In the whole thirty-some years of my existence, I've lived in four houses, two apartments, and one dormitory. My dream house is a patchwork quilt of those things I've liked (or wanted to change) about those places I've lived, plus things I've seen in magazines or on TV shows, etc.
The house I grew up in was a tiny two-level home with a dark, semi-unfinished basement. There's really not a whole lot I loved so much about that house that I want to duplicate. The first house Brent and I bought in Minnesota was a split-level. That house instilled in me a love for natural light, so my dream house was have plenty of that! Also, that split-level had vaulted ceilings, which I didn't appreciate until I no longer had them.
Our second house purchase was a two-story (three, by the time you count the finished basement). The best room was the master bedroom, complete with a spacious full bath and huge walk-in closet. On the other hand, that house was too spread out...I hated hauling my heavy Kirby vacuum up and down two flights of stairs. That house was also a lot less open, which was a problem with three small children who ran around at various speeds and ferocities. I determined that our next house purchase would need to be more open, so that I could easily keep track of the little people.
Which brings me to the house we currently live in. It's a ranch style, which I do like. However, the kitchen, dining area, and living room are all in one, long room, and I don't care for it much now (although it was great when our kids were younger). Also, the natural light is on the scant side, and I miss that.
For the next house we buy, there's only two things I can think of that are non-negotiable:
Lots of natural light and a huge, roomy kitchen with lots of counterspace. Natch.