I have an unrealistic fantasy of living a house like this one. A Mid-Century modern all glass and metal looking out over a central courtyard with a glowing pool. It would be filled with Mid-Century modern furniture and we would sit poolside eating avocados and drinking strong cocktails. It would be sunny and seventy-two degrees every day and our children would be strong and happy. Our faces would be permanently ensconced in sunglasses.
To say this is my “dream house” is a bit of a misnomer. A dream house implies something attainable, something that, if you could have it, it would make your current life inextricably better. In particular, a dream house conjures up images of a place that you can grow old in — a place that can hold all of your memories, hopes and, well, dreams. A dream house is a place your children can look back on as a lost oasis against threat and fear — a place filled with magic and imagination.
This is not that house. This house can only hold the precise furniture that has been chosen for it and only in the precise manner in which it is displayed. Introduce children into this house and you have grape jam on the ivory carpet, a floating basketball net in the pool and smudges — oh, so many smudges — on all of that glass.
This house doesn’t make my current life better, it requires a wholly different life. And right now, I really love my life. This house isn’t for families that have hopes and dreams. This house is for couples of the moment who have already achieved everything they cold possibly imagine and have nothing left to go for. They show up at work, make big decisions, green-light things and then come home to their glimmering pool, avocados and mojitos. This isn’t a dream house — it’s a fantasy house.
It is certainly a fantasy house when compared to our current home — a three-bedroom early-80s townhouse that I suppose would be classified as “colonial,” but I might call it “utilitarian.” It’s brick, has adequate windows for all rooms and holds up to the weather. It is appointed in a style I can only describe as 21st Century comfortable. Our furniture has clean lines, it isn’t over-stuffed, but it’s comfortable — very comfortable — and purchased for that comfort. The furniture wasn’t conceived by a designer, but it’s well made and the pieces have been brought together mostly from a massive furniture retailer. We have redone the kitchen to be very nice and modern.
Our home is not a fantasy house, it is not a dream house, but it is the right home for us right now. It is a home we can afford and that requires little to no yard maintenance (a blessing with two working parents). It is a home where a five year-old can chase a three-year old around the house without too much risk that anything or anyone is going to get broken. It is a home that allows us to congregate with our neighbors on front stoops while the kids tear up and down the sidewalks on big wheels and scooters. It is a home that can handle the muddy feet of a still-overly-active nine-year-old hunting dog. It is a home that allows children to be on one floor and parents to be on another. It is a home that can serve a good meal quickly to a hungry family, or host friends for a leisurely dinner party. It is a home where we can all pile into the basement under some blankets and watch a movie together. It is a home that fits our family.
Someday, when the kids are older and our careers have advanced a bit further there will be time for a dream house and someday after that, when the kids have moved out there may be time for a fantasy house. But right now, I am quite content with a practical home.
(Photo via: Take Sunset)