Privilege Blog

Daydreaming Spaces

I used to daydream about ballgowns. My house was just a place to live. But these days I find myself more often imagining spaces – albeit probably as fantastical as silver lace and parures.

For now, Significant Husband and I retain both our places, one in San Francisco, one down on the Peninsula. I confess, I don’t think I’m a forever suburbs person. Doesn’t a little place in the city, with a view, and maybe a deck, the streets outside for walking and seeing people, sound kind of perfect?

But then, in the deluxe version of the dream, wouldn’t it be also wonderful to have land in the country, with a view, and light, oh wait, and fields and streams and of course a swimming pool? Assuming that family members all built teeny houses and  drifted in and out of each other’s living rooms and porches and kitchens, looking for vinegar? Why vinegar comes to mind I do not know. Dreams are like that. Or maybe just one big kitchen that we all used? I see stone counters, olive oil, baking bread, lettuces from the garden with roots still covered in dirt. Cheese. Wine.

Were money no object, I’d start here, in Sonoma.


But a slightly more reasonable option, by California standards at least, would be acreage further inland. That’s a river in the distance.


We’d live in houses like these.



Imagine a big central space, with outdoor patio, a grill, and a pool. Littler houses, pods almost, surrounding. And the infinite California sky. The smell of a warm hillside covered in grass burned dry. More complicated than ballgowns, but far easier to share. I also keep imagining a multi-colored row of Crocs by the back door. A telling detail, is it not?


Sonoma house on California Moves
Land in Smartsville, California on Zillow
Modular house by Blu Homes

27 Responses

  1. Lisa, I LOVED your Mother’s Day post. Hop Hop, Clap Clap. I am the same. And, this vision of your’s today is wondrous. I am usually the dreamer, and am so happy to welcome you into our circle. :)’s

  2. Wonderful dreams! Of spaces and nesting. Your dream spaces sound so happy!

    It is funny you posted these today, just when I am missing my modern house that opened up on decks and a pool, the same house that was on a hill with views of a river. Would I go back? No. When I left it was time to leave. But your dreams and your words remind me that once it was a happy place, filled with joy and love and laughter. And yes, we had crocs lined up by the door to the deck, and piles of multi-colored towels.

    Happy dreaming!

  3. We live a much more modest version of this dream, with a small apartment in the city and our West Coast cottage-y house on the beach of a small island. Taking the ferry back from the mainland, where all our kids and grandkids now live, I wondered when we’ll be ready to move there full-time so I didn’t have to parse out the visits. To do that we’ll eventually have to give up this place so that we can get a bigger, more comfortable city home.
    And I guess I’m not quite ready to give up this dream I do live occasionally — when everyone’s here, the little girls sleeping with their parents in the teensy guest cottage, a spill of shoes at the back door. . . .
    We move between dreams, don’t we? If we’re lucky, the moments we realize them are sometimes conscious ones . . .

  4. I vote an enthusiastic YES for a place in the city with a deck and maybe a view.

    I always dream about spaces too. When I have difficulty drifting off to sleep, I design houses in my mind.

  5. Both city living and some form of communal living have always appealed to me, and even more so now as I look forward to the next few decades of life. Yes, a shared kitchen, many cooks, an outdoor fireplace where we gather at night, wrapped in blankets, finishing off the bottle of wine. Yes.

  6. Those Blu houses are amazing, aren’t they? I thinking maybe Ashland when we retire. My husband needs some space and quiet, and I need a spot of culture now and then. It seems a potential compromise (and it’s not as expensive as Sonoma).

  7. After having two homes, albeit on different coasts, for about 10 years, I have no dream now of owning a “vacation” home. But maybe living in a low maintenance condo in the city and having a vacation home close by would be a far different experience?

  8. I’ve always dreamed about houses. I could draw a detailed map of my dream home with furniture and colours and all. It’s a tower (symbolic, I know). Set in gardens with land for horses and a heated swimming pool. I have servants, obviously!

    As for living with your family – my mum had a similar dream and it gave me the hebbie-geebies! I loved her to bits and saw her often, but actually living on the same property would be too much!

    1. @Eleanorjane, I should have been clearer! The communal discussions to date have been with my brother:) There are four of us siblings. But first indication from my children is that they’d love to visit:).

  9. The family compound has held appeal ever since I tried to envision a vast dacha in a Russian novel where guests disappeared into their own wings during the day and then reappeared at night to amuse each other with their day’s adventures. But much as other readers have mentioned, this might be the older generation’s fantasy, not the younger who are busy colonizing elsewhere. Still, the row of Crocs would be nice.

  10. My family has had a rustic “compound” of about 20 houses/cottages on the Chesapeake Bay for nearly 70 years. The rural land is beautiful and environmental regs make the property impossible to develop in a meaningful way. The great news about that is that the property has remained in the extended family and has enabled 3 generations of cousins to grow close. We “young ones” now do the cooking and serving for the 80+years contingent who once served us. Over 100 gather during major holidays, from all parts of the country, sharing the same memories of Tom Sawyer childhoods in a place that hasn’t much changed since the ’50’s. What a tremendous gift my Aunt Alice gave to us.

  11. Perhaps you will remember, a short while back, maintaining that Sturdy Gals don’t dream? I was certain that the “gal” who wore that wedding dress DID :) Again, how can we not?

  12. We live in the east bay — just over the bridge surrounded by oak trees which is great for kids…

    My aunt and uncle always lived in SF, in the “theater district” which is actually a nicer name for kind of near the tenderloin — but they also had a really cool, funky place in Inverness. Best of both worlds they thought!

  13. That is a lovely dream. I have a similar one that takes place in the Virginia countryside in more traditional architecture. My city days are spent in pre-war flat near the National Cathedral. I, too, have thought these dreams through and I am glad that someone else does too.

  14. So love the communal kitchen thinking. That would be my dream — although not sure who would inhabit all the pods. No kids, nieces & nephews that I have always thought of as mine…so, maybe grandkids who are now grown? Anyhow, it’s such a nice thought. I also just read your wonderful hop, hop, clap, clap post. You are a very fortunate mom to be surrounded by all that love. Thanks for sharing…again!

  15. I love the idea of indoor outdoor living…mid century moderne does it so well.
    While I love the idea of a new home I cannot imagine packing up….maybe selling most everything with the house is the way to go….
    I met with a blogger today for tea and she has her house on the market….we talked a lot about her new dream home.
    My dreams seem to be about golden retriever puppies these days!

  16. One of Husband’s cousins has a place in New England with a big house and little houses. It’s on a septic system so none of the little houses, which are terribly cute, have baths, which would make them bedrooms and subject to more septic requirements. It’s fine in the summer.

  17. “I see stone counters, olive oil, baking bread, lettuces from the garden with roots still covered in dirt.”

    Oh, so do I.

    But mine are teens and they see chains and rules and linen baskets and bedtimes.

    Perhaps they will see the dirty lettuces when they have gone and the film of nostalgia has begun to grow pinkly across their eyeballs.

  18. I love the concept of outdoor living, and my big purchase this year is an outdoor pizza oven. Compounds; not so much. There is always someone complaining ( or shirking) about the maintenance bills.

  19. We lived in a little house in a compound of other little houses in the summer. Not family, but felt like it. It was wonderous….

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