Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pocket doors and other surprising perks

There are many things that we love about our house. Paramount among them are the basics, the reasons we bought it: the number of bedrooms, the size, the layout, the neighborhood, the yard, the finished basement, the garage, the brand-new remodeling job.

And then there are other things we love about the house, things we looked for but that weren't dealbreakers if we couldn't find them all: big closets, fireplaces, great kitchen, backyard patio, huge windows, separate formal dining room, big windows.

And then there's this third category, a more ambiguous one than the first two: little random things we love about the house that we weren't looking for at all, and in many cases didn't even notice until we'd moved in. This is possibly my favorite category, because it's so random and yet so great.
  • Pocket doors. In case you don't know what these are and don't feel like clicking the link: these are doors that, instead of opening on hinges, slide across a track into the wall. In other words, when they are open, they totally disappear. We don't have them in every room, but we have them between our living room and dining room, between our dining room and kitchen, between our kitchen and front hall, and between our bedroom and the master bath. And they are AWESOME. A big door that had to be propped open and took up space would be incredibly annoying, especially in the master bath but really in all the rooms. Truly, looking at the configuration of our house I can't even visualize where regular hinged doors would go. And I am telling you, I swear I didn't even notice the house had pocket doors until well after we had moved in. HEART.
  • Closet placement. We noticed, and loved, that the house had lots of closets, and big ones. Every bedroom except one has a walk-in closet; the one that doesn't has two regular closets instead. Our master bedroom has a double walk-in closet. So that's great. But then there are these random other closets sprinkled around. We have a great, giant coat closet in the front door. A lovely, perfectly placed linen closet in the upstairs hallways. Fantastic shelving in our laundry room/closet. And, a totally random, bonus, AWESOME extra closet in the upstairs hallway, just for fun. We don't use all our closet space now, but once we have kids who use the bedroom closets for their own stuff, these extra hall closets will come in extremely handy.
  • The layout. OK, we knew we liked this when we bought the house. But what we liked was the general traditional structure of the house, not an open floor plan but not totally closed off either, with the kitchen opening directly into the family room without a wall, but the living room and dining room as concrete, separate spaces. But it turns out that the layout is more than that. It's just generally genius. Everything in this house flows perfectly into everything else. It is just an incredibly livable space.
  • The bedroom in the basement. The basement was finished right before we moved in, and it has a giant room that will make a great playroom, or media/movie room. But it also has a fully finished bedroom, with its own walk-in closet, and a full bath. This is awesome for guests, or for a home office, or for our own kids if one of them, in the teenage years, develops a very strong need for privacy. It's super versatile, is the point, and it's nice to have one bedroom that isn't clustered with the others.
  • The moldings. I admit that these serve no useful purpose, but I love them so. They are white and they are everywhere and they are beautiful. I just love the way they look. The crown molding in the living room makes me especially happy, but I also love the chair rail we have in several rooms and the wainscoting in the dining room. Beautiful.
What about you? What are some random things that you weren't looking for at all, but ended up loving about your home?


  1. I don't have my own house yet, but I do love pocket doors!

    In my little apartment, I love the molding around the doors. Also, in the kitchen, there is a gorgeous built-in hutch with glass doors that is great for dishes and whatnot.

  2. Pocket doors are awesome. My first house had one, but it was broken. WOE.

    When Jason and I went to the open house for our current home, we were delighted to discover it had a huge deck and a sweet patio under the garage roof where you could barbecue and have chairs and tables, so it's like having two outdoor party spaces. But yet these awesome features weren't advertised! Realtor FAIL.

    There's also a ton of built-ins, like the safe that's built into the wall and practically invisible, the built-in desk, and the recessed part of the wall so you can hang a projection screen (there's a hole in the furnace room for a projector).

    I fantasize about finding some long-forgotten gold in some wacky, built-in space. ;)

  3. my apartment has a view of the Nationals stadium and every Friday there's a home game there's an awesome fireworks display! I rented it without ever seeing it (a friend checked it out) so I had no idea.

  4. There is very little I even like, let alone love, about our house. I do like having a master bath, however, and really think I will insist upon always having one.

    Our house does have LOTS of windows so it is always light in the house. That I do love.

  5. Sounds great! I'm hoping that we find little (and of course big) things to love about the house that we purchase (hopefully) soon!

  6. That sounds awesome. Houses in Australia don't ever have basements, so I'm always fascinated by seeing them - it seems like such a smart idea.

  7. Although our house has more been a story of "you're kidding me--THAT'S screwed-up, too?", there are some things that have snuck up on me.

    The way the linen closet is huge, two feet from the laundry, and adequately lit;

    The deep eaves. We almost never have to close our windows when it rains.

    The big sturdy shelves over the washer and drier.

    The basic layout, which is an L: bedrooms on one leg (with the master at the end), living-kitchen-dining in the other.

    The laundry is ten! feet! from the bedroom.

    The compost is ten! feet! from the kitchen door.

  8. I grew up in a home with pocket doors and they really are an amazingly efficient use of space. So many rooms are ruined by door placement!

    What I love about our current home that I wasn't expecting? Awesome neighbors!

  9. Oh! I love pocket doors and crown molding. If the house I someday buy doesn't have such thing, I'll likely put them in. The one major thing I MUST have is a porch. I want a porch swing.

  10. I'm a sucker for the ancient light fixtures around my place and the really deep bookshelves in the living room (which were probably pantry shelves 100 years ago when the house was built.

  11. I'm pretty sure I need to move to Colorado and move into your house. The finished basement with extra bedroom alone has me sold.

  12. It's so nice to slowly learn what you love about your house. Well placed, perfect sized closets are SO important!

  13. Man, I totally miss basements. Texas doesn't do basements. I grew up with finished basements that usually had a bedroom. My friend Becky has a wicked awesome family room/bar in her basement.

  14. I loved the high ceilings in our house (except when we were painting); they made our small house seem so much more airy and spacious.

    Now, I just miss owning a house. . .

  15. I love pocket doors too. I can't wait to live somewhere larger than 600 square feet one day. ;)

  16. What I've ended up liking most is the flexibility: We keep changing things around and adding things, and it keeps WORKING.

    I also continue to like the hallway set-up, which is an odd thing to like, but what I like about it is that from the very start it felt absolutely intuitive to me which rooms would be at which points in the hallway. (This is probably because the house I lived in for the last six years of my childhood was built by the same builder.)