Our House…Part Two

20 04 2011

Our House......

Today I want to talk, a bit more, about pattern-of-living; but first let me set the stage by describing our current home.

The house, itself, is a 1,900 +/- sq. ft. (conditioned space) two-story colonial. The first level contains a large living/family room, formal dining room, kitchen, powder room, laundry room, and screened porch in addition to the two-car garage. The second level has four bedrooms with a master bath and second bathroom. The house also has a full basement that is unfinished and used as storage.

This is a tidy little floor plan that exists from coast to coast; what one might term a one size, one layout to fit all……….conducive to our pattern-of-living? Not hardly, but why?

First, some general comments about the layout that I believe would affect any family living in this space; though, if you are an isolationist, this house might work nicely. As you can see in the plan views, the first level is cut up into small spaces with the only large gathering space being the Living Room which is isolated from, what many people consider to be the heart of entertaining, the Kitchen/ Dining area. Notice, also, how the Stairway, Laundry and Powder rooms divide the entertaining spaces; by the way, we added the door from the Laundry to the exterior in order to access the beautiful backyard and pool area (otherwise a person went through the garage or screened porch to connect with the isolated back yard). And, without much ado, the upstairs is typical assemblage of uninspired, isolated Master Suite, small bedrooms, and bath.

So, again……….conducive to our pattern-of-living? Not hardly, but why?

First, Judy and I are empty-nesters; OK, we have many Spaniels and several cats but, for the most part, it’s just she and I. We are also not at home, much, during the day and, when we are, we’re in the Kitchen or in the Backyard; see a connection (or lack of connection) through the Laundry or Garage? This is also a huge issue for us because we love having family and friends over for dinners or cookouts and the spaces become cramped, conversations are disjointed, and no comfortable flow of guests or activities is possible. The first level is really having an identity crisis, it’s certainly not formal but it also lacks the open, communal feel of a more casual entertainment layout; and, just as importantly, the interior spaces turn their backs to the exterior and, vice versa.

With regards the upstairs, we don’t have a large (two-legged) family so we don’t need the obligatory, four-bedrooms (Spaniels sleep in our bed, duh). We would, however, enjoy a larger, private area that might include some work space, spa space, and a bit more closet space. And, again, wouldn’t it be nice to have a better connection with the outdoors to enjoy nature’s ever-changing kaleidoscope of beauty.

Clearly, the house doesn’t fit our lifestyle (or that of many families) but, as I’ve mentioned, we love the neighborhood, we love our yard, we love the potential.

So, what do we do? Our options are (in no special order):

  • Go on a search for a new home that has everything we desire?
  • Bite the bullet and purchase the property we’ve looked at?
  • Expand our current home creating the spaces that are lacking?
  • Remodel our current layout into a more conducive layout?

In my next installment, I’ll discuss the pros and cons of each of the above options; each has its own set of issues that we will come to grips with. We’re on a good track, though, we are thinking about our lifestyle and will look at many considerations, not just lifestyle, but many pragmatic issues including that all-time favorite, finances.

For those that are on a similar journey, are you starting to think about real issues? Are you becoming less influenced by “Keeping up with the Jones”? Have you strayed, a little bit, from media hype? Are you starting to give consideration to……are you ready for this……pattern-of-living?




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