What I Learned From the Parade of Homes

What I Learned From the Parade of HomesI’m not sure how widespread this is, but in our corner of Michigan, there’s an annual event in several cities called the Parade of Homes. It’s like a progressive dinner, but instead of eating at each stop, you look at the house. This is an occasion for builders to showcase their work, in hopes of selling their house or finding new clients.

I’ve always been intrigued by the Parade of Homes but have never gone. I worried that seeing these houses, many with extravagant extras, would turn the satisfaction with what I have into an unhealthy desire for more. When it comes to possessions, I seek contentment with what I have, not something bigger or more shiny.

However, this year – with plans to build a house for the first time – we decided it might be a good idea to check out this year’s houses in the parade, to get ideas of what to include and learn what to avoid. Still, I worried this tour would skew my perceptions of what our new home should look like.

Overall, we enjoyed visiting these houses. Aside from being educational, it was an inexpensive outing that lasted four days. We did get some practical ideas for our house and saw some things we want to avoid. We saw finishes and treatments we liked and some we can take off our list.

We also confirmed we don’t want a big house that will be costly to run and take too much time to maintain; I don’t want a bunch of fancy, impractical things that are likely going to break. I feel sorry for the people who will buy these huge houses; I don’t think they will find peace there. A big house may be impressive, but I don’t see happiness in their future.

But mostly I learned that an affordable, comfortable house is the right one for me.

[This is from the July 2014 issue of Peter DeHaan’s newsletter. Sign up to receive the complete newsletter each month via email.]

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