What’s Your Dream Home?

I’m house hunting, and for the first time in my life I get to pick what *I* want.   Don’t need to worry about school districts or whether or not there will be enough playmates in the neighborhood.  I don’t need to concern myself with whether the house is close to Grandma or other family members.  Don’t need to worry about mass transit routes or proximity to restaurants and shopping.  Finally, it’s all about what I want.  Sounds great, right?

Actually, it’s a little scary.  So I’ve been trying to think practically and order my priorities.

Being an accountant, my biggest concern is that the house not only holds it’s value but also appreciates in value. Number one – I want an investment.  Boring, I know, but it’s the first consideration for me.  What’s next?   What else do *I* want in a house?

Unfortunately, I can’t afford this 16,000 square foot dream house somewhere in California.





Nor could I dream of ever making the payments on this wonderful beach house.





Love this cottage, but it’s in Costa Rica and I refuse to move so far from my kids.





Cabins, cabins, cabins.  Why do they always look so inviting?

Fantasies, it seems, are out.  What reality do I want?  My second priority, I think, relates to the floorplan.  I think I want a rambler.  I’m sick of stairs. Well, at least I want the master bedroom on the first floor.

My third priority is 9 foot ceilings. I like the idea of open spaces and higher ceilings give that feeling even in small rooms.  Other considerations are … an attached garage. (I live in Minnesota, remember?)  Fenced in yard.  Central air.  Maintenance free exterior. A three/four season porch. Decent closet space.

Help me out.  What else am I missing?  If you were out house hunting, what would be some of your priorities?

This is the last week to pick up REDEMPTION AT MIRABELLE, the last in my Mirabelle Island series, in stores!


About Helen Brenna

Helen Brenna is the RITA award winning author of romances for Harlequin's Superromance line. Three more books in her popular Mirabelle Island series will be release in July, August and September of 2011. For more information, check out her website at www.helenbrenna.com.
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40 Responses to What’s Your Dream Home?

  1. Keri Ford says:

    Big kitchen. My own LARGE closet. Spacious office.

    I’m with you on the high ceilings. I like space and air. I would pick something with lots of windows on all sides. Something with a covered porch so I could use those windows even in the rain. My grandma has a sun room. it’s part of her porch, but enclosed in nothing but windows. It branches off the bedroom and is so pretty.

    Fenced in yard would be a must for my dog. And not in town. I’ve lived in the backwoods nearly my whole life. It was…odd for the couple years my husband and I lived in the middle of town.

    I used to want some two or three story home, but with bad knees I’m leaning more toward one story. Though i wouldn’t mind a basement so my husband could have a man cave and safety from the weather when we needed it.

    Clearly I’m a gal who knows what I like! Good luck in house hunting. I cannot wait for when I get to start that!

    • Helen Brenna says:

      Room for a man cave!!! That’s a smart thing to add.

      Keri, right out of college, I wanted to buy a house in the city. But after living in the burbs for all these years, not sure that’s what I want any longer. Don’t think I could stand the country, though, so I’ll stick to the boring, old burbs!

  2. Candace Schuler says:

    Ah, a subject about which I know lots, as the DH and I have bought and sold over a dozen homes in the last 30+ years. I’m with you on the high ceilings, Helen. Even a dinky house feels spacious with high ceilings. Ditto the single-level rambler. When we’ve lived in multi-storied houses there was always a pile of something or other at the bottom of the stairs that needed to go upstairs the next time I did. The most important thing for me, though, is an open floor plan. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen but don’t like being in there alone. In the home we have now, the main living area is one big open area that includes the kitchen, dining, and living spaces. As a bonus, my office (though technically a room of its own) opens off the living room through a pair of double-wide French doors, so even when I’m working, I’m in the middle of what’s going on. I love it.

  3. TrishJ says:

    A big kitchen with a breakfast nook. We tend to spend a l ot of time in there with friends and family. And lots of windows. I know they are awful to keep clean. But i love a cheerful house! Good luck!

    • Helen Brenna says:

      My family has always been a kitchen family. Good point! And the directions those windows face is critical to me. A house that has all it’s windows facing north gets darn dark and gloomy during a MN winter. Putting this on my list, too!

  4. Cindy Gerard says:

    Oh what fun, Helen. I wish I could go house hunting with you! I LOVE checking out houses and imagining what it would be like to live in them.
    It sounds like you’ve got a lot of the basics covered so to the list I’ll add: TREES. if at all possible try to find a place with established trees. Adds to the charm, to the warmth (and cuts cooling bills in the summer) and it brings birds and things to keep the place lively.
    Good luck!
    And wow – what a great cover on you latest book!

  5. jmac says:

    Oh my Lord, the log cabin pictured above would be it. My dream home is a cabin in the Smoky Mountains. Working on finding a job in Chattanooga so I can move out of Illinois.

  6. Mary says:

    I would like to start house hunting for the first time sometime in the next 5-7 years, have to take care of some of my debt first! But I have often thought about what I would look for in a house. A nice kitchen for sure. Doesn’t have to be huge, just needs to be functional with a great layout and plenty of counter space and cabinets (or a nice pantry). A nice master bath of course. But honestly, my biggest priority (and people may think I’m crazy) is a decent-sized flat (or mostly flat) fenced in yard for my dog to run and play in 🙂 Seems like so many houses around here these days (especially newly built ones) have either tiny yards or no yards (to be considered functional anyway)

    • Helen Brenna says:

      Mary, I don’t think you’re crazy at all for making the dogs a priority. If I didn’t have dogs, I’d likely be looking for a townhome right now! So I’m buying a whole house for my dogs!

  7. What a fabulous question… I will be doing the same thing next summer though I will have to think about schools, and sports and theater.

    You are going to laugh at this..

    I want a house that is at least 2500 sq feet. Has a formal living room with the Christmas Tree window (you know the one I’m talking about) a HUGE kitchen with an island big enough for us to eat dinner at (there is only 4 of us). At least 5 bedrooms, one for each of the kids and a guest room, all of them need to have oversized closets. The master bedroom needs to be HUGE with an area I can make into a reading nook. The master bath needs to have a shower and a tub. The tub MUST be large and one that I can take long relaxing baths in. There also needs to be a room that I can turn into a library to house the 10 bookshelves I currently have that are overflowing.

    The yard needs to be fenced in with a porch that is big enough that I can put chairs on it. The backyard needs to be big enough that if the boys want friends over to play a pick up game of rugby or football they can. Plus have a deck where we can bbq and sit outside.

    Okay is that

  8. Helen Brenna says:

    Heather, you haven’t been thinking about this at all, have you? 🙂 I think the comments this morning just proves the importance of space. And it’s so, so personal. BTW, I didn’t laugh. I get it!

  9. Sherri says:

    I agree with lots of well established trees. Big wrap around porch for chairs. Most of the newer houses don’t have porches anymore, they have decks or patios, which are great but my daughter likes to be out front with all of the rest of the kids in the area. Most have an area for both a flower garden and a food garden. Big backyard. Must have plenty of bathrooms. Who want to wait for someone to get out of the bathroom so that they can use it. A really large kitchen with the family room attached to it (with a fireplace). And a big bedroom with a large closet and an area that I can curl up in a oversize chair and read all of my books. Or maybe a library with floor to ceiling book shelves. It would also have to have the mountains behind me and the ocean in front of me.
    Yes, If can only dream it and it would be.

  10. Stephenia says:

    High ceilings to make it feel roomy, trees in the yard, fenced yard for the dog, covered porch where I could sit outside and listen to the rain, a great window nook area inside for a big reading chair, good built in shelf/storage spaces, big closet, two bathrooms. An eat-in kitchen with an island/workstation separating the cooking area from the eating area. A good sized tub/shower. An inviting outside patio/cooking/entertaining area. I used to think I wanted a BIG house, now that I’m older I like the idea of a smaller house with a smaller electric/utility bill and less surfaces to collect dust for me to clean. Happy house hunting!

  11. readergirl10 says:

    want a house on the beach. I have always wanted to see the ocean and to live on the beach would just be icing on the cake:)

  12. michelehauf says:

    Oh fun! I’ve been house hunting of sorts, too, but the hubby and I are planning to build some years in our (hopefully) near future. The one floor rambler is a MUST. We just don’t want to be climbing stairs when we’re old and creaky, right? And after that the bedroom and bathroom are the most important rooms to me. I want them big. I’m so tired of a tiny bathroom. But as well, not so big that cleaning is a pain. The less to clean, the better. And the laundry room right nest to the bedrooms makes so much sense. After that, I need trees and distance from the city, but not so far that a trip to Trader Joes or Nordstroms Rack is an all-day event. 😉

    Have fun, Helen!

  13. Christie Mahany says:

    Mudroom between the garage and the kitchen (or at least near it) and a short distance between the garage and the kitchen. A must if you’re unloading groceries in a snowy climate!

  14. Marcia in OK says:

    DItto what everyone else said about the kitchen!

    I’ll add considerations for what you need in a laundry room. I dream of one that has room, of course, for the washer dryer, but also a place for hang dry stuff, and room for ironning board to be easily available. And, maybe a utility sink for presoaking all that ucky stuff before it hits the washer.

    And, an extended garage that allows for the cars inside, but also for all the outdoor maintenance stuff that everyone needs even if you can afford to pay for a services. And the garbage, recycling stuff.

    Good luck!

  15. Kathleen O'Donnell says:

    Ah, a subject close to my heart. My dream home would have three bedrooms. The master bedroom would entail an en-suite of course, big enough to hold a party in. I want one of those huge showers that have multiple shower heads. Yes I know very decedent. .A claw foot tub. I used to hate ours when I was a kid, but I would appreciate it now. It would have a huge dressing room. The living room would have a fire place for sure and a huge Bay window. I would have a huge dinning room that would hold a table big enough to sit at least 24 people, Of course this dream house would also come with servants to help with these huge dinner parties I would hold.

    The kitchen would have a family room/library/den.This would lead on to a huge enclosed sunroom where I would have comfy chairs that I could curl up on and read to my hearts content. My dream house would be have lots of windows so it would be airy and full of light.. It would also have a swimming pool and I would like the master bedroom and to be on the main level and lead onto the patio, so on beautiful summer morning I could just open my sliding glass doors a and have my morning tea and read my book by the pool on the patio.

    Ah to dream…

  16. Leanne Banks says:

    Helen, I’m loving all these comments. Love to hear people who KNOW what they want. Including my parents’ homes, I’ve lived in 7 houses and I know some things that I want, but not all. I will say that the gas fireplace w/blower, jetted tub, fenced yard and garage are as mandatory as it gets for me!:) That said, more important than all of those is a SAFE neighborhood. I have some friends who are in a period of transition who are living in two places right now. Instead of owning both, they’re renting one and owning the other. The economy is causing people to make creative choices. I hope you find your PERFECT home!!!<3

  17. What a great discussion! Heather’s comment did make me laugh, but only because the first question I ask when I look at a house is, “Where would we put the Christmas tree?” Seriously, why is that?

    When we moved to the Mpls burbs, the rambler was our first priority. Really hard to find at that time. The ones we found were all built in the 50’s and 60’s–not a bad thing, as it turns out. Construction was generally better back then.

    Be sure to check for history of ice dams. Such a problem in MN. We never had to worry about that in ND. The snow blows off the roof.

    Don’t high ceilings waste heat? I know ceiling fans help.

    • Helen Brenna says:

      Wow, I’ve never looked at a house and thought where do we put the tree. But I guess I’ve been lucky. We do have one of those tree windows in our living room!

      I think if you get a lot of vaulted ceilings, there’s a lot of energy wasted, Kathy, but I just want the 9′ ceilings. The rooms always feel so much bigger. I think.

  18. MaryC says:

    Definitely a mudroom and at least 1.5 bathrooms. I would also want a walk in bathtub. Hardwood floors – not a fan of wall to wall carpeting, especially with pets. I also think it’s important for each person to have his/her personal space.

  19. Helen Brenna says:

    Oh, MaryC, the walk-in shower or bathtub was something that a friend of mine suggested. Hadn’t considered it beforehand. And if you have allergies, the hard wood floors are great!

  20. Kylie Brant says:

    Walk in shower, heated floor in the bathroom (it’s Minnesota remember!), sun room, spacious office, high ceilings, large kitchen, walk in closets and lots of storage. Those would be on my priority list!

    • Helen Brenna says:

      Ooooh, a heated floor! Love that idea! Thanks, Kylie!

      I have lots of storage now, but I know I take it for granted. Will have to make sure whatever I get has adequate storage, at least.

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  22. CateS says:

    Hmmm. maybe you should build what you want… I’d have 9 ft ceilings, built in bookcases on either side of fireplace, laundry/mud room off garage, cedar lined closets in one room, 2 bathrooms – both with tubs & one with walk-in shower [jetted tub would have extra sound proofing so that my tub time would be quiet time!], kitchen with walk-in pantry. I’d have this in a ranch over walk-out basement with wetbar and a screened porch on the back of the house, accessible from the house.

  23. Helen Brenna says:

    Can I have your house, Cate? lol It sounds perfect.

  24. CateS says:

    Well, it’s a combination of several that we’ve owned. I would say that if you do a screened porch, have screening installed under the floor if it’s not going to be solid.. bugs come up from the ground.. and if you do a partial solid wall & windows/screening on a porch… sit the heck down to decide how high to make the walls…I’m rather petite..and at one house all I could see were birds…

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