How American Houses Work - Living in the USA
By: Márcio Lima •
When I was on a trip to the US, I was very curious about entering a typical American house, to see how these houses were inside and if they were the same as the ones we used to see on the movies. Now, I live in one and there are some differences regarding the residences in other countries.
The method of construction here is totally different. In 90% of the houses, only part of the basement (basement) is made of masonry (brick + cement), all the rest of the house structure is in built with wood and drywall. Even those huge mansions are built that way. Because of this, the construction of houses here is a very fast process. However, they may fly when a tornado comes.
As it was mentioned before, almost all houses have basements. But do not get that basement idea like a dark and damp place. The basements here are in another floor, in fact, they are under the first floor. The entire heater installation of the house and the laundry room are located downstairs. In some houses, the basement is not finished, that is, it is just a giant area with a laundry, a heater and lots of pipes, however there are houses where the basement was transformed into a game room, a TV room, and it can have bedrooms and a bathroom, in short, you can transform it in what the imagination and the bank account of the owner of the house allow.
As soon as you enter an American home, you will notice that it has a wardrobe right in the entrance. It is for hanging coats during the winter because it will be warm inside the house, so when you go out, you just get the jacket and vice versa. That way, there is not that pile of coats spread around the house.
At the entrance of the houses, there will also be a little corner to keep your shoes. That's right, almost nobody walks in shoes around the house, even visitors take off their shoes. Reasons: Most homes have carpets, so this habit will keep the carpet clean. Imagine you coming down the street in the winter with your feet full of snow and stepping on the carpet? Another reason is the hygiene and the cleaning of the house since taking off your shoes, you do not bring dirt from the street into your house. So, when you are invited to visit an American, do not worry if your shoe is beautiful or matches your outfit, but you must worry with your socks during the winter and if your feet are in order during the summer!
In the kitchen, it is very common to have a sink crusher in the drain. It's great! I throw away the leftovers, fruit peels and everything which is organic. Everything goes down the drain, so there is not that garbage in the kitchen and the amount of garbage decreases since, at least here where I live, the garbage collection service only passes once a week. It is also worth mentioning there is a selective collection of recyclable waste once a week.
The floors of the kitchens are usually made of wood or vinyl, so you cannot wash them. Even in the houses where the floor has ceramic on it, it is not possible to wash it because there is wood under the floor, so if you use water, it may infiltrate to the basement.
Most of the bathrooms here have a bathtub attached with a shower and you have to use those plastic curtains not to wash the entire bathroom while you take a shower. Some larger and newer houses have a shower stall in the bathroom separate from the tub in the master bedroom. And as to washing the bathrooms, Americans do not wash them completely. As there is no slab / concrete but wood under the floor of the toilets, if you throw water on the floor, it will probably start to drip downstairs, so here we use a vacuum cleaner and a damp cloth (I started vacuuming the bathroom after I moved here). There are no drains in the bathrooms.
Granite sinks in bathrooms and in kitchens is a luxury item, in most houses everything has wood with a "lacquered" finish.
My laundry room is tiny and is in the hallway to the garage. It only fits the washing machine and the dryer and it has a cabinet behind the door.
If you have a problem with lights to sleep, you will have to buy a good blackout curtain because the windows here have no shutters, only glass.
An actual wardrobe is also a rare thing here because in most rooms there are built-in wall wardrobes or closets.
Garages can be attached to the houses (there is a door in the garage that goes indoors) or in the backyard. In Michigan, for example, where it is very cold and snows in the winter, an attached garage makes life easier.
Here in the region where we live, there are basically 3 types of houses: The first type is that standard "American house" which is a larger house, isolated (not twinned) with a large yard where you can set up a playground, a pool, a trampoline, or whatever you want, because the yard is yours. The second type is detached or semi-detached houses, these can be 2-in-2 (with one of the sides non-semi-detached) or 3 in 3 (the middle one and twin on both sides), usually these houses belong to a condo or a townhome, but you have to pay a monthly condo fee. You can use the yard, but it belongs to the condo, which means that you cannot set up any playgrounds, trampolines or pools in your backyard. The third type are the apartments that usually have cheaper rental prices and the buildings usually have at most 3 to 4 floors.
American home, architecture, real estate, buy a house in the US, living in the US, house details