Home sweeter home: Seattleites share their home wish lists, from practical to dreamy

Seattleites spent so much time at home over the last year that many of us developed a perpetual internal tally of what we wish we could change about the places we call home. 

More space. More privacy. Less carpet. Fewer spiders!

All I ever wanted was a hot tub for my aching joints. I finally got an affordable inflatable one with my stimulus check. Then the heat wave hit, and I sought refuge at a friend’s house with air conditioning and an above-ground pool. So now, of course, I’m pining for those things. 

We asked locals in the greater Seattle area about their own wish lists: What do they want more of at home? (Air conditioning, more outdoor space and sidewalks came up a lot.) What do they want less of? (Rabbits, weird floor plans and expenses topped the list.) 

Answers ranged from pragmatic to philosophical. Sometimes all we need to be happy at home is a few more outlets. Sometimes, it’s a larger longing for enough homes for everyone, regardless of what’s in them. These home wish lists may spark your own ideas for practical improvements, as well as validate shared frustrations or even inspire a few big dreams. (Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.)

After this hot summer, lots of locals are craving air conditioning. (Getty Images)

More and less

Some folks were very concise and got right to the point:

“More AC! Less mortgage payment.” — Lauren Porter, Renton 

“More of: repairs. Less of: property taxes.” — Cindy Riskin, Pinehurst

“Quiet.” — Lana Baroudi, North Ravenna/Roosevelt

Gimme some space

Many locals long for more room:

“I swear, I wish I had three more inches in the bathroom I share with my husband. As it stands, there is only space for one towel rack. The other towel has to hang over the top of the shower glass.” — Alle C. Hall, Capitol Hill

“Third garage/wider garage spaces. My ‘two-car’ doesn’t have enough space for both doors to open when both cars are in it.” — Darren Cheung, Renton

“Bigger bedrooms, bigger kitchen. It’s just strange that a four-bedroom house and a one-bedroom apartment would have similarly sized kitchens.” — Oksana Soleil, Lakeridge

After this hot summer, locals are craving more outdoor space. (Getty Images)

“A yard! We have a tiny little yard that’s cute to look at, but you can’t actually use it for anything.” — Shandon Armstrong, Admiral

“Our biggest complaint about our home is that we only have one bathroom. Having a second would be great!” — Christina Tin, Fauntleroy/Westwood Village

“More shelves. Bathroom shelves near the sink would be nice for the products I use most regularly. We have one of those racks already, but it’s full.” — Danielle Hayden, Bothell

“A separate room for my two cats and all of their stuff … especially their cat box. Also, a catio so my cats can have some safe outside time.” — Shirlee Russo, Lake City/Olympic Hills

All I really want

Sometimes it’s the little things:

“A built-in dishwasher!” — Alyssa Long, Othello

“Man, I really miss having a walk-in pantry!” — Lindsay Yost, Alki

Dying for remote-controlled blinds on a few windows. I have some that need to be opened daily for the plants’ sake, but they are hard to get to. I climb over furniture twice daily!” — Doh Driver, Northeast Seattle 

“Electrical outlets! I just never have enough or in the correct places. We have so many extension cords.” — Rachael Rose, Lake City

“Tankless water heater!” — Katharine Huey, Lake City

“More natural light and windows!” — Lori McEwen, Admiral 

“I live in an apartment and the only thing I am lacking is a garage. (I don’t even have assigned or covered parking.)” — Lyn Salazar, Bellingham

“Built-in bookcases and storage cabinets. I have three kids and their books and toys are everywhere all the time. I’d also love a mixer lift cabinet for my KitchenAid.” — Susannah Bradley, Ballard

“Central air, gas fireplace inserts and a more open kitchen.” — Freedom Johnson, Renton

More sidewalks were on many wish lists. Here, Garry and Joyce Lingerfelt walk in Shoreline in 2020. (Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)

The big picture

Some dream big:

“More storage space and room for a baby-grand piano.” — Steven Eric Scribner, Lynnwood 

“Homes for all my homeless neighbors! And a roof deck.” — Amy Horn, Georgetown

“I’d like to see less discrimination of our unhoused neighbors and more inclusion.” — Rachael Rose, Lake City

“Wish we had sidewalks, proper drainage around the house so the basement wouldn’t leak, an updated kitchen, central air, and a MIL space so my parents could move here.” — Becky Beard, Maple Leaf

“More yard space, and more sun in my yard. Since we’re on an average city lot and the neighboring houses are close, we only have a small patch in the middle of the backyard that gets (barely) enough sun for tomatoes. If I was really dreaming, I’d love to have enough space for fruit trees, and room to throw a ball for my dog.” — Christy Avery, Greenwood

“More: Walkable to grocery and other shops/cafes/restaurants, closets, green space/yard, air conditioning. Less: rabbits, huge multi-million-dollar monster houses that tower over early-1900s bungalows.” — Hannah Scott, Hawthorn Hills/Bryant

“Something that money can’t buy — a sense of community. Just wish that there wasn’t such a strict HOA/‘me mentality.’ … I’m currently working on community events so people can connect a face to a house, and maybe even bridge that zero lot line so more people are willing to knock on a neighbor’s door to say hello or ask for help one day.” — Amy Vu, Everett

“More sidewalks/drainage, fewer walls, more kitchen cabinets, less carpet, and all the things my kids break would be fixed.” — Amanda Leonard, Puget Ridge

By design

Design and layout are common pain points:

“A sensible floor plan! Like, a kitchen and bathroom that are not also passages to other rooms. Fewer bottlenecks.” — Karen Eisenbrey, Maple Leaf

“A new kitchen! Mine is from the ’90s, complete with the ‘French country farmhouse’ wallpaper, a huge gold sponge-painted wall and old, old appliances. And I cook and entertain a lot! That’s just the beginning.” — Lani Pitofsky, North Delridge

“I wish we had a proper laundry room instead of a stacking unit in a closet. And I wish we had fewer stairs — next time we purchase we will go from a three-level townhome to a single-level for retirement!” — Kim Jones, High Point

“Less weirdly placed/shaped windows or nooks/niches. Less designing houses that expect you to put the TV over the fireplace (cricked neck, anyone?). Less carpet flooring to carve out a living space when we can do that ourselves with a rug. I could go on forever with the issues I encounter in my clients’ 1980s and newer houses!” — Rebecca Dill Rowland, Northeast Seattle

“Character. Most other things can be added or fixed, but it’s difficult to add charm and originality into a new build.” — Lindzee McCain, Bothell

Rain barrels, along with rain gardens and watering systems, topped several Seattleites’ wish lists. (Getty Images)

Eco additions

Environmental concerns influenced local wish lists:

“Rain gardens. Gray water system. More trees. Less noise pollution and litter.” — Alicia Keefe, Olympic Hills

“Solar panels.” — Robert Reeder, Alki

“I would really love a few skylights. Especially when the days are short, and the visible daylight passes so quickly through the windows. If I could have some overhead natural light, it would help illuminate things, as well as save on electricity costs.” — Caroline Zelonka, Judkins Park

“Sustainable AC solution — does it exist? I want AC with rising heat and smoke but am holding off because of environmental impact.” — Wendie Hipolito, Cedar Park

“Gray water watering systems for lawn and garden. New construction that incorporates its design with the natural environment (e.g., around mature trees, southern exposure and views). Natural materials. Ceiling fans. Cross ventilation in small spaces. Less stock aesthetics: less black, gray and white palettes, less black metal, less angular and industrial lighting. Ventilation in garages. Basements and attics and hall closets, laundry chutes — things our middle-class grandparents had. Sleeping porches. Balconies and courtyards in apartments. More pea patches, sidewalks, open libraries. More housing.” — Sasheem Silkiss-Hero, Maple Leaf 

Several Seattleites wished for fewer rabbits in their yards. (Getty Images)

Seattle-specific issues

Common frustrations surfaced among local residents:

“Honest to gosh, I wish this city made building easier. Both new houses and onto existing houses. It was such a headache getting approvals, I decided not to do an addition to my shed.” — Ian Martinez, Columbia City

“If the rabbits could stay away that’d be swell. I’d love a proper irrigation system outside, instead of constantly hauling the hose around. Oh, and sidewalks! We are actually on a street the city has identified as needing a sidewalk. But on that same webpage they say they only actually add a few blocks of sidewalk per year, so it might be decades until we actually get some.” — Amanda Faig, Matthews Beach

“A garage! We just recently purchased our first home. At the start of our search, ‘no garage’ was a deal breaker. We quickly realized that for our price range, a garage was pretty unattainable. We were just lucky to afford somewhere with designated parking.” — Lauren Wheir Slater, White Center

“A helicopter and helipad for living in West Seattle.” — Audrey Chestnutt, Alki

West Seattleite Erik Bell is loving the outdoor hot water spigot he recently had installed. (Courtesy of Erik Bell)

Some successes

Local solutions offer home improvement inspiration:

“I recently built a home and the number one favorite area in my home is the mudroom! Everyone should have one. Especially in our wet climate, it’s a great place to take off jackets and hang up wet gear and shoes. My kids and dogs each have their own hooks, and I have storage for things like beach towels, bags, first-aid supplies, dog food and dog supplies.” — Holli Dunn, Sammamish

“I had my brother install an outdoor hot water spigot along with the cold, and it comes in very handy for fall and winter cleanup, filling kid pools in the summer. Not that we have a huge freezing problem here, but these are also nice in that the valve shuts the water off inside the wall, so you don’t have to worry about them freezing/bursting in the winter.” — Erik Bell, Admiral