Out of all the things that have happened over the last couple of years this…
was one of the most difficult.
Honestly, I didn’t cry when I left Channel 5. After 30 great years it was time.
But I still tear up when I think about our house. It was where Michael grew up. I remember lots of Saturday mornings cooking bacon in the kitchen for his friends who were asleep on the floor. The gang of Michael’s friends who jumped in the pool. The line of teen-age boy trucks parked out front.
Plus, I loved our house. I put my heart and soul into decorating it. And I don’t know if I’ll ever have another one as pretty.
But times change, things move on. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that the only way to move through life is forward.
So now, I plan to build a new home. I already have the land picked out.
I know it’s going to have a great kitchen because when I think back on the years in our Ft. Worth home, it’s the time in the kitchen I remember. Family meals, the conversation that mattered, Michael doing homework at the kitchen table.
But when I drive around neighborhoods and see all the huge houses being built these days I wonder, “how much house do you really need”?
So, I would like your opinions here on Real Jane. How big does a house need to be? What would your “must haves” be if you were building or buying a home.
I’d love to hear your comments below.
Next week, I’ll show you a location for the house I like and we’ll walk the lot together.
One thing I know. When it’s finished I’m going to make Michael put his handprint in the driveway. This time he’ll be 21, but he’s still my boy, and I hope he’ll be visiting.
Definitely a big kitchen as that is the heart of the home! Also… Love a big master bath and closet of course! Lol !
Of course Randi!
Jane, I have enjoyed following you over the years. You have emerged a stronger, more confident, capable woman because of the challenges. I understand your house emotions and look forward to seeing what you design. Awesome blog!
How kind Rosemary, thank you.
Big Kitchen, lots of counter space. Large Closets. Large Master Bathroom. Not a big yard, not big extra bedrooms. Covered patio. A must here in Texas!
Love a covered patio Yolanda!
Let me begin by saying how great you look! I think the last couple of years have done you well because you look amazing, Jane!
A house needs to be big enough to comfortably accommodate future holiday gatherings with family, eapeciallt those forthcoming grandchildren! They are such a blessing!
It needs to be designed in a way that will allow you to rearrange furniture, nick nacks and such so that you don’t get bored!
I highly suggest a two way mirror in your master bath with a ledge on the back side for a tv so you can watch your favorite shows as you relax in a large garden tub!
Those are my must haves!
Good luck can’t wait to see what you create!
You’re hired Mundi, lol! Thank you 🙂
Hi Jane; I’ve enjoyed your broadcasting over the years and now I’m enjoying your newsletter. If you need a GREAT builder check out: email@example.com Tim Jackson Custom Homes of Fairview, Tx.
Best of luck to you.
Thank you John:)
What a wonderful journey you are on. Looking forward to see it unfold. Having built a house a few years back, here are some things I am glad I did and some things I wish I would have done.
Number one for me was a kitchen designed for convenience, lots of counter space, lots of room for family get togethers, airy and light. Also the kitchen and family table room and family room all open up together. I never want to feel left out if I am in the kitchen and everyone else is in the family room watching football. We have a large family. There is always someone looking for snacks as a meal is being prepared. We also have a nice size island in the kitchen that we use for a ton of different things.
Next is the Master Bedroom and Bath and Closet. Big and roomy and lots of sunshine. We have the jetted tub but I am not a big fan of it. I prefer a large walk-in shower with lighting and places to sit and a sunken tub. Our closet isn’t as accommodating as I hoped. I once had a closet that had a built in chest of drawers that I loved. Also need lots of built in shelves. One thing builders don’t think about is that women need to have single rods to hand clothes…not a rod above the other. We have long dresses, jeans etc that need room to hang straight down. Lots more to tell but I will finish with this…floors are so important. I prefer slate and hardwood. Not a fan of carpet. Love rugs.
Oh, one last thing…our closet has a back door into the laundry room. I like it.
Love that laundry room idea Jane thanks!
I downsized when my husband retired. I too really missed my house. Went from 2850 square.ft. to 1100. A kitchen and nice bathroom are most important.Also storage. I know your new home will be beautiful. Some of us like to decorate. I know I do.
Thanks Lynn 🙂
a sizable bathroom for a tub big enough to really relax in! it’ll boast of plenty of space for flowers, plants …and a big screen TV! (or is that just a guy thing??)
Lol sounds good to me Randy:)
Jane, loved your real story. We lost our home last year and we rent now….I haven’t rented since I was 20…I will be 50 this year. I have finally realized family is what makes it a home and the fun and life you have there. I do pray I will be a homeowner again but in the end if it doesn’t happen. …I’m okay! 🙂 PS I think a great size is around 2,000 sq. ft. 🙂
Thank you Sharon for sharing and commenting!
Build a house with a Great Room which includes the kitchen so everything is happening in one space. Your son and his pals can all hang out and visit while you cook and you can eavesdrop on their conversations without skulking around in the hall. The guest room should be big enough to be only momentarily comfortable so nobody feels like taking up residence for too long. Your bedroom should be spacious enough so that you can walk around the bed on 3 sides to make it up without having to crawl across it and stuff the covers down by the wall (I’ve done that and it gets harder as we age – trust me.) You will need a good place to read, probably in a corner of the Great Room, with a view out a window for daydreaming. Put lots of storage out in the garage. I don’t care how much you get rid of, you will always accumulate more crap. Have a place to put it. Enjoy the 2nd half, Jane. Put your mark on it. It’s yours.
I love to sulk around Jody, lol! Thanks 🙂
Build a comfortable house. Not a big one. Covered back patio would be great. Big family room. Kitchen, not too big. 3 car garage. Landscape front and back. I’d rather have money to travel to see the world rather than be a slave to a house/utility/tax payment.
Thank you Kyle:)
A big kitchen with room for 10 to sit counter/or table.. it will be the most fun for a family and friends… also leaving a house is always hard as it’s the place where Memories were made.!
A lot depends on you. Large kitchen, large master suite, and bath, and closets
Pool?–would it be used
2-3 car garage?
1-2 story? I prefer 1
Separate laundry room
Storage is the main thing in building
Also prewire for cable/sat/internet
Thank you John!
My must have would have to be a drive up to the door driveway. .. of course a peephole in the front door. . . . security system that I can monitor wirelessly . . . small pool or jacuzzi. . . . . garden tub. . . plaques with uplifting quotes throughout. .
Oh Yeah for the Living Room: A large fireplace . . . and painting of yourself above it . . .
For the Kitchen . . .large butcher block countertops . . . accent custom lighting throughout. Matching Refrige-Stove
For The Bedroom: custom ceiling fan . . .large flatscreen. . . .
All rooms wired with speakers to play music from computer or phone
When I bought my dream house, I lived in KY. It was almost 5,000 sq. ft. It had 4 stories, an awesome basement, a deck that sat on the 2nd story surrounded by trees and enough room for all my kids, friends, cousins and all their friends to spend the night. On Sundays, I had short order cook breakfast for all! Even those who didn’t spend the night came over to eat breakfast. I miss those days.
The day I left that house and moved my youngest back here to the DFW area I rented a home, site unseen. I knew that wherever there is happiness, joy, love and passion for life, there is a HOME. A house is just the structure. Believe me, there are days I tend to forget that, but that is when I know I need take a step back and realize all my blessings.
You know a great kitchen is a must have….that is what brings us all together! Good food, good friends and family, and a good life! All the best with your new chapter of life!
So true Missy, thanks:)
Jane, I know it must have been a difficult decision to sell your home and I’m sorry you had to make that decision. My husband and I downsized 6 years ago and there are some things I miss. My suggestions for you would be a “nook” in your bedroom with a couple of nice chairs where you can watch TV or read since this is something you enjoy. Next, a pool so you have a place for your son and his friends and future grandchildren to play. That way it there is always a place for people to have fun. Do have room in the back yard for your dog and future grandchildren to play safely when they come see grandma. A large kitchen , walk in closets, wrap around counter (bar) in the kitchen for the family to sit are musts. I would recommend a large “open” living area so there is plenty of room for your family and company to mingle but not so big you get lost due to the size when you are home alone. I think for you a formal dining room is a must due entertaining. I would also recommend 4 bedrooms for guests and family to stay over with 3 bathrooms. One master bathroom, one in the hall for your guests and one for guests to have a private bathroom (and for you to hide a mess when your grand kids visit). One last thing that comes to mind is a designated area somewhere in your home for your office. I know this is a long list but these are things we have discovered are important since downsizing. All may not apply to you. You will do great on your new journey, Jane. Are you going to remain in Ft Worth?
Great ideas Linda, thanks so much! Yes, in Ft. Worth 🙂
I need lots of space. Made a bedroom into a cedar lined closet. The other must have for me a sauna n master bath. Last but not least large kitchen. Good luck with ur new adventure.
Thanks Cynthia, I’m looking forward to it!
Small number of big rooms in 1600 sq foot.
Thank you Rose:)
Just looked at the pictures of the house you sold. Jane, you have way too much stuff!
Lol I know Rose
I finally have my dream home – I am so blessed! Some of the “musts” for us, as this will perhaps be the last home we buy (we are both 52) included:
– one story (it’s just not practical at our ages to have stairs to navigate thinking 20 years down the road)
– large kitchen opening up to family room
– no formal living room or dining room (use the square footage for something you’ll use regularly)
– pool and area for backyard entertaining (we use our pool frequently. Not to mention our German Shepherd who thinks it’s their just for her 🙂
– if you have a pool, have a restroom that is easily accessible from outside with a tile floor.
– quality appliances, fixtures, woodwork, tile, granite, etc.
– large laundry room located close to master bedroom (we are empty nesters so any laundry we do mostly goes to our room). Our laundry room is also close to the kitchen so we have a great place for our 2nd fridge.
– large walk-in closets with drawers and shoe racks. My closet is 2 levels so I can keep out of season clothes in the same closet but out of the way.
– built-ins for TV, books, framed photos, etc. in family room. Also built-in for displaying heirloom crystal and silver with storage beneath.
– an “appliance closet” for crockpot, blender, turkey roaster, etc. This has become one of the most useful closets in our home.
– large walk-in pantry
– we don’t have low water use landscape, but I wish we did. We do have our own well so which helps.
Good luck Jane! I’m looking forward to watching you on your journey to a new home. I know it will be spectacular!
Thanks so much Lori, those are terrific ideas. Looking forward to it!
I considered making a comment but, after reading Lori’s, I said nope. She’s got it all covered.
I would add as many bathrooms as bedrooms all with top notch appliances including at least one bidet and a JASON bubble tub for the master – we had one installed when we remodeled! LOVE IT! A walk-in shower! Huge closet and a cedar lined closet somewhere! A media room that can be closed off and well insulated for those late owls that want to watch tv. Huge pantry in kitchen and a pool absolute necessity!
In laundry have a long hanging bar for clothes that need to be hung following washing and a porcelain farmers sink! I also recommend a completely floored attic. For shoe storage in your closet, have Container Store measure a wall with the 12 inch shelves. I had a double row of wooden shelves around the top for all my shoes that are boxed. On the shelving from CS I had two baskets for my handbags and wish I had more! A safe in the closet is great. Oh yes, solid wood doors throughout! I would also have lots of storage in the garage and make it deep enough for today’s cars! Good luck, Jane. What an adventure awaits you!
Great ideas Lynne
Ill just make this simple,build it the way that will make you happy! <3 Wishing you all the Luck in the World, you deserve it :<3
Well, I’ve built 2 house and learned a lot :), but some basics include: the kitchen needs to have an appropriately sized island, a walk in shower with a nice ledge for shaving, lighting in the entire house is important but especially in the make up areas and closet set up for us gals in imperative!
Jane – my first time commenting, but I have followed you for years, as so many have. I’m a REALTOR® and could not resist adding my 2 cents.
As you know, there is no right or wrong, it all depends upon the person. My business partner and her husband downsized for a 3,700 sq. ft. home, plus a weekend farm house on 35 acres to a 1,500 sq. ft. home in Frisco Lakes, an Active Senior Living Community and are as happy as can be. I explain to clients that it all depends on lifestyle, income and availability. Some people like to travel and don’t want to be tied down to a big home and all the maintenance and hassle, but others love a garden, do yard work and to putter with one project after another, not to mention entertaining friends. My wife and I moved to be closer to our grandchildren.
The key is to do what you can comfortably afford and enjoy life!
I love what you are doing, keep up the good work. And if you ever get to Rockwall, look me up.
Thank you Jerry!
Good stuff on the shower Cherie
Jane, you had a beautiful home. But I more than understand your moving on. I’m in my 60’s so I get that I’m on a different plane. I loved Lori’s reply too. Please be smart and don’t over-build. That makes no sense. But take the space and put in all those extras that Lori talked about. That’s the most important in having a home. not the square footage. I can’t wait to see the finished product. I’m guessing you already have it all planned out. Very best wishes to you.
My must haves include a proper office. Not just a converted bedroom. Also a covered patio and good Wi-fi so you can work outside when the weather is nice. Best of luck. I’m sure you will make it a home.
Thank you Kevin!
Jane when I read your story I kinda tear up but we all have bends in the road every now and then in life but we manage get back on track. because your the real jane..:)
You made me smile Michael, thank you.
Jane: You have such great taste and we know your new home will absolutely be beautiful! We all know it and look forward to the details. So many good ideas have already been expressed in the comments. Here is a resource that I love because it makes me think about the choices I make with my house, with my stuff, and with all of my surroundings. http://www.becomingminimalist.com To me, the resources on his blog and Facebook page are the best resources for anyone building a house because it is how you think when you design it and the choices you make when you go to fill it (with stuff). If you haven’t heard of Becoming Minimalist than I’m excited to be giving you something you don’t already know about. You have given us so many resources over the years that I’m happy if I am able to offer one to you. Best to you always!
Susan I’m really looking forward to it, and to sharing all this with you, thanks!
We moved from North Texas to Central Illinois in the Summer of 2010. My wife got a great career opportunity and we just went for it. Our stuff was in boxes and we were questioning our decision to move while watching the final episode of LOST. At one point the main character asked his dad if “they were leaving”. The response was awesome…”Not leaving, moving on”. That gave us tremendous peace. You don’t leave the memories and great times (which we had in that home and community) we moved on to new things. All the memories and life are still there. You are just moving on. Hope this helps.
Thank you Don, that’s so kind of you:)
Jane! We sold our home last year that my kids had grown up in…my boys are 24 and 21. It was really the only home they’d known for most of their lives (we lived there 15 years). I absolutely understand. It was hard on the boys even though they weren’t living there anymore. We are building our dream house. The big kitchen, big patio, luxurious master bath, media room…the rest didn’t really matter to me but we built nice size guest rooms so that the boys have their own space when they are there…Enjoy the new building process but it could be the most stressful thing I have ever done!! And BTW…I love your new blog!
Thanks Jan, for the ideas and for commenting, Jane
I commend you on change, it is a part of our life! If I could build my dream home, it would be much smaller. I would have a 2 bedroom, 2 bath with a front/back porch and a metal roof. I would love for it to be around 1800 sq ft. I think smaller is better myself. May God bless you and I have loved watching you since I was a little girl on channel 5 with Chip Moody and the others! I am so glad to still see your beautiful face on TV and on the web…..May God always bless you!!! 🙂 You have many fans here in Rockwall County!
Aww thanks Treska:)
We thought at 72 and empty nesters, we would be at the time in our lives that it as time to downsize. However, my 97 year old mother has come to stay with us. So we can offer her a bedroom and study and it’s perfect for her. Sometimes, I think it’s too big to take care of. Wealso just puchase my husbands historical family home in Cass County, so now I have two!!! Happy and thrilled to offer my mother a home with us.
Most important to me woul be a place to go where I can relax and enjoy the view at the end of the day. Best of luck to you.
Thank you Kathy:)
We have a big yard, Pool for kids, dog kennel, and a 3 bdrm house, formal dining area..Never again would I build or move into this “traditional” configuration..I would build a house with a large master bdrm suite, grand master bath and shower, his and hers closets..A large common room, with the TV and room for folks to gather and visit. nice size kitchen, large enough but not the grandeur seen in some showplaces. Bedroom for guests nice size, and bath for such.. Build house in configuration where bedrooms are on opposite ends of house. Large back covered patio area for outdoor pleasant weather and evening chillin..Gotta have lots of big shade trees, as a shaded house is so much cooler, and the yard will stay green even in our hot summer..House of 2000 sq ft is plenty if designed efficiently.. Lots of Crown and open space, bright colors and shazaam!! home sweet new home!
Sounds delightful Rod, thanks!
your home sounds like a home I once owned. Loved it. Found the floor plan one Christmas Eve. That home was sold, but the builder was building another one. I liked it better. I was on a cul de sac. And the front yard slopped down. Unusual in Houston. Great when we had a hurricane and the water came up to the curb side mail box – but not into the home. Split bedroom, one big living room with a fireplace. Built a covered deck across the back and put in a pool. Good times and great memories
Good morning, Jane. I remember either a magazine article or a video of you house. I mourn with you…it was a beautiful place. Now about where you might want to live. I hope that you will remain in Fort Worth. I grew up in the 76109 zip code. When I returned to Fort Worth after living in Florida for 30 years, 76109 was my destination. I urge you to give our neighborhoods here in southwest Fort Worth consideration.
Thanks so much Nancy. I intend to be in Ft. Worth 🙂
Congrats on the home sale. Good luck on the new one.
As for wants/needs. Think Big. Live Small. The day and age of overly large spaces is gone. Make it intimate. Make it an appropriate scale to the surrounding neighborhood, the lot, etc. Do not create what you see on HGTV. Yes, they have great shows, but create things that are for you, not for others. And the most important, get an architect.
Agree entirely. Like I said, you’ll hear lots more:)
Thank you Chris! You’ll be hearing all about it, lol
Well, after thirty-one years in a two-story in Bedford we made a move to the Atlanta area to be near one of our sons. It was a difficult move – for all sorts of reasons. However, we got rid of SO MUCH and kept only those things we dearly love (and needed). It’s SO liberating after years of acquisition. We now live in a cottage next to a mountain – with all we need in 1500 sq. ft. We love it and have never regretted the downsize – it was time. Good luck on your move!
Why, that sounds delightful Mary! Thanks:)
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Thanks so much, please tell me what you would like to see more of. Jane
House must haves….I must have a big garden bath tub to lounge in from a hard days work. For the weekends, I love to relax outside anda nice yard with plenty of flowers/plants along with a water feature to relax me is a must. However, the most important feature is a table to put my martini on 🙂 SuzieQ
Hahah thanks Kim
A friend of mine just bought a new home, and before foundation was poured she asked her close friends and family to write out some prayers and blessings that she could literally build her house upon. We each read them out loud to her at a party she had on the lot where she was building. It was a special night for her; and it was a unique way for those closest to her to come together and collectively support and bless her on her next chapter of life. She sealed them up in a metal folder and placed it where her fireplace would be built, then she poured the foundation. I think something like this would be great for anyone starting over in a new home. Blessings to you…the best is yet to come.
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OMG JANE ! Your house was beautiful. I would find it hard to leave that home also. Love that tile in your kitchen. We just recently down sized after our kids went off to college. 2700 sq ft is perfect for two. Plus we have 2 bedrooms and a bath on the other end of the house that has it’s on ac unit and it can be shut off by a door. Something to think about if your kids just come and visit you now. We also did a extra bedroom outside in a separate building for guest. We can sleep a lot but when no one is here it a the perfect size to keep up. Me moved from 3500 sq ft last year and I have not missed it at all. Good Luck to you!
P.S. I do miss seeing you on TV
Thank you Karla, I miss it but I think smaller will be better! Thank you for the nice comments:)
Wow. Wow. I had to go through the pictures three times to look at your amazing decor and it’s just so cozy but perfectly decorated too. I would love to see the collection of coffee table books that you have! Looks like quite the selection! And the kitchen, dining room, pool, etc. I just discovered your blog and I’m so happy to have found it! You have great taste 🙂
Thank you Blair, I have a couple of coffee table books! lol. I truly appreciate your comments. I really enjoy antiques and decor but I like everything to be comfortable, nothing you can’t put your feet up on! I enjoy your blog:)
It is very difficult to find a home under 2k square feet. I am returning to Fort Worth next year and the houses are huge! I cannot imagine having to take care of a big house in my “senior” years. All the smaller homes are “vintage” which is code for needs lots of expensive work done or total gutting and updating. I want a newer home, ready to live in 1500 square feet or less! Not having much luck looking on WilliamsTrew or Trulia. Any suggestions short of building a new home?
Thank you so much for the comment and welcome home to Ft. Worth! I wish I had better news but honestly there’s not a lot new and smaller out there. It seems like we went through a really big building phase! I’ll keep my eyes open.
A quiet reading room/library. Be able to close it off from the rest of the world. Room for lots of books.