Housing Your Hobbies

A custom home doesn’t just mean it was designed by an architect. It doesn’t mean that it is one of a kind or unique as a distinguishing factor. It does mean that it serves your needs as the resident first and foremost and that rooms are tailored to specific purposes. That’s what custom means to me.

Take the kitchen. The kitchen is the repository of pots and pans; it houses appliances, utensils, china, and glasses. It is the practical room that meets your culinary and nutritional needs. When it is custom, it takes on a status that only granite and stainless steel can provide. We must have the most modern of tastes, even if our kitchens are all alike. There is nothing special or unique about the ubiquitous subway tile and farm sink that are so popular these days. But custom it is if it fulfills our needs.

Then there are the bathrooms, and we do hope you have more than one. They are also functional and basic, although they have taken on spa and luxury connotations. We must bathe in handsome surroundings with state-of-the-art fixtures. Nothing else will do. The floor must be the very best ceramic tile and the coordinating countertop marble. It is custom if it fulfills our need to be pampered; it must make us anxiety free.

Bedrooms house us at night and as such, they must be relaxing abodes that let us wander into slumberland with ease. Our beds are plush, laden with fine cotton sheets and European pillow shams. A duvet will be down and a throw will be cashmere. If the room is custom, it is our favorite color and has the most elegant window shades that keep light in or out as the case the need may be. In addition, perhaps there is a small fireplace in the corner to warm us mentally and physically.

Now we really get into customization. You have an extra room to make into a den, a sewing corner that does double duty for other hobbies like painting or beadwork, or perhaps a small private gym. This will be something that no one else has in just the same way. You design the space, place the furnishings, decorate it, and store your belongings, whatever they are. It could be a collection of dolls, sports equipment, old photos, or baby clothes. The custom room could be a converted garage, patio, former guestroom or nursery. Now it is yours. It is functional, purposeful, and inviting. Maybe you will post a sign that warns, “keep out.”

Having this supplementary space in your home is a godsend and often a rarity if you have kids or live-in parents. College students still want a room to come home to. So sometimes you have to wait; but when a room becomes available and you start to make choices, it becomes an exciting proposition. Have you always wanted a game room or a man cave to which you can invite friends? A place to put the most giant plasma TV? A custom room would have a beautiful stained wood bar, a mini fridge, a sink with hot and cold water, and a wine cooler set at the perfect temperature. It would have a sofa to die for in terms of comfort and style and maybe a few chairs here and there for visitors.

Large basements make great game rooms, and they are spacious enough to give mom a little room in the corner for the trusty sewing machine. If you put in a sofa bed, it works perfectly as a makeshift guestroom. Be sure to put in closets that once opened will reveal entertainments of all kinds. People can pick what they like, a kind of free-for-all. That would be a custom game room, tailored to many tastes.

Housing your hobbies is thus an easy proposition once you decide you must have a designated area either for you alone or for friends and family. You can be that one house on the block where everyone wants to go, or you can retreat into a netherworld of your own making. Once you know your options, you can begin to design the space.

Houses are thus more than a compilation of kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, and laundry rooms. They have more than pools, yards, stoops, driveways, and flower beds. There are special places that make the place custom and proprietary, done for your needs alone. You can’t buy it the way you want in most cases. It is a remodel or redecorating job that will challenge your ability to adapt and change—and on a budget. It will no doubt be among the best decisions you have ever made.