Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The crown jewel of home layout

Two years ago when we started looking at houses, our realtor told us that few clients ever find their ideal layout. My first response was shock – how could anyone buy a house if it’s not their ideal layout?!? Then I moved on to solemn vow mode, promising myself that we would surely wait for the perfect layout. Well fast-forward seven months of arduous house-shopping and we were almost ready to settle. But just then an intriguing photo-less house listing popped up, we toured it the next morning, and our search was over! Wild Oak offered just what we’d been looking for… single-story, open kitchen-family room, small masterbath, big mastercloset, coats & shoes space in the back hall, separate formal dining with space for a big table, and a small front entry area. Is that being picky?

Those were all excellent, but the most compelling layout feature was a large bonus room that’s separated from the main living areas. I love having a separate playroom for toys so that I’m not constantly staring at them with mixed feelings. Part of me wanting them cleaned up and the other half wanting to preserve the kids’ creations for further play. A separated playroom is also nice for distancing the kid soundtrack so that grownup conversation can still be had when we entertain. Most significantly, we hope that if we’re still here when our kids are teenagers it will be a space where our kids can get together with friends. Private enough to make it appealing as a hangout but close enough for some supervision. Bring the parties here please!

Just as important, we envisioned a separate playroom that could do double-duty as a private area for houseguests. It’s so nice to have the guest space separate from the other bedrooms so that visitors aren’t awoken by our kids’ nighttime cries and don’t have to worry about being quiet if they get up early from east coast jetlag. And Wild Oak’s bonus room has its own bathroom, sealing the plan for private guest quarters. Finally the separation appealed to us because it lets you heat/cool the space more or less than the rest of the house as needed.

Yet somehow most houses have the second living area/playroom in plain sight of the main living areas! Leaving all those toys in view, a clash of kid and adult volume levels, and no possibility for the room doubling as a private guest space or conserving on overnight heating/cooling costs. Wild Oak’s previous owners had their act together though. They added an addition behind the garage that’s connected to the rest of the house by an L-shaped laundry/pantry/mudroom hallway. This provides easy access and some sound monitoring for kid play with the doors open, but plenty of privacy for overnight guests, teenagers, and toy messes. It’s also been fun since it allows for a more bright and kid-geared decorating aesthetic without clashing with the rest of the house since it’s not in view.

Well, clearly I can wax on at length about the merits of this layout. But let’s move on to a couple more photos. Here it is at play with the Ellabelle and Luke-a-boy, far enough removed from the rest of the house that the clutter and paper clippings don’t bother me too much!

I’ll be back hopefully tomorrow with some more pics and details on the room. Who knows, maybe October will be my month of blogging and I’ll work my way up to a house tour yet!

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