Saturday, March 31, 2007

On clutter and space

I just read Phantom's post (which is, btw, brilliant), and was inspired to write about this:

Yesterday I went to look at a model home in a new development near my house (the development is called Moreland Estates, which I think is to try to get people to not notice that they can pass a cup of sugar out the windows of their palatial homes to their neighbor's windows).

In any case, I visited and looked around. This particular model features 5! bedrooms and 4 baths on the top floor. The master bedroom has a living room in it (called an "owner's retreat"), one of the possible bedrooms was open to the hall and was made into a living room, the main floor has 2 living rooms ("family room" and "formal"), and the finished basement had yet another living room.

All that space for sitting around on couches and yet...very little storage space (if you don't count the closets in the master bedroom).

Basements in these homes are always finished*...where are the root cellars and box rooms of the past? Where are the butler's pantries? Where, for that matter, are the medicine cabinets?

The answer I got from the sales lady? Butler's pantries don't sell. Well, I'd buy one.

We live in increasingly bigger and bigger houses with less and less room to put the supplies of living. Is it any wonder that we end up using the unused third living room (or in my case the dining room) as a storage shed?

*Our basement is not finished and we are using it for storage, but we also have a HUGE number of large tools down there. The table saw alone takes up a kitchen's worth of space.


~profgrrrrl~ said...

Having grown up in a house with a huge pantry, a mud room, etc. I find those rooms more essential than, say, a formal living room (which we had but never used)

Phantom Scribbler said...

Amen! We wouldn't have *had* to turn the office into an enormous walk-in closet if we'd had a pantry and mud room in this house. Honestly, if I could knock this house down and build it up again on the exact same footprint, the first thing I would pencil in would be a pantry.

ccw said...

I would kill.for.a.pantry. My extras are on shelving in the garage.

We talk about buying a bigger house frequently but I do wonder if we really need more space. Another bathroom, yes, but more space, probably not.

niobe said...

The house I grew up in had a tiny kitchen, but an enormous pantry, with glass fronted cabinets all the way up the ceiling, lots of drawers to keep things in, and a round copper sink.

When I think of that pantry, I mostly remember the smell of polish and "helping" my mother to shine the silver just before people came for dinner.

Jenn said...

Yes. Storage. Yes - bigger houses with less and less place to put stuff. But I think we aren't supposed to have stuff anymore. Or, um something. We're supposed to consume items, but we're not supposed to see where they go. Like TVs. It is now gauche to have the closed in tv wardrobe in the living room with lots of room for storage and whatnot. We are supposed to have another room for the TV. A separate non-public (?) room for that.

Obviously I have a rant brewing about this.

liz said...

Yes! Thank you for being here with me! I think we need to start a movement to bring back Victorian houses. We don't need more ROOMS we need more CABINETS!!!


Angie said...

I find the new construction up there to be absolutely ridiculous. Which is why we did not buy up there where we were living and decided to look south for something. Beside the design faults, where are all the people coming from and how can they all afford some of those mini-mansions? $650k+ makes my eyes twitch when the lot is .03 acres.

Camera Obscura said...

My 20-year-old house has a pantry (blessed be!) but no medicine cabinets. We moved in when my kids were 6, 5, and 3, and don't forget #2-Son is autistic. And there was no bathroom storage above counter-height.

I kept all medicine on a shelf in the master-bedroom closet for about 7 years...

Jody said...

Yes, why are their no closets, cabinets, etc? It's bizarre.

The builders are always saying, "oh, we build what people want," but I doubt it. They build what will sell for the most money at the least cost, with the understanding that most people's choices are pretty damn limited.

Sheila said...

When I did the Outrageously Expensive Remodel, back when I thought I would be getting a steady if modest paycheck for the rest of my working life, I turned a space under the stairs into a pantry. It's tiny, but it makes a big difference. One of my numerous regrets is that the pothead contractor goofed up the rest of the kitchen so badly that the fridge wound up in the back of this space--depriving us of I don't know how many feet of shelf space.