If you've been a reader for a while, then you know that I love interior design and home projects. When we were still living in Austin, I was constantly thinking of future projects for our house, up until we decided to sell it. I don't think of as many projects for our apartment here, other than baby-proofing and how to better organize. I'm definitely getting a little decorating itch as I've been stalking houses on Zillow lately. And I haven't even been looking in any particular area, because I am definitely not ready for the responsibility of home ownership anytime soon. Plus we're still on a 5+ year projection of buying again (we've got a few more ideas up our sleeve before settling more permanently). But, while I've got the itch, I figured it might be fun to share what our future house dreams currently look like.
Keith and I have both been enjoying having so much less space here. There's less to clean, less clutter, less spots to lose our keys and sunglasses. We moved from a 2,100 square foot house to a (maybe) 800 square foot apartment, and we love it! Even with an additional family member, we definitely never want to go that large again. Partially our priorities have changed, but also now that we've lived together in two smaller apartments and one larger house, we've realized we just don't require that much space. Having the experience of multiple living situations, we've realized that if/when we buy again, we won't have a designated guest room, a formal dining room, or bonus rooms we don't need. Some of that may make sense and some of you may be asking, but where will we sleep when we visit? So here's a breakdown of our thoughts on a smaller footprint.
No Designated Guest Room
In Austin, we had a 4-bedroom house for two people. That means, we each had our own office plus a guest bedroom, which was infrequently used for guests and mostly used for extra closet storage (i.e. more stuff). I don't want to always live in a space that requires us moving our breakfast table to blow up a mattress for guests in our living room (current situation), but I also don't see the purpose of having an entire bonus room that sits empty most of the year (Austin house). In the future, we'll probably look for a 3-bedroom or a 2-bedroom with a study. That means we'll have an office area for Keith with a (comfortable) fold-out couch for the occasional guest.
No Formal Dining Room
Our dining room in Austin was probably my favorite room in that house. The globe light alone was one of our biggest investments (aside from landscaping and redoing the sunroom). And I spent two weekends in a row stenciling an entire wall. But, we only really used it for the occasional dinner party or when we were babysitting our nephew and niece. Our breakfast table for two got a lot more use. I love the idea of a banquette seating area essentially in the kitchen, that allows you to pull up an extra chair or two for up to 6, is a great space for Adeline to spread out and do future homework while I cook, and has plenty of room for my occasional crafting projects. I never used my office in Austin and often worked in the dining room or garage, so that would make a lot more sense.
No Bonus Rooms
This may be the area where I'm being the most naive, but I don't see the need for a designated game room, workout room, sunroom, family plus living room, etc. We had an entire sunroom in our Austin house that we used as a gym, but it mainly served as the dog's room when we were out running errands. Sure it was nice having a treadmill in the house, but we've been without one for well over a year, and it's been working just fine. We have a gym membership, run on the trails through the park, have a weight bar and various dumbbells at home, and I am actively involved with a local workout group. Bonus rooms are just one more space to clean, and I prefer cleaning to take as little time as necessary.
As you can see from the floor plans I found online (merely as a visual reference), we're picturing a much smaller future, longer-term second house. Some people dream about having more rooms, more area to spread out, we dream about less stuff and more land to run around. When it comes down to it, our main goal is to remain debt-free and pay with cash. We're certainly not millionaires, so as you can imagine, depending on the area we eventually do buy in, that means a pretty small footprint (1000-1500 square feet at most is the plan) with probably quite a bit of work needed. And currently, that sounds perfect to us.
What's your dream house look like? What are some of your main priorities?