Dated Curtain

“The curtains are dated,” Bev said as she continued her final real estate workshop critique of the day.  The picture of a bedroom was on the large monitor in the crowded room full of agents with their clients. The owner of the home and her Realtor were sitting in the front row.

Bev looked down at her computer screen and drew over the top of the photo projected above with her stylus to indicate her idea.

“See the illusion of height you get,” she said, “it freshens and makes the window treatments more contemporary.”

A murmur moved through audience with a lot of heads nodding in agreement and even a smattering of applause. Bev smiled, pleased with herself.

“Let’s look at the next room.” Bev clicked to the next picture, a bathroom. She made recommendations with an estimate of twelve thousand dollars to update, and then moved on to the last picture, a kitchen. A few people laughed.

This is the most dated kitchen I have ever seen, she thought, this house is never going to sell.

“This is a common mistake,” she said out loud. “Buyers want updated kitchens. You should gut this and start over.”

She sighed and then said, “That should cost about twenty-five thousand dollars but you’ll get that back when you sell.”

Bev clicked on some sample kitchens to show on the screen. She was pretty confident she was right about this house. It was never going to sell without updates.

The attractive mid-fifty’s homeowner stood up. Her agent shifted in her chair.

“I just lost my husband,” she said, her voice catching. “I can’t afford changes. Are you saying my house is too dated to sell?”

She slumped back into her chair and pulled a tissue out of her purse to wipe her eyes.

“It’s very dated,” Bev said, “your agent must think so too or she wouldn’t have brought you today. We know what buyers want.”

“How much are you asking?” A man stood up as heads turned and his own agent quickly stood next to him.

‘We’ll have discussion at the end of our workshop,” Bev said, trying to continue but the woman’s agent spoke up and gave the details.

“It’s exactly what I’m looking for,” the man said as he moved up the aisle to the front row to shake the surprised woman’s hand. “I want to buy it.”

“Are you sure? It’s so dated,” said the homeowner, but, her face brightened as his hand reached hers.

“I wouldn’t advise this,” Bev said, frowning.

“I’m very sure,” the man said, “It’s my kind of dated.”

“Just a moment sir,” Bev said. “Can you tell us why this house?”

“I want a home with character, that’s relaxed and used to having a family. The rooms you’ve shown us have history, they show respect for materials and an investment in better living. I can tell care has always been taken,” he said, still holding the woman’s hand. “I want a house where there’s been love.” He looked straight up at Bev.

Bev stood silent for a moment, swallowed hard, and then said, “I believe you’re right. Maybe we need to help our clients see those qualities.” She put her hands together and started the applause that soon filled the room.


Dated, especially used in decorating, is a word that bothers me. It’s over used, very judgy, and often not at all accurate. In my Writer’s Workshop our final assignment was to write a “Short Creative Piece” that included dialogue and that used a beginning paragraph from one of our earliest assignments, which, if I were to confess the inspiration, I may have just spent too much time watching HGTV instead of doing my homework!

My class ended this week. I scored a 97% on the written exam and submitted this story. Comments were pretty good and my instructor was very encouraging so I think I’m going to keep going. I’m going to use this as the beginning of my November writing project.


About Robin Arnold

Reader, writer, gardener, geek, maker of homes in several states, now settled in Virginia with husband Bob, and Hazel and Wilson the tabby cats.
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