Saturday, January 31, 2015

Favorite Things New Home Part One

About three years ago my husband and I purchased a piece of land and started the daunting task of building our own home.  Well, we didn't actually build it, we hired a builder, but we designed it.  I can honestly say that I loved the whole process.  Yes, it was extremely, extremely, EXTREMELY stressful at times.  BUT, given the opportunity, I would absolutely do it again!!! 

 I started the process as a complete novice.  In fact now that our project is done, when I look back I realize that  I didn't know anything!! BUT (there always seems to be a "but") there were a couple things that I KNEW would make me giddy from head to toe.  This post is the beginning of a list of my FAVORITE HOME DECISIONS.  I have a feeling it will be several installments.  

And this list is in no particular order.

1.  Washer and Dryer in Master Bedroom Closet

I knew I wanted this from day one.  In talking to our architect it may have been the first thing I told him.  
"Hi.  My name is Ann and I want a washer and dryer in my closet.  Oh, and x number of bedrooms etc. etc."

And let me tell you the "grief" I received for this brilliant brain child of an idea.  

My architect thought it was quite odd.  

My builder thought I was CRAZY.  Many discussions.

My friends thought it was different, interesting, hilarious. 

Not only did I want a washer and dryer here, I wanted them in several other areas throughout my home.  I can remember eating dinner with friends and they were teasing me about "laundry day" at my house when all machines were going.  The whole house would be rocking and rolling with spin cycles and the smell of Downy would permeate the air!

Well, it was one of the best things I ever did.  I love it, love it, love it.  And I think the idea has caught on because two of my neighbors followed suit.  Not so crazy afterall!!  haha!

I chose a full size front loading stackable set in order to maximize space.  I did not however put front loaders in my other laundry areas.  After talking to friends, family and the Internet, I decided they were not for me.  I love the look of them but read and heard too many complaints of mold and smell.  So I purposefully chose enormous top loaders for my other areas and actually prefer them.  After each load in this closet, I have to leave the washer door open til dry before closing up.  Which leads me to the next picture.  

 I didn't want to see the washer and dryer in my closet.  So it fits nicely behind these doors.

Next to the washer/dryer closet is a laundry center of sorts.  I have pull-out hampers and a cupboard for soaps and everything laundry related.  I also keep extra sheets and towels in that space.  The drawers hold sewing items, extra buttons, lint brush, safety pins etc etc.  

The counter is perfect for folding.  
So I am a mom who loves laundry conveniences and knew I wanted it in different areas.  On laundry day I can wash every one's sheets, towels and clothes and be done in a snap!  :-)

2.  Drinking Fountain in the Locker Room

This was another idea that took a little getting used to by others.  But the mom in me knew, that like the washer and dryer idea, this was going to be brilliant! 

I had an empty wall in my locker room that went through a couple function trial runs during design process.  
1.  First we planned a counter and cupboards.  Walk in from the garage and put down your keys and purse and everything else in your arms.  Would be nice but I knew it would also become the dumping ground.  
2.  A bench to sit on and put on or take off your shoes.  Another good idea but we already had a bench under the lockers.  
3.  Light bulb!!!  Perfect place for my drinking fountain!!  This once again raised many eyebrows.  From my home builder to my cabinet builder.  I can just hear their thoughts..."ok, crazy lady.  first the closet laundromat and now this..."

I knew that in order for this to be successful it had to taste good.  And be COLD.  So behind the wall hides a chiller and filter.  The water is delicious!!!  

My kids drink from this all. day. long.  The garage leads into this area.  My thirsty kids arrive home from school, step into the house and take a big, long delicious drink.  I am on my way to run errands and grab a quick drink before getting in the car.  If the kids are watching TV and get thirsty, they head right to this area.  NO CUPS!!!!  In fact for the longest time my kids kept asking if we could put one upstairs.  Unless they are drinking milk at dinner, this is their go-to source of liquid.  I love it and so do they!!!

To the right of this fountain is a door that leads out to the basketball hoop.  I.e.-thirsty, thirsty boys.  
It goes something like this:
Run, run, run, dribble, dribble, shoot, grab a drink.  REPEAT.

And let's be honest.  It's just plain fun to have a drinking fountain in a house.  The kid's friends go crazy over this thing.  It is a highlight of the house for sure!

3.  Conveniences in the Kitchen (More kitchen in another post.  This is just a few favorites)

Let's start with something that I enjoy so much and brings joy daily.  And it's a door.

I knew how I wanted this area to look from the very start.  And that included a Dutch Door.  I have the top half of this door open anytime I am working in the kitchen.  The most wonderful breeze blows into my kitchen and I can clearly hear birds chirping all day long.  Not to mention the smells that blow in.  Hard to put into words but it just smells like the outdoors.  Maybe ocean breeze mixed with grass and trees and flowers and even the dirt.  This door makes me so happy.   It sounds kind of silly but often I will stand at this door and inhale and look to see if I can see the birds.
My neighbor behind us grows all her own food.  And shares it with us, often.  I find fresh produce outside this door all the time.  We are both still working on landscaping.  I can't even imagine when it's green!
(I have a disappearing screen across this door that I can open and close.  You can't even tell but it's closed in this picture.)

Next convenience is hidden drawers and a fake drawer. 

In order to keep the consistency in design, the bottom two drawers all around my kitchen are both large.  But I didn't necessarily need more large drawers.  Especially if holding items that will just get piled up and lost.  

Ta-Dah!  I didn't even know such a thing existed.  I love it!!  A drawer inside a drawer.  You don't have to open the top drawer when opening the bottom drawer.  So I keep items that I rarely use on the top shelves.  Everything is flat, on one level and visible with one glance.  No digging!!!  Or searching!!!  Very efficient use of space, wouldn't you say?  Thank you cabinet builder!  :)

We repeated this nifty little trick in the bathroom.  The top drawer is the perfect size for my husband's travel size toiletries.  That used to be piled in a drawer.  But the funniest thing that I just found out tonight when he read this was that he didn't even know that top drawer was there for months.  He thought I had thrown away all his travel size products.  Laughing!  That inside drawer is sneaky!

And the last kitchen trick for today is my fake drawer attached to a door...

This went into the kitchen design at my request.  I use my Kitchenaid mixer often.  Not often enough to keep it on the counter all the time, but often enough that it's a pain to drag out and put away because it's so heavy.  

Say hello to my appliance lift and garage.  When I am ready to mix, I open the door to the garage, pull up the lift and it locks into place.  The mixer stays plugged in at all times in an outlet that is in the garage.  

I get out my ingredients, mix, mix mix and then say goodbye to my little helper as she returns back home.  

In fact my daughter had just made pizza dough when I took this picture.  You can still see remnants in the bowl.  Will someone please design a car bowl wash for this garage???
 I love this space!!!  A fun convenience.  

So that is the beginning of my list of home favorites.  I hope you have enjoyed reading along!  More to come.