Whether we are dreaming of Manderly or inspired by the red earth of Tara, we each have in our minds a vision of an ideal place to call home, our dream house.
I spend some time each day…okay, a lot of time…searching houses on the internet. One of my favorite sites is For The Love Of Old Houses, a popular group on Facebook. Most of the houses listed, at least the ones I really like, I could never afford. Instead, I take notes so that maybe one day a character of mine might reside there.
Place plays an important part in stories. I like to visualize my characters sitting around a table in their kitchen discussing life. I always begin to build my characters in the kitchen because, in my opinion, that’s where you discover the most about people.
Our kitchen in South Baltimore was the heart of our home, it was control central. Everyone had their place – and knew their place – around Nana’s table. It was more than just a spot to take your meals. We listened to the radio, talked on the phone, paid bills, put jigsaw puzzles together, played 500 Rummy, wrote out Christmas cards, dyed eggs, and sat up late nights completing homework assignments. Every important conversation and decision in my life took place there until I was about twenty-nine years old.
I remember when my Aunt Betty found her dream house. I was around five years old when she and Uncle Charles packed up their small row-home in Brooklyn Park and moved to a single-family home in Catonsville. There thy had a large backyard, a wide front lawn and a driveway. Aunt Betty had a longer commute to work, but that did not diminish the joy she had living in her new home.
As she grew older, she seldom spoke of the home she’d now lived in for over forty years, instead her stories centered around the home she’ lived in for several years in San Francisco. This is the home she’d shared with her parents and sister. Those memories became her haven.
I have thought over the conversations she and I had about her life in San Francisco and even had the privilege of accompanying her there so she could give me a tour of the city where she’d grown up.
It’s only been recently that it’s occurred to me; it wasn’t one home that Aunt Betty favored, it wasn’t one particular dream house. Her home, her shelter was her family. Her dream was for her parents and the place they’d lived all those years ago at the Presidio, overlooking the bay and listening to the fog horn.
As I admire photos of castles and cabins and old Victorians, in my heart I’m searching for that home where we gathered around a large table and were together every night. My dream home. [Pictured below is the home where I grew up.]
Dear Reader, tell us about your dream house.
It’s so true, Kim – home is where our heart family is. I loved my house growing up in southern California. A big back yard full of fruit trees, places to build pirate ships and forts, and a big shaded patio for hopscotch and roller skating. My bedroom had a huge gardenia plant outside the window – it’s still my favorite flower and scent. Mostly I loved gathering in the high-ceilinged living room with my parents, sisters, and brother to sing carols at Christmas, read books all year along, and watch the Mickey Mouse Club and I Love Lucy.
I love gardenia’s! You were lucky to have that beautiful fragrant flower near your bedroom. I can smell them now. I always think of California as an ideal place to live and would love to test my theory one day.
My family was a gather-round-the-kitchen-table kind, too. Lots of stories told there. My dream home would be a cottage by the ocean, which I will never own, so I have to satisfy myself with trips.
My ideal retirement plan is a small house within walking distance to the beach. If only I could win the lottery, but I suppose I need to play to win.
MY dreamhouse is self-cleaning so I can read without interruption.
That sounds wonderful and makes me think of The Jetsons’. Technology running my house freaks me out, though. I won’t even buy one of those Alexa things or whatever their called. I guess I’m stuck cleaning my own house.
What no one seems to mention is that Alexa et al. require data usage so, unless you can afford unlimited data, they are all essentially useless.
Beautifully said, Kim. We should all have a place in our heart or our memories that we call home. My family moved around a lot when I was young (every two to three years), so I felt that need even more strongly. But I finally found mine, in Ireland. The first time I woke up there and looked out the window at the harbor with gliding swans and the cows grazing on the hills, all I could think was “home.” It took fifteen years to make it happen, but I never let go of the dream. The added bonus is that somehow I had found an extended family (not necessarily related!) that welcomed me.
Sheila, I love to listen and read your stories about Ireland. I don’t fly, but someday I’m taking a long sea voyage to Ireland. It is one place I absolutely must visit. Maybe that’s where I’ll find my small house by the beach.
I think Barbara Kay is on to something! A self-cleaming house would definitely be a dream house. And one that didn’t require any maintenance whatsoever. But if that’s not possible I’d settle for a modest, relatively new house with easy access to the city (not sure what city) but located in a quiet area.
I love city living! Even though my dream is to live near a beach, it would need to be in a town with many activities. Come to Baltimore. It truly is a beautiful city!
My dream house is in the mountains, but not the Rockies. Has to be mountains with lots of trees. There’s a big, wraparound porch, a cozy living room with a stone fireplace, and a writing room with floor to ceiling windows and another fireplace.
Oh, and a big kitchen with all the modern toys.
I have such a small kitchen that I, too, dream of a huge one with a window above the sink that overlooks the ocean. The kitchen is my favorite room in the house. Every house.
My dream home is a huge screened in porch with a small house attached. It could be on top of a hill or near the water. Somewhere, where I can see the sky, gather family and friends, and talk late into the night.
That sounds lovely! The older I get, the more I want to be outside. I could definitely have a porch that was larger than my home.
I’m not sure that I have a dream home. Is it because I’m a guy? Or because I lack imagination?
I’d like a house big enough to show off all my Christmas decorations. But I don’t want to have to put them all up it take them all down. And the rest of the year, it would be ludicrous to have a house that big since it is just me.
Where is the place you are most comfortable and feel loved and safe? That is your dream house. We all have that special place, men and women. I once wanted to showcase my doll collection. That was fun for a year or two, then I tired of it. Now I have a special place where I show one or two depending on the season or holiday. It made it easier to dust!
I had never consider a dream house in those terms. I had always pictures floor plan, location, etc. I like that definition.
I guess I am living in my dream house. Not because it is big or expensive. It is comfortable, in a great location with lots of trees and bushes (many of which I planted), private (though close to neighbors), relatively easy to maintain (though a little self-cleaning would be nice), paid for, but mostly because it is where I live with my wonderful hubby.
It sounds like a dream house to me. That’s great!
Hi Kim–I share your love of houses. I’m always checking out real estate ads whenever we travel. I am loving our new house in Portland, Maine because it suits us so well. One other site you might enjoy is Hooked on Houses, which has great explorations of houses used in movie sets, houses from makeover show that later come on the market, etc. https://hookedonhouses.net/
I am definitely going to check this out, thanks! What better way to spend a rainy afternoon? After writing, of course. 😊
My favorite kind of house: paid for.
That is a dream house!
Kim, this is, as always, such a heartwarming post! I love houses too and spend a lot of time poking about all over the globe for alternate realities to my own! But for now, I think I have the house of my own dreams to share with family and friends!
You have a wonderful house. It is rich with history and ina lovely town!
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