I've been hearing a song on the radio called "The House that Built Me" by Miranda Lambert. Every time I hear it, I think of the house that built me, the first house where I grew up.
I don't remember the house where I lived after I was born. When I was two years old, we moved to Buffalo Grove, Illinois. We lived in a single-family home in a subdivision called The Crossings. Our house had four (or possibly 5) bedrooms, three bathrooms, and the usual standards. We had the basement done when I was around nine years old. They put up walls and carpeted the floor. It was even split into two rooms, a social/play area and an office (where the Nintendo was also housed later on). That was where my sister and I spent a lot of time.
I liked the setup of this house. The kitchen had a wall knocked out and we could see into the dining room. There was a set of counters separating the two rooms. I think we were the only house with this style to have such a layout. The kitchen was very spacious and we'd have our family meals together in there every night. The family room was carpeted in the beginning, but later my parents had the carpet taken out and hardwood floors put in. It gave the room an airy feel. I also loved the brick area in front of the fireplace. There was space to sit right next to the fireplace and it also stretched along the wall so the TV could be placed on the other end. When I was a bit older, we had a sunroom built on to the back of the house. It was a great room for studying or reading a book. I loved being in there during the day, when it was bright and no additional light was necessary.
As far as bedrooms go, the one I had in this house was one of my favorites. It had white wallpaper with tiny blue flowers. As I got older, my parents got me a nice furniture set which included a bookshelf and desk. They had mirrored closets and a ceiling fan put in to enhance the look and feel of the room. I also got a waterbed, which I thought was a luxury when I was younger. My sister and I shared a bathroom, which was closer to my room. It had a frog theme, as my dad was obsessed with frogs. The other room next to mine was first a playroom and later a laundry room. (I liked the functionality of having a laundry room upstairs, but that probably won't happen where I live now, and that's okay.) My sister's room had a similar set-up, but the big draw for me (in my youth) were the shelves in her closet that we used to make a whole Barbie house. Later, she got to have our newest computer in her room and I'd end up in there playing games all night. There were many nights when my sister and I would sleep in each others' rooms or even switch rooms. We also spent a lot of time watching TV in our parents' bedroom until we got TVs in our rooms too. Oddly enough, that's the one thing I've been keeping out of all the bedrooms in recent years.
Going back to the basement. My dad used to participate in a barter system. He'd get points for his recruiting sales and those would be put towards the jukebox and pinball machine that were in the basement. My sister and I used to have Barbie dance clubs on top of the jukebox. Later I'd have my friends over and we'd dance around to all the songs. The pinball machine was a bit older and had some issues, but it worked and I became really good at pinball, as a result.
Overall, the house I grew up in had a very cozy, comfortable, welcoming and lived-in feel. It wasn't set up like a museum. And thanks to my mom, it was never a mess. We hosted a lot of parties, meetings, playdates, holiday meals, etc. It was always filled with noise and laughter, in that respect. And even having five pets at one point didn't make it feel crowded. (One of the cats never came out of my room anyway.) As an adult, my goal for my home is to replicate the feel of the house that built me. I think I'm doing a good job of it, despite the mess that keeps accumulating, thanks to two young boys and my own disorganized nature. I hope that my kids will want to replicate this feeling in their homes when they grow up and then pass it along to future generations.