Saturday, May 15, 2010

House of Dreams

Ever plan or design your dream house?

Maybe you have and maybe you’ve been fortunate enough to have built it.

For me, I'm still dreaming and my dream home changes depending on my mood. If I won the lottery and could build my dream house, I’d probably drive the contractor crazy changing things. However, there are some things that stay constant.

First, I’d finally have a library. A place to showcase all my books instead of packing them in boxes. The elements of the room change some, but I want a bay window with a window seat, a fireplace, a big comfortable chair, and lots and lots of shelves.

Second is the kitchen. It changes from modern to rustic to Southwestern to….you get the picture. I would have lots of cabinets, windows for growing herbs, and lots of counter space. I don’t always get along with technology, but I love kitchen gadgets. The kitchen would be warm and inviting - the main place family and friends gathers.

Third would be the master bathroom. There would be lots of cabinet space, a large vanity, and a large shower. What changes is the bathtub. It goes from a sunken tub to a claw foot tub to a large standard tub and back again.

The remainder of the rooms in the house would all fall in place.

Descriptions of homes are included in many stories. Sometimes the home or rooms of the house are a major part of the story. Other times they are minor but are mentioned to give background and more information about the character.

As a reader I like to find out more about the homes of the characters as long as it doesn’t go into too much extreme detail. I don’t have to know what type of crown molding is around the door unless a piece of that wood is going to wind up in the skull of a victim or it's a element of the character's story. But reading how the protagonist's kitchen looks can sometimes give you a glimpse of their personality.

Do you include descriptions of your characters’ homes or certain rooms in your stories? Do these descriptions include bits of your dream home or do your characters determine how their homes will look?

Woohoo, more giveaway winners to announce. I'm running late selecting the two winners of Meredith Duran’s WICKED BECOMES YOU. Using congratulations goes to Venus D. of Hawaii and Marg (please send me an e-mail with your name and address). Thanks to everyone who commented on Meredith’s post.

Tomorrow is Sunday Salon and I hope to share a review of a new cozy murder mystery with you. Have a wonderful Saturday and enjoy some time for yourself.


  1. I believe your new home would be as inviting as your blog.

    I don't think I go into too much detail on desciption in my stories. I would rather show not tell.

    Congrats to the winners!!

    Have a great Weekend.

  2. The coolest master bedroom I ever saw was on HGTV a few years ago. A couple had turned their master suite into a self-contained studio/retreat.

    Their walk-in closet was enormous and had the washer/dryer right well as an ironing station. They had a mini fridge camouflaged into some built-in cabinets so they could literally hide out in their bedroom for days.

    I would sooo build that if I could. The library too. Floor to ceiling books, and a couple comfy chairs to snuggle up in...

  3. The houses in my novels all seem to have a lot of books and bookcases in them. :)

    I like your dream house...

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  4. Teresa, thank you for your kind words. Showing is a good way to go. Hope you have a lovely weekend.

    MissV, now that master bedroom sounds intriguing. I love the floor to ceiling book shelves.

    Elizabeth, I enjoy books where the characters enjoy books (if that makes sense). :) Learning what the characters like to read gives a little more depth to them from a readers viewpoint. Gives you something to relate to.

  5. In my current fiction ms, I do occasionally talk about rooms or the house, but only when it contributes something, even a certain essence, to the story. And I also enjoy reading house and room descriptions in books, they sometimes give another layer to the story.

  6. Happy Saturday! I love the thought of a house with a library. And big cozy chairs, and a fireplace... French double doors to open in the summer. Sigh.

  7. I like snippets of description that allow me to fill in the rest for myself. I think that's how my ms works. I don't usually add a lot of description to my own work.

  8. Mason - Your dream house sounds terrific! I think we all like to imagine what our homes would look like if we could do whatever we wanted with them.

    Interesting question about characters' homes. I do include some description of where my characters live. I think that's important in helping the reader get situated. But too much description can get tiresome, so I try to keep it under control ; ).

  9. Joanne, I agree sometimes the house has a lot to do with a story. It gives a little more personality to the character.

    Talli, I hadn't thought about French double doors in the library. Now I have another new design to think about. :) Have a great Saturday.

    Jemi, snippets are good. They do allow the reader to draw their own conclusion about the house.

    Margot, the description of a character's home (or even a room) does help if they spend a good deal of time there. An example would be a character that likes to bake, I'd want to know about her kitchen.

  10. I had a fantasy house all designed which is so far out there in regard: It was built on the side of a cliff on a mountain in Colorado, around the backside, so that I had a view of the mountains, but on the other side is a well-maintained road for easy access and travel. Of course, I have no idea if such a place exists.

    I have lots of books, but they would be distributed throughtout the house--though I might have a library or reading room. But the art books would be in the studio, which would have a reading area and the poetry and writing books in or near the study where my computer would be, which of course would have a view of the mountains.

    And I could go on and on!

    I'm sorry I am so far behind! :-(

    I would explain, but these things usually bore other people--medical issues and house issues and out of town company etc.

  11. My guy built our dream home five years ago. I love it to bits. We're still tinkering but it is pretty much the way we designed it. It is all open downstairs and upstairs instead of an ensuite which I don't quite get - we put in two bathrooms - one with shower, toilet and sink and one with clawfoot and sink - no toilet! I call that my OTHER office. I like to know where I am in a story - what the house looks like so in my writing I do describe interiors but I try to do it so I'm not telling but showing - they get revealed by the action. My protagonist in my mysteries - a female RCMP detective - is nuts about decorating so she thinks about what she sees when she interviews suspects etc. fun.

  12. I like your dream house, Mason. My dream house simply has SPACE in it and closet space! Living in NYC, space is always a luxury.

    Each of my two mystery series requires a very different abode for its main character. Clare, in my Coffeehouse Mysteries, lives in a landmark West Village duplex, above the coffeehouse that she manages. Penelope, in my Haunted Bookstore mysteries, co-owns a bookstore in Rhode Island and lives in a much less ostentatious home.

    For me, where my character lives is an important part of who she is. I also think a home can be used as a counterpoint to a character. In my last Haunted Bookshop Mystery - The Ghost and the Haunted Mansion, obnoxious mailman Seymour inherits an elegant Victorian that plays against his less-than elegant personality. :-)

    ~ Cleo

  13. I don't really describe much in my books. It's on of my weak points but I think he scene can make a chapter threatening or not or homey or not. I think your dream home sounds grand.


  14. I went to a writing workshop presented by mystery writer Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli. She lives in the middle of the words and has a separate writing workshop where she pens her books. It sounded like a wonderful way to live. Even the pesky resident bear sounded endearing!

  15. Mary, sounds like your house design is grand too. I like the view of the mountian.

    Jan, it's good to know that a dream house can become a reality house. Your protagonist sounds quite interesting and I love that she's into decorating.

    Cleo, I wish there was a coffeehouse nearby that was like Clare's. I love the description of it. If there was one I'd probably live there. :) The elegant Victorian in The Ghost and the Haunted Mansion sound intriguing. With stories like that, the homes have to be described.

    Clarissa, thanks. For me, describing a house for a scene would be so difficult.

    Janel, a pesky bear could make for some interesting storylines. :)

  16. A nice kitchen and library would be my favorite two rooms to design.

  17. I hope you get your dream house someday! We move around so much, I don't think I ever will.

  18. Esme, those are definitely my favorite two rooms too.

    Bermudaonion, unless I win the lottery I don't see getting that dream house either.

  19. I second the library -- that would be wonderful. After I got that, I'd immediately turn my attention to a screened in porch surrounded by a bunch of raised garden beds for veggies and strawberries and lots of flowers.

  20. As a reader, I am drawn to descriptions of interiors - whether in novels or biographies. I enjoy magazines that show artists' studios.
    I could get lost in descriptions of libraries myself. The "big comfortable chair" would have to be a wing-back and preferably soft and scuffed-up leather....

  21. The houses in my novels all seem to have a lot of books and bookcases in them. :)
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I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.