Saturday, June 11, 2011

What is Your Dream Home?

by Christine Wells

It's no secret in the lair that the Wells house is undergoing a major renovation at the moment. We have moved out while this is going on but I often drive to or past the site and feel both exhilarated and slightly nauseous at the mammoth task ahead.

I spent hours this morning choosing tapware, sinks, toilets and baths. I felt that I was quite decisive (for a Libran!) It's amazing how quickly you can make up your mind when your builder gives you a bare weekend to do it. The fun part of choosing wall colours and tiles is yet to come and I daresay I'll spend a lot more time on those things because that's what interests me more than plumbing.

But it got me to thinking about dream homes and in particular, fictional homes.

I grew up on a diet of European fairytales and traditional English books like The Children of Cherry Tree Farm, so the homes I imagined for myself were usually situated at the edge of a wood, surrounded by fields of wildflowers. There'd be a great stone hearth in the living room and patchwork quilts on the beds. (That's when I wasn't imagining myself in a Hobbit house or a gingerbread cottage or Green Gables--not that I actually knew what gables were).

Of course, discovering Regency romance took me away from fairytale cottages to enormous Palladian mansions and landscaping by Capability Brown. Chinese silk wall hangings would cover my bedroom wall and of course I would have a separate chamber for my extensive designer wardrobe.

But the reality of living in subtropical Australia (not to mention one's budget!) does tend to limit options somewhat. In fact, I love my 1920s Queenslander home with its gables (yep, I know what they are now!) and big deck and polished wood floors and tongue-and-groove walls. I miss living there and it's only been a couple of months. I'm going to be terribly homesick before the work on it is finished!

But the gorgeous photos Christie posted of her finished renovation give me hope. In the meantime, I can still dream of Pemberley...

What fictional (or real) house would you love to live in? What luxury feature do you think is essential in a dream home?

52 comments:

barb said...

is he coming down the road ????

Lolarific said...

My dream home is one that magically stays clean all the time. :D

Christine Wells said...

Hiya, Barb!!! LOVELY to see you today. I feel like I haven't seen you in years! Congrats on the rooster, m'dear:)

Christine Wells said...

Too funny, Lolarific! Don't we all wish that would happen?

Christine Wells said...

I have to apologize for the lack of polish to the blog post today. I had terrible trouble with Blogger. I had more pictures but blogger wouldn't let me add them so I eventually gave up.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Barb, he's not moving far today, is he?

Christine, I loved your post. And what fun photos! Actually I must say when I'm in the UK, I love the look of Georgian rectories. They're not too big but they've still got those beautiful proportions and that lovely feeling of history you get in an old house.

I'd HAVE to have a library if I was building my dream house!

Lolarific said...

Anna I totally agree! I would want one like the one in the Beast's castle in Beauty and the Beast. I always drooled over that part!

Jane said...

I want to live in one of those English country estates you see in movies. I wanted heated floorboards as one of the luxury features.

Christine Wells said...

Anna, definitely a library! I wish I could have one in our house but I'm getting a study all to myself so I can't complain.

I like your idea of a rectory. Not as daunting as somewhere like Chatsworth!

Christine Wells said...

Lolarific, definitely a library with a gallery level. Now that's ambitious. I love Beauty and the Beast.

Christine Wells said...

Oh, Jane, heated floorboards on top of the English estate! Now you're talking!

barb said...

Hi Christine,

I think those stately homes in England would be very draughty and cold ....my MIL lived in a 17th century house and that was cold... lovely sitting on top of the fire but cold in the bedrooms.

I think air conditioning is a must in Australia

Helen said...

Well done Barbara he has already run down the street in the freezing cold and rain brrr.

Christine

Your house is sure to be fantastic when it is finished. I always used to dream of living in a castle in England somewhere when I was a child not anyone in particlular just a castle LOL.

These days I would love a big one story house with verandahs all the way around ducted air conditiong to cope with the heat in summer and this cold we are having at the moment set on a really big block of land in the country but close to the beach with beautiful gardens to stroll in LOL and a pool of course.

Have Fun
Helen

Christine Wells said...

Barb, I can just imagine the heating bill in some of those English homes! Oh, yes, I don't think I could live without airconditioning in Queensland!

Christine Wells said...

Helen, thank you, I'm sure the pain will be worth it when I'm finished.

Your dream house sounds divine! I love those wrap around verandahs. I think as I grow older I'm much more interested in a relaxed feel to a house than anything too fancy.

marybelle said...

My dream home is an Eco-house. Self sufficient for power & water with a sustainable garden & orchard out back.

marypres@gmail.com

BJ said...

LOL...funny you should ask....
Currently now looking for a "dream" home. Hubby accepted the job in VA...so we'll be moving. Actually going to go look at a house in a few minutes...It has a tree lined driveway...
I really would love for my dream home to have a room just for me....my own private space to get away from it all...either to read or scrapbook....that would be AMAZING!!!!!

Christie Kelley said...

Christine, you made the right decision moving out of the house. We should have done that. I don't envy you having to pick out all that stuff. It was so hard.

Good luck with it!

Deb Marlowe said...

Hi Christine, my lovely!

Renovation is such a huge job, but the results are so great! We tend to tackle a room or area at a time, which leaves us with a hodgepodge of updated and not. Doing it all at once is harder, but likely smarter!

My dream house changes all the time! Most times my dreams include a shore or a lake. Sometimes I want the big English house, sometimes a townhouse in Bath, sometimes a mansion on a secluded beach. It's nice to daydream, but truly, I'm pretty danged happy with what I've got!

Now as for luxuries--things I long for in every house I dream about--a maid, a pool, and yes--the gorgeous library!

Deb said...

Hi, Christine. I really like my house (ranch style), but I hate my bathroom and kitchen floors. The original flooring is from 1960 and it's not looking good. Eventually, they will get replaced; just a lack of money and time are the stoppers right now.

There is a mansion in Cedar Rapids, Iowa called Brucemore that is now on the National Historic Registry and it sits on an estate of 26 acres, right in the middle of the city. (The city built up around it.) My daughter loves touring the mansion and its grounds and gardens which are gorgeous. It is absolutely beautiful at Christmastime when the house is decorated as it would have been in the Victorian era.
www.brucemore.org

I always thought it would be neat to have a wrap-around porch on a house.

Anna Sugden said...

Great post, Christine - you have my every sympathy on your renovations. It's enough upheaval moving!

We're slowly getting around to decorating now - the first few years back we decided to have things on the walls and not worry too much about colours or decor. Though we did get a conservatory put in. Now, we've begun painting, had new wood floors put in, a new fireplace and are contemplating a kitchen remodel at some point!

These days in the UK, you need air con in the summer and heating in the winter!

I'm with Lolarific - a stay clean house would be perfect! And lots of bathrooms! I'd love to be by the sea, as well, but having fields and open space works well. Oh, and a nice, big kitchen!

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

My dream home is a Spanish-style adobe hacienda, like something you'd see in Sante Fe with profusions of flowers in flowerboxes below turquoise-framed windows, an interior courtyard with tile and a fountain and lots of hanging bouganvilla (sp?). Would fill it with Native American pottery and cowboy and western sculptures, paintings and textiles. Now if I was just fabulously wealthy. :)

Dtchycat said...

Had you asked me ten years ago I would have said the bigger the house the better - but now that I am older, I have simplified my living quite a bit. I am happy with a simple ranch style house but an absolute must is that it has to have a sunroom - tons of bright natural light so that even on the coldest winter day I can pretend I am outside, laying on my couch, reading my book... Honestly, it is the most used room in the house - so all I need is a sunroom, a bedroom, kitchen and bath and I am all set!

jo robertson said...

Ah, Christine, love the look of your home! Hugs on the stresses of renovation. We've never worked on more than one room at a time, so I can't imagine the horror of an entire house, especially with kiddies running about.

I'd have to say a fireplace is essential. Boyd builds one nearly every morning in the winter months and doesn't seem to mind all the work of cleaning out the hearth. There's something so cheery and homey about a fire burning in the fireplace.

Second would be thick, deep-pile carpeting. I run around summer and winter in sock feet, so I need my tooties to stay warm!

Janga said...

My dream house is 6000 square feet with five bedrooms, media room, library, huge kitchen, stacked stone fireplaces in great room and master, heart pine floors, big screened porch, heated, in-ground pool, and gorgeous mountain views from every room plus a guest cottage. I’ve found it. Now as soon as I win the lottery, I’ll buy it, and you can all come visit. :)

flchen1 said...

I'm with Lolarific--I want the self-cleaning model, please. And the other thing I want is a huge built-in library, with comfy reading chairs and a window seat :)

jennifertanner said...

Hi Christine!

I'm looking up Georgian rectories now.

My fantasy house would have a lot of self-cleaning bathrooms, a couple of Jack & Jill bathrooms, a big kitchen, butler's pantry, two dishwashers and three ovens. A sun room and a library with an antique library table would be nice too.

Cheers!
Pink

Christine Wells said...

Hi Marybelle, oh, you are amazing. I know that I *should* want an Eco-house. But I'm not virtuous enough to want one. An orchard and sustainable garden sound lovely though!

Christine Wells said...

BJ, good luck with the move and finding your dream home! I so agree that a woman, especially, needs that private room that is just hers and hers alone. Virginia Woolf was right!

Christine Wells said...

Thanks for the pep talk, Christie! Yes, I'm already second-guessing myself on all the things I chose. Sigh. Thanks for the good luck.

Christine Wells said...

Deb, I think what you're doing would probably be a lot less stressful. I am hoping that once the stress is over, however, I won't have to think about any of this stuff again for a long, long time! We'll see.

I know what you mean--I can see drawbacks to all those luxuries. I just love my own house.

a maid, a pool, and yes--the gorgeous library!


So...no pool boy? *G*

Christine Wells said...

Oh, Deb, the 60s bathroom is bound to come back into fashion--you'll see! I love the idea of a ranch style house, though.

Oh, wow on Brucemore. I googled it and it is absolutely divine! What a beautiful house, especially in winter. It looks like a setting for a lovely old Christmas movie.

I love porches and decks that bring the outdoors in. I feel quite huddled in the house we're living in now which only has a small front porch. I miss my deck!

Christine Wells said...

You know, Anna, one of my favourite rooms in English houses is the conservatory! Unfortunately they are not that practical for the Aussie climate. (Even if it's so darn cold now, I could use a winter warm up!)

Love the sound of your house! A new kitchen is every cook's dream, I think!

Yes, I noticed the summer when I was in England that aircon was very scarce. I gather that's changing now.

Christine Wells said...

Oh, Trish!! My mouth is watering at your description (particularly as I"m freezing and it sounds so lovely and sun-drenched!)

What a gorgeous piece of writing. Thank you! You made me want to live there too.

Christine Wells said...

Dtchycat, I love a sunroom, too. I think they brighten the dullest day. Now you've made me miss my lovely sunroom. Wah!

But there is much to be said for the simple life, isn't there?

Christine Wells said...

Hi Jo, thanks for the hugs! Oh, we couldn't have stayed in the house with little ones. Too dangerous, as we're digging out a new pool as well. This way they can do it faster, too. I must show you all photos of progress. I haven't taken any yet. They've lifted the house and they're building rooms underneath.

Oh, I love our fireplace, too. Carpet is so lovely and soft on the feet, isn't it? But we're going for polished wood and rugs this time. However, our winters are pretty mild compared to yours!

Christine Wells said...

Ohhhh Janga, that house sounds amazing! Can I stay in the guest cottage?

Christine Wells said...

Fedora, I love the sound of your library. That would be my dream, too.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Pink! So you're planning on entertaining a lot with your 2 dishwashers and three ovens??

Love the idea of the antique library table. Beautiful!

MsHellion said...

The Burrow or Hogwarts. *LOL* Sorry, I have HP on the brain with the movie out in a few weeks.

And of course, Pemberley. *LOL*

But there are also a few beautiful houses near my home where I grew up, which would have the benefit of not needing refurbishment, but be in the location I loved best.

Anna Campbell said...

Christine, honestly, I wouldn't want to live in Chatsworth (hmm, I should be so lucky!). A nice cosy cottage on the estate would be nice, though! Chatsworth sells the most wonderful estate-produced food so I'd be always up at the Duchess's shop!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Janga, I've got that invite in writing!

Anna Campbell said...

Jen, according to my English friends, Georgian rectories are what EVERYBODY over there would like to live in so they've become woefully expensive in recent years. Sigh.

Christine Wells said...

MsHellion, I'd love Hogwarts but I don't know about living by their rules! Can't wait for the movie, but then it will all be over. Sob!

Location is a big factor, isn't it? When I think of living in England, that's when I get cold feet--literally! I need the bright Queensland sunshine.

Christine Wells said...

Anna, I think a house like Chatsworth would be a very weighty responsibility--you'd only actually live in part of the house, anyway, and you'd have visitors traipsing through all the time. The cottage sounds ideal and I love the sound of the produce! The Duchess really is a genius, isn't she?

Christine Wells said...

Sad about the expense of the Georgian rectory but we are dreaming, after all!

Pat Cochran said...

My specially built dream abode would
have lots of storage & lots of closets!
It would also have a live-in staff so I
could devote myself to my favorite task:
reading books! (Hey, so many books, not
enough time!)

Pat Cochran

Christine Wells said...

Pat, you're so right -- cupboard space is a must! Plus a staff of servants. How could you go wrong?

Sheree said...

I just want a place with good ventilation (not on concrete slab at the very least), no mold, hardwood floors (or at least no carpeting), and a hot tub. I'm not picky.

Christine Wells said...

Sheree, it sounds perfect! Love the hot tub idea;)

Louisa Cornell said...

Wow, Barb! It's been a while, hasn't it! I'm sure he missed you.

Great post, Christine! Bless you on the renovations! Smart to move out and let them have at it. I know it will be lovely once it is done.

I wouldn't mind living in Chatsworth at all as long as it came fully staffed!

Barring that I would love a small Georgian house in the Lake District with a HUGE library on at least three levels with lost of lovely inside circular staircases and at least two fireplaces.

I would also love for it to have a monstrous orangerie at the back.

M said...

My essential luxuries are really quite boring. I absolutely must have a power shower and a big brick barbecue, neither of which I have at the moment. I discovered the wonders of a power shower when I stayed with friends in Canada that had one. And ever since I came back, taking a shower has felt like I'm trying to clean myself with a hosepipe. And we used to have a big brick barbecue but for reasons I cannot fathom, my parents got rid of it.

If I was really going off into cloud cuckoo land, I'd like an entrance hall too because I could work wonders with it at Christmas. Not entirely sure what I'd do with it for the remaining 11 months but it would look fantastic at Christmas!

But I think I'll have to stick to the power shower and brick barbecue. Any property with an entrance hall is going to have a crazy house valuation on top of it.