Monday, September 19, 2011

Small Beginnings

Tonight I was thinking about small homes, and remembered something I haven't thought about in eons, the first tiny home I ever loved.

When I was growing up my family lived in the country. Our nearest village had a tiny, and expensive, grocery store, a gas station or two, my school, a bank, a rollerscating rink and not a whole lot else.

I don't remember how old I was when I first saw it, but it was on one our frequent trips to town.
There, nestled on a heavily wooded lot, located to the left of the main house was a perfect miniature replica. It wasn't tiny either, if memory serves, it was larger than a child's playhouse; larger even than the tiny 100-200 square foot homes that have become so popular today.

I can't tell you how many hours I spent dreaming (and probably jabbering) about living in that little house. It would be perfect. I could park it in the lawn right in front of my parent's home. I'd be able to decorate it any way I wanted, and since it would be mine all mine, there would be no one to yell at me for watching too much TV or not cleaning my room.

Alas my parents were not millionaires, so I never got my tiny dream home dream...until now. Perhaps my love of small started way back then?

Do you remember when you first became smitten with small?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Recognizing Enough

When I bought my little 742 square foot house I considered it a starter home. Since it was the height of the housing bubble (not that I realized it at the time), and I refused to leave my current neighborhood, I knew I was going to have to buy small. My little 1940s ranch is definitely small, the living area has a kitchen, living room, one tiny, tiny bathroom and two bedrooms. Yes, you read that right, there's no dining room and no coveted half-bath.

my teeny, tiny bathroom

There are some bonuses though. Half of the basement is finished, thanks to the boyfriend's drywall and ceiling installation skills. There's also a walk-up attic, so storage is not an issue. My mortgage payment is the same price as my former rent on a (cheap) townhouse.

There are some definite drawbacks as well. There's only room for a maximum of three people at the kitchen table, and that's pushing it. There's room for an office or a guest room, but not both. There are two closets on the main floor, and both of them combined are not able to accommodate an average American-size wardrobe. And did I mention I'd kill for an extra half-bath?

I always planned on upsizing to one of the numerous cute cape cods in my hood. Something that has a dining room, an extra bathroom, a third bedroom, and a large upstairs master. But those bigger houses have a huge drawback: more bucks for the mortgage and utilities, more time spent cleaning, more house to maintain etc.

After a few years of slowly culling some of the extra stuff from our lives, I came to what was first a surprising conclusion. My starter home has more than enough space for two adults and three cats to live in comfortably. Even more surprising, the boyfriend agreed with me.

Realizing this is enough, did require letting go of some previous notions, including:
  • I don't need an office; I end up sitting on the couch to use my laptop anyway.

  • I'm not the dinner-party-hosting type, and I rarely used a dining room when I had it anyway.

  • While having an extra bathroom would be devine, we're surviving quite fine without it.

  • Once I got rid of all the extra stuff cluttering my house, and the extra clothes cluttering the closet, the rooms didn't feel so tiny anymore.

I wouldn't want a smaller home either. While I find tiny homes charming, I don't think they'd be comfortable for me in my present lifestyle. Somehow I managed to pick just enough space on my first try.

How much living space is enough for you?


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