Your Dream House (As a Kid)

If you love houses, you probably have a “dream house” or at least elements of a dream house, compiled in a scrapbook, random folder, dog-eared pages in a stack of magazines, or perhaps on the enormously popular Pinterest. Maybe you live in your dream house. But, take a step back. What would five-year-old you or ten-year-old you say when asked about a dream house? Was it based on a book, on some enormous sitcom house (really, why did they always have two staircases?), or something entirely unique.

My sisters and I spent a lot of time playing in our large maple tree because it had just enough good “sitting spots” – as we called them – for all four of us. We never had a tree house, but we had a little playhouse in the backyard that Dad built. And if you asked us, the Swiss Family Robinson House, like the one in Disney World, would have made a fun house for us. We’d dream up crazy things like a backyard full of playground tunnels and trampolines and zip lines. What more could a kid want? Or maybe a big farmhouse with a large wraparound porch overlooking fields and meadows would have suited us. We loved to play and run outside.

Why do I ask? I love a stroll down memory lane, and while nostalgia always joins in, distorting some of those memories, I think it is important to remember what you dreamt about as a kid and what was important at various ages and phases in life. Think about it: we talk about sense of place as adults. We discuss our built environment, the intangible aspects and how to improve our quality of life. But, if you aren’t a parent or don’t have young kids involved in your life, how often do you think about sense of place and the environment from their point of view? Of course, all generations are considered in our environment, but I would guess that adults might not be able to articulate everything that children think is important.

Do you have kids? Ask them about their environment, the buildings, the landscape – what they like, what they see, what they don’t like. And if you don’t have kids, do your best to remember what you thought was ideal as a child. It will help us make our environments and community more meaningful to all.

10 thoughts on “Your Dream House (As a Kid)

  1. Mark J says:

    I have two kids, 3 & 5 years old, and I make an effort, as often as possible to drive along Broadway in downtown Fargo, ND with them. In these formative years, I want Broadway, with it’s historic buildings, lights at night, and that little piece of “urban”, to be something they remember and hopefully cherish. And when they get older it might be a place they come back to and will still enjoy in 20-30 years! Great topic!

  2. pjsarecomfyn says:

    This is a good one, well Jack is only 1, but someday soon we will be able to have these conversations. As an architect I still find that same perspective I had when I was a child. The thrill of imagining something unique, but the downfall for me is I have a terrible time committing to a “dream house” image. I love so many styles, sizes, shapes and colors. I thought I would one-day find “the one”, but it seems I might be destined to have a series of dream homes that I love along the way. Which is just fine by me and I think the imaginative child inside agrees.

    • Kaitlin says:

      A series of dream homes sounds fine, indeed. I bet you and Jack have or will have fun with building blocks and Lincoln logs and all those toys. =)

  3. home, garden, life says:

    Good post. I have wanted to build my own house since I was 8. I would go into the woods behind my house and cut down saplings and place them as a foundation…AND many decades later, following many residences where I cleaned up someone else’s space, I am determined to have a home of my design. In fact, I have found a small parcel near here, and am working with a builder to create my dream home–my own space–open and to my liking with one large bath space. I am so tired of tiny bath rooms, stupid tubs and shiny ceramic tile! “Just you wait Henry Higgins!” I shall have this space before I leave this planet, and leave a carefully planned space that will make sense. Now all I must do is find a buyer for my current home, so I can move on…yes!

    • Kaitlin says:

      Good luck selling your house! I think we can all trace our dreams back to childhood if we look closely enough. Have fun planning your new house.

  4. Emma says:

    My dream house was definitely the castle in Beauty and the Beast… at least the library. Now, I still want a house that has lots of bookshelves full of books. That’s pretty much my only requirement now that I am grown up.

  5. Paula Sagerman says:

    Strangely, when I was little I would draw houses that looked like the Brutalist Orange County building! Now I’d rather live in a Craftsman Bungalow. 🙂

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