned. And no, his wife and best friend had not cheated.
The final scene is a tight shot of the Blandings family along with their attorney friend sitting at the foot of the freshly completed home. The camera pulls back ever so high to show the new owners enjoying life in the bucolic landscape living happily ever after in their dream house.
As much as I love this movie the fact is the Blandings could have avoided all of the drama (and maybe some of the cost) had they bought a house that already met their needs. Instead of looking for a place that they could fix-up, they might have found a place that didn't need any work. Rather than feeling cheated by contractors and doubting the fidelity of his wife and best friend, Mr. Blandings could have saved himself (and family) from remembrances of Daddy not at his dearest. If you are thinking about buying a Key West getaway home, CLICK HERE to search the Key West mls database. Instead of limiting your search to your intended price target, increase the price a bit to see what other properties might be available. Take into consideration the costs in time, materials, and contractor fees if you were to do a renovation.