I am continually looking at homes with an eye to determine, what the elements are that make it feel appealing. And then, I try to imagine that element in another home, as a renovation. For example, I would almost guarantee that the rooms that attract you are light and bright. I have a client who added a window on a wall in the living room where there was not one before. This simple change not only brightened the wall, but created a new focal point, and turned a seldom visited room into the most-used room in the house.
Often the removal of one wall between rooms, or bringing the wall down to partial height will transform the way the house flows. And, of course, don’t underestimate the positioning of furniture in a room.
I have found a few sources useful to open your mind a give ideas. Two online sources that I love are HOUZZ.COM for ideas and articles about homes, and of course there is Pinterest.com. Also, you can easily search for homes similar to yours by searching by the type of home. As example, I live in a 1926 Spanish Bungalow. I have been able to find a number of sources for restoration and expansion that maintains the authenticity of my home.
And a great practical source for renovations, and theory for improving an existing home is just about any book written by Sarah Susanka of ‘The Not So Big’ series of books. Sarah’s concepts of creating a home for the way we live, and how to use the rooms in your home, is creative. I would strongly suggest becoming familiar with her theory as you house hunt.
Do remember that homes can change, but neighborhoods and communities? Not so much. Keep your eye on what is important to you, and ask yourself, can it be created if it doesn’t exist in a home now?