February 8, 2018

How Do You Make Your Living Space Feel Like Home?




Retirement usually means more time is spent at home, even if you have a busy social or travel calendar, volunteer commitments, or babysitting the grandkids. For many of us, our home or apartment, provides comfort, security, and a sense of place. What we surround ourselves with makes us feel good.

Or, maybe you look around and say, this isn't who I am at this point in my life. The decorating I choose and things I surrounded myself were fine when I was younger and working every day. But, now, this space doesn't reflect who I am.

Either way, I'm looking for feedback about what makes where you live feel supportive and welcoming, or maybe detracts from a sense of joy and restfulness and should be changed. Comments on a post like this are always filled with ideas, new ways of looking at our environment, and can be a spur to necessary changes.


So, look around where you live. What do you see that pleases, or disappoints you?

.... On the walls: art, photos, paint color

.... On the floor: carpeting, hardwood, area rugs

.... Books and magazines: too many, not enough, the wrong ones

.... Music: on, off, the right kind?

.... Digital photo frames with photos you enjoy (or haven't noticed forever)

.... Lamps and windows to provide the amount of light you like

.... Things that trigger memories, or stuff that no longer pleases you

.... A TV that is too large or too small, or a TV at all. 

* Do you like it when friends drop by, or are you happier with long stretches of solitude? Is your home properly set up for your preference?

* Is there enough room for you to be creative, whatever that means to you. It could a desk for writing, a table for painting or sketching, a large table for quilting or crafts, a garage with tools to restore an old car, a shed packed with tools and fertilizers for your garden, even a fully equipped kitchen to cook to your heart's delight. 

* Do you like a unorganized space that feeds your creativity, or are you "a place for everything type?" Does your home reflect that?


This isn't meant to be an episode on HGTV; Chip Gaines I am not. Demo day would be my nightmare! Rather, I am hoping we can look at where we live with a fresh eye, a new perspective. To use a sometimes overworked word, are we mindful of our home and environment, or did we stop giving it much thought a while ago?

For this post, let's assume a major renovation is out. A new kitchen, sun porch, or extra bathroom might be nice, but not what we can afford at the moment. Instead, focus on the little things that make you happy and what it would take to match that feeling with where you live.



Me? 

Lots of sunlight, not much clutter, plenty of books, music, art, and computer access, pictures of our family, a space for my vintage radio restoration and ham radio gear, and a quiet, dark bedroom for naps when called for! A good sized backyard for the dogs, flowers in pots, whimsical sculptures or art objects on the property walls, a fountain to create the sound of splashing water, and lots of outside seating plus a dining table that can seat 8.

You? 

45 comments:

  1. It is funny that you post this now because I am in the midst of figuring that out. When I first moved to this apartment over 20 years ago, I had a certain style. My art and other artists work covering the walls literally from top to bottom.
    Now the realtor has told me that I really need to limit the art and reduce the furniture. In other words get rid of everything! And you know what, the more I am getting rid of, the better I am feeling. My home in AZ is quite different from my home here in Boston. In design, decor etc. So things are changing as far as my surroundings go. I still have my art on the walls in Arizona but not top to bottom and I have much less clutter. I hope I can keep it that way once I finish shipping all my clutter out there! LOL

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    1. I spent several of my teenage years in Boston, and have lived in Arizona for the past 32 years. You would think there would be a radical difference in how homes are decorated, but really there is not. Almost everyone who lives here comes from somewhere else and they bring their style sense from "back home." So, the Arizona style is really a mix of everywhere and anything that makes someone feel comfortable.

      You can go with the Kachina doll, Navajo rug, light, bright, and airy feel, or keep the furniture from Minnesota, Alberta, or Boston, and no one will be surprised! That said, moving is a great time to re-think the look that makes you happy and try something different. Eventually, you will have a mix that reflects Roberta and where you are at this point in your life.

      Welcome to the Grand Canyon State.

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  2. Immediate access to open space outside, walls neutral and large enough for my favorite art, a good mattress, a room for the computer to live with lots of natural light , a sunny spot to sit in a comfortable chair and sip tea with my beloved, living area small enough to keep clean. We do love our screened in porch in the summer. My husband would add a workshop large enough to do some furniture making and a place to put a Jonny boat. After 14 moves, I think we got it right. The only thing I would change is proximity to grands (not close enough).

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    1. We sound pretty similar. In fact, Betty does have a few woodworking machines in the garage but they are usually buried under other projects!

      We have moved 10 times in our marriage, but I moved 21 times before I left home for college, so I have done the moving thing to death, thank you.

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  3. This is the first house we've had with the "great room" concept which I now love. When I am cooking in the kitchen I can still hang out with Ken who may be reading a book on the couch.. and it's a great plan for entertaining. Books,art, a good sound system,I play music at dinner and often throughout the day. Lots of light is important. .I like to see the outdoors from the inside all the time.. I need a craft room for my art and crafts and Ken has a home office for his part time work. I HAVE TO have a pool I love water, and just seeing it through the large windows while I cook or hang out at home ,soothes my soul. In Az. we all enjoy great outdoors time so nice comfy seating out back is important.What I notice in retirement is..my house is messier than I ever kept it when I worked!! Because we are HERE MORE!! I have a pile of books to be read on the coffee table, art work in the works in the craft room, pots bubbling on the stove..and we move from one activity to another.. but it doesn't bother me like it used to.. we really LIVE in our house! What I miss from my other home is the custom bathrooms..I love beautiful tile and design in a bathroom, and the ones in this house are plain.. but then, they are very easy to clean. This is the best KITCHEN I have ever had,though and for that I am immensely grateful,cooking is a very fun hobby for me..with great side benefit: we get to eat it!! We're past the point of spending lots of money on home renovations..pretty much everything we need to be happy is here..also ONE FLOOR!!! Having just the right living space really is essential for us, in retirement,since we spend so much time here..

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    1. Betty and I have talked about the "need" for bathroom renovations, new flooring, etc. But, with grandkids and dogs here all the time, those things just seem much less important. I'd rather sink that money into experiences. Besides, when it is eventually time to sell this house we'd probably have to do those renovations anyway; I might as well wait so I don't end up doing them twice!

      We have had a pool in a few of our homes, but not the last two. I don't miss the upkeep at all. On the other hand we do miss a hot tub! And, one floor is an absolute must.

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  4. I am so grateful for my home in the hills. Privacy is not an issue so there are few window coverings and I can see the natural landscape and wildlife (deer & coyotes on a regular basis, bear & on single occasions, a cougar & a fisher)wondering through. I enjoy sunrises and sunsets in the 4 seasons. There's a covered verandah that's a haven in the summer heat. There's a fire burning in the wood stove right now as I look out at the winter landscape. I designed this space ~20 yrs ago, not a lot of square footage but in the words of my SIL - in a small house there's always room for one more. The master bedroom is dark, conducive for sleep. There's a very functional kitchen with lots of storage & a well-stocked pantry. This space pleases me. In the words of Nate Berkus - it rises up to greet me. It's where I belong.

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    1. Betty would like a fireplace, though it would get used maybe 6 times a year in Arizona! We had one in our last three homes in Phoenix and I will admit, a crackling fire adds lots of atmosphere.

      The ability to make your master bedroom dark is quite important. Every study I have ever seen says that is one of the keys to a good night's sleep.

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  5. Hi Bob! The questions you raise in this post are exactly why I came up with the concept of "Rightsizing." I believe (and yeah write about all the time!) is that rightsizing is answering all the questions you ask so that we create the home and the life that fits our unique needs, desires and circumstances. I think this is extremely helpful no matter what our age, but especially helpful once we retire. Once we determine what really matters to us and fits our lives, then we can begin to do everything else that leads to a "satisfying retirement!" As always, thanks for the thoughts. ~Kathy

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    1. Ever since I read your term, I have liked it better than downsizing, which implies a forced shrinkage. Rightsizing means getting things in balance and making what you surround yourself with important.

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    2. Yes I prefer the term "right size" which is what we did. As a result we got more useful space in less square footage, lowered our taxes, and less upkeep than the larger homes we had while working. It's fun to have a new layout, new colors, and a smaller backyard where the pool is practically in my living room (that's a good thing, for me!) I can hear the waterfall while I cook.

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  6. Our retirement home is small, 1170 square feet, two bedrooms, and I adore it. I don't want to clean, heat or pay taxes on anything larger. Very small backyard also. Living room has several bookcases which I use and love looking at. More bookcases in other rooms. And the TV is important to us. I love old movies and a few other things on TV. Usually better things on TV than in the movies. My furnishings are very traditional, and fabric is very important to me so always pillows and throws and beautiful bedspreads. And, of course, pictures of the grandchildren everywhere, mixed in with pictures of us on our many, many travels.

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    1. That sounds very welcoming. Bookcases say a lot about what is important to someone. I must admit I always try to see what folks have on those shelves!

      I agree that movies in the theaters have become less a part of our lives. There are few that attract us and I hate going deaf during the incredibly loud previews. Thank goodness so many decent streaming options are available, as well as our collection of older movies on DVD.

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  7. In our first two houses we had enough money to pay the mortgage and not a lot for decorating or buying furniture. We got hand me down couches, garage sale bargains and furniture warehouse sales. We bought our current house 15 years ago and used money from the previous house sale to buy new,nice, and coordinated furniture. We are not adding anything but the fabrics are looking a little tired so we are changing them out. I realize that our color choice has changed to a quieter color palate.

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    1. I have watched enough HGTV shows to learn that small splashes of color from things like pillows or throws can make a huge difference in an otherwise bland space.

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  8. Lived in this apartment for 36 years and plan to move out in a pine box, but I own it and it's mine (ha, ha). I retired in December with a long set of to-do lists, one of which was to go room by room and get rid of what I did not really use and -- important -- tidy up. So far, done the bedroom and bathroom. My study is the real rat's nest that I am facing. Decades of accumulated stuff (some of which I value enormously) that I never had time to set in order. Guess that's what retirement is for.

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    1. Yes, retirement is the perfect time to tidy and toss. 36 years....you obviously love your place. That makes this phase of life special.

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  9. Our recent relocation is the first we did without children at home, and without the pressure of a pending job transfer. As a result, we had time to develop a very specific wish list based on our desires in this, our sixth year of retirement. The number one item on that list was to have an expansive backyard view, the result of over five years of intermittent RV'ing around the country in our travel trailer. We found we really loved sitting outside gazing at something lovely, and we wanted to have that in our next/new home.

    Along those same lines, we're removing the wrought iron fencing that separates us from the lovely, small canyon behind our home. Without either pets or children to worry about, we will be able to expand our views even more, which we're delighted about.

    Other retirement home priorities were a three car garage- two bays for our smaller car and our travel trailer, and one for our many retirement toys - bikes, kayaks, hiking and backpacking gear. I also wanted a roomy kitchen to cook and entertain in, an open concept home, and four bedrooms so that we could have a guest room and his and her offices, in addition to our master.

    With regard to furnishings, I'm firmly in the hardwood flooring camp due to ease of upkeep and how pleasant they are to walk on in bare feet. I prefer an absence of clutter, soothing tones, and lots of texture. I love to decorate, so nothing I own is that expensive in that I'll eventually tire of it and move it out to the Salvation Army anyway. Our backyard is a decent size for coastal S. California, but on it's way to being very low maintenance as we replace grass with artificial turf, and replant the yard with drought intolerant and slow growing plants.

    At one point we thought we'd downsize this move into a townhome, but during the process of home searching discovered to our surprise that we weren't quite ready to give up our single family home. So, we actually ended up in a larger home, but one just as easy in the upkeep as the home we sold, so it's all good!

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    1. Betty and I are looking forward to taking in that view when we visit next month.

      Your flooring decision is one we have discussed. With one or two, sometimes three, dogs, and grandkids, hardwood or laminate flooring doesn't make sense, unfortunately. Betty hates tile, so we are likely to replace the tile in the family room and part of the living room with carpet when we recarpet the rest of the house a few years down the road. Initially, she wanted hardwood for the same reasons you do, but decided it isn't practical for our lifestyle. I am not a big carpet fan, but I can adapt.

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  10. Very true indeed re spending more time in one's home on retirement. I think I'd still be doing so - even if I hadn't moved from a small city to a small town (complete with worse weather). The kitchen became very important to me - as cooking is a hobby of mine. So I have ripped out the pretty awful/badly-planned kitchen the house had and put in as much worksurface space/storage space as I could manage in order to be able to cook more easily. The garden is a pretty typical one for West Wales - loads of tarmac (yuk)/concrete paths (yuk)/cheap paving stones (also yuk) and all tatty and cheaply-done. It may take me a while to be able to rip all that up from the garden and have something attractive there instead (with a bit of all that tarmac for carparking going to vanish completely and have more what I call "garden" garden there instead). Meanwhile - I ripped out all the plants the house came with and have put mine in (which includes some fruit trees - to do double duty of looking attractive and giving me some fruit). I've decided that, though it might take quite some time to rip all the "flooring" up (because it will cost a LOT) that I can manage, in the fairly short-term to get some large attractive pots in "real" materials (not plastic) and plant large plants in (including a few more small trees) and those plants/pots will also be right in my revamped garden (whenever I do it). Meanwhile - I'm going to do the best I can to distract myself from all the eyesore stuff currently there and make an area into a more Mediterranean style courtyard garden and including blocking off the two sides of it that neighbours can see into and make that bit of my garden private at any rate. I've got a few of the plants and pots to start with and a bistro set of table/chairs. Next on the agenda being a huge gnarled olive tree in an enormous nice pot and maybe a fast-growing rose along one border that should cover a multitude of sins. It feels important to have a bit of my garden that's at least somewhat reasonable to sit out in - whilst I wait to get together the money to finish it properly. I've made up a Pinterest board of ideas to put towards getting it as near as can be managed to the way I want it - so it's "My problem garden" if anyone wants to check it out.

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    1. Well, you certainly have your work cut out for you. But, I sense a real solid plan and determination to turn your space into what you really want. I would guess the weather in West Wales can be rather nasty for long stretches of time, so pots make a lot of sense.

      That's a great idea - put photos on Pinterest - for those wanting to see what you face.

      I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but I spend some time in Wales every week...listening to a show from Cardiff on Radio Wales!

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  11. We've moved more times than I can count. Dave was transferred with every promotion and it was annually for quite a long time. Fortunately a raise came with a move and our 'homes' became more homey. We went up to large homes and have gone back small ones that suit our needs. I believe we are finally settled and the next move will have to be to the 'home'. Actually I'm hoping to be gone before that ever happens. But, this house is perfect for us. We are still close to the city but walking distance from the beach. The house is a great size for us and we have just enough yard for Dave to enjoy gardening and the dogs to enjoy a fenced in space.
    b

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    1. Just keep him away from cats for awhile.

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  12. We have been in our home for over 30 years. I decorate the way I want to not being one to follow any trend. Hubby doesn't care as long as his big old lazy boy rocker is there to sit in every evening after work! For goodness sake we had the same huge couch for 30 years, reupholstered twice! It was like a cherished member of the family but we finally had to buy something new, a black leather couch and loveseat. We changed from earth cookie colours to blacks, greys and reds just a couple of years ago. Earth cookie colours were more forgiving with children, crayons and food! I change out cushions and throws according to the seasons. We got rid of the wall to wall carpet and installed laminate throughout the house. We had had seven different floor coverings, different in each room! We redid the entire bathroom ourselves a few years ago, updating the paint colour last year. We painted over furniture my husband made (wall unit, end tables)in black to "match" the new living room furniture. We bought inexpensive blinds over the years according to my colour whims! I didn't want a lifetime commitment to the blinds so I ordered out of a catalogue and probably never spent more than $200 at a time for a half dozen different sized windows and patio doors. I love the warmth of older pieces of furniture of solid woods. An oak dining room table, sideboard, glass front cabinet and hope chest all sit proudly with mixed finishes. Our house was originally built 70ish years ago by a farmer who used whatever he had on hand. If there is ever a tornado here we'll head for the bathroom as the underlying wood for the walls and floors is solid cedar 2 inch thick planks, reused, as we could see at least two other types of nail holes. The kitchen, well, I figure if everything works then what's the need for a whole new redo? Our cupboards are plywood doors and sides with shelves made out of pallets stamped with "Salada Tea"! We refresh the kitchen periodically with a new coat of paint and cabinet pulls and hubby recently made me a moveable kitchen island. It takes the place of a 1950's stove that I was using for storage. When we put new windows in the house I added a lovely bay window which doesn't exactly go with the outside style of the house but when I'm curled up in my second hand wicker chair reading a good book in the sunshine I know I made the right decision to have one put in! We found a huge six drawer horizontal dresser which we use for storage in our porch. I have lots of large wicker baskets for books, mitts and scarves, toys. Lots of family photos in an eclectic assortment of frames in all shapes and sizes. A corner of the family room is dedicated to our toddler grandson so there are alphabet foam mats on one part of the wall and floor, a bright red toy cabinet, a mickey mouse table, well, you know! I have a myriad of chochkies (including two vintage radios!) which I change out on a regular basis so there's no boredom! My home is probably an interior decorator's nightmare but we are comfy and cozy and find every room is relaxing because we aren't worried that there will be a spill or stain on a designer carpet or priceless piece of furniture! In winter I put an old patchwork quilt made by my grandmother on my couch. One side is red flannel, the other pieces of a dress or suit she wore! Goes perfectly with our blazing woodstove! We use the "reduce reuse and recycle" method for decorating most of our house but it is cozy and welcoming and warm and we love it!

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    1. You home sounds absolutely fascinating and uniquely yours, just the way it should be. It seems like you enjoy searching for things at flea markets or something someone else has grown tired of so you can give it a new life at your place. The "reduce, reuse, and recycle" style is approach that appeals to me, too.

      Any home with a couple of vintage, tube-type radios must be fun!

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  13. I have always seen my living space as home and a reflection of me - me at 72 is a different version of me at 22. My tastes change, my interests change but always art, books, music, light, space and plants. I move items around and rearrange the art so my space is invigorated and I see familiar and much loved pieces in a new way. In recent years I have focused on decluttering - thank you Marie Kondo! In her philosophy, if an item doesn't "spark joy" it is let go for another to discover. My space feels clearer and I feel lighter for releasing "stuff". I live in New Zealand so in summer living flows outdoors to the deck and around the barbecue and in winter the candles are lit and we are warm and cosy indoors. Home is where the heart(h) is.

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    1. I read Ms Kondo's book, too. I couldn't quite get the "joy" thing to work for my belongings but her focus on simplifying down to the things that mean something works for me.

      Your description really fits the purpose of this post: what was right for us at 22 usually isn't best for 72 in terms of how we live and use our space.

      BTW, my daughter is heading to New Zealand in 2 weeks for a 3 week combination business and vacation trip. Keep that warm summer weather in place into early March!

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    2. I just saw Marie Kondo's book recommended on another blog. It appears to be a worthwhile read based on the comments on Amazon. We have small kids and it's amazing how much stuff you (they?) accumulate. A decluttering would be fantastic!

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    3. Marie has an interesting take on clutter. Her approach is almost religious in its intensity. But, she does force you to think about what you own and why.

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  14. I like my own grass outside my own door...no renting. I suppose I am not exciting because I get something and keep it forever. My kitchen table and chairs were bought in 1067 and I feel no need to replace. Once in a while I find a chair or picture to add to my home. People say my home feels comfortable. Sometimes, I think that might not be a compliment. I have always made my own curtains and painted my walls. However, it is seldom painted and the curtains that I love are old. I like to shop antique and junk stores and the curb. Consequentially, my Victorian gone eclectic style is quirky. I absolutely need my books, pictures, and laptop. Inside my home, I like to look outdoors and see plants and chickens. On my 1/3 acre I have two swings and three benches so I can sit and enjoy the outdoors when my back hurts. For two years, I had a party outdoors each month. One year the weather cooperated for 9 months in a row. I have a picnic table and another round glass one and several more to set up for food and such. The lighting was just odds and ends I could afford, including four tiki torches (gone now) and all sorts of holders set around in the bushes and on rocks.

    Back inside...once I had a gathering where nine people showed up, low turnout, but was a great success. In three rooms I have seven bookcases. Someone mentioned something in mythology and I went to get one of my mythology books. People followed and took books off the shelves and were reading to one another. For an hour it was like we were all immersed in literature, and experience I would love to repeat. I love things, my things, but the minds in my home are important, too. Tasteful or sentimental clutter does not bother me at all. Okay, I will quit.

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    1. Yes, I am assuming the same unless it was bought during the Norman Conquest era.

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    2. I love your approach, Practical. So much of our society's problems can be traced back to the consumerism that tells us new is better, fancy beats plain, and store-bought is always better.

      The type of party you describe where folks wander around picking up books and talking about them...I'm there! The intellectual stimulation would be tremendous.

      Eclectic doesn't get its due often enough. You are protecting its honor!!!!

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    3. Bob,
      I do not understand updating in the kitchen. People who want granite puzzle me. If the cabinets and floors are sound, what is the problem? Wanting a more modern home is just not in my DNA, I suppose. I hate the words, "the kitchen is outdated."

      The intellectual stimulation was palpable that night! There were 1800+ books involved.

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    4. Can you prepare a meal or snacks in that kitchen, without burning the house down or giving someone an electric shock? Then, any updating is simply cosmetic and potentially expensive.

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  15. Interesting topic! We, too, believe in making a home that's comfortable to live in, especially when we are now doing more living in it than ever before. We have a comfy living room with earthy tones and a couple of big bookcases and no TV. We also recently acquired a bluetooth sound system and Apple Music subscription ($3.75 a month on the family plan!) which allows us access to 40 million songs from the comfort of our recliners. As a result there is music on much of the day in our house. We are just finishing reorganizing our kitchen, then will move on to our office. It has been a bit of a catch-all space for some years, but we now want it to be a cozy, relaxing, organized space for writing as well as home record keeping. After that might be a space in the basement for art and guitar playing. We love our big, private deck, where we have a screened-in gazebo for lounging sans bugs, and my wife maintains a summer herb garden and flower boxes. Unfortunately our northern climate only allows us to be there for 5 or 6 months of the year, but we cherish it when we can.

    Nice to get ideas from others here too.

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    1. One of the benefits of a post like this comes from all the comments. Each person gives all of us ideas to mull over and think if they would work for us.

      Yours is the first reference to the basement, a space often neglected until last. In Arizona basements are very rare (soil/earth too hard), but most of the country has all that space waiting to be for something more than the furnace, washer and dryer, and boxes!

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  16. Great topic! We bought our house about 10 years ago because we fell in love with the view. It is on a hill overlooking the curve of a river in a semi-rural area (10 minutes from grocery, etc.). The original owners designed it with a huge wall of windows looking out at that view and we have four seasons. There isn't one that isn't beautiful. All that said, they made some crazy decisions (to us) when building, so we've had to redo a lot of other things, mostly decorative but some structural. Example: the kitchen had solid black laminate counters and backsplash...it was like a cave in the winter! That was one of the first updates. Now that we made it ours, we hope to stay for quite a few more years.

    Our style is a combo of contemporary and mid-century modern, and I like things to be clutter free. That's a daily challenge since it has a great room where we spend most of our time. Some days go better than others, but I don't stress about it like I did when I was younger. DH is an audiophile and has a great stereo, so we have music on a lot, and we also have a wall of books in addition to those we're reading scattered about. And we have a fireplace that we love, especially now that it's snowing and cold. Our TV is in another room completely, as I'm a fan of being able to separate activities and go our separate ways if we choose. So far, so good.

    Last year we finished off our basement and did most of the work ourselves, although we hired a friend to put together colors, carpet samples, etc. It was a lot of work, but we really love it now. So we have an exercise room, a cedar closet, and another living space that we both enjoy. Plus another space for grands to play, sleep, etc. It's smaller than our previous houses, but just enough space for us to be comfortable and have our kids and grands visit.

    --Hope


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    1. Your home sounds lovely, Hope. I would have changed the black countertops, too. That would be way too dark for my tastes.

      Contemporary and mid-century modern: sounds like a lot of the homes in Palm Springs that we see when we go for the Film Festival most years.

      Somehow we missed winter this year. It has been around 80 since the 2nd week in January. Even so, a fireplace and a good book still sound heavenly.

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  17. I am thrilled with my downsizing. The only issue that occasinally gives me concern is the lack of entertainment space. We changed a living and a dining room on either side of our kitchen into two living rooms-one with the visual and music entertainment stuff and one as a quet space. This means our tabletop is now only four, so I am doing things like dinner groups for church in the warm weather, when since we have two outside tables and the attendant chairs. I continue to be happy wit the renting and will probably again downsize to a rental-I've found that there are still so many ways to make it mine and next time I'd like to move to a space with just a little grass and a patio. As for the inside, these days I want less rather than more, and comfort trumps "beauty" or up to date fashion in terms of furnishings. That said, I love having the "stuff" that I still have around me, and have a short list of things I want to add to the mix, not the least of which is one of thos really good recliners that kicks you out of the chair!

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    1. My parents both owned one of those chairs that help you get up easily. They loved them.

      Not much different from you, we switched where the dining room table was placed by the previous owners with a coach and sitting area. We use the formal dining table only a few times a year so it is out of the way until needed. The coach, coffee table, end tables, and chair that took its place are set up to look directly at the kitchen so anyone cooking isn't shut off from the conversation. The "official" living room with TV, reading chairs, and music is in a separate area.

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  18. I've greatly enjoyed reading about everyone else's spaces, and how they've changed or been rearranged to suit retired life. Our family of three is currently living in less than 800 square feet, but the space was designed well and it works well for us, so my husband and I think we will be OK with even less square footage when and wherever the two of us settle following our travels later this year and next. I don't plan to be cooking as much as I do now, so won't need so much kitchen space (although I do want a dishwasher again - I have missed having one here), and we'll be fine with a small living/dining area with enough room for a small table & chairs, a comfortable (sleeper) sofa, armchair, coffee table and place for our TV, and one bedroom and bath. Both of us prefer a modern, uncluttered look these days. We're thinking our next place will be more of a pied a terre, somewhere to set down in between further travels. We're holding on to very little "stuff" these days, just sentimental items from our children, a few antique pieces from our times in Japan, some artwork, and a few pieces of pottery I've collected over the years. Twenty five years ago our house was like a museum because we had so much stuff (especially Japanese antiques), but less seems to be more these days. And, after renting for nearly four years I doubt we'll go back to owning and all the responsibilities that entails, at least for the time being.

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    1. For those who don't know, Laura and her husband plan on selling/storing virtually all their belongings before setting out on a year-long journey around the world. Terrifying AND exciting! The perfect excuse for simplifying and reassessing what is important in their home, wherever it ends up being!

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  19. When we retired, we ended up buying a large house on 2/3 of an acre. It has plenty of room for all our hobbies, our son who lives with us, our grandkids who are often here, and guests. The stairs and yard upkeep help to keep us active. The house has hardwood throughout, which we love, but which the dog is doing her best to destroy. The kitchen has light oak cabinets which are a perfect match for our light oak furniture that I have had for more than 30 years. We left behind our living room furniture when we moved, and have just ordered a new couch and loveseat in green leather, which I think will be comfortable and look great. We have lots of art on the walls, including art we have collected and my paintings, many bookshelves, music, and a woodworking shop for Rob. The house is situated on a ridge, and the windows and deck look out on forest and mountains with a a peek-a-boo ocean view. We love the house and the area where we live.

    Jude

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    1. It sounds gorgeous, especially seeing so many different things.

      The problem with dogs and hardwood floors has kept us from making that switch from tile and carpet. I would love hardwood everywhere, but both dog scratches and the dirt they track in would make it impossible to keep them looking good.

      The only alternative? Get heavily distressed wood and have it custom made as flooring. Then the scratches wouldn't show. But, my love of hardwood floors isn't great enough to take on that kind of cost.

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