One blog to rule them all
"30-Day Blogging Challenge" | May 29
Architecture is an interest of mine, so I'm totally into this prompt!
There are a lot of architectural styles I like, including Federal and Neoclassical in particular. I also appreciate the quirkiness of styles like Queen Anne, Second Empire, and Victorian, but I'm not sure I'd actually want to live in any of those style homes, particularly since I prefer an open floor plan and homes in those forms tend more walls to support them, and thus a higher number of smaller, segmented rooms. For those who are interested here's a link to a website with details and a sketch of each architectural style for reference.
The architectural style I most often find myself gravitating toward is modern/contemporary. And I don't mean super out-there modern like staircases composed of steps suspended by cables, or the cold sterility of an interior decorating scheme that's sharp edges, metal, and glass. But I do like the modern sensibilities of clean lines, large open spaces with lots of natural light, and a variety of modern finishes. Here's an example of a home exterior that really appeals to me, including garage doors on the side of the house rather than obscuring the front of the house, and plenty of windows to see the natural world outside.
I won't bore you with comps of all the various rooms of the house, but I will take a few moments to highlight a few key spaces that I feel strongly about, starting with the kitchen. I enjoy cooking and, in my experience, the kitchen is such a central room in the house, I hate it when the kitchen is tucked away from the other rooms of the house. I'm not the kind of person who has dinner parties where a private chef prepares the meal out of sight, out of mind; I'm the kind of person who has dinner parties where I'm in the kitchen prepping the food while guests are having drinks and socializing in the living room. So I really enjoy modern, open spaces where the kitchen space flows into the living room space. Kind of like this:
Next up is the master bathroom. When my wife and i were in Thailand, we fell in love with the indoor/outdoor feel of the bathrooms there. The Thai culture has a connection with nature and many of their bathrooms, if they don't contain a literal combination of both indoor and outdoor spaces (like open air showers, concealed by walls and/or plants), will often have an element of nature in the bathroom, or large windows to view outside. When we stayed in a pool villa at our resort on the island of Phuket, the shower had a glass wall that looked out on several planted trees, with a privacy wall behind them. So the shower had this wonderful exposed to nature feel, but at the same time had the privacy of the whole setup, nature and all, being secluded from public view.
So I'm definitely in favor of a bathroom that has some element of the outdoors to it, even if it's just a view. I also really like the idea of a separate oversized soaking tub and roomy shower, and I kind of like when a bathroom feature like the shower or tub breaks up the room a little. I've spent so long living in small apartments where the master bathroom is a cramped affair with one sink and a tiny shower/tub combo, I've really come to associate a spacious bathroom with luxury. My dream home would probably have a bathroom similar to one of these:
Obviously, the most important room in the house for me is going to be the home office. Since I often work from home for my day job, and work from home independently on my writing, I need a space that I can dedicate to that work. For years I've either used our converted second bedroom or, now that we have kids, a desk that's in the corner of another room like our living area. And as with my feelings on the bathroom, years of working in dark cramped spaces leaves me wanting a work area that is bright and open and has plenty of room to spread my work out. And lots of storage. My dream home office would probably be something along these lines. I love the wrap-around desk facing floor-to-ceiling windows and all the shelves and cabinets in the first photo, and the spaciousness and the extra chair for relaxing and reading from the second photo:
That's all I'll say about the rooms, but now I want to focus on a couple of home features that would be really important to my dream house. I'll keep it to my top three most desired features.
#3 on the charts is a guest house or a pool house, and the pool to go along with it, of course. The pool is a no-brainer because swimming is one of my all-time favorite ways of getting exercise, so I would love to one day have my own pool so I can go for a swim any time I want without having to worry about getting in the car and driving somewhere. But even more importantly, I'd want a pool house, guest house, casita, or some kind of small detached bonus area for guests to stay. Hosting other people is something that's important to me, and I know how much it can feel like you're imposing (on both sides of the stay) when you're in someone else's home for an extended period of time. I would love to have some kind of small full-service (bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living area) space set apart from the house so we could have the grandparents come and stay, or missionary friends from another country come and stay, etc. for an extended period of time and be able to have their own private space they can get away to whenever it starts to feel crowded in the house.
Coming in at #2 is a convertible indoor/outdoor space. I love those houses where you have modern glass walls that you can push aside and retract into solid walls in order to open up your living area into the backyard and have a wide-open, airy feel to the living area. Here's a couple of pictures of the same space from different angles, just to give you an idea of the kind of thing I want. The black line on the ground is the track where the multi-panel glass walls can be pulled together and closed off when you want to lock up the house and separate the indoor and outdoor areas:
And my #1 most desirable dream home feature is... secret passages! When I was growing up, a friend of mine had a dad who was a contractor and custom-built their home, which included a secret bonus room in my friend's room. There was a built-in bookcase that had a latch which, when flipped, would allow you to push the bookcase in and enter a bonus play room attached to my friend's room. Ever since then, I've been fascinated by the idea of secret passages and hidden rooms, and that interest has only become more poignant after playing games like Clue and watching a number of movies and television shows like Scooby Doo where secret passages play a key role in the story.
I like the idea of both inventive, unusual secret passages leading to hidden rooms like this:
As well as more traditional "shortcuts from one room to another" kind of passages like this:
The idea of secret passages is appealing to me because my dream house would have to be an ideal place to play hide and seek and other games of that nature (obviously), and also because I actually like the idea of creating a flow to the rooms beyond just "here's the one door you enter and leave from." And since I'm not sure I want a house big enough to warrant multiple established points of ingress and egress in each room, the idea of having neat little passageways here and there would be a super-fun idea. For example, it'd be fun to have a secret passage from the master bedroom to my office, or from the kitchen to a hidden extra pantry/storage area, or from the garage to a separate workshop area. I've also always thought it would be fun to be able to tell someone, "And here's a little something that won't show up on the floor plans..."
Okay, well, I think that's about it for my dream house. As far as where I'd like to live... I really enjoy where we are in Southern California. The ocean is my happy place, so I suppose the dream would be somewhere within earshot of the ocean waves. I'm not sure I'd actually want a place on the beach (not a fan of tracking a bunch of sand around, or the marine layer that often sets in), but somewhere with a view of the ocean and being within earshot would be nice. If that weren't a possibility, somewhere in the Hollywood Hills with a view of the city would be really nice... and if Southern California weren't an option at all, I'd probably choose to live somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, with my dream home located somewhere with a nice forest or mountain view.
Thank you for tuning into this episode of WDC Cribs!