Here are some that make a home better (in my idiosyncratic opinion):
– a close connection between the kitchen and hanging out spaces (a.k.a. the living room)
– a kitchen big enough to cook a large meal with many ingredients
– views of greenery
– a desk area for my computer with storage for lots of different kinds of papers in or around it
– some project space which I can take over for a couple days now and then, including space for messy projects
– storage space for projects I haven’t done yet
– a warm, well-lit but not too sunny spot for Luxury, my big leather chair & ottoman
– a substantial closet (depth more important than width)
– a washer/dryer
– texture/character/detail (not just a 70s stucco box)
– a window seat
– natural wood
– a pantry
– separation between the spaces used for dressing, grooming, and bathing for pleasure.
When I lived in the little house on the western outskirts of San Jose with Keoni & B.J. after we came back from Hawaii, the things I liked best about that place were gardening, cooking at the gas stove, the interesting kitchen details, the view from the sink, all the different ways to get through the house and that it had lots of light.
In my first place that was completely my own, my 400 square foot studio in Sunnyvale, I liked having comfortable places to lounge (in Luxury, on the bed), all my music handy (since I had the vinyl out of storage there), a style of my own including my collection of artwork on display, a good soaking tub and that glorious huge walk-in closet.
Damn, I miss that closet.
The huge attic apartment Joe and I shared in San Jose near the light rail line, had lots of good qualities too including a good tub for soaking (long baths got me through grad school), space for projects, a great big kitchen with lot of counterspace, a washer/dryer in the apartment, and interesting non-boxy architecture with great climbing spaces for our cats.
The townhome Edmond and I shared in Mountain View was notable for being one of the largest places I’ve lived since moving out of the house I grew up in. We had a big separate rooms for computer and non-computer leisure, workshop space, a dishwasher, a big freezer, a good soaking tub, and a washer/dryer. Plus it was just a nice, clean, pleasant place to have people over. The colors were generally soothing and muted. Also Edmond’s techical skills meant we had a well-organized computing environment and a kickass MP3 jukebox. It was a good place and I know we both look back on it fondly.
Now I live in a new place in San Francisco, my favorite place in the world, in the Castro, the part of the city where I feel most at home. It’s a beautiful, distinctive, slightly quirky space with gentle white walls and lovely hardwood floors. The play of light through the day is heavenly. The kitchen is very efficient for its size and I have a gas stove (which is really an essential now as I’ve become even more of a cook). The view out the windows onto the tops of trees or over to the cliffs leading to the park is great and we hear birdsong frequently. There’s still a lot of settling in to do (I don’t have a desk and we need to get a plumber to look at why the bathtub takes all day to drain) and there’s no washer/dryer, but as I look to one side to see the fog rolling over the hill obscuring and then revealing the Sutro Tower and to the other to see the sun shining over the bay, I know I can make do with a few inconveniences.