Winter is mild in Bay Area. Temperature is at least ten degrees higher than Northwest.

There is the comfort of convenient access to Asian food supplies and I can hang out with my siblings as often as I want.  However, it is almost impossible to move back to California after decades when some real estate has been multiplied by 10’s times.  Fortunately, what matters the most to me are the beautiful nature and down-to-earth people here in the Northwest and my daughters seem to enjoy it here more, too.

Landscape and flowers are my favorite subjects.  When I am on the road, I also enjoy street photography and architecture. For the fact that I am still bashful pointing my camera at people, architecture becomes something that I am gravitated towards.  When my sister asked me if I was interested to go on a real estate house tour with her, I immediately said Yes and surely I am glad that I did.  It was an eye-opener for me.

Many ordinary-looking houses have high-quality construction and outstanding interior decoration. On many occasions, I thought I was walking into a basic house, but boy, the simple entry leads into a big space and brings out a whole load of drama. Land price is outrageous and property sizes are quite limited, but this is where I learn how to make the best use of the space and create such nice places that you can still enjoy as you live in the country with acres of land.

I lived in Palo Alto (where Stanford University is) for a short period.  It is a very civilized place with old houses and well-established businesses.  I liked it because it is quiet and organized, but a bit staleness and out-of-date when I was there 20 years ago.  The moment when I left, the real estate started to take off, up and up and still soaring.  It is now the place where all the young and successful silicon valley entrepreneurs live.

Steve Job’s house is probably the most photographed in the neighborhood. The house sits on the corner of the two prestigious streets. If he is not well known, people can easily walk by without noticing it. Outside the house is a practical Audi sedan, not fancy stuff.A genius who makes a big splash and impacts our modern life dramatically and yet lives so humbly and understated. That’s where my respect and admiration come from.

I have been repeatedly taught since childhood that the most profound speaks the least and an empty vinegar bottle shakes and makes noise. Undoubtedly, I am influenced greatly by this cultural standard that I tend to evaluate a person by his or her demeanor. It is not judgmental. We all have our favorite people that we like to hang out with, and that’s how I have my picks.

This house belonged to the founder of Hewlett-Packard.  It is nestled in a layer of trees with a large front and backyard.  It is the kind of house where you live here, work here and have to relax time here without having to go to a park.  A bit of seclusion can be obtained in the extremely expensive area.

In this street alone where both houses are located, housing prices are ranging from 7.5million to 20 million which is way more expensive than the celebrity houses in Hollywood and other exotic locations outside the country. I have never thought this would be the case. While Hollywood celebrities are pursuing luxurious indulgence, loud and clear, these intelligent people are quietly challenging their wiz to change the world.

Just to show a few more pricing properties with the kind of architecture that I like. Appearance makes no dramatic statement. Quality is presented on its own. I know if I come closer, I will spend hours photographing the details.

I am not that interested in the success of young biz tycoons and the value of these expensive houses. What I found interesting is the appearance of these houses, and how they are presented to a pedestrian like me. They are nice, but not overwhelming.  They make you stand a while to enjoy, but not blind your eyes with glamour and flame.

Unlike the mansions of Hollywood celebrities and rich heiresses in New York, these houses do not have the sign of luxury, sensation, or uniqueness.  They look just like one of the better houses, manicured, maintained, and have a character of their own. They don’t strike you in an ostentatious way, no boast, no big splash. Instead of cold and exclusive, they actually look welcoming.

If you have noticed, I enjoyed looking at the entryway of these houses. A lettuce entry with evergreens to welcome the guest to unfold the

multi-million dollar home is hidden within. Other than privacy, how do these people so not care about their appearance? I just love it. I believe people who overly look out for their appearance possess a sense of insecurity and the confident ones contrarily don’t care.  Here are the proofs.

Walking down this narrow sidewalk, I thought this street should be named Humble Avenue. I wandered in this street for a good hour and did not see a single soul coming out of the houses. It will be interesting for me to witness if they are as respectful as I expected, well, it is not important.
I have been addicted to the Orton effect for the last couple of weeks. I have applied it to some of the images for my fun sake.  I hope I did not overdo it and you think I am such a bad cook.

I caught a pretty bad cold that lasted for a while and dragged me down. I thought spring is almost here and I can finally get back on track, but it is now 29 and will go down to 22 tonight and tomorrow as I am writing, yucks.

One thought on “Understated

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