This was the home of my childhood.* Stereotypical of mid century suburbia, it was built by Levitt & Sons, in a planned community with matching street names, walking distance schools, and children everywhere.
At about 1500 square feet, it never felt small to us kids, and we certainly knew bigger families than ours living in the same house.
My sister and I shared the room in the front right corner. In my memory, it was big. Our matching twin canopy beds and dressers left plenty of floor space for laying out Barbie homes and villages. Carefully building a house for each Barbie and her family was a day long process for my sister and me, and, once built, we’d leave them up for days on end.
Years later, my husband and I looked at homes in the Levitt community. Like a nostalgic character in a movie, I was surprised at how small the houses were compared to my memories. More than that, though, I was struck by how practical these houses were.
There was less redundancy in these homes, no matching living and family rooms. The family room labeled above was where everyone placed their kitchen table and chairs. We only used our dining room for holidays and company, but I knew larger families who used theirs regularly.
Not a fan of the McMansions which dominate the housing landscape today, this appeals to me, but I know the original homeowners did not all feel that way.
Many people converted those garages to living space. Others, like my parents, built an addition off the kitchen. Nobody really wanted their children’s toys strewn about the living room, so these rooms were called playrooms or rec rooms.
They quickly became family rooms, leaving the living room as a show room, and children were still not allowed to leave toys laying about.
When I was eleven, my parents moved to a larger home, a newly constructed traditional colonial style which better suited my mother’s tastes, and, foremost in my mind, allowed my sister and I to have our own bedrooms.
My mom still lives in that house, or, rather, she lives in three of its rooms. I wish she lived in this more manageable one, but she likes having the extra space when her children and grandchildren come to visit.
*The closet configuration in our house was slightly different than in this rendering. The laundry room was only accessible through the garage, and there was no side door in the garage. The living room had a fireplace between the two windows, but there was no door or window in the dining room. Other than those small differences, the floor plan is accurate. Our house was not brick like the one in the advertisement; brick cost extra.
What was your childhood home like?