Friday Fantasy: What I Want In A House!

Here’s something a little silly on a Fun Friday.

I get asked this question a lot by my clients – “What are you looking for in a house?”

I’m an open book, both on this blog, and in person.  People know I live in a condo, and that one day, sooner or later, I’ll be buying a house.

People always want to know what I’m looking for, so I figured this would be a fun exercise…

 

DreamHouse

 

Another question I’ve been asked lately: “What’s with this ‘Fun Friday’ thing you’re always referring to on your blog?”

I wouldn’t say “always,” but yes, I tend to think of Friday as a more relaxed day, and the topics on my blog are often more relaxed too.

Monday’s blog post is often something big and bold that I’ve pounded hours into over the weekend, as is Wednesday’s.  Friday’s blog, since it’s only up for one weekday, is often a bit silly in nature.  Not to take anything away from the folks who come to the blog for “MLS Musings” or “Photos of the Week,” not to mention a fun video, but that’s just the Friday theme, if you will.

When I went to Leaside High School in the early 1990’s, by the time you finished Grade 9, there were “enriched” courses available to students who, like me, enjoyed studying, had no friends, and didn’t party…

In Grade 10, they offered “Enriched Math,” which I thought would be really cool.

It’s too bad that in 2018, they’re doing away with enriched courses, in attempts to make everybody “equal,” but that’s a topic for another day…

My Grade 10 math teacher was a man named Mr. De Piezza, who offered us ways of thinking that we had never thought to explore.  It simply changed the way I thought about math, and learning in general.

Most Fridays, instead of teaching from the text, or simply moving on to the next chapter or next lesson in line, he would look to do something different.  And he referred to this as “Fun Friday.”

I remember one exercise where we were exploring probability, and while we know that the chances of flipping a coin and having it turn up heads, or tails, is 50%, he wanted us to see how we get to that 50%.  How many sequences of ten flips come up with 9 heads and 1 tails?  Or vice versa?  Picture 30 kids in a classroom, with hundreds of pennies, flipping coins and scrawling down results.

For some students, “Fun Friday” was a day when you knew you wouldn’t have a test, or be stressed by the lesson, or really have to do much.  But for nerds like me, it was a day you just knew you were going to learn something cool.

Anyways, that is the origin of my “Fun Friday” saying.

And when a couple of different clients recently asked me what I was looking for in a house, I figured it would be a Fun-Friday kind of blog post.

There are a lot of things I’d look for in a house, like just about every buyer.  Some things I’d compromise on, some things I wouldn’t.

Some things are necessities, and some things are fantasies.

But explaining how many bedrooms I want, or whether I want a garage – that’s boring!

As a fun exercise, I thought I’d sway a little more toward the fantasy angle, especially because so many of my ideas are exactly that.

And while I could probably rattle off a dozen things I want in a house, if you know me by now, you know I’d rather spend an entire blog talking about just ONE feature.

One feature, eh?

Any guesses off the top?

A pool?

A gym?

A garage with power-tools?

A garden for my green thumb?  Maybe some organic kale?

What about a kitchen island facing a Wolf range?

A steam shower?  A sauna?

A backyard football field?

All good guesses, they would be.

But aside from the necessities, and if we’re just playing for fun today, one of the things I’ve always fantasized about is………

…………..a wood-paneled office.

I don’t quite know what draws me to this.

Maybe it’s the idea of having my own “lair” or “domain.”  But I also want a man-cave (a close 2nd place), so it can’t be about having my own space.

Maybe it’s about efficiency?  Being able to work from home, and feel like I’m still in the office?  I think I might be on to something there.

I’ve been in my current condo now for seven years, and save for the first six months when I worked in the “home office” I had set up, I’ve always worked from my dining room table.  As I type this right now, 12:31am on Wednesday night, I’m sitting in my half-broken, much-sat-upon chair that is also seven years old, and is probably the best $150 I’ve spent in a long time.

But having my own office, in my home?  That would be awesome.

The kids can come knock on the door, quietly, respectfully, and in a 1920’s voice, perhaps even with a hint of a British accent, ask, “Father, may we speak with you, if only for a moment?”

I’ll remove my spectacles, put my pen back in my ink quill, and say, “Yes, children you may, but let’s do so post-haste as father has important work to be done.”

Then they’ll ask me if they can attend the sock-hop, or box social, or whatever gathering is afoot at the local broo-ha-ha, and I’ll tell them to ask their mother.

Then, it’s back to work for me.

Yes, that’ll be the day…

I’ve accumulated a few photos from MLS of wood-paneled offices I like.

Here’s my favourite thus far:

Office01

Great colour, two windows, and I like the built-in shelves.

I have a lot of art, which you may call “chachkies,” but I need somewhere to display it.

Every piece of art I own, has meaning.  Think about that painting you bought from a street vendor on your trip to South America back in 2009, and had framed in the shop around the corner from your home.  That piece is special to you because you remember where you were when you bought it, who you were with, and why it appealed to you.

I dream one day of having a wood-paneled office, just like the one above, and unpacking all the pieces of art I’ve accumulated over the years, and deciding on where each piece will go, is going to be like Christmas morning for an adult.

Behind the desk in that photo above has to be home for a very strong piece.

A defining piece.

I already have mine picked out…

One of my best friends was married in 2013, and for his bachelor party, we drove to Detroit to watch the Tigers play, then Chicago to see the Cubs, then Milwaukee to see the Brewers, and then flew home.

After we left Wrigley Field in Chicago, we were walking through town, back to the car, and we saw a shop that was sort of sports memorabilia, and also antiques.

We went inside, and it was fantastic.

I’m a huge collector, as some of you know.

My brother, father, and I collected sports cards in the late 1980’s when the boom was big, and although most of that stuff is now worthless, our 1930’s and 1950’s hockey cards remain a fantastic collection.  In the past four years, my father and I have started going back to the semi-annual expo to see if we can add to our sets.

In this Chicago store, there was all kinds of sports memorabilia, but also newspapers galore.

The moon landing, the Kennedy assassination, D-Day; you name it, there was an authentic, mint-condition newspaper being displayed.

I walked through the store like a kid on Christmas.  I’m a sucker for anything old; anything vintage.

The store owner looked like he had to be in his 90’s, although maybe the stress of the near-1oo-years between Cubs’ World Series wins just made him seem that way.

I asked him, “What’s the oldest newspaper you have in the store?”  And he thought about it for a while.

He then said, “It’s not on display,” and I figured it had to be special.

He walked over toward another counter, reached underneath, and pulled out a very large, flat wooden box.  He opened up the lid and blew off the dust like something out of a Scooby-Doo cartoon, and the hinges creaked.

He pulled out a newspaper that was in plastic, and turned it around with both hands in an understated, unintentional, television-like reveal.

It was awesome.

The newspaper was from 1863, right in the middle of the U.S. Civil War.

Depicted on the top-half of a horizontal side of newspaper was the Second Battle of Winchester, which took place in Virginia.  It was a hand-drawn sketch of the battle that was so incredibly detailed, I could almost see the despair in the eyes of the Union soldiers (they were slaughtered, FYI).

The newspaper was in absolutely incredible shape for something 150 years old.

But it wasn’t until I saw the date that I was really enthralled: June 23rd, 1863.

And what day were we there, in this man’s shop, in Chicago?  June 23rd, 2013.

What are the chances?

Exactly 150 years later, to the day!

I immediately decided I had to have this piece.

I asked the old-timer how much he wanted for it, and he took a long inhale.  “I’ve had that for……let me think now…..probably close to fifty years,” he said.  “Picked it up at a flea market down south in the 70’s if I recall.”

I had no idea what this was worth, but I had pretty much decided I was going to buy it.

To my amazement, he said, “I think I’d have to have…….proabably…….one-twenty for it.”

One-twenty?  Dollars?  Really?

I’m a collector by nature, but this isn’t my field.  I know it’s “just” a newspaper, but it’s 150 years old, and I don’t imagine there are a lot of these kicking around.  I suppose just like any asset, or any home out there, it’s worth what somebody is willing to pay for it.”

“I’d be honoured to buy this piece,” I told him.

And I handed over $120 USD with glee.

We left the store, and one of my buddies said, “Dude, you could have worked him down!  He’d probably have taken sixty bucks, man!  You know 100% he’d have taken a hundred.”

I told my friend that wasn’t the point.  I negotiate for a living.  I’m sure I could have got the piece for less.

But I respected the man who owned it, how long he’d had it, and the mere existence of his store – a throwback to days past, in a world where very few people care about old newspapers, collectibles, antiques, or vintage items.

I wouldn’t dare insult this man by haggling over twenty dollars.

In the end, I got a photo of he and myself, with the newspaper, and his shop in the background.

As soon as I got home from that trip, I went up to Bayview Avenue to see my “frame guy.”

“You have a ‘frame guy,’ seriously?” I’m often asked by those in my office.  But yes, I have a frame guy.  A necessary ally for an amateur art collector.

To frame a piece of art – cheap or otherwise, is a job unto itself.  The right mat, the right border, the right frame.  Colours, thicknesses, and what type of glass?

When the piece was finished, I looked at it for a few minutes, and then put it back in the brown paper wrapping.

It’s been in storage for five years.  I haven’t seen it since.

But I knew that one day, when I bought a house, and if I had a wood-paneled office – this would be the perfect piece to display on the wall behind my desk.  Feel free to read into the imagery however you want; perhaps I don’t even understand the reasoning myself.

So yeah, call me crazy, but one of the things I want in a house, more than anything, is a wood-paneled office like the one above.

Here are a few others that I’ve seen on MLS over the years.

I like this one here, but I really want the window to look out front, not to the sideyard:

Office02

This one below is beautiful, but a little too “much,” if you will:

Office03

There’s also no window in the room, which I think is a deal-breaker.

I mean, it’s not a deal-breaker, since this is a classic case of “beggars can’t be choosers,” but that might get a wee bit stuffy.

The desk is also way too small – it’s a glass table with a few items on it.  This reeks of staging.

I love the double doors though, as well as the ceiling detail.

This one below is more my speed.

It’s a combination of the very first office, and the one we just saw:

Office04

Ignore the colour of the wood, because I think that’s the camera.

I love the window behind the desk.  In a perfect world, I’d have two windows next to the desk, like the first photo.  But I don’t want the desk facing the wall like in photo #2.

I love the shelving on the right hand side.  I can’t tell you how many pieces of art (aka chachkies…) I could display on those fifteen shelves.

I would absolutely love a wood-burning fireplace!  That would be unreal.  I’m not a fan of that gas/electric unit on the left, so I’d get rid of it.  And the wall-mounted TV would be a distraction from all the really important things I’d be doing, and world’s problems I’d be solving, sitting in that chair.

This one below just doesn’t “do it” for me, you know?

As in I can’t quite put my finger on it, although I do like the chairs.

There’s a desk in the middle of the room, but it’s across from a built-in desk in the shelving.  It doesn’t feel well-planned.

And again, the desk is sideways to the window, which I don’t like.

Office05

I don’t even know what to make of this one here:

Office07

I showed it to a colleague of mine in the office, and he said, “Two desks?  Eh?  Eh???” and winked.  “Business partners?”

I absolutely love the huge window though.

I think if the fireplace wasn’t there, you could move the desk in front of that space, ditch the second desk, and it would look just like the first one:

Office01

Except it would be twice as big…

So there you have it, folks.

What’s wrong with a little day-dreaming on a Friday?

Call me crazy, but hot-damn do I want a wood-paneled office in a house one day.

I know it’s the long weekend and many of you have already checked out, but if you feel like playing along – let me know what cool, different, or fun feature you would want in a house.

And if you have a wood-paneled den, send me a photo.

Have a great long weekend, everybody!

21 Comments

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  1. Housing bear says:

    How about 450 sq feet of construction materials for under 500k?

  2. Frances says:

    A sewing room, and yes, I do. My sewing machine has been set up in the living room for years and that’s fine, as far as it goes. But there’s nowhere to leave things out, nowhere for the ironing board, nowhere to spread out to work. And I would use a corner for my computer stuff – my Amiga, the books, the CDs, the floppies, whatever.

    1. Geoff says:

      shoutout for the amiga reference.. mine is in the garage, unhooked up.. I just can’t part with it.

      1. Frances says:

        Geoff, I have a working Amiga 3000. I use Amiga Forever on my laptop most of the time but take things to the 3000 when I want to print because I have a 24-pin dot matrix printer attached to it for printing text.

  3. Appraiser says:

    “We have been living with OMG CANADIAN HOUSING MARKET WILL CRASH ANY MINUTE NOW AND WE’LL ALL BE FIGHTING OVER RAT MEAT TO SURVIVE stories for 10 years now. And we’ll be living with them for 10 more years.”

    Stephen Gordon, (Economics professor at Université Laval)

    May 18, 2018 https://twitter.com/stephenfgordon

  4. CB says:

    My husband is a work machine. We’ve had an office, or office space, in every home we’ve ever had. Some have been nice looking, with matching cherry office furniture. There are books (some he has written), some art type objects, and family photos on shelves. Right now his office is in the second “bedroom”, the kind with glass door walls, no window, in our rented condo. He’s got an old butcher block top on some file cabinets for his desk, mis-matched book shelves, a big iMac, and gets an amazing amount of work done. That is the critical thing: Work produced. I’ll be on the couch with the remote.

  5. Paully says:

    Easy. Airplane hangar and runway on the property.

  6. Appraiser says:

    A main floor office is a must.

  7. McBloggert says:

    An indoor bike shower / storage area. I recall seeing an architect / cycling enthusiast who build just such a room in their house. A floor set up with drainage so you could bring in dirty bikes; shower them off, hang them up and a sweet integrated work shop to tinker into the late hours. THAT would be awesome.

    A dog shower in a boot room would be swell too…

    1. Not Harold says:

      I’ve never understood the desire for a dog shower in a house.

      You can just spray them off outside and the only time that they can get gross enough to need a shower it’s warm enough to hose them down outside. Then they can shake off outside, towel em down a bit, and then go inside (by a fire if it’s chilly) to fully dry out.

      They do make sense as an amenity for condo buildings.

  8. Geoff says:

    I’d want a physically separated building – say https://www.summerwood.com/summerstyle/tag/home-office/

    That would be sweet. And i feel that my son would be less likely to put on his coat and shoes to ask me about every little thing than if it was just down the hall.

  9. Kyle says:

    My dream features would be:
    – Two storey gymnasium with a basketball net (i recall there was a bungalow on Ravensbourne Cres that had an amazing one!).
    – Two storey library (preferrably with a secret passageway to a batcave)
    – Golf Simulator/Home Theater
    – Indoor Pool with a water slide
    – Wood-working shop with spray booth
    – Big garage with a hoist

  10. Izzy Bedibida says:

    I would like a small machine shop for hobby/part time work in garage but most likely a basement. need an easy way to get a small CNC milling machine and lathe in the basement. Don’t want to pay up to $500 mth. membership at maker/hacker club.
    Also want garage space to work on car.

  11. Marina says:

    Office 1 looks like my dream office, except mine is all white and one wall is covered in book shelves. Also, a big fluffy armchair with a cozy throw, and a fluffy loveseat for cuddle reading. So office / library hybrid, in cloud white. Getting shivers just thinking about it.

  12. Not Harold says:

    I like the concept though not any of the examples you have here. Even the dark wood one has too many different colours (panelling vs floor vs desk…). Wood burning fireplace is ideal.

    Window behind desk can cause glare issues depending on exposure, plus it means you can’t look out the window without completely turning away from work. The window facing front yard takes away from privacy and can lead to distractions (delivery drivers, kids playing street hockey/basketball, anyone’s gardener cranking up a lawnmower or blower) – side yard is an easy compromise.

    I thought it was spelt tchotchke?

    Education system has been vandalized and degraded. Best bet is go private for a school that does IB.

  13. GinaTo says:

    I’ve always dreamed of having my own library-study – wood-paneled like your office, but with rows and rows of books up to the ceiling, a sleek ladder, and the most comfortable reading chair in history – just for me. Sigh.

  14. O says:

    As a homeowner who has been married since the grunge years, I can say that the only thing that keeps me sane is my garage. No door to the house, automatic opener unplugged and the only key planted firmly in my pocket. Anyone who needs me better bang on the wall because no phones are allowed in the O-Cave. Just typing about it makes me miss it.

  15. Kyle says:

    Office 1, 3 and 4 are totally useless…At least with their current desks. There are no drawers to put a bottle of scotch in.

  16. Moonbeam! says:

    Settle for nothing less, Dave!
    I’ve had an office for 16+ years (ie a spare room!) and it is very handy – a desk, computer, printer, shelves… but your vision of a wood-panelled office is definitely better! Can’t wait to see it in a blog post soon!! Good luck in the search!

    1. Katie says:

      So this is David’s mother right?

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