Monday, March 6, 2017

Question for the Community: What feature of your existing house would you work hard to replicate in a next house?

Library?
Question for the Community:
If you were moving and either buying or building your next house in a year or two, which features from your existing house would you try hardest to replicate?
Porch?


Wide Floorboards?

Fireplace?

Other Features?

Gardens?

Corner Cupboard?

Salt Water View?

38 comments:

  1. Excellent question! We are always making notes about "our next house" and would keep the interior French doors, big windows and the brick patio encircled by a large rose garden. In our next house, we also hope to have some of the beautiful features you mentioned that - alas - we do not have now.

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  2. Not only a good question but a difficult one, too. Since both my wife and I are retiring this year (or hope to), we are in fact thinking of moving. So far, none of her requirements have to do with the house itself, such as close to a good library and no more than two hours from Dulles Airport. Personally, I think we're going to need a barn if we keep all the stuff we have in the basement.

    But to answer the question, probably the kitchen. We're both happy with the results of our remodeling the kitchen ten years ago. But I wouldn't mind if it were bigger.

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  3. I would make a list of 20 "wants", cull that to 7, then cull to 5 till 3 which would be probably turn out to be needs...you would be surprised what really comes out the swapping/culling and the why of it.

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  4. Hands down, built-ins and bookcases! Next, outdoor living spaces - sunroom, porch, terrace and gardens.

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  5. The fireplace. The back deck with the porch swing.

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  6. Just sold the summer house and now have 274 boxes of books from the library, the attic, and above the garage. I would have to say shelves.

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  7. ...Oh, and by the way, your library is amazing. Also another aside... I noticed you have elephant bells. I noticed them in your 80's house as well. We have my great grandmother's bells that she got in India in 1929. I've always loved the sound of them.

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  8. The built-ins and the same craftsmen who built our house in 1926.

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  9. I really enjoy your reader questions and all the comments. I love nearly everything about our 1885 mountain farmhouse. I would actually keep it the same except I'd add a second full bathroom for certain and a fireplace would be nice.

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  10. The fireplace. There is just something about a fireplace that makes the colder months special. When the weather is nice, we're outside anyway.

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  11. Dealbreaker would be a single family structure with fewer than 3 bedrooms: one exclusively for my husband's office, one exclusively for my office, and one exclusively for our sleeping/dressing quarters. Again, no fewer than 2 full bathrooms. And again, a rip roaring internet connection. We live comfortably with all of the above, positioned directly on the IntraCoastal Waterway in North Florida right now; so the only reason to pick up and move from here would be that a comparable property would have a deep water dock for our boat, so that we can walk right out the back door and onto the boat.

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  12. We have a house that was built in the 1920s. In the basement is what used to be a really cool bar. There are glass shelves and built in benches that were covered in red. There are cigarette burns and glass rings all over the counter. Although not practical,it is food for the imagination in terms of the great parties that must occurred there.

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  13. The red living room. Couldn't do without it.

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  14. I would want 10' minimum ceiling height and double-aspect ( ie on two walls ) windows in at least two bedrooms and the lounges as before , which would of course require a certain shape building and room positioning . It is necessary to be aware of orientation to the sun with all this glass .

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  15. Features of a home in our salt water New England: Features of a property within colonial settled coastal New England. We all should want, with that want being past the self and cosmetic, the property to be with heritage and traditional design. And with traditional setting. With, too, history and presence: a ‘that is what we are’; salt water New England.
    Libraries come and go as do their books. Porches are added on and look funny in the traditionally austere colonial settings. All say they like what they see of that (the coastal New England colonial property) but, these days, fewer than ever choose to ‘live that way’; the in and of the old properties. The truly old properties are motored by, glanced at, make the village the ‘way it is’ but languish in a property market. These days, of porch swings and other idle ‘I want’, include the old property’s presence but too, the ‘never would live that way’ (bump the head as one enters the colonial New England’s low front door).
    Our property’s kitchen garden’s footpaths are two hundred and fifty years old. At least. We did not make them. We add to their permanence and heritage by using them. The paths are a feature of the property and our usage is custodial. There are plenty of these old properties around should one wish to live in one. The challenge and study of the features will last a lifetime. They are, too, simple living. That is a good feature.

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  16. Both our house at the lake and the condo at the beach have windows that allow us to see front and back yard in both the living room and our bedroom. Don't think I can give up having this natural light.

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  17. I sure don't want to move because I am very fond of all of the natural light in this house (helps my mood) and the view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The house isn't perfect by any means, but things like a view and light make up for a lot. I would most try to replicate the sun room. Oh how I love it!

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  18. Built in bookcases,wood floors,wood burning fireplaces and privacy. I have these now,and would not move to another house without them. Jane Keller.

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  19. One should never try to "replicate" architecture. I would suggest better phrases to use would be: "inspired by.." or "designed to evoke...". All architecture is unique and should be designed to solve specific programmatic requirements. Architecture is a art of problem-solving, not replication.

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  20. Since we live in a quirky old house, the only thing I would want to replicate is our neighborhood. I love where we live, the house, not so much.

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  21. In the Mid-Atlantic region, there are a few towns, villages, really, that seem to have been frozen in time almost. Port Royal, VA, Waterford, VA, and Middleway, WV. The towns look like places that are ripe for restoration to their former appearance in, say, 1800, however unlikely the possibility. But I often wonder what it would be like to live in such places.

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  22. It's lovely to see the comments back. It would be nice to have our small breakfast nook, with all its windows and good overhead light, in any future house. We spend so much time there, and it draws any and all visitors, no matter the size of the party. Our house was built in the 30's, and we appreciate it as it is.

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  23. Our house was built in 1968 and we have been slowly renovating it since it was purchased in 2012. It's a modest three-bedroom bungalow in a mature neighborhood with lots of large trees: spruce, pine, elm, poplar, birch, aspen. This gives us a wonderful variety of birds.

    I do love the hickory hardwood floors, with visible grain, knots and colour variation.

    I love that it faces east, which floods the living and dining room with light in the morning. It makes weekends especially enjoyable.

    I also appreciate the great soil we have in the back yard to grow vegetables, and our old rose bush.

    And we're fond of our yellow front door.

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  24. We own a 1959 home built by a fine wood carpenter and our favorite touch was that he built his closets to be seen with the doors wide open. This is great because we so often leave them that way. All of the shelves in our home, including shelves in the closets, are finished with simple mill work molding along the edges. In addition, the closets have the same 4 inch baseboard used throughout the house. In some cases, a pegboard area or a square of stained wood with hooks was incorporated. His woodwork was simple, but always stained and finished. The closet walls are of painted drywall. We love them and I have purchased wooden hangers of a similar stain for most of the closets, but my husband prefers plastic in his, so we at least make sure we only buy black. It is probably because the closets look so great that we both started organizing our clothing according to type and color. Simple, but true; Those closets always make us more organized. Getting the builder of our lake house to understand all of this was not possible.

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  25. Provenance. My 1950 home had only two prior owners. The first lived there for over forty years. I looked them and invited them over. They brought photos of my house being built and parties and holidays celebrated in it. It seemed like a very happy home for them.

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  26. This question made me think of Tracy Kidder's 1985 book 'House'.

    https://www.amazon.com/House-Tracy-Kidder/dp/0618001913

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  27. We're planning to go out feet first, but if we have to move, the only non-negotiable thing that comes with, is the man of the house.

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  28. Our salt water harbor view. So much to watch and do in summer, so empty and beautiful with snow drifts, sea ice, seabirds and seals in winter.

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  29. Good neighbors.

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    1. Neighbours unfortunately move/die over the years . We've moved from two houses over the last 30 years because of new-comers ......... We now have mature acreage and nobody in sight.

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    2. In the 1960's the grandparents would only go to town once a month for shopping and a meal out, be gone from the ranch just for the day. Sometimes they would skip the meal to be home earlier. A scornful youngster I was then, yearnful now.

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  30. The people, wood floors, built-in bookcases, a porch, and lots of mature trees for privacy are all musts. I would add a window seat also.

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  31. The history and charm of our circa 1800 half cape. A house has to have a story that I can be a part of. Perhaps for me it is more about the "feeling" I have when I walk through the door vs. any particular features, although the flow of the space (vs. a rabbit warren full of funk) is important.

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  32. Gee, I've been pondering moving from our house for several years now, and when I read the comments above, I realize I have many of the desirables mentioned, minus the salt water view, but I live on ten acres, have views of nature out every window, a ton of natural light, it's right-sized for only two adults, hardwoods, a covered porch, stone fireplace, wood beams, etc., all in beautiful New England. I guess I need to re-evaluate my thoughts and be more appreciative of what I have. The only thing missing is a dog, but that will be easily remedied when we're ready. But I do enjoy reading these.

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    1. You do not realize what you have till gone.

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  33. A front porch that can accommodate a swing. I think I have spent months of my life on that swing. It recently broke and I bought a new one but it is shoddy compared to that big sturdy wooden one I had.

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  34. We use our kitchen fireplace every day so I definitely would want a kitchen fireplace in any future house. I also would want a similar porch, we are outside all summer and we have a great, long porch with two seperate seating areas and ceiling fans.


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  35. I am not moving. I have a classic, custom center hall Cape Cod, built by the builder here on Long Island in the early 1950's as a summer house. It is on an acre with a lot of pine trees. Love trees. Kitchen is size of a postage stamp. But it taught me organization and discipline. All other rooms are oversized. Love my Vermont marble-surround fireplace, built-in bookcases, and glass-fronted corner cabinet. Back porch and deck. Life would not be as enjoyable without it. BUT I LOVED READING ALL THE COMMENTS HERE. So very nice to read. Anne

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