Roll Call?

DatagrrlFebruary 22, 2014

Hi all. I love this forum. I was looking at the Kitchen forum a lot, but when I saw small homes, I was ecstatic.

I love my 880 sq ft kind of shotgun mock bungalow 1930 home. It was supposed to be a starter home, but the economy happened and we only had one kid. So we stayed. I have learned to love my house.

I used to read GW and think it was a bunch of people who had no understanding of how we lived. My house could fit in some of these kitchens. We like to entertain, but prefer to do so outside.

Anyway, I saw some old role call posts, but thought I would start something new.

Share what you like.

We are in Michigan, outside Detroit. Last year we put a roof on, this year we are renovating the kitchen.

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Hi Datagrrl!

We just made it under the wire with our 2,000 SF house in Alabama. But we're in the midst of selling that one and moving across the country to New Mexico. I'm currently in a 1,500 SF rental, and any home we buy here will probably be in the 1,300-1,500 range. But we hope to have a small casita/in-law unit also, which would be ideal for us.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 10:27AM
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Is 2000 sq feet the cut for small homes? Wow, that is crazy. I probably shouldn't talk I make my living off new build large homes.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 2:07PM
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Hi- I used to be flgargoyle, but couldn't get it to work anymore, so I changed names.

I'm building our small house (1300) pretty much single-handedly in upstate SC. What we won't have in size, I hope to make up for in efficiency and style. The house is what I call a Low Country Craftsman. I'm going in for a lot of custom details, and the house is very well insulated- ICF walls, and R-49 attic. Should be cheap to feed, which is good, as retirement is only a few years off.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 4:53PM
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Our house story is strange. We have an almost 1600 square foot house and I always swore my next and last house would be big, with tons of closet space.

DD bought a 2400 square foot house in a really nice area. Dead end street, large yard and the park is almost next door. It was an estate deal and it took almost 7 months to close.She never waivered and thought she was meant to buy the house.

Then she had a car accident and could not keep up. Uninsured driver without a license hit her with the dogs in the car. DH and I moved in to help her and help with the tons of medical bills that were not covered, taking care of the dogs, house, bills and yard. We paid our house mortgage but did not live in our house for almost 2 years.

DH and I were so happy to help her as she recovered. We also realized how this lifestyle was so different from our own, and kept remarking that "it feels like we are on vacation" as we enjoyed the wildlife, privacy and beauty of the area. And we never imagined we could afford to live here where only 6 houses have been put on the market and sold in the last five years.

DD kept after us to sell our house and buy in her area. But how could we afford this? I didn't want to be mean and tell her that I could never be as lucky as she had been so I kept saying "Sure, one day...." She kept saying "You will buy the house next door one day, I know it." Nice wish I thought...

We bought the house next door. All the stars and planets aligned once again, this time for us. It has been a dream come true and we are updating the house now. It's just a cape cod and not the spacious house I envisioned. But I really could not be happier.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 7:01PM
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I just moved to NE Iowa to my in laws family farm. We live in an old farmhouse that unfortunately has lots wrong with including a rubble foundation that has never seen a minute of attention.

We're hoping to build elsewhere on the farm in a few years. I'm thinking of an 800 square foot modern cottage. I can't do totally modern because while I like modern I think I would get tired of it. I'm also an archivist well I was before I became a SAHM and love old stuff.

Edited to add its just DH, 3 yr old DD, and myself. We will get some chickens someday and I'm hoping for a goat.

This post was edited by IowaCommute on Mon, Feb 24, 14 at 13:52

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 1:50PM
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I love the smaller home forum...but I definitely plan to get a home over 2,000 square feet! Of course, I do count finished basement space as overall sq.ft...and we do have a home-based business and my mom moving in with us :)

Right now, I'm looking for someplace with enough room for our horses, a big garden, maybe some chickens (for my mom) and a big backyard. We haven't had one in years...and I've missed it! Our current place backs up to the horse pasture, so fun to watch the horses, but no place to BBQ.

I know we won't be building any time soon, but I've learned so much on GW that I can walk into a house and think...a few changes and this would totally work...or not. It's nice to see the potential in any home, as long as it's not too much work. I don't want another fixer upper :)

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 7:11PM
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we are in an interesting position. Currently we are preparing to build for two families (ergo the name). In the past my husband and i have lived in teeny tiny apartments in Germany, france and Brooklyn as well as a huge house in denver. We came to realize we like cozier smaller spaces as long as there is good natural light and open spaces. We've been exploring modern twists on shotguns, four squares and bungalows. We are concerned with building as green as possible. I am spending a lot of time on the building forum as well as other green construction forums. Sooooooooo much to learn!!

I think our main house will come in under 1600 sq ft ( likely 1450 on a 725 sq ft basement but we will only finish 300 sq ft of that as a play room) The inlaw apt or cottage will be anywhere from 600-850 sq ft. We could build much bigger, but a big trophy house isn't for us. Storage planning and enjoyable outdoor spaces can make small houses amazing homes. We are spending so much time obsessing over the pool, bike trails, fencing and landscaping! I'm also enjoying shopping for multipurpose furniture pieces or collecting ideas for rooms that do double duty.

Who know maybe I will even learn to grow some vegetables?

Iowa. We lean to modern exteriors but we just can't embrace stark white interiors. I think we will go with a very inspired by nature neutral color scheme throughout to play off the scenery from all the windows...

Nice thread, thanks for starting it! I love reading everyone's story!

This post was edited by NashvilleBuild42 on Tue, Feb 25, 14 at 9:26

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 8:27AM
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Nashville, except for the multi generational thing we're on the same page. I want a modern take on a small cottage or farmhouse and love looking at the sites Green Building Advisor and Passive House. Since we're building so small (and it's cold up here) we need to build really well.

I love the light and layout of this small cottage, but it's all white. It seems like they're always white.

Beach Style Living Room by Beverly Interior Designers & Decorators Siemasko + Verbridge

I also like this space by Cathy Schwabe, but all of that wood would be very expensive and may be weird in the middle of a corn field. I love the openness and windows.

Contemporary Living Room by Oakland Architects & Designers Cathy Schwabe Architecture

I don't know what it is, but when we moved up here in the fall I fell in love with the rolling cornfields. Funny we're not far from the Field of Dreams house.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 8:56AM
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Iowa- the second picture from scwabe is my MIL leading inspiration pic for her apt! To the point she's tried bargaining with me for our eames lounge chairs! Too funny!

I bet we have some overlap in inspiration pictures filed away. I too like the green and grey of the cottage. But my husband wants something a little warmer more prairie school style I think?

We dont have cornfields but we are surrounded by rolling hills and our one neighbor has a horse farm, the other neighbor an alpaca and sheep farm! We just have dogs and a lot of converted horse trails to biking trails. Its quite a different lifestyle for me, but I love it. I'm so blessed we have this opportunity to build what we want on great property!

Have you found exterior inspiration photos for your 800 sq ft cottage?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 9:37AM
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Farmhouse Exterior by Peachtree City Architects & Designers Our Town Plans

Traditional Exterior by Portland Architects & Designers Whitten Architects

Farmhouse Exterior by Essex Architects & Designers Eric H. Gjerde AIA

Traditional Exterior

Farmhouse Exterior by Saratoga Springs Design-Build Firms Witt Construction

Rustic Exterior

Farmhouse Exterior by Purcellville Home Builders COUNTRY LIVING ASSOCIATES

Farmhouse Exterior by Norwich Architects & Designers Smith & Vansant Architects PC

This kitchen is my favorite kitchen. There are more pictures of it on Houzz. The whole house is fantastic. Its a cape style, and while I love cottage, farmhouse, bungalow, and prairie style I love love the interior of this cape. I guess there are many similarities in the styles I love.

Traditional Kitchen by Norwich Architects & Designers Smith & Vansant Architects PC

I also love to quilt which seems to be a very popular past time up here. I want to do this design in our bathroom or kitchen backsplash.

Traditional Bathroom by Beaverton Kitchen & Bath Designers Adapt Design, LLC

As you can see there is still a lot of variety in here. We're not building for a couple of years so we have some time to decide. DH doesn't really care-just as long as he has his office away from the main part of the house since he works from home. I originally wanted to build an early 20th century L shaped farmhouse because there are lots up here, and I thought it would blend into the landscape well. We still may do that but in a slightly updated way. I really want an attached garage, and I want the house to feel like it has been taken care of over time, and gently updated with each generation.

Below is a link to a small laneway house also called a backyard cottage or granny flat. I actually love a lot of these laneway houses because most of the cities seem to tap their square footage at 800 sqft and have a very efficient floor plan. There is another one I really love in Seattle that I will try to post when I find it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Laneway house

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 10:22AM
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Yep. Know that kitchen well. The windows are so nice in that kitchen.

We had A few of those houses saved too.

The notion of evolving over time is cool. We debated that but I think we're just going to embrace the juxtaposition of the outbuildings with more modern new. That is if we ever make up our minds. It's great we have the old to live in but it allows us to keep waffling:
For example We're doing cash build so no appraisals to worry about but I keep going back and forth on 2br vs 3br. Decisions decisions!

Thanks for sharing your inspiration photos

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 11:18AM
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I hear you on a cash build and appraisals. We were really burned on the appraisal of our KS home we finally sold in December. So we decided we would do a cash build so we don't have to rely on the bank.

I found the backyard MIL cottage in Seattle. Its only 650 sqft with 1 bed and 1 bath and a loft, but it is so pretty. I love the finishes, and it ha so many great windows. We would have to add another bed, bath, and basement, but this is definitely one I will show our architect.

Edited to add: Nashville when I was looking a bungalow and farmhouse plans from the 1910s-1930s (I told you I was an archivist in my former life) I found a really neat short article about how to deign an attractive barnyard and homestead. Its very pretty and interesting because i was kind of taken back when we moved to this old farmhouse and there are silos, sheds, and barns scattered about). I'll post it if anyone is interested.

Here is a link that might be useful: Backyard MIL cottage in Seattle

This post was edited by IowaCommute on Tue, Feb 25, 14 at 15:52

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 3:46PM
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thought you might like to see the "before" photo. well, the roof is only 3 years old. we call this THE NUT. (located in upstate new york)

hope to start renovation in the spring.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 6:11PM
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I'd like to see that article, Iowacommute. Our yard is already set in place, and due to the slope of our land, we didn't have much wiggle room, but I'd like to see what we should have done LOL.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 6:27PM
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This is the farmstead plan. I found it in an old catalog when I was looking for early 20th century farmhouse plans.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 8:03PM
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Iowa thanks for the article. Great food for thought

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 8:05PM
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I am so glad I built when I did and what I did. Last year I built a 1628 sf, handicapped accessible home here in Kansas. Love my house and if you care to look, there are several pictures of it here on this site.

Now, a year later....have not been able to drive my car since Dec. 28 and restricted to the house and doctor appointments. I ended up having to have an emergency back surgery, and I so much appreciate those wide doors, walk in shower, etc. that I put in this house. One never knows what lies ahead so better be safe than sorry.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 11:54AM
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Midvale, Idaho. We have a 1375 SQ FT officially a 2 and 2 with a den. Open floor plan living room, dinning room, kitchen and we love it. We also have a nice front porch. We only have half an acre and part of this is straight up a hill. This is fine with me. The smaller the yard the better. My husband has his happy place in a 30 by 30 shop building with an added 12 by 30 carport on one side. There is an 8 by 30 loft in the shop for storage. We no longer have livestock. Down to dogs and cats. We live across the street from horses and out back fence has ranch cows even though we are officially in the city. After flipping houses for 23 years this is finally our forever house. We are very happy here. The space is perfect for us.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 9:54PM
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Southwest Wisconsin. My husband and I along with our 8 month old daughter are just finishing up on our build. We owned a 988 squarefoot house in the town over. It was cute but no central a/c and had a leaky basement. Had to waterproof the basement just to sell. Our build now is 1455 square feet, 3 beds, 2 baths, walk in master closet, small office, laundry mudroom and open concept kitchen, living and dining area. Basement will probably be finished 10 years down the road. It's also a walk out with big windows. Large covered front porch and back deck. Look forward to growing our family there. On the outskirts of our small hometown but close enough to walk to local happenings. I love the small homes forum, but tend to stay over at the building a home forum for a little more action. ;)

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 9:22AM
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It definitely is slow here! Congrats on the new build. Have you posted pictures?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 2:05PM
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I have posted pictures on the building a home forum in the It's "a certain month" how'd your build going posts. I haven't posted on here mostly because it is slow and I usually only post one photo at a time since I don't use photobucket.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 4:25PM
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We have less traffic, but we are one of the friendliest forums. We tend to have conversations, rather than comments. People either enjoy that...or move on to another forum. :)

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 3:51PM
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I do like the conversational nature of this forum much better than Kitchens and BAH. It gets a little tense over there which is why I'm generally just a lurker.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 4:06PM
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Texas. Approximately 1600 sq ft, 2/2, 1980's zero lot line. Floor plan is perfect for me. But, I still have a dream of converting an old warehouse or a new modern build.

After living in this place, I now know that I could probably live with about 1200 sq ft easily.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 10:29AM
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We have a mid 60's ranch that is at the upper end here. It has 2,000 square feet. We used every inch while our four kids were growing up. When our nest is empty, we pretty much shut off two of the bedrooms. Right now we have two boomerang kids here so the house is full. I don't see us downsizing in the near future because three of the four kids will be over 500 miles away. We need the rooms when they visit.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 5:06PM
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I currently live in a 1500 sq foot English Revival cottage built in 1930 in Minnesota with my older son, who has autism, and our dog. My son is looking to move into a supported housing home in the next couple of months.

I have been driving about 30 miles each way to work for the last 3 years so I'm hoping to move closer to work once I'm officially an empty nester. I bought a lot near work last fall and I'm planning to build a single level house around 1370 sq ft. I'm allowing some extra space (my lot is a walkout so it will also have a basement) in case either of my sons need to move back home.

I sometimes feel like I don't really fit on the homebuilding, kitchen or bath forums as both my current house and the new house are so much smaller than most of what I see.

Here is a link that might be useful:

This post was edited by katmu on Fri, Mar 14, 14 at 11:46

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 11:34AM
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We live in a 750sf 1br, 1b condo just outside of Chicago. Would love to have a smaller house on some land but for now, we both work in the city and both hate to drive, so being here is what works for us. We previously had a 1600sf 3br house. It ended up feeling so huge for the two of us.

There are sacrifices we have to make in space. I don't have my own sewing/craft room like I used to. It makes it hard to do any sewing projects when I have to put everything away before we can use the dining room table for dinner. But moving to the condo enabled us to pay our mortgage off completely and save so much money in other ways. We could afford the mortgage on our old house but were drowning under the other costs of home ownership.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 11:46PM
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Rural Northern California here. We recently bought a 1950's bungalow that had two previous additions. All told, it is almost 1300 square feet - now 3 bed, 2 bath from the original 2 bed/1bath. Even without the additions (master bedroom and then its own bath), it would have been enough space for me, DH and the two cats. This has more space than my childhood home (2 parents, 3 girls and one bathroom). And, there is a separate garage with the laundry, pantry and a "gardener's bathroom" (shower & toilet).

We also have an adjoining lot with a one room cabin/studio space. I could see turning that into a true tiny home for guests. The lot is our gardening space - although the drought may have something to say about that.

Like others, I know I don't fit in with the "big is better" forums - many kitchens I see would devour my kitchen, dining area and living room in one bite!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 12:50AM
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I'm a city girl in Houston with a 1500 sq. ft. patio home purchased for retirement three years ago. I'm still in the renovate mode and hope to retire this coming February. My activity is mainly on Kitchens Forum as I like the action there.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 11:51PM
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Can I chime in too even though I am new to the "small" home world? And it is a condo?

Hubby and I had for about 10 years been on the cycle of trading up to bigger and bigger home - the last 5 were in an amazing 4500 sf home (there are just the two of us).

I loved the home but we got tired of the cleaning, repairs, yard work. Plus we were in core suburbia and wanted to be able to walk more places.

So we bought a 1750 sf, 2 bed, 2 bath condo. It has been going on 6 months now and neither of us regrets it at all (even the lack of a garage for him or a yard for me).

The stress level is sooo much lower and we actually get weekends to relax now!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 4:54PM
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We had this house built in 2005, a 1640 sq ft ranch on an acre with a 3 car garage....we bought the acre lot about 10 years before we had the house built. We have an unfinished basement of 1240 sq ft but it's only for storage. Our last home was only 1265 sq ft on the main floor but had a 1265 sq ft finished basement, so 2530 sq ft altogether, This has a bigger main floor....we love the floorplan too. 3 bd 2 ba......

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 6:22PM
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1700 sq ft ranch-style condo here in flyover country, which I bought a couple of years ago. 3 bedroom (one of which is now the study), 2 bath. Built in late 70s, it has comfortable/normal size rooms, and a traditional floor plan with separate kitchen and dining and living rooms. It was never updated, so I am redoing at the rate of about one room a year. The kitchen is taking two years, though -- holy cow, kitchens are expensive, even though I'm not replacing cabinets..... Thankfully the previous owner was not wild about color: no orange, no avocado. Beige everything is boring, but at least it doesn't inspire psychedelic nightmares.

Properly I suppose it's a "smaller" home. It's the biggest place I've ever had, maybe even a little more space than I wanted -- the dining room is still basically empty. But on my budget, in this town, it was really the best available option for me, and as long as my job keeps me here (could be decades, though I sorta hope not) this is where I'll be. I like the advice available on this forum, where moderation is not a dirty word. :)

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 9:53AM
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It's been a long time since I was posting here, but my heart belongs to Smaller Homes. I'm a cottage living fan from the git-go.

We now live entirely in Mobile Alabama, which is at the top of Mobile Bay and about 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. The home we bought in May of 2005, and then remodeled and furnished, was destroyed in August by Hurricane Katrina. So here we are now in a small stucco cottage just south of I-10 where I-65 terminates.

And, we sold HIS house in Massachusetts last March 2013, so I no longer have to split my efforts between two houses and two totally different gardens. But, I learned to love HOSTA up there, and now have almost 500 different varieties here in zone 9a. Interestingly enough, they are thriving.

Meanwhile, I've been saving like a pack rat in order to remodel the cottage which I've named White Dove. I have a dove with wings spread, made by Little and Lewis, as my name emblem. (I believe in naming things I love).The changes were so complex that I felt it best to hire an architect to include all the new specs required to meet hurricane country building code, including windows and roofs and general construction. Next week I meet with the builder and the architect so the permits and the cost estimate can proceed.

I will wind up this post and make a new thread about White Dove cottage remodel. What started ostensibly as a kitchen remodel, wound up including much more. New roof, new hardwood floors, new entryway with relocation of the front door, tear off the old back porch and the deck, add some space for a sitting area to our master bedroom so I may view my back garden and have LIGHT.

So while it may not be the smallest kitchen on the block, it is a very personal space incorporating the things I love, and a cross between modern and cottage. Hopefully before the summer is over, I'll be using my new 24"" Bertazzoni gas range, my enchanting Italian jewel, (which for the last 18-24 months sat crated up in my Teahouse), along with an under counter GE fridge (also in the Teahouse for a year),beside my baking/prep area. The old GE frenchdoor fridge gave out, so now there is a big Whirlpool side-by-side fridge replacing it. But don't get me started here....see you on the other thread.

See all you folks around the forum this summer.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 12:44PM
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What a great thread and it is so nice seeing familiar faces!

My husband and I moved into our little 50's cottage on 1/4 acre in 1973, s.e. FL zone 10. The living space is about 700 sq. ft. There is a workshop, a couple of storage buildings, and I have a little wash house where my washing machine is and I store surplus goods bought at SAM's, gardening tools, etc.. We built the workshop and storage buildings.

We have enjoyed out little haven and kept tweaking it to make it work better for us. The house and property seem somewhat bigger since losing my dear husband 16 months ago, and I am learning to live a different life surrounded by loving memories. I'm learning to do things on my own and my husband's brother has been a huge help for some things and I am ever thankful for his help.

I enjoy our little cottage, it is my home sweet home on this planet.

I'll try to be back more often.


Here is a link that might be useful: FlowerLady's Musings

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 2:14PM
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This is a very friendly forum!

I live with my family (5 of us total) in a 1500 sq-ft house built in 1924. The "charm" was systematically removed over the decades before we bought it, so now it's just old and small. :)

We squeeze as much mileage as we can out of every single square foot of space in this house to make it work for us, and this forum helps us with that. We have been unable to find a house that is both larger AND affordable, so here we stay.

I mostly lurk and only occasionally post. I have gradually learned to NOT begin any projects during the school year as our busy schedule doesn't allow for me to finish them!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 6:52PM
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