I vividly remember house shopping with my husband. He wasn’t my husband at the time, but we were planning to get married the following summer, and we began looking for homes. The house we chose was the second house we viewed that day – it felt like home from the minute we got here. We still looked at other houses (seven in total) due to our realtor’s insistence; yet, all day, we kept thinking about this house and after deliberations, made an offer on it.
A few weeks later, Eric signed the papers, and we began moving his stuff into his new place, and my future home. Other than a lack of closet space (apparently homes built in the 1960’s are not famous for large closets), the house seemed just perfect. However, being in my early twenties, and having never purchased a house before, there were a few things I did not know to look for in a home. The main problem I did not foresee when we bought our home was how easy (or not) it would be to entertain others.
I love our home and there are many redeeming qualities to it. But, when it comes to having people over, I am often at a loss. The square footage is fine, but the rooms were built small, and there are not very many places suitable for having dinner guests. The older lady who lived here before us, or someone who lived here before her, attempted to create a dining room by attaching a chest-level-hanging chandelier in the bedroom that is attached to the kitchen (we have since raised the chandelier). The room has always been too small for more than a round table seating four; and now that our dog’s exercise pen and crate is in there, it hardly seems like a suitable place to serve guests food.
The other dining area is a room that was built onto the house years after it was completed. It has a great hardwood floor, several windows that welcome in the sunlight, and… no insulation. In the summer months you can barely breathe walking into it, as it soaks up heat like a greenhouse. In the winter, you throw open the door, run in to get whatever you need, and then scamper out again quickly to avoid freezing. During the fall and spring, when the temperatures are more moderate and they lend themselves to opening windows, the room is a delight. So, it seems as though this room only allows us dinner guests a few months (or less, depending on the weather patterns) each year.
When purchasing our house, we were thinking about our daily needs. We were thinking about the features we liked, and being new to the home ownership game, we had not created a list of things we wanted in a home. It never occurred to me to ask, “Where will we seat our dinner guests?” Only after we were married, and wanting to have people come over, did we notice the lack of entertaining space in our home. (Ironically, my husband did think of wanting good parking space available near the home so that others could easily come over without much trouble – and we have that.)
When you get married, you may start out in a home of your own, an apartment, a double-wide, or someone’s basement. Regardless of the location of the domicile when you begin your marriage, think about how your living space can be conducive to others. You may not be the types that want to have guests very often, but chances are you will want to invite someone over… occasionally.
Are you entertaining? How can the space you have be arranged to accommodate hospitality? If you are house or apartment hunting, keep this in mind as you look. Is there adequate space to have dinner for more than four people? Would it be comfortable for a game night or for overnight guests if the need should arise? Before looking for a new place to share, make a list of practical things that are important to you and, when house-hunting in the future, pull out that list and find a place that will fit your needs (and as many wants as you can cram). Notice that I said practical. Finding a place to fit your practical needs should not be much more expensive than one that doesn’t – it may just take some extra hunting time.
While I’m sure we can find a solution to our entertainment situation, I’m sure you and your spouse-to-be can find a place that fits your needs and the needs of occasional guests. Happy home hunting!
Have you considered the structure and layout of your next home choice for purposes of hospitality?