Thoughtful Thursday: Space

April 5, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday

Welcome to the April Intelligentsia.

#30: Elana from Elana’s Musings
#26: A from Are You Kidding Me?
#26: Lost In Translation from We Say IVF, They Say FIV
#22: Strongblonde from Strong Blonde
#14: Tara from Turkey In My Oven
#12: St. Elsewhere
#10: Lori from Write Mind Open Heart
#10: Rebecca from Get Lost With Me, Darling
#5: Sara from Aryanhwy

Thoughtful ThursdayCurrent home tastes (at least in the U.S.) seem to skew toward big, open living spaces — the “great room.” My now-vacant, still-unsold, hemorrhaging-money house is the opposite: many separate living spaces. I loved it. I loved that DH and the twins and I could each do our own work/play without hearing each other. Conversely, multiple prospective buyers have specifically complained that there was no great room. Aren’t there any introverts who want to buy my house?

Preparing for fall, I’ve just toured several very different preschool classrooms. They are all within the same philosophy, so the toys and learning materials are very similar. There are differences in teacher styles and general vibe, of course. But the biggest difference is the physical space. One classroom is enormous, three connected rooms, with 12-foot ceilings, century-old woodwork, all sorts of nooks and crannies to work independently or interact with peers (or to get into trouble — I’m looking at you, Burrito). Another classroom is “cozy” — smallish space (accommodating half as many kids as the first one), low ceilings (not that you care when you’re 3 feet tall), dark — a Hobbit House feel. A third classroom is a big airy room with two walls of windows, bright and modern.

For several reasons including but not limited to the physical space, the bright airy classroom is the current frontrunner for our preschool choice. The first one would have been the frontrunner if I were picking a house. The Hobbit classroom would have been the frontrunner if I were picking a workspace.

My tall husband, on the other hand, would steer clear of the Hobbit room regardless of the purpose: he’d be okay with either of the other two, but dark with low ceilings is a dealbreaker for him.

Burrito is happy pretty much anywhere.

If it were up to Tamale, they’d attend an outdoor school. “I’m sitting on the ground! I need some sunscreen.”

What kind of physical space are you drawn to?


14 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Space”

  1. Kristin Says:

    I love big open spaces as long as there are some quiet little nooks to escape to when I need alone time.

  2. St. Elsewhere Says:

    Any space that offers me a sense of coziness is welcome. For me, the important things are that if dark colours are used on the walls, they should not be depressing. I am affected by wall colours…there should be light and air…and if I want to escape to something dimmer, there should be option for that!

  3. sarauckelman Says:

    When it comes to living space, my preferences for larger rooms and wider/open spaces stems from the fact that my library is so large that basically every flat open wall space in every room has bookcases on it. If you start with small rooms, and reduce the interior of the room by 1′ or more in all dimensions, then they get really small.

    Another thing that I prefer greatly is houses that go up rather than out. I’d like a big house someday, but I want it to have a small footprint, and three or maybe four usable levels.

  4. a Says:

    When we were designing our house, I insisted on the open floor plan for the main part. The only problem with it is that the house is single story, so the private spaces aren’t private enough for me – there’s not enough removal. But there’s always the basement. As soon as I buy an ottoman so I can use my laptop comfortably, I’ll spend all my time down there.

    Growing up, our house was mostly small rooms, but my parents opened up the wall between the kitchen and the next room – it was supposed to be another bedroom but they made it our dining room/TV room. But it was a 2 story, so there was always a way to get away from everyone else if you needed to.

    I would like a 2 story for my next house, but my husband doesn’t like them. Of course, there is the slight possibility that we’ll never move again, but I’m not counting on that.

    Anyway, I guess my overarching philosophy on home spaces is that the kitchen should be open to the place where people spend most of their time (family room, great room, living room, etc.). Lots of other small rooms are good. Also, it should be bright, so I don’t have to use lights during the day, but not direct sunlight that makes it too hot.

  5. strongblonde Says:

    it depends on what’s going on. across the board, though, i like natural light if possible. being able to have some sort of connection with the outdoors is nice, even if it’s just natural light through a skylight or something. in my house i like rooms that are big “enough”, but prefer no great room. I tend to be attracted to older homes: the character, the unique aspects, and the way the space is broken up. I was attracted to our current house because of the awesome outdoor space….funny that one of those trees just crushed our neighbor’s garage! B was just telling me his plans for “opening up” our first floor of our house. He would definitely prefer an open concept. Right now it is set up so that you can still hear people, but you have a little “sight privacy”. He’d like to eliminate that all together. In my work space I just need space to spread out, but not too many distractions.

  6. clumsykisses Says:

    I’m British so I get that my idea of ‘big’ is wildly different to most Americans. We live in a mid-terrace house with a tiny footprint (22′ by 12′) but it has a cellar, living room, kitchen, two bedrooms, bathroom, and then a huge attic room that I spend most of my time in. It’s unusual, which I like.

    One thing about our house is that barely any wall is straight/blank. They all have a door or a window or a fireplace or a staircase. It makes for interesting furniture arrangements đŸ™‚

  7. Sunny. That’s what makes a room great to me. Airy and warm are good, too.

    *snort* about looking at Burrito.

  8. Like clumsykisses, I’m in the UK (now), but coming from Canada, my sense of space is different as well. But I’ve been living in small apartment/flats for 7 years now. I don’t mind it horribly, but sometimes I crave a space to sneak away to, which pretty much is the bedroom or to take a bath. I long for a room/space that is only for my own creative endeavours. I also want a honest to goodness dining space that is a bit more separate than five feet from my couch. I have a dream “house” in my head, but really, it’s a townhome or even a large apartment with a balcony/patio. I need to feel connected to the outside and I need my interior space to be bright and easy to keep clutter free, otherwise I have anxiety issue. Life for a family of 3 in 700 sq feet takes special considerations…

  9. Elana Kahn Says:

    I need to have big spaces or I’m totally claustrophobic, but I tend to have a lot of clutter in my spaces, too. So I guess I’m an oxymoron! đŸ™‚ I’d rather things were clean, but I’m really bad at keeping things that way. My excuse is that I never have enough organizing space to put things away, so it all ends up on the floor or on the counters. As long as I can find my things, then I’m ok.

  10. Tara (TIMO) Says:

    Before kids, I was a residential architect and worked on/designed high-end single family residences, both new construction and remodels. I actually prefer the remodels better because I love looking at the old architecture and trying to get the new to match or blend with the existing.

    I prefer older homes with smaller rooms. I love separate spaces for each activity. I’d love a separate library, office and craft room even if they could all essentially be done in one space. Our current house drives me nuts because it is an open floor plan and there are no walls to put any furniture. Everything is floating in the middle but it makes a great running track for the boys. Playing “baseball” and hitting a homerun means a lap around the furniture island. I also hate that our living room is their playroom. I’d love an extra “adult” room that is without toys.

  11. Mel Says:

    Oooh, that is a great question. I tend to like a lack of doors. I work in the kitchen, which is doorless or the livingroom, which is doorless, though sometimes I need to go up to the bedroom because I also am terrible at tuning out sound. Yesterday I went out in the afternoon for frozen yogurt and tried eating it at the place, then realized that I would be even happier eating it alone in my car where there was no muzak playing.

    I like a lot of light, but I don’t have the shades open most of the time. I like rooms that are brightly painted. I have an aversion to pastels, though our room is a pale plum. But that is only because I wanted it to match our ketubah.

    If you think I’m picky about food, I have even stronger feelings about colours.

  12. Sam Says:

    For me its not necessarily about the size of the room, it’s about the amount of sunlight and warmth that gets into it. Lots of sunlight and just right warmth needed…


  13. I’m a nook person myself. I wrote in repurposed closet at our old house in Silver Lake, and I still consider that the best office I ever had. I think my perfect writing space would be really small with a great view.

  14. ah, just realized I hadn’t responded to this one yet! I love a big, light living space where our high end surround sound system will sound good. We had such a place when we lived in the US, our current living/dining area is nice and light, but not big (and the sound is pretty crap – but we switched to a cheap stereo set-up anyway because of nosy toddler fingers). I will gladly give up space in a bedroom to have a larger living space. I need to be able to breathe in a space, so I love high ceilings and lots of natural light.

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