I love going through builders’ home models. I get loads of decorating ideas, plus it’s just fun to imagine myself in a new home. I also love to move – well, I love to move; I don’t love “moving.” I’ve built four houses in my lifetime, and I like to see new floor plans and use of space. When I built my current home I visited the models at least a half dozen times. And during the build, went back again and again as I made choices about flooring, counter tops, cabinets, light –fixtures, etc. There were things I didn’t care for, of course – like the burnt orange walls the decorator chose in the living room and master bedroom. And there were things I couldn’t afford – like true cherry wood kitchen cabinets. Mine are maple stained cherry.
I loved the 8’ long bar/counter top that curved in stone along the kitchen, living room and dining room. When you open the front door, the three open rooms appear spacious and lovely. A great party house, my realtor kept saying, and it is. It’s light and open with room for people to stand around and visit and graze from the open bar. It’s easy for the cook to set out more food and prepare beverages while being part of the party. When people come for dinner, we wind up sitting at the long bar. The dining table has been used a half dozen times in six years. On holidays, it is nice to stand and prep or cook while the kids sit and talk to me. Sounds great, right?
Funny thing is though – in the model, they didn’t have mail stacked on one end, a purse flung beside it, note pads and pens and grocery lists strewn full length. They didn’t have dirty pans and preparation utensils sitting in the sink just opposite the dishes you just served. Their stove wasn’t covered with spills or boiling pots, or cookie sheets cooling from the oven. Their stainless refrigerator had no smudges; their dish washer wasn’t humming a few feet from guests. There were ceramic roosters and red glass canisters, a bowl of fruit, a vase of flowers – lovely to look at until the practical every day living begins.
You walk in the front door to the smells, the oven heat, the noise of the dishwasher, and the pots and pans stacked in each of the two stainless steel sinks. The bar is a catch-all for everything that comes through the garage door on its way to other rooms. Some times it’s stacked so high I have trouble sitting down alone to eat dinner.
My next house will have a breakfast room at the front, an enclosed kitchen, and a kitchen desk to hold the receipts, bills, lists. For now I’m stuck with the openness and if I just spend an hour or two a day cleaning up after myself, it works just fine.
It’s sort of like the satin ribbon-tied towels in the model bathroom, and the paperless office desk and the always made and wrinkle-free beds. Lovely to look at; impossible to keep.

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