Dream Home

not a home we can afford….

After several housing situations fell through for our family this spring we have had to readjust our plans. What our family is looking for (a home on land for our boys to be boys outside) does not exist in the area in which we need to be. Which leaves us with the option of building a home, which is simultaneously exciting and terrifying. It is fun to look at all the great ideas out there and then come back to reality and see what we can actually afford. We want to create a home that is functional for our larger-than-average-and-possibly-still-growing family.

So my question is this: If you were designing a home for a large-ish family, what would you include? My first thought was a laundry chute. I’m sure no one would complain about sending their laundry down a slide. My second thought was: That is a terrible idea. I’m sure I can’t even imagine what/who would try to go through it. My husband had the idea of having a garage tall enough that we could park a van inside if our family outgrows our current car. I am also considering eating Ramen noodles for a year to put in 2 dishwashers.

Since we are still in the early stages, I don’t really have any idea what of these ideas would be economically feasible, but I do know that I am willing to have all the boys share a broom closet if I can have a laundry room that I can turn around in! We spend a lot of time in our home and enjoy having others over.  Any fun ideas??

  • Family Snodgrass

    My dream home would have a bathroom with a toddler-size potty and a low sink. Ha! Dream big!

    • buildingcathedralstexasmommy

      Do you have boys with occasional “aiming issues” too?? :-)

  • Julie

    i would say forget the second dishwasher and opt for a second washer/dryer!! In our home we have a first floor laundry room, but with five kids, a husband, a dirty dog and a cat i have considered and actually asked my husband if we could turn one of the upstairs bathrooms (there are three) into a second laundry room. He said NO….but then i thought perhaps converting one of the larger bathroom closets into a stacking washer/dryer area…again he said NO…. then a few months later, i met a woman at an engagement party that told me she in fact DID have two laundry rooms and loved it! After meeting her I felt less crazy for wanting a second laundry room of my own :)

    • buildingcathedralstexasmommy

      I think this is awesome and totally agree! In the current floor plan, the laundry room is big enough to accommodate a second washer/dyer, our second fridge, my desk, has an island for folding clothes and 8 built in mudroom style lockers…it is my dream! We are planning small bedrooms to compensate for the laundry room!

  • Elisa

    A mud room is a must! An area to remove and store footwear, outerwear, and wet clothing before entering the main house… Especially with boys and land!

  • FW

    Everyone I talk to says that they wish or are glad they had a central vac put in. It’s super nice to have heated floors in the bathroom(s) and kitchen–both my parents and in-laws have them in their master bathrooms and kitchens, but perhaps unnecessary in TX? They sound like a luxury but could actually lower heating bills depending on where in the house the kitchen is.

    • buildingcathedralstexasmommy

      Yes, heated floor may not be the way to go in Texas! The kids can go barefoot in the winter, but have to wear shoes during the summer or the ground burns their feet :-)

  • Kat0427

    Is it bad that all I really want is an awesome, totally functional mud room?!? The second dishwasher would be great for entertaining, and Julie, what a brilliant idea to have a second set of washer/dryer! Also, I would design large living spaces with a great flow pattern, and smaller bedrooms, but that’s just me.

    • buildingcathedralstexasmommy

      Totally agree!

  • Mary Alice

    For hot or inclement whether I’d have a playroom meant for active boys- like a home gym, perhaps a basement with turf instead of carpet and soccer goals, or a batting cage. My kids rollerblade in our unfinished basement, and we used to set up a bounce castle there in the winter.

    Also, more than a washer or dishwasher, I’d like a second fridge, especially for entertaining. If you eat mostly fresh food, you fill up the fridge with about two days worth of dairy and produce for nine people, so it is hard to also make room for the thanksgiving turkey! I love the holidays, so I would want a dining room large enough to accommodate a large table.

    Lastly (we”re dreaming, right), what about a library? A space just for books, reading, thinking and good conversation with no TV in it? This is where your boys will have their heart to heart chats with Dad late at night when they are young adults sorting out big questions.

    Our house has a really open floor plan, so there are no places besides bedrooms that seem private. Even for dating, I’d like my kids to be able to entertain a group of friends slightly outside my direct line of vision, but not in a bedroom, so I’m with Kat, small bedrooms and more public spaces.

    • buildingcathedralstexasmommy

      Since our current “study” is our learning room, we are planning to have a school room and then a 2nd library/dad’s office/reading space.

      Do you have one fridge now? The way we shop (once a week grocery, ranch meat in bulk) I don’t think we could function with our shopping patterns with one fridge!

      • Mary Alice

        We have a commercial freezer in our garage, so that holds the 6 months of meat that gets delivered twice a year, but we only have one fridge. It is do able on the day to day (4 gallons of milk a week takes the entire top shelf), but really tough for entertaining.

  • Mama A

    We gutted our kitchen last year and now have a second fridge (it’s in the mudroom/ back porch) as well as a double oven in the wall with a huge pullout pantry. If you like to bake or cook (or mass produce food, lol), it’s well worth it.

    Instead of two dishwashers, maybe do a big dishwasher and then the drawer kind for glasses/ mugs/baby stuff?

    • buildingcathedralstexasmommy

      Interesting thought. I have seen those smaller drawer type washers…I’ll have to check that out!

  • Mama A

    Re: The Laundry Chute.

    If you can’t put your laundry room on the same floor as the bedrooms, then I recommend the chute. We have one and I love it. Nothing crazy has really gone down it yet, and it doesn’t get clogged unless you throw bedding down it.
    The trick is that the openings (which our on both our first and second floor because laundry is in the basement) are sort of higher up, so only the kids ages 5+ can reach them ;)

    I have a cart- thingie system for sorting downstairs so it doesn’t just pile up down there. Even so, if you’re having a terrible week with sick kids, it’s still better than over-flowing hampers or baskets!

    • buildingcathedralstexasmommy

      Great idea! I never thought of putting it out of reach!

  • http://www.buildingcathedrals.com/ Kellie

    My dream home would be at the beach, but I’m guessing that isn’t possible. So for inside the home amenities, I’d go with a game room, mud room, library, washer/dryer upstairs, and perhaps an indoor gym for kids with turf, a rock climbing wall, and other fun things to swing on climb on. Ideally a game room or indoor gym room could also function as a private space for older kids to hang out with friends. I would also do lots of room in storage closets! As the owner of an older home, I hate the small closets. Finally, I’d want a nick screen enclosed deck or patio.

    • buildingcathedralstexasmommy

      Maybe we can integrate a rock wall into the exterior of the house :-)

  • JMB

    If I were to design a house today with my family in mind (18 years to 11), here’s what it would include: A back entry to the house from a garage where you could park your car. In my area, most garages are separate from house. I’d also have a second dishwasher in kitchen, a second refrigerator/freezer in garage/basement. As for laundry, we have a basement and I like my laundry room private. To me it’s like a little science lab and I’d rather not have to keep it clean and tidy. If its in a public space, that is out of the question. A nice entrance area/foyer is wonderful. A bar area near dining room/kitchen would be ideal. As for bedrooms, I don’t think they are as important as everyone seems to think. We have 5 of them, and for years only used 2 or 3. The time that you need all bedrooms used is pretty slim, 3 or 4 years. I’d rather have more bathrooms, or at least a Jack/Jill bathroom. Other than that, I think most homes are way to big for the families that reside in them and seem very depressing. I’d rather be in a nice neighborhood and have a nice backyard (pool) than have a big house in the middle of nowhere.

    • buildingcathedralstexasmommy

      I agree on the bedrooms. Our kids sleep there and then they are usually outside or in the kitchen!

  • Juris Mater

    A big, welcoming kitchen with a comfortable hanging out spot and a breakfast table at least. I have observed quite a few big families, and our own family is ballooning quite a bit!, and so much of the action revolves around the kitchen. It’s wonderful to have plenty of counter space there for projects, cooking and otherwise, and also to have inviting space for family members to come keep mom company.

    Totally agreed on the fewer and smaller bedrooms in exchange for more living space and yard.

  • KC

    I would avoid the laundry chute and try to keep the laundry on the same floor as the bedrooms. The chute gets it down, but you still have to carry it back up! If your kids are outside a lot, you don’t only need a mudroom–you need a full bath right inside an outside door so those messy kids can undress and go right into the tub. We only have a half bath easily accessible and how I wish we had a tub in there!

  • Kat0427

    Oooh, I know what you need…An outdoor shower!!!

    • Mary Alice

      Awesome! I love that idea. Right next to the drinking fountain!

  • Joanna

    My dad is one of sixteen kids and my grandpa was a genius to think this up when he was building their house in Missouri. He installed a DRINKING FOUNTAIN right next to the back door so when the kids came in they wouldn’t bother mom for a drink or dirty a dozen cups in the process. I absolutely love this idea and hope to use it for our home some day!

    • Kathleen

      Oh my gosh! I LOVE this idea!

    • buildingcathedralstexasmommy

      This is awesome!

    • AWOL_Mommy

      I need a drinking fountain

  • Mandy

    Growing up I had friends who had a fireman’s pole in their house. It looked like a closet from the hallway. We loved sliding down it. If I recall it was just off the mud room so the kids would actually climb up it and avoid tracking dirt through the house and up the stairs.

    • buildingcathedralstexasmommy

      Wow, our boys would love this, though could a baby fall down?

  • Karen

    A slide inside for the kids :) Love the idea of the laundry room being on the same floor as the bedrooms. Our playroom is in the basement, and I hate it. So I would have a playroom on the same floor as the living room and kitchen. 2 dishwashers are brilliant.

  • Mary Alice

    This has gotten us dreaming and scheming, what fun! We thought about several clusters of small bedrooms around en-suite bathrooms, so that 3-4 kids share that bathroom, but eventually those spaces are useful for adult children returning with their own families, they almost become like little apartments. Our extended family spends A LOT of time together, and my parents have worked hard to retro-fit the bedrooms to accomodate growing families, but bathrooms are harder. My mom just turned a large bedroom closet into a nursery so that a couple coming home with a baby can have the baby in their room but still get some sleep, and that room also has it’s own bathroom. The “nursery” that they made off of my room, by dividing a master bedroom in half, now has 4 bunk beds, making a little suite for my family.

  • AWOL_Mommy

    I am thinking of school-type child-height cubbies in your mudroom. The rubber rain gear goes there in the warm months and the coats and muddy boots in the colder months, our shared hall closet relies on a series of messy baskets on the ground for kids to pile their yuck stuff in, and I know that little lockers or cubbies would alleviate this. Major second on all Kellie and MA’s indoor active boy ideas.

  • Lydia

    I saw on a show the other day that a couple installed those rock climbing hand holds (I don’t know what they are called) and other athletic climbing stuff all over their playroom. It is a great way for kids, especially active boys, to gain skill and exercise in climbing and upper body strength. And be able to do it inside when it is miserably hot. I saw that and only wished I had that for my oldest who literally tried to climb the walls using his furniture.


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