We bought this house 20 years ago, thinking we would only be here five years or so before moving on to something bigger to accommodate an expanding family. (Dream on...) We've talked on & off about moving. Our house is only about 1,400 square feet -- big enough for two people, surely, but whenever we have visitors, it suddenly feels cramped. The big back yard, which we thought would be perfect for children, is seldom used. It gets the hot afternoon sun, dh grumbles about having to mow it, & we'd both rather be inside with our nose in a book than outside weeding & puttering in a garden.
The house is getting older & needs repairs & other upkeep. The downstairs carpets are getting worn, & the kitchen needs, if not a complete overhaul, definitely a refresh.There never seems to be enough storage (a problem common to most houses, I think...!) I don't like that the front door basically opens into our living room, & how shoes & boots pile up in the tiny foyer. What was considered a luxury for smaller, cheaper houses like ours -- like spacious entrances with large closets, large master bedrooms with walk-in closets & ensuite bathrooms, now seem to be standard fixtures in newer houses. (Of course, you don't see a lot of 1,400 square foot homes being built these days -- unless maybe they're condos...)
On the plus side, the location is unbeatable. We're in a slightly older (25 years-ish) but still nice suburb, surrounded by houses that are larger & more expensive than ours. We're a short walk away from public transit, a plaza with many amenities (supermarket, drugstore, dry cleaner, hair salon, pizza & subway outlets, etc.), both public and Catholic elementary & high schools (not that it matters to us... but it may to any potential future owners...), and a short drive to the mall and the commuter train to the city.
We may not use the backyard very much, & dh may grumble about having to mow it, but I like all the trees, & I like having some extra space around me, so that the neighbours aren't right on top of us. Our lot is one of the biggest ones on the street. Newer houses' backyards these days are just a fraction the size of ours. And even though the afternoon sun bakes the backyard, it also floods into our living room in a way that warms & brightens the mood -- & my spirits.
I still like my little house. (For one thing, it's paid for, lol.) ; ) A visiting friend once called our house "cozy & comfortable," & to me, that was the ultimate compliment. The pristine houses that I see in some of the decorating magazines with all-white walls, leather sofas & glass tables, no television sets and nary a knickknack to be seen, seem sterile and bland. There has to be a happy medium between minimalism and clutter.
Even though my kitchen cupboards are scratched and sagging (I hate the chipboard shelves inside), I love the warm wood tones. The previous owners carried the wood theme through with wooden tongue & groove wainscotting in the dining nook, stained to match the cupboards. Maybe it's a little dated, too countryish for modern tastes, but I still love it.
Nevertheless, if I was building a custom home, money no object, here are some of the things I'd love to see in it:
- a large, treed, waterfront lot
- large kitchen that opens to a family room, with lots of solid wooden cabinets & a pantry (preferably walk in, like my grandma's), and an island or breakfast counter
- lots of built-in bookshelves -- maybe in a dedicated library or office space?
- a scrapbooking room with lots of natural light & all the built-in storage I need : )
- a large foyer/mudroom with ample closet space to hang coats & put shoes.
- a finished laundry room (dont' care if it's in the basement or main floor)
- a main floor bathroom
- master bedroom with an ensuite bathroom, large walk-in closet, big enough to hold all my clothes (right now, they're in every bedroom closet in the house), and maybe a deck with French doors