I recently binge-watched re-runs of Fixer Upper. And it has left me wanting to buy a house more than ever!
I don’t have many complaints about this military life. We have been blessed far beyond anything we could ever deserve. However, I am jealous of my friends who are buying and renovating houses.
We know many military families buy homes at each duty station, but (for many reasons) we choose to rent. Renting has its downsides – not being able to plant a garden or choose paint colors and ‘wasting’ money being among the top complaints.
However, living in all these different houses has given us a lot of insight into what we want in our forever home.
I compiled a list of all the things we liked about the various houses we have called home over the last 10 years to create my dream house checklist!
A Laundry Room
The houses that we’ve lived in have had all kinds of laundry situations, but more often than not, we did not have a laundry room.
In my dream house, I want a decent-sized laundry room that has a large counter where I can fold and stack clothes. Ideally, it would also have somewhere to hang clothes to dry.
Mxfurhawa Iron Wire Laundry Hamper With Rolling Lockable Wheels, FoldinLaundry Storage Basket with Handles,Detachable Liner Collapsible Dirty Laundry Cart Sorter Clothes Basket Organizer (White-81)ALIMORDEN Laundry Cart with Clothes Rack, Rolling Laundry Butler with Wire Storage Rack，Black
Lots of Natural Light
What I loved about our house at Fort Polk was all of the natural light in our living room. There was a sliding glass door and a window that faced the tree-less backyard.
This meant that our living room received lots of beautiful natural light all day long. I loved that the pictures I took in the living room didn’t turn out yellow. People always commented on how clean my house was, but I think it was because the natural light made everything look pretty and clean.
My dream house would have plenty of windows and French doors to let in lots of natural light.
**Also, I didn’t know this until years later, but switching out ‘soft white’ light bulbs for ‘daylight’ light bulbs makes a HUGE difference in how yellow a room looks!**
Amazon Basics 60W Equivalent, Daylight White, Non-Dimmable, 10,000 Hour Lifetime, 9 Watt A19 LED Light Bulb, 24-PackGuken White Sheer Curtains 84 Inch Length 2 Panels Sets for Living Room Bedroom 38 Inch Width White Farmhouse Boho Drapes White Pom Pom Curtains Tufted Semi Sheer Nursery Kids Rod Pocket 38×84 Long
A Big Kitchen/Dining Room
Many of the houses that we have lived in have had small, galley-style kitchens. While small kitchens have their benefits, I prefer larger kitchens.
(You can see here how I organized our smallest kitchen yet!)
Our dream house would have a spacious kitchen and open dining area.
KitchenAid RRK150IC 5 Qt. Artisan Series – Ice (Renewed)PRAKI Airtight Food Storage Container Set, 16 Pcs BPA Free Plastic Dry Food Canisters for Kitchen Pantry Organization and Storage Ideal for Cereal, Flour & Sugar – Labels, Marker(Black)
Most of our houses have light-colored walls. Perhaps that is just the standard for military bases and rental homes.
Admittedly, at first, I didn’t like these neutral color palettes. I complained that they were ‘bland’ and I couldn’t wait for a house with more color.
The rental house that we are living in now is painted multiple different colors and I don’t like it at all. Red and yellow in the living room, green kitchen and bathrooms, and a brown den – it’s more than I can handle.
The colors clashed with some of our furniture, buying curtains was much harder than it had to be, and pictures taken inside looked funky because of the yellow light and color clash. My dream house will have a neutral color palette with light-colored walls.
BATTILO HOME Chenille Knit Throw Blanket for Couch, Cozy Beige Throw Blanket for Home Decor, Neutral Throw Blanket for Sofa Chair 51Ecacon Small Thinker Statue Sandstone Resin Abstract Character Sculptures Neutral Home Decor Collectible Figurines Modern Home Living Room Office Shelf Desktop Bookshelf Table Decoration Set of 3
Anything but Carpet
Joanna Gaines uses almost exclusively hardwood in all of the spaces she creates. Our houses at Fort Lewis and Fort Polk were all carpeted, except for bathrooms and kitchens.
And that carpet was the bane of my existence!
I WISH I could get back all of the hours that I spent scrubbing, vacuuming, and shampooing the carpet. My dream house will have very little, if any, carpet.
However, I do enjoy a good area rug. It adds color and warmth to a room and I can always drag it outside and pressure wash it!
SAFAVIEH Cape Cod Collection Area Rug – 8′ x 10′, Red & Multi, Handmade Boho Braided Jute & Cotton, Ideal for High Traffic Areas in Living Room, Bedroom (CAP202A)LUXE WEAVERS Marble Collection Blue Area Rug 6×9 Modern Abstract Swirl Design Non-Shedding Carpet
A Big Front Porch
Growing up in the south, front-porch-sittin’ was always a regular occurrence. However, all of the houses that we have lived in have either had a small stoop or a tiny front porch.
My dream house would have a decent-sized front porch, complete with a porch swing. And an outdoor ceiling fan would be the icing on top of the cake.
VINGLI Heavy Duty 800 LBS Rattan Porch Swing Outdoor with Cushions & Adjustable Chains, 4FT Patio Wicker Swing Bench for Garden, Yard, Lawn, Tree (Brown Rattan)YITAHOME Hanging Porch Swing Rattan Patio Swing Lounge Swing Chair Hammock Chair Cushions 550lbs for Garden, Patio, Balcony, Living Room, Gray
A Covered Carport
Some of our houses had covered carports, one even had a garage, and some had no parking covers at all. Out of the 3 options, I prefer a carport.
Our dream home would have a covered carport to keep us out of the rain while unloading groceries. Ideally, it would be as pretty as it is functional.
VEIKOU 12′ x 20′ Carport, Upgraded Metal Carport with Heavy Duty Galvanized Steel Roof, Extra Large Car Port for Cars, Car Shelter & ShadeMELLCOM 12 x 20 ft Carport with Galvanized Steel Roof – 12′ x 20′ x 8.6′ Multi-Use Shelter, Sturdy Metal Carport for Cars, Boats, and Tractors Gray
A Decent-Sized Master Bathroom
It must be some unwritten rule that if you have a rental house, it must have a tiny bathroom. Every house we have lived in has had the same tiny bathroom (8’x5′).
I’m not a huge primp-er, I don’t spend hours in front of the mirror, and I don’t need to be able to turn cartwheels in my bathroom, but I would LOVE to be able to set down my hair straightener and hairbrush at the same time!
We have had the tiniest vanities. It is so hard to set anything down on the counter and not knock it off a few seconds later.
Our dream house would have a decent-sized master bathroom, complete with a large double vanity. Also, having both a tub and a shower would be amazing!
ZGO 2-Tier Bathroom Counter Organizer, Wood Bathroom Organizer Countertop Vanity Organizer Bathroom Tray, Kitchen Spice Rack Counter Shelf Organizers and Storage, WhiteHIIMIEI Hair Tool Organizer Wall Mount, White Acrylic Hot Tool Holder with 2Cups, Bathroom Hair Styling Accessories Storage Organizer for Flat Iron, Blow Dryer, Curling Wand, Hair Straighteners, Brush
Garage or Workshop
Since our move to Fort Liberty, my husband has taken to woodworking and furniture building. It’s something that he has always had an interest in, but due to our living arrangements, didn’t have the space for it.
Now that we have a house with an attached garage, he has the space to house some tools and work in. And we both LOVE it!
Our dream house would also have a garage or workshop of some kind. It doesn’t have to be heated and cooled, but simply a place to keep his tools secure and out of the weather.
KAFAHOM Power Tool Organizer-8 Drill Holder Wall Mount,4 Layer Heavy Duty Metal Power Tool Storage Rack,Garage Tool Organizer and Storage with Screwdriver Holder/Plier Holder/Hammer HolderIMILLET 2 Pack Wall Mount Broom Holder Stainless Steel 5 Racks with 4 Hooks Broom Organizer Self Adhesive Heavy Duty Laundry Room, Garage Organization Storage
Wooden Exterior Doors
One thing I’ve noticed throughout our binge-watch of Fixer-Upper is that Joanna Gaines is fond of using wooden exterior doors in her designs. And I am too!
These doors look good with just about any exterior medium, from brick to vinyl-siding. They look good from the inside too!
Our dream home will have wooden exterior doors!
Prime-Line 3809BZ3068-I-WF Woodguard Security Door – Traditional Screen Door Style with the Strength of a Steel Door – Steel and Wood Construction, Non-Handed, Bronze, 36 x 80 in.Knockety Quick Ship Entry Door 4 Lite SDL Mahogany Door Canyon Brown
Living on post at Fort Polk spoiled us since we were able to visit the community center pool (for free!) any time we wanted. The kids loved swimming and I loved that it was right down the street.
Our dream house would have a nice in-ground pool in the backyard. We could have the best barbeques, throw pool parties for the kids’ birthdays, and beat the heat without leaving the house!
Isn’t our dream house, well, dreamy?
It seems like all it will ever be is a dream, but one day we will be out of the Army. One day will put down some real roots and start working on the house of our dreams.
Until then, I’ll be sprucing up these rental houses and stalking Joanna’s social media.