Today I was scrolling through Facebook to find something interesting to share and there was this picture that said, "beautiful honeymoon bed". It was muted in the grays and whites that Joanna Gaines has made so popular. It had a beautiful canopy with thicker fabric and romantic white lights all around the top. However, looking closer at the picture, it looked like a dangerous place to sleep (at least for someone like me)! First, the mattress was about 5 inches thick. Ouch. Then I noticed this gorgeous rustic console table at the foot of the bed. How nice! Until I saw the jar of water on that table with a "stick' in it that was about 3 feet above the jar! Water at the foot of my bed and stick to hit when I am meandering to the restroom in the middle of the night is a definite no no. Then very low above the head of the bed were antlers on the wall. Large antlers. I figure the white lights in the canopy were to be left on all night so you could avoid these midnight catastrophes! Which isn't very conducive to sleep for me seeing I am an middle aged woman and not a young child that needs a night light. (Unless the night light is in a bathroom...!)
This got me to thinking about how we see things when we are looking to buy a home. How some things are "must haves" until we actually HAVE them and how some things that look beautiful become a pain when have to deal with them on a daily basis. Then there is the division between you and your partner as to your own personal wants/needs in a home and what you are willing to deal with when it important to your "better half".
Being practical will always be better than seeking perfection. Pictures in magazines can inspire us, but, the next time you look at one of those gorgeous pictures--be a little more critical. Picture YOUR family and YOUR kids in that picture! What would work and what wouldn't?
Here are a few things that really popped my bubble on "features" I thought were perfect:
1. The Sunken Tub - All you see on so many design shows is this gorgeous deep, huge bathtub in the master bath. My first experience with one was a tub with jets! I was so excited! Getting into a tub like that to get away from my kids would be amazing........ Until I found out that the water had to be a certain height for the jets to be turned on and when the tub was that full, it had drained the water heater and then you couldn't rinse off or anything afterwards because it would be too cold. My second (and last) experience with a huge tub was there were no jets (didn't like what all it took the time before) and there was a water heater for that bathroom alone, so having cold water wasn't going to be a problem. So I was excited again! However, you still have to CLEAN big tubs like that and getting in them to clean them was usually how it had to happen. As a mother of young kids, with a giant tub you will usually try at least once to let them have fun in the tub. Which if you have young children you know how bath time can wear you out as it is, let alone having to rinse down a huge tub (and dry the walls sometimes) afterwards. So the novelty of the huge tub to soak in wore off pretty fast. When the kids grew up I didn't have the need to soak for an hour in a tub anymore, either! Funny how that happened!
2. The Swimming Pool - For me, this is still one of my favorite things I ever had. It was a great tool that helped me lose weight (but I gained it all back even before we moved from there) and when my mother was sick, during the summer I could relax outside in the pool and sunshine to keep my sanity. However, for my husband it quickly became his nemesis. I had that home when we got married and it was a large house. He was moving to a home with a LOT of garage space, a pool and a nice yard. However, the home shrunk quick since I already had four kids, my mother and my dog living in that home when he and his dog moved in, the garages filled up with all the stuff that comes with 3 different households living together and the pool was a lot of work and expense. He began to loathe the summer months as the kids grew up and didn't swim as much. We opened and closed it every year until we moved, but I think he was so glad to get away from that. It was a lot. Do some research and see how much it will cost for you to upkeep a pool and think of how much your family might swim, then do that math. Maybe it will be a great blessing to you--but remember, if the usage goes way down below what you thought it would be, the pool can't just easily be removed, whether it's below ground or not!
3. The Large Yard - Having a large yard, especially when you have kids, seems like a "must have" because you can see your little darlings out there running around and having a good time. Which can happen. In my case not nearly as much as I thought it would happen. With a large yard, you have a lot of upkeep if you want a decent (not perfect) yard. A lot. First there is the mowing, so you need good equipment or you are constantly going from a jungle to a scalped yard because you never know when something will break down. Good equipment is expensive too. Plus it needs to be cared for or you will be repairing it every season anyway! Also, usually you need to weed, feed and aerate to keep good grass growing, which is an expense and a chore if you are doing it yourself. Some people are very ZEN when they do yard work. My husband and I, not so much. So when you are buying a home, keep in mind how yard work makes you feel. Little kids can have a lot of fun in a small yard, too.
4. The Popular Trends - In my last purchase before the remodel, the new home had all sorts of popular things that made it very cute. It had beautiful dark wood floors and white molding. The kitchen was a bit smaller than I was used to but it had the pretty, white cabinets and an island! I never had an island! It also had this pretty small tile backsplash that I just was thrilled with. Until I wasn't. The dark wood floors quickly became the most hated floors I have ever had and I had horrific carpet and old gaudy vinyl flooring in my previous home! They showed every single footprint, every single day. They would be mopped and quickly be dusty in five minutes! I never felt that they were ever clean to my satisfaction! Plus they scratched easily. Yuck. Then the smaller (much smaller) kitchen I adjusted to as far as cabinet space (there was a lot packed into that little space) but, it was so annoying when my kids were home because we all always end up hanging out in the kitchen and it was hard to cook in there when everyone was milling around! The beautiful tile backsplash became old hat and not important when I was unhappy with my lack of countertop space (even with an island) and the lack of comfortable space for people to sit or hang around while I cooked.
So, when you are shopping for a new home, it's great to dream and to try to have something you have "always wanted" in your new home, but always remove the "rose colored glasses" when you are looking. Something might be absolutely perfectly beautiful, but, if it isn't practical and needed by your family, that beautiful perfection quickly becomes unnecessary and you spend more time wishing you had gone with something easier to manage or more comfortable. If there is a feature you THINK you want, ask someone who has that feature how they feel about it! Get some pros and cons first. Sometimes your need for something might outweigh some disadvantages to some things. That big house of mine with the pool was a blessing when we had a large family in it, but, when the family slowly moved out and the cost and care stayed the same, we had to move out. So, sometimes your "Forever Home" is a "Season Home" and that is ok too. You can always look for the next crazy thing for you next home....that you might regret later too!
Until Next Time!
Jen Lush--Associate Broker and Managing Realtor's Mother