Sunday, January 25, 2009

One Idea in Detail: Create Your Dream Room

By this time in our lives, if we haven't already acquired our dream house, we probably won't. But a "dream room" is very achievable and well worth the investment in time and money.

You may have been saying to yourself and/or your significant other for years: I wish I could have the perfect room for . . . . (pick one) writing, entertaining, cooking, sewing, crafting, reading, building, music making, movie watching, exercising, meditating, massaging, taking afternoon naps, having (ahem) sensual encounters . . . . or any number of others you might think of.

Now is the perfect time. Chances are good that you're an empty-nester and have a spare bedroom, garage stall, or basement corner that will work nicely. It's also likely you'll be spending a lot more time at home than during your working years, so why not invest in one room that you can't wait to spend time in. Conceptualizing, planning and creating that room makes a good HarvilleQuarter. Some ideas:

Gourmet kitchen: This could be expensive, but if you love to cook and bake and entertain, the complete kitchen do-over is worth the money while increasing your home's market value. It might also be possible to create a kitchen you love (which may not be a "gourmet" kitchen, but works perfectly for you) without spending bucks by the tens of thousands. Your kitchen may have just a few shortcomings that, when corrected, will convert it from a place that's strictly utilitarian to one that's a pleasure to work in. New countertops, improved lighting (which I know from experience can make a huge difference), more electrical outlets, a couple of high-end countertop appliances, better storage, new paint, some bright artwork, an undercabinet TV/DVD player, a skylight, new flooring - changes like these may be enough. Of course, ripping out walls and replacing all the cabinets and appliances are an option as well.

Library: If you love to read and write, make a spare bedroom into a library. Build in floor-to-ceiling bookcases. Acquire a great desk or some modular office furniture (used options are available). Buy an antique oriental rug (or a new one - genuine or fake) for the floor. Get a nice leather armchair with ottoman and a floor lamp that gives great light for reading. A ceiling fan would be nice as would some indirect lighting on your book collection. Paint the remaining walls with a library-like color (deep maroon-red, perhaps), hang some tasteful etchings or photographs nicely framed, add wood blinds for the windows, and if you're a booklover or writer, you'll have a room you'll want to live in.

Workshop: If you enjoy building things and plan to do more of it in retirement, it is time to get past the makeshift workbench you have in the corner of your garage or basement. Use a HarvilleQuarter to plan and create the perfect workshop that exactly matches your hobbies and crafts. Storage, work surfaces, tools, lighting, electrical outlets, noise and dust control, ease of clean-up, safety - consider all of these in your design.

Outdoor entertaining: If you love to entertain and especially if you live in a warm climate, think about your outdoor entertaining space. This is an opportunity to build something really spectacular where friends will want to gather and linger and you'll have everything you need close at hand to enjoy the experience as well.

Greenhouse: If you have a green thumb and love to grow things - and especially if you live in a cold climate - build a greenhouse as a separate structure or add one to the south side of your house. You'll be able to putter among your plants all winter long, experiment with new varieties, have cut flowers year-round, grow seedlings for spring planting, and generally bask in the sun, humidity, bright colors and fragrances of your greenhouse. On sunny days, you may also be able to move some warm air from an attached greenhouse into the rest of your house.

Exercise room: If you have the motivation to exercise by yourself or with your significant other and prefer working out at home to the gym, plan and create an exercise room. Again, an extra bedroom or basement space will work. Decide what equipment you need as well as amenities - video, music, towel racks, storage, ceiling fan, mini-fridge, mirrors (or not) - and start planning. Consider used equipment (it seems some people over-estimate their enthusiasm for exercising and over-invest in high-end equipment) to help control costs.

Sunroom: As of now (in the middle of a Wisconsin winter), this is my dream room. I live in a modest 50's ranch but it does have a small (about 10X11) screened porch on the southeast corner. The porch is enjoyable on breezy, warm summer nights, but I think I'd sacrifice it for a cozy little sunroom/den. I'm thinking mostly glass on the south side, which looks out onto the backyard and is shaded by a honey locust in the summer but gets full sun in the winter. I'd like a tiny gas fireplace for both atmosphere and extra heat and/or radiant heating in the floor for sunless days and evenings. It would have a skylight or two, a ceiling fan to help distribute the heat, a few small bookshelves, a really comfy chair for reading and TV viewing (I'm thinking Ekornes recliner), a small flat screen TV/DVD, wireless Internet, and a sofa just long enough for those Sunday afternoon naps.

No comments:

Post a Comment