It was in many ways our "dream house" - before breaking ground, we modified the builder's original floorplan, adding space and features, and made it our own unique home. I spent hours going over plans with the cabinetmaker before he began crafting the custom maple cabinets for our kitchen, baths and laundry, the stair rails and fireplace mantels.
The house we are in now was not (and is not) our dream house. But it is our home, and has been for over ten years. During that time, we have replaced roofs and floors, and pretty much everything in between. There is little in this house that is original to its mid-70s construction, except for the structure hidden behind the drywall and under the flooring. If the previous owners saw it, they would probably feel much the same way about it as I do about our last home.
But our updates and remodeling efforts have been restricted by the house's footprint and roofline - which are respectively small and low. There are definitely some good points to the house we're in - it's on an acre with plenty of big trees, I have a HUGE laundry room, cavernous shower, a walk-in pantry to die for, and the location can't be beat. (And it's almost paid off - which is pretty sweet.)
So what would I wish for if I could build or gut and re-do another house (BEFORE moving in)? Many things. But here's my top ten wishlist items for the next house - whenever that might happen:
- A bigger kitchen. Not commercial-size - I don't want to run a marathon to fix dinner. But I really doubt I will get duped into another 9x18 space for kitchen and eating area. Fool me once, all that.
- A walk-in pantry. I will miss my big pantry I have now, unless I find a way to have another one. (Note to self: forget the "mom cave" - just give me a big honkin' pantry, preferably with built-in cabinets, electrical outlets and maybe even a sink beneath a window, with countertops on either side.)
- Taller ceilings. I'm no giant, but even at my stature, eight-foot-ceilings feel a little claustrophobic, especially when you've lived in a house with soaring space above your head.
- Fireplaces. As in multiple - one outdoors, and at least two or three indoors. They are one of the things that make winter bearable.
- Windows, windows, and more windows. Tall windows that let in lots of light. And that tilt in for cleaning.
- Closets, closets, and more closets. B-I-G closets. There ought to be a law that all closets must be large enough to do what they're designed to do (plus some wiggle room), whether they are for linens or coats or clothes.
- A central vacuum. Had one, loved it, would love one again.
- A garbage disposal. (Or, put another way - no septic system.) It's the little things that mean a lot. You don't miss 'em until you don't have them any more.
- A walk-in attic. One that you can actually stand up and WALK around in. Every time I pull down the attic stairs, I get a mental image of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, and flinch at the though of the staircase smacking me in the face. It can't, but it just feels like it might. And hauling my Christmas decorations up and down attic stairs and stooping over at the waist to tuck them away is JUST NO FUN.
- A covered or screened-in porch. With a niche for a TV (above that outdoor fireplace) and an adjacent hot tub, preferably with a view of a pond, stream or other burbling natural water feature, close enough to hear and far enough away to not pose a flooding threat.
So what's on your list of must-have's in a dream home?