Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Rooms We Wished We Had

Since I'm still (and will be for the foreseeable future) trying to figure out the details of my future home in the country, I read a lot about the subject. Recently, I read an article that only indirectly related to my quest, but was very interesting so I thought I'd share.

Apparently, someone has finally figured out that the people that bought all those McMansions don't actually use all that room. (Insert laugh here.)

Honestly, how long should it take to figure out that 2 people who work away from home all day aren't really using a house that has 5 bathrooms, 6 bedrooms and more than half a dozen other rooms with labels like media, conversation, grand dining or library? I'm equally sure that this only comes up as the economy contracts and these same homeowners are no longer capable of keeping their maids or cleaning services. Houses can certainly seem bigger when one is suddenly required to be the one taking care of it.

But it brought up a thought. Some of the quotes in there reflect where purchasers were coming from when they bought it really well. One commented that she had always wanted a butler's pantry like in the old house she grew up in, and it was only in this large house that she had found it. Personally, I wouldn't buy a 5,000 square foot house in order to get a pantry, but that is just me.

It further wrote that studies show that people will buy a home based on a single room, even if they don't know they are doing it. Sort of backs up that above example a bit.

So, what room would you most like to have in your house? Assume you have the right number of regular rooms for your uses, such as bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen, etc. All the normal stuff is there we'll say. What would you add if you could?

I did a bit of a real world poll by asking everyone around me for the last couple of days and these are the answers I got:
Harvest Kitchen
Butler's Pantry (or walk-through/walk-in pantry) - lots of this answer
Media Room
Game Room - lots of guys answered this one :)
Arboretum/Attached Greenhouse - Loved that one

My choice, if I could only have one, would be a ginormous butler's pantry now that I've been able to think about it. Second choice attached greenhouse. What about you?


Milah said...

A sewing/quilting/crafting room. Maybe I should call it a multi-purpose room. Actually, I went to one of those million dollar Home-A-Rama tours and I saw a laundry room that I totally coveted. It was about 14 x 16, cherry cabinets for storage, a folding table for laundry made from cherry wood, a gift wrapping area with rods for storing wrapping paper. Magnetic board for sissors, sewing gadgets, and craft supplies. A scrapbooking desk with storage. A small flat screen TV and a fold down ironing board with a rolling cloths rack. Storage for vaccuum cleaner, mops, brooms, buckets, ladders etc. This room had everything neatly tucked away but at your finger tips when needed. Ahhh....heaven.;D

Kristina said...

Ooo, great question. And apt, since Patrick and I are spending lots of time dreaming up plans for our future home, too.

I love the idea of a pantry, but really, I feel if your kitchen is well-designed, you don't need one. BUT, there is this scene in These Happy Golden Years (I think) where she steps into her pantry in the new house Almanzo just built for them... and there's a low countertop right under the window where she can look out on the tree as she kneads bread... and that part always seemed like about the most beautiful prose in the English language.

So, I'll leave it at that. Before I write The Great American Novel on your comments page!

Christy said...

I'd love an attached greenhouse/sunroom. Being able to grow stuff all year right in the house would be amazing.

Aimee said...

I remember that scene from the little house books. it made me want a pantry, too. I don't exactly have a pantry, but I have a great utility room that has enough storage to be my pantry. This is the best room in my house: it has the washer and dryer, a utility sink, a long, low counter with a knee-hole in it that I think is meant as a sewing desk (that's what I use it for) and enough storage to hold a year's worth of food. This is where I put all my canning jars, empty or full as the case may be.
I also have an attached sunroom/kid's playroom/greenhouse which an extremely useful room. The dogs sleep there; there's a massive brick fireplace which I eventually plan to use as a bread oven/meat smoker, and I have hung swings from the rafters so the kids can play when it's raining outside. Since I also have a nice guestroom, I honestly can't think of another room I'd like to have, unless I go hogwild on the dreaming scale and make it an indoor swimming pool.

Storm said...

To be honest, I prefer the one room house.. I am building a home which will be technically two rooms, only because the root cellar is in my house. (I am building underground, thus this is an obvious option)

Very open spaces where labels or "rooms" are irrelevant. My house is to be a life house.. I live in it all essentially equally. There is a bed, which can be screened off (though almost certainly never will be) , but otherwise is part of the "living" area. There is a kitchen the boundary of which is clearly ambiguous.. it flows naturally into the living area, as well as being open to the outside with both uphill and down hill views..

There is a pantry in the kitchen area, but also of course a large root cellar pantry which will be only one of two interior doors.. The other being a door to the toilet "room" so that if all I have read on the five gallon bucket system is not true, odors will be limited to that small space..

There will be a large table which doubles as work surface at harvest time, as bar for friendly non-judgemental gatherings over whatever potable beverage is ready to be consumed.

There will be an utility area, which also serves as simply open space to lend an airiness to the home in general.. but as for rooms.. well maybe the root cellar is a room, and the toilet area a closet at best.. but I prefer to think of the house as one room in which I live, when not outside where we belong when living..

hickchick said...

For pure luxury not practicality i vote for library. Comfy overstufffed chair, small table for my cuppa, warm lighting and room for BOOKS. Of course this also implies I have the time to actually use this room on a (very) regular basis. My practical choice would HAVE to be sunroom/greenhouse-but perhaps I could move my books in there... hmmm :) Kris

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

The only 'extra' room that I must have in a house is a Mud Room.

When you're gardening, taking care of farm animals, and spending large amounts of time outside it's inevitable that you'll require a place to store all your muddy boots, over-alls, dirty jackets, hats, extra feed/chicken scratch, egg and produce baskets.


Peggy said...

A room that would be a combination of pantry and storage room so I wouldn't have to store suitcases, etc in bedroom closet or under bed. Everything nice and neat in one room


Ok you may laugh at my room but I would want a huge all glass bathroom including a glass roof or greenhouse type roof which would run the length of the house, be protected from onlookers by trees and gardens outside, with rough stone flooring, a huge garden tub which drains into the surrounding landscape, with a low wall open walk in shower at one end, done in a southwestern theme, and including shelving and beds in a greenhouse fashion. Kind of a tropical type bathroom.

Pamela said...

I just moved to a McMansion, actually, and for once have enough space for everything. We had us and our five kids in a 3 bedroom, 1200 square foot townhouse, and it was wretched. Now we have a bedroom for everyone, and I even have a big room for doing my sewing and crafts. It's a lot of space, and a lot to clean, but I am so grateful, after being crammed into a too-small house with so many people, to finally have somewhere to put everything and everybody. Only thing I'd add is a work kitchen with a big butcher block and plenty of sinks, and a greenhouse. Oh, and maybe no HOA, so I could keep chickens. I would probably not add a room at all, except perhaps the greenhouse, but rather, add more yard space. We only have 1/3 of an acre.

Cindy said...

My husband and I were having this convo last night actually. We loved our last townhome, it was about 1250 sq feet, 2 bedrooms, and each had a huge walk in closet. Nifty. Next place we look for I wouldnt mind 1 more bedroom ( so the kids quit trying to kill each other sharing 1) and a walk in pantry, which we have seen but only in the high end ones.

Someday when we're in a postion to buy again I dont want a complete fixer upper like the disaster that was our first home, but I'd like it to have an open enough floorplan that if we needed to shift some walls/appliances/closets around to suit us better we could. My dream home also has a basement (again, for food storage but those arent common around here) and/or an attic for stashing more empty jars and bulk supplies. Skylights/solartubes would be awesome.

I'd also LOVE an outdoor canning kitchen, or at least a nice permanent outdoor gas grill I could set a canner on to avoid heating up the house.

An attacthed room that could utilize plastic walls for the colder months and shadecloth for summer would be awesome too.

I think my husband was right, in the end it may be cheaper and better for us to just buy a piece of land somewhere and have one of those pre-fabricated homes you can custimize the layouts for built on it. Or a yurt, but those dont have many room options LOL.

Cindy said...

ooo and ditto on no HOA. I want my garden, a small fruit orchard, bees, and some chickens over a perfect lawn and boxwoods please.

oh and if I was gonna splurge on a room....a walk in room freezer, so we could buy a side of organic beef or something and have plenty of space for it along with all the frozen produce I dream of having. :p

ATW said...

Christy- I was watching green tv and they had a segment on Green pre-fab homes by a company in boston that makes there homes in all kinds of shapes and sizes and come ready to order with all the greeniest cool toys, like solar and water catchment systems that reuse rain water to reheat your home. This may not be down your lane but it can definately give you some ideas

Daphne said...

I would so go with a greenhouse/sunroom. I've dreamed of one for ages. Maybe some year I'll get it. Or maybe not. I'd rather have solar panels however, so they might show up first.

Green Assassin Brigade said...

I'd like an full industrial kitchen. While what I have is good enough for slapping together a quick meal, for big family events, canning season, attempting to make chesse or 6 loaves of bread in one baking it's utterly pointless, of course since it would be used sporatically it could also be the pantry. If set apart from rest of the house it could act like the porch kitens of old so summer cooking would not overheat the house.

Anonymous said...

Greenhouse, hands down. No question. I have so many fruits I love that can't easily be grown here in CT and a greenhouse would be wonderful, not to mention the extension of the growing season overall. It is a dream for me for sure....
Second place is a root cellar, though I think I can do just fine without that as I did this year in the "cool dark place" aka unheated large garage... it would just make it easier to organize I guess. But really, I dream of a greenhouse and would buy even a small basic bare-bones house to get that greenhouse in the package. Oh, and a lot of open space for a large garden, if that is a "room"... it gives me such mental satisfaction and energy that it has so much more than the production/food value it gives.

Jennifer said...

What an interesting post. I would love to have a sun room. I have always wanted one.

Confessions of an Overworked Mom said...

I agree. I'd want a HUGE pantry.

Kate@LivingTheFrugalLife said...

For me I'd want an attached (unheated) greenhouse/conservatory, a library, and a modest pantry off the kitchen - in that order. All of these rooms feature in the dream house I periodically design. I don't need extra baths or bedrooms, but I'd love to have those rooms. Oh! And a root cellar in the cellar, of course.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

What is the definition of a "harvest kitchen"?
I would love to have a root cellar - someplace cool, dry, rodent/pest free, with excellent air circulation to be able to store root veggies and apples and such.