Buyer’s Tour

You can see why I had to bring you here; photographs don’t do justice.

I agree, and it’s low maintenance too. Centipedegrass hardly needs mowing. All these flowers are perennials. The house was built for people with other things to do.

The schools in this neighborhood are great; the architect was thinking about that. The house is all on one floor. I’ll tell you the rest when we’re inside.

It is kind of featureless. Just a big front room, no fireplace, no built-ins but the sliding double doors. The architect thought it wasn’t good to put permanent features into a living room; there are so many ways a growing family might use the space. Besides, the real focal point of the house is here, behind the doors. Careful, two steps down.

Yes, isn’t it? You said you didn’t want a cookie-cutter house.

That’s right. This central space with no floor planters is where the dining room table goes. The Japanese maples and other plants are shade-tolerant; they get enough sun through the frosted skylights. The kitchen and master suite are over there. The kids’ bedrooms are on the other side. Imagine, sharing meals three times a day in this big, beautiful atrium garden.

All right, if you want to see them first. There’s the bathroom. The inner door separates the sink from the tub and toilet area. That way, two children can use the bathroom at the same time. You can see that the bedrooms have windows facing…

You’re observant. There are no ruts in the carpeting, ergo, there was never any furniture in this house.

No. Then it would be a foreclosure sale. The bank would be handling it.

You know, it’s not often that a realtor wants to tell a client, “That’s none of your business.” I’ll keep it short: the architect is also the owner. I happen to know the woman very well. She built the house on speculation, at a time…well, I don’t think I have to say any more. Buildings follow blueprints.

Don’t bother. The owner has arranged her own financing, no down payment necessary.

Robert Laughlin lives in Chico, California. He is the creator of the Micro Award for flash fiction, and two of his longer stories are storySouth Million Writers Award Notable Stories. His website is at

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