My childhood home

My childhood home, by Levitt & Sons

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.

Levitt & Sons Rancher, Bowie, Maryland

*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?

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14 thoughts on “My childhood home

  1. Really interesting! I find it amazing how much more space we now claim to require, compared to those older houses. It’s a never ending cycle of acquisition, and I wonder where it will all end.
    Karen

    • To me, it’s silly, all the unused rooms in many houses today, including my own. I have one too many living/family rooms, and my house is not large by today’s standards.

  2. When I was a kid I never understood the “formal” living room. The room people never went in. We didn’t have a house like that, but my Grandmother and some other relatives did. I think people stay inside more than they did decades ago. I think that is why the houses are so big and the yards are so small.

  3. How fun that you still have the houseplans and blueprints. And it is surprising how much less space we had in our homes as kids – walk in closets? What is that? Who in the world had that many clothes to begin with? I miss front porches and kids riding up and down the street on bikes, doing gymnastics in the front yard and playing in water running down the gutters.

  4. I had the original plans for the home we live in now and somehow they’ve disappeared…
    We moved frequently when I was growing up, so my memories of home are of the house my grandparents built. When I need to find a calm and happy place in my mind, that’s where I go.

  5. Oh how I love the house plans, the $15,990 price, and the Levitt sight reminded me instantly of It’s A Wonderful Life! My childhood house was a small kind of modern styled 3 bedroom, 1 bath, house where the ceilings in the kitchen and living room were high with a divided wall separating them that was almost, not really, to the ceiling…Mom and Dad put pretty tall glass containers filled with colored water on top of the divided wall. And, l have a ton of memories there, but like others are commenting…today, the house and yard look sooo small, yet my memories are the same size.

  6. Pingback: One man’s treasure, trashed. | A Faded Ginger

  7. For many years I visited my childhood home and neighborhood and never noticed any changes like the Alice in Wonderland that most people describe as going from very big to very small until I went home after having become a mother. Suddenly crossing the street felt like it only took two steps. I had to leave home at 13 and I didn’t get the chance to go back until I was 18 and even then everything still looked and felt normal size. I went back at 24 and with my baby and everything shrunk. I crossed the street four times in order to take it in. My childhood home felt the same way but right now after living in a Manhattan apartment almost any house I visit seems like a mansion to me. I’d love to find a place where I could recreate the floor plan to my childhood home. I will always carry the nostalgia of setting up my kids rooms like my grandma had set up mine but they are now 17(G) & 12(B).

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