When I was designing our dream home 15 years ago, I was chasing around our toddler while laying out rooms and selecting finishes.
Back then, I didn’t let Ben out of my sight and couldn’t imagine a time when we wouldn’t be attached at the hip. So, I selected new-home options perfect for parents of a 16-month-old, never questioning if they’d work for parents of a 6-year-old, or 16-year-old.
Here are things that seemed like a good idea at the time.
Kitchen/great room combo: I figured one big space would be great for watching tiny Ben while I was cooking; he’d drum on a pot while I fixed him buttered noodles. But Ben grew up and now likes to watch “Law & Order” on TV while I talk on the phone with my mom, and my husband runs the disposal after dinner. The room sometimes sounds like Grand Central, and I now dream of a separate family room and a little less togetherness.
Two main-floor bedrooms: We downsized our master suite to squeeze in a second bedroom next to us — perfect for soothing a preschooler’s nightmares. Turns out kids outgrow nightmares, but skimpy closet space is forever.
A pass-through instead of cabinets: I gave up two kitchen cabinets to cut a pass-through from the kitchen to our mud-cum-crafts room so I could keep an eye on Ben’s finger-painting sessions. Ben hasn’t dipped a finger in paint in 12 years, and I could really use that storage now.
The Future is Now
If I were buying a new home today, I’d do things differently: I’d crystal-ball my thinking and plan for my future needs. That’s the beauty of buying new construction: You can focus on want-to-dos, rather than to-dos — even if you can’t anticipate all your wants.
Luckily, builders know the life of a new home is a journey, and have consultants who help you fast-forward your thinking about features you can install now that will make life easier later.
I brainstormed with a couple of executives from Toll Brothers and Ryland Homes about some forward-thinking, new-home options.
- A main floor den that could be converted into another bedroom as your family grows.
- Bedroom soundproofing to ensure privacy.