Romancing the Home: Love is in the Air

When searching for a home, it is easy to "fall in love" with a property. Before you put in that offer though, ask yourself can you BE in love in the house? How a home stacks up in the realm of romance might take top tier in some people's list of priorities, but even if it doesn't, issues like privacy, noise, temperature and certain amenities can definitely break up your love affair with a property.

Loving a home and being in love in a home can go together. Look at properties that are well designed and maintained, easy to live in, and that are in areas that foster a sense of sanctuary, enabling people to be at their best. Homeowners that are seeking to amp up the warm feelings of love in their environment can find ways to evaluate homes with their own "way of life" in mind.

Much of the romance of a home is in the ability to control the environment to fit and to create a mood. Some elements are malleable and can be enhanced with modifications of paint and furniture, additional lighting, and personal items. By spending a few dollars, you can add things that are missing or replace items that are broken, dated, or poorly conceived. However, other issues are more challenging and potentially cost prohibitive to correct: the size of rooms, older wiring systems that cannot support a modern load, too few bathrooms or placement of the home on the property.

When assessing a property, here are some features to consider:

Privacy - How much privacy do you require from intruders, viewers, even other occupants of your home? How does the "lay of the land" or other buildings affect the privacy of your property? Having an audience or being the main attraction can take the romance right out of the air. In addition to the view you see or provide, think about noise. Are you constantly listening to your neighbors' conversations? Will they be hearing yours? Do children or frequent guests to your home affect the romantic atmosphere? Separation of spaces might be a useful filter in the evaluation of a home. And what about bathing, dressing? Ensure that everyone's sense of privacy can be achieved.

View - Does it inspire, envelop, overlook, or make you a subject? Privacy issues aside, consider the views from different vantage points. What you see can enhance or detract from a romantic atmosphere, so pay attention to views room-to-room and in transitions around the home.

Amenities - Are there features of a home, or luxuries that might be incorporated in a home that aid your romantic sensibilities? Many people like hot tubs, luxury bathrooms, large bedrooms, saunas or the benefits of well stocked wine cellars. If the home is lacking, can you add it? If the amenities are there, are they making up for something lacking? Consider rating and ranking amenities that are present and that could be added later. If there is a perfect place for the most idealistic of dreams, this could be a selling feature of the home - but the item might not be there, yet.

Lighting, both natural and augmented, should provide what you want where you want it. Do you like a dark bedroom in the morning, or would the sunrise be a welcome view? How is the house oriented and how will the changing light affect different rooms? Are light fixtures adequate and up-to-date? Are lights able to be dimmed, allowing control over mood? Is there a fireplace for light and warmth, or a great place for a fire-pit outside?

Ventilation/Heating and Cooling -Temperate breezes through open windows can be quite enjoyable in the right environment. However, kitchen smells and other lingering odors can be a detractor and stifle any sense of ambience. Being able to control airflow and in turn to control temperature and olfactory stimulus can be a key factor in many climates, from hot to cold. Face it: there's nothing enticing about the smell of stale air, being too hot or too cold.

Sound - Some sounds add to a feeling of tension or discontent. Systems that produce noise like heating or cooling systems, dishwashers, ventilation fans, even refrigerators can be noisy when running. Consider a trial run to understand the noise load if you are sensitive to such things. Outdoor noise may be out of a homeowner's control, but some newer homes have made advances to keep unwanted noise out. The addition of built-in speakers and audio systems enables additional control over the environment. Creating sanctuaries that attract song birds or water features that mask the sounds of traffic are also creative ways to add romance to the home.

So in this Valentine's season, ponder the romance of a home, the romance that happens in the home and the ability to make a home romantic.