Okay, I’ll admit sometimes when I’m looking at one of my home/design magazines I sigh and I covet…a smidge. Gosh, look at that closet space. That huge master suite. And that kitchen with all those lovely granite counters and storage. I would adore a mudroom with a bench and hooks for coats and tucked away places for shoes. I would love a house with authentic architectural character.
Then I think about our house. Our first (and only) after living three years in a town house (we owned) and years of apartments in San Francisco. The house down the peninsula in Silicon Valley close to our jobs had just been renovated so the carpet, flooring, appliances, windows, paint were all fresh and new. It was a nice house. A cute house at 1500 square feet. And with just the two of us, its three bedrooms and two bathrooms made it plenty big.
But it wasn’t our dream house.
Then we had a daughter and another and the “plenty big” house felt a little small. We added on a 300 square foot family room. It gave us more living space. Breathing space.
But it still wasn’t our dream house.
We have now lived in this house for over 30 years. We replaced the furnace and water heater. The exterior has been repainted twice. We put on a new roof five years ago. The landscape and hardscaping have been tinkered with…repeatedly. And most excitingly (ha, ha, ha), the ancient sewer line to the street has been replaced. But the bathrooms and kitchen are now worn and need renovating. And it needs a fresh lick of paint inside and new carpets.
But I realize whatever changes we make down the road, it will never be our “dream house.” It will never have a kitchen pantry. Or a big master suite. Or a real porch…sigh. I would live out on a porch like this most of the year.
Still it has always been a “good enough” house.
Once in a while we talk about moving. Maybe further afield. I’ve thought Carmel Valley would be nice, maybe on a hilltop with a distant view of the ocean. My husband had a thing for Wyoming for a while! Tennessee where my brother and dad live is pretty and we could afford our dream house there.
Would I want to start over? People do it all the time and seem to land happily. My friend Ann did and Lisa more recently.
But when I think about all the memories we’ve created in this house. Meals around the kitchen table. Movie nights. Holidays.
And the way the sun looks in the morning filtering through the trees.
When I think about my good neighbors, my wonderful friends nearby, my church community, my doctors. Would I want to lose all that for a pantry and a porch?
I guess too as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized nothing is perfect. No house is perfect. Even dream homes have warts. And I am content (mostly!) and grateful (always) for what we have. This “good enough” house is home. More than the sum of its parts.
Bonus our house is well suited for our life now as older adults. It’s single story. Not too big. We know what’s been updated and what hasn’t. The climate and lifestyle suits us.
Someday we may chose to move. I can’t rule it out entirely. But the idea of owning our “dream house” isn’t important anymore. I’m not sure it ever really was.
In the meantime, I will continue to try and make this house the best home it can be for us. Which for now includes decluttering/downsizing and future renovation!
Today I’m culling more of my books as our shelves are woefully crowded, though it’s a painful process. A few I’ve added to my Etsy store. Most are out at the street for my neighbors and all the dog walkers.
I’ll close for now asking: Do you live in your dream house?
P.S. Here’s an interesting blog about folks who bought their dream house…or did they?!!
P.S.S. The feature photo is Barbie’s Dream House, circa 1962, all in cardboard and mid-century cool!