What We Call Home In These Here Pimmit Hills
By Tom Gillespie, Storm Drive
As a Pimmit Hills resident for the past couple of years, I’ve enjoyed many strolls throughout our community. What I’ve found is that besides offering some good exercise, walking our neighborhood allows one to clearly see the many variations and conditions of the homes.
From original condition models to customized castles, our 1950’s ‘burb has changed much from its original days.
In this article, I’ll share some (hopefully) amusing descriptions of the kinds of homes I’ve seen in Pimmit Hills. Of course, these descriptions are amalgams of many typical homes; none describes any home in particular--so please, no hate mail. Imagine this is a brochure for a neighborhood being developed.
Stroll through the quaint village of Pimmit Hills where we have many unique dwellings...
The original Pimmit Hills home (PHH) is a tribute to the post-war building boom. Most of the PHHs originally shared the same simple floor plan. A living room/dining room and small kitchen keep the common areas communal. Don’t plan on heading off to the den off the kitchen for a quiet evening with a book or you’ll find yourself in the backyard. One small bedroom and two even smaller bedrooms round out the sleeping quarters. I’ve heard that in the “good old days,” some Pimmit Hills families raised six kids in these sardine cans. I guess that’s when sales of bunk beds must have taken off. Oh, and you’d better hold it if you need to use the bathroom...it’s occupied.
Many PHHs sport this one-story additionundefinedoften in the rear. I see many bump-out variations, from small utility rooms to 1000 square foot gargantuans that seem to double the size of the house. I’ve been in a few PHH bump-outs. They may include master bedrooms (as opposed to apprentice bedrooms), family rooms (where we do more living than in living rooms), laundry rooms, larger dining rooms, etc. I can’t help but wonder what else our many bump-outs might have inside them. There have got to be one or two that are concealing velvet portraits of Roy Orbison.
The only thing I remember about the Latin Stoics was that stoic roughly translates to porchie (one who likes to hang out on the porch). Probably the best idea somebody had was to add a covered front porch to his or her PHH. The idea seems to have caught on. Not only are these porches attractive, but they encourage neighbors to interact (as opposed to ‘hoods where everybody isolates themselves on their secluded back decks, “Well I’ve lived here for years, but neighbors? I don’t know any of ‘em”).
The upstairs PHH comes in two categories: NHRs and LHRs (no headroom and lotsa headroom). NHRs are the finished attic or loft models. Some people can stand up in these lofts, but they aren’t yet old enough to vote. The challenge of NHRs is, where to put the stairs? I looked at one that sacrificed the smallest bedroom for a staircase with, you guessed it: NO headroom (I found that out while hitting my head). LHRs vary from large dormer finished attics to full-fledged second stories. The added upstairs bedrooms of LHRs beckon for modified downstairs floor plans, especially for the smallest bedroom to be combined with the living room to make the living room big enough for people to actually be able to live in it.
I guess some people just love living in the Hills even when they can afford to move to a mansion in Great Falls. So they take their 900 square foot PHH and add on, say...3000 more square feet? The mammoths are hard to miss and most are quite attractive and creatively done. I think they look even bigger than they are because they sit next to shoebox-sized original PHHs. I’m sure that some of these mammoths must have indoor swimming pools or gymnasiums inside. Ok, maybe I’m stretching my imagination, but on a recent walk, I passed a mammoth and I could hear the crack of bowling pins through the window.
Technically, I suppose any changes to your PHH could term it a custom. But my definition of a custom PHH requires that they be changed in appearance so radically, that you can’t imagine that they were ever original PHHs. Custom roofs, brick work, relocated doors and windows, well incorporated additions, and unusual siding & trim make these homes stand out. Who can blame people for wanting to have a unique looking house in a ‘hood where every house is almost exactly the same? Frank Burns of M*A*S*H once said, “Individuality is fine...as long as we all do it together.”
Yes, some people have added garages--next?
It’s hard to tell how many PHHs have had real basements dug over the years. It seems like quite a few have them, but it’s still a small percentage. After all, have you ever tried driving a backhoe under a house? For those of you who haven’t, PHH basements are mostly hand-dug affairs. On my street, the neighbors teamed up many years ago for a few big digs.
I understand they had to dump wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow, month after month for each basement. I hate to say, “get a life” here, especially since I’m so grateful that somebody dug a basement for my own PHH, so I won’t.
The Sanford & Son (S&S)
Ok, I had to end with this category. You can’t ignore S&S houses. Most older ‘hoods have some, and boy...do we have some. Jeff Foxworthy said, “If you are mowing your yard and you find a car...you might be a redneck.” Being a redneck myself, I can truly appreciate the artistic quality of S&S houses.
Here are some of the things I’ve seen in the “yards” of our esteemed S&S’s: rusted vintage vehicles soon to be restored (yeah, sure, and our President is Gore), truck caps, campers on jacks, mean old dogs and mean old cats, crumbled driveways soaked with grease, broken car parts (want some please?), tattered blue tarps flapping in the breeze, I even saw a swimming pool leaning on some trees, hubcaps, bathmats, a birdbath upside down, and seats from a van (once white, but now they’re brown), snowplows rusting (yes, I know what a bummer)--do you think they’ll leave it out in case it snows a bunch this summer? Bet on it.
I love this place. We’ve got some great houses with lots of character. But, let’s face it...the best part of the Hills is not the houses, it’s the people.