Adulting, Domestic Me

The Must Haves For Our “Forever” Home

When we bought our house 5 years ago, we knew it was a temporary purchase.  At the time I was pregnant with NikkiZ and we hoped to have one more. We find ourselves now finishing up projects to get our house ready to sell, and we’re now thinking about what we want out of the next home. Some of the projects on the current house are ones we meant to do from the day we bought it – like paint our bedroom. It still has some pretty tacky wallpaper border and the trim is this awesome mauve color. And by “awesome” I mean “hideous”. We’re probably at least a few months out from being able to put it on the market, but that hasn’t stopped us all from talking about the MUST HAVES in the next house.

Since we’re definitely wanting something bigger, and our budget isn’t that high, we’re betting we’re going to have to go for older than our current home. So far, our MUST HAVES are as follows:

  • A bathroom that company can use that is NOT used daily by anyone to shower/bathe. Our current “public” bathroom is the one LilZ uses to shower and get ready. This means it has to sustain a healthy cleaning before company comes over because it’s used constantly, and it probably needs some refreshing soon too. I would like to NOT have to worry about this. A half-bath option would be great.
  • 4 bedrooms PLUS an extra room. Since our kids currently share a bedroom (which has MONSTROUS benefits I’ll be sad to lose) we’d like to give them each their own room and then an extra. It wouldn’t have to necessarily be a “bedroom” – but some sort of room we could make an office with a fold-out couch for company. We have a lot of out-of-town company come in and we never have a place for them to sleep. We also need an office area since we both do so much work from home.
  • An eat-in kitchen PLUS dining room. We currently have ONE eating area which is also our Messy Kids Projects area. I’d like to be able to have a table in the kitchen where the kids could do messy things, but a nicer table in a separate room for family dinners. We’ve never even considered buying a real dining room table because the kids will just destroy it with their crafts.
  • A dog-friendly yard. There are a lot of houses in this area built into a mountain with little/no backyard. We need an area that we can fence in for the dogs as we’re just not disciplined enough to walk them as much as they need.

Other things we’d LOVE but are not MUST HAVES

  • I would LOVE to have a garden tub. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I soak in the tub several nights a week so if there was anyone who could use one? It would be me. But – that is something we could someday upgrade if the house didn’t currently have one.
  • LilZ would REALLY like his own bathroom that he could keep as messy as he’d like without worrying about me nagging or the kids destroying his things.
  • Porch/Deck. I love to sit outside and read or just drink coffee and watch nature. My in-laws have the most amazing deck you’ve ever seen and I would love something like that. Something conducive for grilling out or visiting with guests. This is also something we MIGHT could add-on if possible, so it’s not really a MUST HAVE.

We are really hoping this house to be the one we live in as long as we live here. I’ve hated the past five years having to make interior design choices knowing we’ll be selling it “soon” – it kept us from doing some of the crazy things I really wanted to do. So we really want to be happy with the choice we make. What about you? Is your house your “forever” home? What were your requirements when you bought it? Are you dreaming of your “forever” home? What are your MUST HAVES?

26 thoughts on “The Must Haves For Our “Forever” Home”

  1. Having seen our parents age, we think the ability for one-floor living is critical. So our forever house will have the master suite on the main floor with not even a front step to deal with in case we ever are wheelchair-bound. We are going the opposite way, from an eat-in kitchen + dining room to a open kitchen /dining room set up. We find we never use the dining room, but just shove everything off the kitchen table (onto counters) for dinner, so having two ‘eating’ rooms doesn’t make sense for us. things I have right now that I don’t want to give up: heated bathroom floor, large walk-in pantry, large kitchen, and a separate mudroom off the back entry.

  2. I think I envision every family meal eaten around a real dining room table (so we wouldn’t ever buy anything too fancy) b/c I envision the kitchen to just have a 4-seater. That 4-seater could easily house all of our clutter (grin) so that we could still eat every night in the dining room.

  3. My friends think I’m nuts, but our very first house purchase is the one I consider our “forever” home. Well, that’s not exactly true. I consider it to be our “through college” home, which since I have a 4 year old and 18 month old might as well BE forever.

    I think they’re nuts for being willing to do this any more times than they absolutely have to. I hated moving!

  4. When we bought our home we knew that we’d probably never be able to buy another home, so we’ve focused on making this home what we want it to be. This year we refinanced so we fixed the chimney, put on a steel roof, and screened in the back porch.

  5. We currently rent, so hopefully whenever we do buy a house, it will be our forever home. With 3 kids, as long as it has enough space, that’s enough for me. A garden tub does sound lovely, though. And a place for a window seat. And a deck out back with a big yard.

  6. Truly, a secret passageway. A relative of mine lives in a super old farmhouse that has one and from the first time I stayed there when I was 12 it was on my bestthingevermusthavezomg list.

  7. My Fiance and I talk about this all the time as we’re planning on looking for our forever home next year. We want 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, an office space, a screened porch/sunroom, a dog friendly backyard, and space for all of his music equipment. I have a feeling we’ll never find it, but it’s nice to dream!

  8. Check out the Harvest area. 🙂 Lower home prices, bigger and flatter yards, and you’re still only 15 minutes from Bridge Street, Research Park, and Target, and only 20 minutes from downtown.

  9. I could comfortably live in my house forever (unless we add more members to our family, but that’s another story). We wanted a two-story house. We had to have AT LEAST 2.5 baths (which is exactly what we have). I did not want to have to share mine, wanted one that could be a “kids bath.” I wanted a half bath on the main floor. HAD to have an eat-in kitchen and a formal dining room. We had to have at least 3 bedrooms + an office (or, lacking the office, 4 bedrooms; we have 3 + office). And I HAD to have a separate living room and family room. Our house has a very nicely finished basement — which contains our laundry room, a “mechanical room” with all the furnace/water heater/etc., and an office totaling about 1/3 of the footprint of the house; the other 2/3 of the basement is all family room — big enough for a large sectional couch, big TV, a second couch in the back half for watching my son play with his train table, has a desk with a computer for kids games and lots of floor space for playing cars and stuff 🙂

  10. My home is a foreclosed, starter, manufactured home. We got it incredibly cheap. Barring disaster, divorce, or death, it will likely be my forever home, though.

    We’re pretty comfortable here. The kids have their own bedrooms, but I don’t really like that we don’t have a bathroom for company that isn’t constantly used. I also HATE that we don’t have a foyer; our front door opens right into the living room, which is also open to the dining area and is only separated from the kitchen by a wall with a pass-through. I really, really wish we had an entryway/foyer, and a separate family room. And that the front porch was covered.

    I’m trying to figure out how to best utilize the layout of the house and love what I’ve got, but it’s challenging.

    On the upside, the kids have their own bedrooms. I have a huge tub in my master bath (not sure if it’s a garden tub, though). I have a decent sized yard, and awesome back deck.

    I have thought about trying to find something affordable for us that would give me all the things I’d like in a house, but there’s just nothing out there. Besides that, my kids will be grown and gone in just a few short years (oh my!), so I will have an additional two bedrooms for a home office and guest room.

    Are you going to stay in the same school district? I can’t wait to see the house you buy, and see your interior design ideas come to life!

  11. I am constantly thinking about homes. We’re still renting (house prices in SoCal are still astronomical!), but that doesn’t mean I haven’t gone to many open houses just to scope things out. My list:

    Yard – grass and trees and open. Deck, too. For sure.
    Open floor plan, lots of light and windows and high ceilings.
    Good kitchen – enough storage and new-ish appliances.
    Masterbath has to rock. Seriously. Rock.
    Wood floors.
    A nice dedicated office or artist studio for JS.

    Our old condo had these kickass built-in shelves in the living/family room that were beautiful, and perfect for displaying our tons and tons and tons of “pretty things.”

    Of course, if we want all of this and don’t want to move out of state, we’re looking at near $1million, I’d guess.


    PS – The Harvest suggestion is a good one. My parents live out there and it’s NOT as far away from things as you’d think. Nice homes, too.

  12. I love our home, but its not a family home. So, we’ll be moving in about a year. Our must haves are pretty simple, really, and yet terribly hard to find here: around 2000 sq ft, centrally located, a yard, no shared walls, a layout that is conducive to creating a sewing area and a guest area (or an extra bedroom), and a large kitchen. My dream is to have an eat in kitchen and to be in a neighborhood with lots of kids.

  13. Our house (our first!) is certainly not our forever home and we talk about things our next house must have all the time. #1. Closets. Lots of them. #2. A driveway. And a garage. I am so sick of street parking and even sicker of having my husband’s four bikes in our living room. #3. More closets. Have I mentioned we have ONE? In the entire house? And it is SMALL? #4. At least three bedrooms. One for us, one for future children, and a guest room. #5. Dining room/kitchen table. Yeah, we don’t currently have either. We eat at our coffee table. In the next house, I want BOTH. I am greedy.

  14. We bought our forever house a couple of years ago. We lived in a townhouse, which I loved, for 12 years before that. I wanted a garage, a big kitchen, a playroom or 4th br and a laundry room. I did not care anything about a yard as we had no pets. Well my forever home had the garage, big kitchen, finished basement with playroom and office but I do not have a laundry room and we have the biggest damn yard that I hate. But the laundry is in the hall upstairs by the 3 bedrooms which is lovely and the hallway is big and open so there is plenty of room to sit on the floor and fold laundry while the baby is in the tub in the kids bathroom. I have a perfect view of the tub from the floor so I can multitask!! And my kids love the icky yard and we got a dog! I also wanted 2 1/2 baths and I have 3 1/2 baths. So many toilets to clean!! UUGGHH but when my teenager has sleepovers they stay in the downstairs playroom and have a bathroom so they don’t come up except for food and that part is awesome!!

    Good luck! There is more out there than you realize in your price range. I never thought we would have this big of a house but diligent looking pays off.

  15. This house is suppose to be our FOREVER house. But I am not sure now. It had all the MUST HAVES, but now we have some LIKE TO HAVES.

    Must haves:
    – 3 bedrooms AND an office – could have been 4 bedrooms
    – An actual laundry room. The house we moved from had the washer/dryer closet in the kitchen
    – An eat-in kitchen. Although, we have a funky oversized island (that will go away eventually) so it was hard to eat-in. When we first moved in, we ate in the real dining room. But now, it’s converted into the playroom…and we have the eat-in kitchen.
    – One floor. I hate moving. And I don’t want to have to lug the laundry up and down the stairs.

    Like to Haves:
    – a fireplace
    – “guest” bathroom
    – smaller main bathroom – it’s like a department store bathroom, and I hate it!! You could put a couch in my bathroom.
    – Covered deck/patio
    – more cabinets and counter space in the kitchen. Definitely look at that!! The one washing dishes cannot wash dishes while the one who cooks is at the stove. So I sit down until he’s done 😉

  16. I say ditch the pull-out sofa idea – they SUCK! I suggest either a Murphy-style bed, or a couple of twin-size air beds (because air beds aren’t exactly ‘restful’ for more than one person).

    Good luck with the search!

  17. You don’t want a garden tub—you want a clawfoot tub. Trust me. when we built our house, I ordered a salvaged refinished claw foot tub (shipped from FL to AZ for a mere $200). It weighs a million pounds (we reinforced the floor joists under it) because it’s cast iron but it holds the heat forever. I can soak to pruney goodness without getting chilly.

  18. I’m renting now, and I have one.whole.window. GAH. (Which, by the way, is on the shady side of a house, under a porch.) So I’m just a poor student so I’ll be renting my next house too – but the biggest thing is going to be MOAR DAYLIGHTS KTHXBAI.
    I’d also really like, eventually, a nice big bathtub. The little ones that ya get with the shower and whatnot just do not do it for me.

  19. You need to move to Oklahoma and buy my house. It was our “forever” home and I have loved every minute of living here. It has everything on your “must have” list and most of the things on your “would like to have” list. And it can be yours for a mere 195,000 and is in a good part of town. Oklahoma property is WAY undervalued, but not as much as it was about 8 years ago when we bought.
    I had a young teen and a bit older teen when we bought this house and we truly enjoyed it. But it is 3600 sq. ft. and 2 story and now it is getting harder and harder for me to keep it up, plus my kids are gone and my husband has passed away, and I need to downsize. I bought a 1060 sq. ft. house and am moving in March!
    Oh, and she is right about the claw foot tub. I’ve had both and I LOVE (and will miss) my claw foot tub. I can sink in up to my neck easily and it stays hot forever!!

  20. Interesting post and comments! I’m looking at it from the other direction – I bought a 2 bedroom ranch for myself and ended up raising 4 kids in it. We added another (master) bedroom, shower bath, and family room early on, and finished part of the basement as a bedroom a few years later. The basement under the addition became a play area, later an office. The kitchen was miniscule, we ate in the dining room. (We just recently tore out the wall and remodeled into a new eat-in kitchen.)

    Looking back, I would say that the must-have’s were:
    – room for the kids to play. The back yard was adequate and the semi-finished basement was almost as big as the rest of the house. Local schools with playgrounds and woods are across the street.
    – Enough bedrooms to sleep the kids by gender. (We had 2 of each.) A separate room (ie the basement room) for the oldest was a big help too.
    – Master bedroom with its own bath, preferably in a different part of the house from the kids.
    – Lots of cupboard space in the kitchen. We had a tiny hell-hole of a kitchen, but tons of storage space.

    Single floor living and a downstairs laundry (the washer WILL vibrate and leak) were nice to have, but not essential.

    If we could have had one more thing it would have been an additional bathroom. The kids learned to deal with sharing with only a modest number of fights, but still.

    Guests either roughed it on a cot, or stayed in a local hotel. A guest room would have been nice, but impractical; we weren’t going to double up kids and hold a room out for guests.

    Don’t tie yourself up too much with detailed requirements. Have a general idea of what you want, and particularly what you DON’T want, and the right house will make itself known.

  21. My forever home has an open floor concept. Stainless appliances, modern cabinetry, and glass tile backsplash. Hard wood floors and two and half bathrooms. It has 3 bedrooms plus an office and a formal dining room. And yes, a soaker tub. It also has a 3 car garage that I can actually park my car in (instead of just hold junk). And there’s a pool in the backyard that I don’t have to clean.

    And a laundry room with a folding table and a sink.


  22. This is so appropriate right now. My husband is pushing to refinance our townhome, which would mean two more years here. I was thinking three years when we moved in, we’re at four. But all the reasons we bought this place still apply and most of the reasons for moving don’t… except… we’ve got two bedrooms. And three humans. So any visitors are kind of hard up. I’m having real issues with the concept of further commitment, but am not at all ready to move. Am pretty much just fantasizing about my forever home… when I don’t even know where it is (based on a job I’ve yet to get). It’s all so abstract I haven’t even managed a list beyond “four bedrooms” – for the same reasons as yours…

  23. We had a garden tub at our old house and I LOVED it. My girls loved it, too. We also had a half bath, which I loved. Guests didn’t have to use the master bath (and walk through my messy master bedroom in the process). Your must-haves are a lot like mine. Our current house (on an Air Force base) is not big by any means, but it’s big enough for the short amount of time we’ll be stationed here. We only have two bathrooms in this house, which means my girls share their bathroom with any and all guests. Not ideal but we have to live with it until we get out of the military and find our forever home. It’s fun just thinking about it, isn’t it?

  24. One of the main reasons I love our house is the back deck. I wanted to move out of our rented townhouse so much just so that I had some kind of outdoor space.

    I really want 4 bedrooms in our next house, though 3 bedrooms and and office with a pullout couch would do.

  25. I would love to move….. long story on why we bought this house, and short story as to why we are still here, grrrrrrr. Anyway, I would like a
    1 story house
    4 bedrooms,
    2.5 baths,
    full basement,
    updated kitchen,
    a fenced yard or at least an invisible fence for dog, he loves to be outside but sadly runs off if he is not on a leash most times,
    preferably something with alot of brick,
    at least an acre!
    3 car garage (that is more my husband not me) although it is nice

    The ranch style and full basement along with acreage are huge for me….. but I really just want out of a subdivision that tells me what I can and can’t do.

  26. I want to read all the comments right now but I’m running out the door, dang it. Will be back later. Great post, thank you. i can relate.

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