If you have house envy living in a small house.....

phoggieSeptember 15, 2012

I have to admit that while planning a small house, I sometimes look at the mega houses on these posts and have a twinge of envy....so I happened upon a post "envy" over on the "decorating site" and it is so jam packed with words of wisdom...so if you are a bit envious as I am from times, jump over there and take a read...it opened my eyes!

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Phoggie- While it's nice to have enough room for the things that you really love/need, I think a lot of people end up filling space, just because it's there. They buy furniture they don't need and have rooms they don't often use.

A smaller home (if it's not TOO small) is a lot of fun, because you have to make every space work for you...and often serve more than one purpose. And, you often become very creative, while doing this :)

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 8:10PM
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Interesting post on Envy. I am not feeling that now. We have had both large and tiny houses. We are about in the middle of the two now and very happy. I always thought I wanted the larger houses. The 1850 houses we had were so much work to keep up. Let some other woman do that. LOL I do not want to go there again. I have a life and hobbies and a yard I would rather spend time with verses cleaning.Loving the 1375 SQ FT we now have.

I totally downsized my possessions. Like LL said it is almost fun making things work in a smaller house. I am still fine tuning here. I have given myself permission to buy whatever it is I need to make it work. Like the plethora of plastic drawers in many sizes. I hate those ugly buggers and have bought so many of them you would think I actually liked them BUT I keep them hidden away in closets and pantry and tucked under a drop leaf table in laundry room. They are so handy and easy to clean.

I really do love our smaller house. I think it is just right for us. We have been here a little over four years and I am still tweaking things around. Each time I do another "go through" I feel like I am making it better. I also continue to purge things we do not use.

I also use as in REALLY use every bit of our house. We have enough room for several people to come over for a gathering. We could easily and comfortably seat 12 people in our living room dinning room space.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 9:50PM
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"Let some other woman do that. LOL I do not want to go there again."

same here. those are fine for younger people with kids I think. I did enjoy a large home when the kids were with me.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 10:45PM
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That was an interesting thread. At 2,000 square feet, our house isn't really "small", but it has its challenges. Like no garage. Like a bizarre bathroom layout that consists of two half baths that open onto a center room holding the tub/shower and the washer/dryer. Like no electric gate at the road so we get out and open/close/open/close every day. And our landscaping is . . . nonexistent.

So when I am envious of other homes, it is seldom about size. It is more about location (we're pretty far out), or some of the issues above. A friend and I went on an historic home tour last Sunday in a neighborhood where I used to live. When I get back into those charming 1920s Tudors and bungalows, I get wistful. Beautiful wodwork, cottage gardens, "neighborly" neighborhood. But they all have their issues, too. And our place has a lot more going for it than it has going against it. I guess I'm able to remain objective most of the time and not get too emotional.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 2:40PM
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jakabedy - yes, it is a good thread. I agree that most any place will have its problems - it just depends on which you'd rather have.

I prefer living out away from the city. My place is plenty big enough. Would be nice to have a garage - or a carport. even a shed!

and I guess what I might be envious of would be more trees and flowering bushes. I'm gonna be working on that soon tho.
Would like to get several planted this coming month if possible.

I'd also like it if I twitched my nose and everything was fixed, I was all moved in and everything was in its place. But that ain't real life!

So I'll just be grateful I found a big strong guy to fix things and move my stuff over for me - and for a reasonable price.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 3:53PM
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Right now I just have envy of a finished house.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 1:12PM
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LOL-- I am with marti8a on this one. I am living in half a small unfinished house right now ;)

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 1:26PM
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I'll see your unfinished house, and raise you one. I'm living in a BARN while I build my own house! Wouldn't trade the experience for anything, though.

I don't really get house envy; rather, location envy. If I won the lottery, I'd have a waterfront house (small, of course) as well as a place in the mountains. We came pretty close to a dream-come-true with our rural property, and the house will be more than we need.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 5:28PM
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I'm not looking at that thread, know what it probably says. I do not have house envy at all. I am happy as a bug here with a bump out and a porch enclosed for all weather. Then I want about 12x6= 72 more sq feet added to the bedroom and we'll come in about 1100 square feet in all. I have way too many good things to do, like Shades says, to spend my time cleaning.

It helps that across the street I have two older women, separate homes not same house, who are being buried alive by their possessions that they cannot turn loose. Sad. And I think about what will the future hold for me? I want my little house look good, and be enjoyable to do things I enjoy, like read and keep my birds and take soaking baths and outdoor showers and garden like there is no tomorrow.

Life is sweet and much too short. We all pays our money and makes our choice. :) This is something we CAN CONTROL.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 5:44PM
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I envy small houses, not mega houses.

I've lived in both small and large houses, and I much much prefer a small house...easier to keep clean, easier to heat, cozier, and not full of junk that collects in large houses, junk that just collects dust and will never be used.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 9:06PM
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ML - you'd be ok reading it - it's much like we've all posted here. I didn't read it at first either figuring the same as you about it. But, it isn't that.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 9:33PM
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never. ever. Most large homes are eyesores without any character at all. As George Carlin says just big boxes to put your stuff. Extremely high ceilings make me feel uncomfortable, 9 or 10ft high is perfect.
I do covet older small cottage homes with nice woodwork/floors/courtyard gardens and wrought iron gates/balconies-think "historic districts". I also know that I need to buy a small house on or near the water. I do not care what size house but proximity to the ocean is a real need.
At 500 sq ft I probably live in the smallest "home" on the smaller homes forum so my perspective is coming from the fact that anything slightly larger such as 1000sq ft would be huge to us, forget about 3000 or 4000 sq sq ft--yuck !!!.
I visited my cousin's new house when they first moved in and was unimpressed and nauseated by the expanse of green lawns surrounding the houses---that no one was allowed to use. Her husband bragged that this neighborhood was all doctors and lawyers. Who cares ! Are they good neighbors ? So many americans are so insecure they need to always prove something, to show that they have moved from one "class" to another, ostentatious pointless striving. I defy anyone to say all their stuff makes them happy. Do I like some of my stuff ?Of course but baby it ain't keeping you warm at night or listening to you when someone dies.
Although the house was 2200sq ft. the "lot" was small so the neighbor's houses were so close I couldn't believe it. AND NO WINDOW that opened in the toilet ! After a few years the house started to look very run down b/c both of them were working so d-mn many hours to pay for everything that was a necessity for their american nightmare ummm dream..
DH & I try to work as little as possible because our lives take up so much time: reading, educating ourselves, traveling, cooking, napping, hanging out and laughing at our cat. Love my home now that it's fixed and not crumbling...

Here is a description of an excellent book that I read a few months ago:

A rich narrative that blends social commentary with incisive reporting, House Lust offers an astute, funny, and sometimes disturbing portrait of the behaviors that drove the greatest real estate boom in history and its eventual bust.

Owning a home has long been considered the fulfillment of the American Dream. But in the last decade, as the real estate market boomed, Americans fascination with homes turned into a frenzy. Everywhere we turned, people were talking about, scheming over, envying, shopping for, refinancing, or just plain ogling houses in the process, we've transformed shelter from a basic necessity into an all-consuming passion.

In House Lust, Newsweek's Daniel McGinn travels the country to explore the roots of this mania. Even as the real estate boom has turned to bust, Americans remain obsessed with houses many of us are still trading up, adding on, or doubling down to buy vacation property. But for others, this zeal for housing has carried a painful price, one that's evident in the soaring foreclosure rates and mounting despair as millions of homeowners (and their lenders) realize they've stretched too far to buy the home of their dreams.

In a compelling narrative that takes us inside the homes and psyches of the House Lust afflicted throughout the nation, McGinn examines the forces that turned housing into the talk of dinner parties. He explores the arms race for square footage and introduces readers to a menagerie of characters from the real estate world from "renovation psychologists" who treat remodeling-addled clients to a guy who trades vacation time-shares the way kids trade baseball cards. McGinn also jumps into the fray himself by enrolling in real estate school and buying an investment property, sight unseen, over the Internet.

House Lust shows us just how contagious the ideal of owning the best home on the block can be. And as the real estate boom recedes into memory, McGinn offers cautionary tales to help us curb our lust when prices start rising again.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 2:56PM
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Really nice post there, EatReal.....
I'll see if I can find HOUSE LUST. That is a book right on topic for this thread.

I'm not guiltless here, because I want to add on a wee bit more to this house. Just about 70 more square feet which will still leave the house below 1100 square feet. I'll get my DH to calculate the actual sq.footage, since I am too impatient to do the measurements.

But having room for my three parrot cages in the house is important to me, and that means square footage for the cage footprint. After the house is totally done and my Teahouse is again on track for my personal space, I'm planning to move at least two of the three birds out there so they can fly through the open raftered space. That is a dream for their benefit. These days, keeping them confined to a cage with only occasional free time, distresses me a lot. My beloved Kimali African grey has been free flighted all his life, and it is only right that he have the space to fly. But, maintaining a sanitary environment when you have other species in the dwelling, is a demanding responsibility.

So pleased you are bringing your alternate vision to the forum. We need it to keep us (speaking for myself here) aware of more options.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 4:52PM
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You are so right Eat Real Food.

I am also not guiltless and certainly do not live in a 500 square foot home, but I do see and agree with everyone's hunger for more square footage. I did add on to the house we are in. It is my husband's family home going back almost a hundred years. We have 2 kids and don't plan on having any more. We added on a master bedroom with walk in closet and a second full bath, which brought our square footage up to almost 1900 from the original 1200. We did it mostly because it creates our dream home and we can do the work ourselves to a home we already own outright and will not borrow money to do work to.

But what I find humbling and have said before is that my husband's mother was born in an upstairs bedroom here. Her parents raised 7 kids and took care of their parents under this roof with 1200 square feet. Then my husband's mother raised her 4 kids and took care of her aging parents under this roof with 1200 square feet. We did take care of his parents until they passed, but didn't have both kids or both parents at the same time (that was a good and bad year at the same time). But with families getting smaller and houses getting bigger, I really wonder what people are thinking sometimes. I seem to keep picking fights in the kitchen forum. I find there is a lot of snobbery about space and a lot of insistence that there is a minimum "must have" number to be comfortable. I have started to just hold my tongue (mostly).

I shared a bunk bed with my brother growing up, which would be unheard of now a days sticking a girl and boy in the same room (gasp), and my hubby shared a bed with his brother growing up (the horror double gasp)...We turned out just fine. Now, it is some rule that every kids has to have their own room, PLUS A PLAYROOM (Really?!?)I also think smaller homes breed a tighter knit family.

Oh, and off topic, the thing about the lawns really drives me nuts. All these McMansion people with huge houses and over fertilized lawns are killing the bay here and the eco system in general, but are also the ones spending a fortune on "green" materials in their houses. It drives me MAD!!! I just want to shake them. My LAWN is a nice healthy expanse of weeds we chop down with the mower when they get high enough. My 3 year old likes if I wait too long because then the whole thing turns to dandelions. (ok, we are a little country out here).

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 5:19PM
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'Most large homes are eyesores without any character at all.'

dang those suckers have moved in around me and I hate it! give me the little 'ol trailer or mfg home here and there out here any day. Characters live in those. like me - lol!
puttering is done there. someone will wave to you as you drive by - if they're out working on the land (otherwise too far away to see ya). People watch out for each other even if they don't really know ya. They know your car and what drive it goes in / out of.

and those trying to buy themselves a life? I think it's sad for them. I don't think they've yet found what life really is about.

I'm always amazed at how often (and how much) people go to 'shop'. Boggles my mind. On my little trip about 2x a week for groceries I'm always surprised (why anymore?) at all of the cars in the parking lot. Doesn't anyone stay home? Doesn't matter if I go there in the afternoon or evening. I usually go to W so there's more than groceries to buy there.

But still - that many people that every day it's full?

just thinking of this tells me why lately I have to force myself to go out even if I need groceries or money from the bank. I just seem to hate going out into it all.

lawn - that is a real sore spot with me here in the desert. city folks moved out here and are planting grass. It's disgusting. And then they complain about the dirt. (not that I love it) - it's the DESERT people! But they want it watered down, controls etc. Really? We have HUGE dust storms out here that go clear across the Phx area - walls of dirt. They gonna lasso it? you all might see pics of it on the news sometimes - I've seen it on national news myself.

I have no grass and no one next to me who does either. I've been out here 14 yrs and haven't missed grass yet.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 10:29PM
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I think avoiding house envy must be easier if you live in a character-filled smaller house, or live on a really neat lot (or acreage). If I were to buy a small home in a historic neighborhood or in the country, there's not much comparison to the bloated tract homes of today.

We decided to build new in a tract, however, so avoiding envy is a bit tougher. [As back story, My wife and I did a $30k+ renovation (materials alone) to an older house, and we are exhausted of the process. We want a new house where the windows close tightly, the walls are well-insulated, and I don't have to spend weekends fixing things. We couldn't afford a nicely remodeled old house, and since I plan on doing a lot of the work on our new build, it won't cost us more than buying a 10-20 year old house.]

Because we're building new, its so much easier to compare to others who have these new mansions. We're putting in laminate countertops in the kitchen, and everyone else I know who is building are deciding what kind of granite to put in bathrooms and the laundry room!

Our house will be efficient, comfortable, and functional--but no one has ever swooned over a low cost per square foot figure!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 9:07AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I don't envy large homes...I look around at them and scratch my head about who wants to heat or cool all this cubic footage that can't be used? I wonder how family members ever find each other without using their cell phones. And I just start imagining what it takes to clean the place. Or paint. Or insure. Or pay taxes. Where do you go when you want to warm up? Or if you're sick and want to curl up someplace cozy with a bowl of chicken soup? Even the walk-in closets are bigger than our bedrooms, and the master bath is larger than our living room!

We just spent a week at GFs sweet little cottage on the Cape and enjoyed how easy it was to clean, how little there was to do, yet how the space worked so well for us. Nope, no big house envy here.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 9:21AM
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Real quick I have to scoot out of here. Saw this on Yahoo and loved the design of it. For sure small house. So well laid out.

English version of the article.


Here is a link that might be useful: Most of the pictures

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 1:58PM
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Hey, CamG, glad to have you aboard!

We have at least two men who come by the forum, one building his home up in South Carolina, and one in that general vicinity who is an irregular drop in, but definitely an independent thinking small home guy. I'm sure they will appreciate another similar voice and point of view.

I know what you mean about the difference in deciding on the laminate over the granite. But it can be very comforting to know that you are not alone. It doesn't always have to be plain and uninteresting.

I recommend to you some of the posts by Nancy in Michigan and MamaGoose, and Schoolhouse. Lots of photos with each of their threads.

Plus, folks scout the Habitat Restore, and then Craig's List, and find charming things or recycled/used cabinets of real wood and then adapt them to their uses.

Stick around, we'll show you the ropes! :)

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 5:49PM
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'We're putting in laminate countertops in the kitchen'

same here - when I change it - in a yr or so maybe. It's ok now (white), got a few nicks in it that I can live with.

Got too many other things more important to get done first. Then I need a yr or so to re-coop before I think about that. Not that I haven't looked and picked out 1 or 2 depending on what I end up doing to my cabinets.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 6:06PM
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I'd love to use laminate, if I can find the right shade of blue...otherwise, it's ceramic tile :)

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 4:02PM
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Kali615 I do not think 1900 is too large for 4 people. Especially two of them kids. Sounds to me you have done what will make your family comfortable. Paid for it as it was done not adding an interest burden on the family. If it is what makes your family happy it was a good thing. Even if the generations made do with the smaller house.

I remember our house in 1998 was about 1140 SQ FT and the lady that we bought it from was a teacher. She had extra students or maybe it was teachers living in the house. It had one bath. The bedrooms were 8 by 10, 9 by 13 and 10 by 10. Fairly small. Bath was your usual 5 by 8. The rest of the house lived large with 10 by 10 laundry room and 10 by 17 eat in kitchen and the living room was 14 by 16. Shorter then kitchen because of the raised hearth. I liked the house but it was not my favorite house we have had. The house we have now is my favorite.

And LOL at the kitchens forums. I drop in there once in awhile. I feel I am so far off base as to what is expected I pretty much give up. NO ONE wants to hear my comments over there. We have an 11 by 12 1/2 kitchen (I love the size actually feel it is spacious) including the walk in pantry and the same for dinning room which I do NOT have set up as dinning room but more of a sitting room with tiny drop leaf table we never eat at. And all open to the living room. HORRORS there might be cooking smells in the rest of the house. I always thought that is what made meals so enjoyable. Smelling them cooking. I would never want granite or marble. My kitchen faucet was $72 from home depot. And I whined paying that much.

I use every bit of this house.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 6:41PM
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Mocassin--you are adding 70 sq ft ? I hardly call that excessive !!! Your birds will love you and may even let you use their "tea house" !

Kali-"I seem to keep picking fights in the kitchen forum. I find there is a lot of snobbery about space and a lot of insistence that there is a minimum "must have" number to be comfortable." I AGREE.

No guilt for you. I'm sure your 1900sq ft home is nice & comfortable, not square footage just for the sake of "theatre rooms", grand entryways and massive bedrooms and living rooms. Or else you wouldn't be bothered to post on this forum. BTW the book talks about those massive rooms being difficult to furnish to make them look nice...

CamG-"but no one has ever swooned over a low cost per square foot figure!" I DO !!! "efficient, comfortable, and functional" is the way to go--how dare you use laminate-you should be ousted by the neighbors.

Annie-"Where do you go when you want to warm up? Or if you're sick and want to curl up someplace cozy with a bowl of chicken soup? Even the walk-in closets are bigger than our bedrooms, and the master bath is larger than our living room!" YOU hit the nail on the head with this comment. Whenever in the future we buy a house I would like a sitting area in the bedroom in front of a fireplace to serve(or be served) tea, toast & soup. Oh and Annie there's another book called "Distracted"-the erosion of attention in society. In one family the daughters call their mother on her mobile phone ...from downstairs.

Desertsteph--planting grass in the desert has always amazed me-what clueless idiots ! And I agree with you about the stores--I avoid like the plague. I do all my shopping at a food coop and a large farmer's market. Every time I wander into a supermarket I see trolleys full of fake food, like lunchables, cases of soda, and frozen dinners. Sometimes I go to do my own research on "freaky food" such as precooked bacon in a box or dehydrated turkey/pasta(just add water and microwave, YUM).

Thanks for all your positive comments to my post. I may need to travel around planting veggies on those lawns-after I replace all the nutrients/worms in the soil that have been removed of course. :P

Oh and I am not guilt free. I bought soapstone not laminate but I did have laminate here since '88...

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 6:49PM
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Wait... What!?!?! You are not supposed to have smells from things cooking in the kitchen to the rest of the house? OK, then it is proven, I know officially nothing of what goes into a "real" kitchen ;)

They would probably crucify me in winter when I have a pot of soup cooking on top of the coal stove in the middle of the living area huh? That has got to be in some rule book some where.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 6:53PM
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Eat Real Food - My home is not as comfortable yet as it will be. Right now Hubby and I are sharing a room with both our toddlers and living in about 900 square feet while we complete rooms. Since we do all our own work, it is very slow. I have posted a bunch of pics through the Old House Forum if anyone is interested.

Here is a link that might be useful: Our old house so far....

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 7:05PM
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Kali--HA HA I have read those posts myself. I'm still trying to digest "where do you put your kitchen tea towel..."
I was basically told since I can't vent to the outside I should use induction ... Induction is "it". Um, I think that requires 50 amps minimum and I did state that I live in an apartment w/ a gas line.
You cook soup in the living room on a coal stove--you peasant.
...While I wok all kinds of curries WITHOUT an exhaust fan. I guess I'm an Asian peasant.
Since we love the smell of spices and curry leaves and are not embarrassed to actually have our guests know we are cooking(I mean they would have to be blind since the kitchen & living room is essentially one room, AND you can see the kitchen in all it's "kitchen-ness" from the front door). I mean they only come over for food & alcohol not to see me.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 7:18PM
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If it makes you feel any better this house has NEVER had an exhaust fan - ceilings are only 6' 9". My mother in law never wanted it in her face while she cooked. I cook tons of Indian, Mexican, and Thai based dishes. No complaints here. We will be putting one in eventually, but not until next year sometime when we finish the kitchen. I am sure I will not use it as much as others rely on theirs.

I think you hit the nail on the head though. I have bit my tongue many times when discussing space, when really I wanted to say, "maybe my friends are just friendlier than yours and don't mind being in the same room with one another" or something to that effect. But, I guess that is why there is this forum. I am glad I found it.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 7:53PM
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LOL Girls!!We do have an exhaust fan and it only gets used if I get the pan too hot and it smokes. OOPS. I thought that was what they were for. If used in the winter they suck the heat right out of the house.It is cheep and noisy.I could care less. No idea what the suck power is either. It is also WHITE Talk about GASP!!! And our stove is black and white and fridge is white and even WORSE I requested NO dishwasher. GAWD fall on the floor. THUNK

The house we built in 1986 was a small log cabin. The one side was all open. Kitchen dinning room living room. Wood stove was just across a door way from the kitchen, the front door. I used the wood stove to cook on as much as the electric stove. When I would cook beans I would put them on before bed with a banked fire and woke to the smell beans cooking in the night. Yummmm I also put my sourdough bread to rise beside the stove and also kept my starter close for pancakes in the morning. Or breakfast rolls. We were never in a hurry to get up and going on cold winter mornings. LOL I would dash out to feed and water the mules first thing then laze in the rest of the morning until it would warm up some.

Kali615 that is a large project for sure. so great you are doing it yourselves. Love your pretty bath.

ERF Did I miss the pictures of your new kitchen?

Tea towel? That what I mop the floor with?

Enough computer my dishes are calling to me and then I get to play with my glass. WooHoo................

Have a good evening.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 10:21PM
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'You are not supposed to have smells from things cooking in the kitchen to the rest of the house?'

well, so much for Thanksgiving dinner - and Christmas dinner... maybe it's because what those others are cooking doesn't smell appetizing?

I think I've only ever once had an exhaust fan - that was a rental house. oh, I had one in another rental but it didn't work. I doubt I'll use this one much - until I burn something.

btw - ya gotta love CEFreeman (is that the right name?) over on kitchens. I think i'd get along right fine with her if she were a neighbor!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 11:00PM
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Best wishes Kali--that is some beautiful house. I hope things go well for you. Please open a thread and vent all you like here--everyone on "small homes" is really supportive.
I recommend hiring someone for the drywall-proper taping is so important. My DH wouldn't tackle it when we renovated this place.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 11:07PM
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you do & that's a good thing. I must admit shades I do love my new DW. No you did not miss the photos of the new improved kitchen as I need to go to the library to post them :( shocking I know no "triple play contract" I'm my life.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 11:17PM
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Hi all,
To chime on a couple things....we have kitchen, dining and living in a roughly 14' x 28' space. When we updated the kitchen we added a proper "vent to outside" hood to replace a recirculating fan. I really appreciate that my smoke detector no longer goes off due to a vigorous stir-fry or a self-clean of my oven. Also, we did induction because electric was our only option and it's on a 40 amp circuit. We love our little house in the woods.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 11:49PM
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EatReal, I applaud your idea of veggie seeds spread around liberally. In fact, years ago, a college student rather liberally applied turnip seed to the Mobile County courthouse lawn. That is a great winter crop, and it is up and recognizable in a couple of days. Highly recommend it for shock factor. It made the newspaper even.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 11:59PM
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I keep forgetting to comment om the lawns. We do have them. the court yard lawn takes 10 minutes to mow with small mower and what we call the lower yard takes about 15 minutes on the rider. The rider is close to 20 years old. I am not a big lawn fan and do not do fancy stuff to it. I spread some steer manure on it for fertilizer. The only weeds we worry about are the thistles and we dig them with the shovel. We have to have lawn here or a ground cover of some sort. Lawn was the easiest.

For us lawn is a safety feature. We are in the city but surrounded by a ranch. With out the lawns we would be in danger of fire if one got to going and we have had several this year already. Right now the smoke is so thick it is hard to be outside and the days look like late evening with sun blotted out by the smoke. We need a green space around us as a fire break.

We did not have a lawn at the last house and the one before that was very tiny. I do agree they can be a waste when really large. For us we need them. Our property is a triangle so lawns on two sides gravel drive on the third. If I had my way and unlimited finances I would have cement over a good part of this yard. Then large planters. LOL

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 12:58AM
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I'm having a good laugh this morning catching up on all of the posts! I'm an early bird, not a night owl, so I miss all the good stuff.

Up here in SC, I'm not going to work much at growing anything that I can't eat. That's the beauty of living out in the country. We live in a button-down neighborhood in FL, and all of the lawns are perfect. You kind of have to keep yours up to maintain curb appeal, so we do all of the feeding, weeding, watering, mowing, edging, etc. I can't wait to ditch all of that! My tiny garden in SC has 9 healthy collard plants I tend over; everything else is on its own.

We entertained new friends last night- in the barn! I grilled burgers and they brought a salad and beans, and we had a great time sitting around in the barn with the big doors wide open to nature. If I can entertain in a barn, that tells me two things- 1) These are my kind of folks, and, 2) I can entertain in the modest little house I am building.

As for cooking smells- I do the bulk of the cooking on Thanksgiving, and our guests fairly swoon walking in the front door to all of the wonderful aromas. No one has every complained, or gone away hungry. I too only use the vent fan when the smoke alarm goes off.

In response to CamG- I'm all about low cost per square foot. I'm building our place myself, out of pocket, so every penny counts! I'd much rather brag about how little I spent for something, rather than how MUCH!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 5:49AM
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Eat Real Food - Thanks for the kind words about the house. It will be fabulous when done and will hopefully not only really show the age of the home with all the exposed beams, but also will be a great way for us to keep my husband's side of the family history alive for my kids now that his parents are no longer with us. It is hard to forget them when every corner of the house holds a story. I am going to finish the drywall downstairs myself (I am almost done the kitchen and laundry room). After that we will hire someone when it is time to do the upstairs. I can do the job, but because of my lack of experience it takes way too long to do the job right. And with a 2 and a 3 year old it would take me years to finish what I could hire someone to do in probably days.

Shades of Idaho - My comment about the lawns is more about lawns that are over fed and super fertilized. I have a "lawn" that is whatever weeds grew up there. If we do get a patch that didn't grow back for whatever reason (had a roll off to haul away trash parked there too long and killed the spot) I plant grass seed, I just don't fertilize it. It is all the excess fertilizer that is hurting the environment and most especially around here our Chesapeake Bay. My "lawn" takes 2 hours to mow with a ride on mower. If we didn't I'd have woods up against our back door. When my hubby was a kid there was much more that was mowed down, his parents flew small planes and had a landing strip out back, that is now all woods. The woods take over quick.

Flgargoyle - I would so come to a party in a barn! I am glad you found a place that seems to suit you better. I hope you made some great new friends.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 10:10AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Gasp! Secret's out! Am I the only one who makes sure that when company is coming that I make a dish with fried onions? Seems it evokes a "gee it smells good in here" every time!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 10:49AM
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Well, I learned while I was a boat captain to have a simmering pot of ground cinnamon/cloves/vinegar/water on the stove smelling like apple pie when we had landlubbers coming to take a ride offshore with us. The fact that it removed all trace of diesel fuel smell, and kept folks from getting seasick and throwing up all over....seasickness is contagious you know.....and it will remove the smell of fried fish, liver and onions, dog pee, litter box, musty basement. It is wonderful. I don't actually MAKE apple pies, but I sure do love to eat them, and this is fantastic.

You just make sure it is SIMMERING, and not boiling, and you keep the liquid in there, because even pie burnt doesn't smell good.

I also love to have a crock pot going with the onions in there, you're right they smell so good.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 12:18AM
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Moccasin-that brings back childhood memories! My mom always had orange rind/cloves/cinnamon or some similar concoction simmering on the stove and it did smell good enough to eat...too bad it wasn't a PIE! :)

Vent fan - cracking up. I have one - it's part of the black microwave that is above the black and white stove next to the white fridge.........and I only use it if I boil over. I'm not quite sure what else you are supposed to use it for but it's so loud and annoying - I rarely turn it on (and thankfully rarely ever boil over).

I guess our way is if something we cooked is really strong and we are sick of it we just light a candle.

I have been to a couple of barn parties and they are great fun and my kind of relaxed atmosphere.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 3:10PM
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Ut oh You mean you are NOT supposed to use the smoke detector as the alarm to tell you when your food is done??? REALLY???

Talk about smells. Sigh BOTH dogs got skunked tonight about 9. Darn it and I had already showered and washed my hair and scrubbed the shower down yesterday. This house is overwhelming skunk smell. Joe let them in before he knew they were skunked.

OK so it is vinegar cloves cinnamon. Thanks for the reminder.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 1:35AM
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oh shades - you poor thing! I think if that happened to my dog I'd stand outside of her pen and spray her... w/ tomato juice. I've heard that works. ugh!

btw, I've had my guy putting up my smoke alarms. I'm concerned because they are up so high. I wouldn't care if they only went off in case of a fire tho. it's those other times that I have to be able to reach them to shut them up.

He was trying to cover up where the old alarms were - it sounded logical at the time. It'd still sound logical if I were 6' tall instead of 5'. I'll have to think about that some more.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 6:44PM
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Oh shades, I feel for you. That is such a bad smell!

Are they less stinky today?

I remember one time when dd#2 hit a skunk on her way home one night, didn't realize it was a skunk and pulled into the garage. At the time, dd#1 was living in the room that is now office at the back of the garage. The smell woke her up about midnight and she couldn't figure out where it was coming from. lol

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 10:50PM
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Steph "btw, I've had my guy putting up my smoke alarms. I'm concerned because they are up so high. I wouldn't care if they only went off in case of a fire tho. it's those other times that I have to be able to reach them to shut them up."

What shot guns are for. Snicker. I fan a towel at them. I can barely reach them here with the vaulted ceiling.

Marty the dogs smell fine. I mixed tomato juice with the shampoo. It is the house that still stinks to high heaven. UGH Had it opened up all day. Still pretty strong in her. Even with the vinegar and spices and everything nice.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 1:45AM
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If I cannot reach the ones on the ceiling, I use the broom handle.

My African grey parrot learned to do the smoke alarm sound after DH repeatedly (up north) set it off on his night to cook.

Now, every time DH goes into the kitchen, Kimali gives out the smoke alarm!!! Very accurate too. And he needs no battery. :)

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 10:58AM
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Shades- Oh what a big pain in the a-- for you ! I hope the smell subsides soon !!!
Mocassin-still laughing at your clever parrot :)

I do plan on getting a recirculating fan but haven't bothered yet since:
1) the renovation traumatized me 2) I'm not replacing mr. magic chef yet(I bought him used and refurbished for $160 and my DH loves him very much. I think he's from the 80's. I need to post a photo and you guys can tell me how old he is. 3) when I do replace mr. magic chef I'm probably getting a Bertazonni (like moccasin) and they give out free fans during promotions. Mocassin will you please hook up the berta so I can get your review ?! I mean really why are you making us wait so long ?I read if it's not installed properly you can have problems but not sure what that means. I need to read through those threads again.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 1:55PM
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'What shot guns are for. Snicker.'

and ML's broom - good ideas! I don't have a shotgun but I do have a broom.

in the old place they weren't so high (neither was the ceiling). I used my very long handled grill spatula - lol!

It won't reach them in here - I'll have to have something longer handy to use. The broom handle might work.

I think they could be lower on the walls but he was nicely doing double duty by covering up the old hole on the wall - they prev had alarms hard wired into their security system.

ML - that parrot is awesome! you don't even need to put a new battery in him twice a yr! You might work with him on that screech at the sight of fire too.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 4:16PM
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Eatreal, I'm in total sympathy about keeping folks waiting. I'm in the same boat. I will certainly let you know how the setup goes, and any problems with my beloved Bertazzoni.

I will be watching the installer like a HAWK. You should download the specs and directions from the internet, and get an idea of how complex it can be. I mean, they tell you exactly how many inches above the floor it must be, or above the bottom of the range. They tell you how far away the electrical plug-in must be (I assume for the light on the hood, in the oven, and to ignite the burners?) And that the counter tops are to be at a certain height on either side. Which is why I settled on stainless counter tops for either side of the range. I'm liking the two stainless tops on my rolling kitchen cart, now my cooking center with a 2-burner hotplate (for caterers) by WaringPro I think. A big burner and a small burner. I never used more than 2 burners at a time anyway, when I had a big ole 30 or 36 inch wide electric range. Kept pots in the oven, never used it. Heating up that much oven space made the house way too hot, and I opted for the Sharp convection/microwave oven. I could cook cornbread, turkey (small one or a turkey breast) and a ham, etc) or even biscuits. Plus I have a large flat covered electric pan which is great for indoor grilling or french toast. Then the gas grill outside....keeps the heat outdoors.

Must confess, I cannot wait to use the heavy cast iron dutch oven and wok on the gas range though. One slow, one fast, has to make me feel like I'm really "cooking with gas." A dream come true.

BTW, when DH took a look at the Bertazzoni, he said leave it to the Italians to make something a work of art. Perfect surfaces, perfect joining very smooth and GORGEOUS. I'm going to be very persnickity about how it is installed. It should last as long as I do, and another lifetime as well.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 4:43PM
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Thanks Mocassin. I sweated the install of my new Dishwasher and don't think I have the energy for anything to go wrong with THE most important piece of equipment. I would never hear the end of it from you know who....
I mean Senora Berta is not inexpensive. and I would like red.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 3:48PM
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About 3 years ago I bought a GE French door fridge/freezer with icemaker and water but not through the door. Now I'm thinking about the skinny tall fridge freezer combo that might be hard to find, and do not know if it can have icemaker or not. We are spoiled to having ice w/o dumping and filling trays, if you know what I mean.

For the counter depth and the extra height, it would be much more space saving. This GE is a short fat fanny type. I guess it wouldn't hurt for us to make just low cabs and leave the top open. Or, we could put in secret storage somehow, or maybe hide a water heater in some of the space?
Anyway, I'll take out a new thread for this problem, and you guys wait for it....won't be long. ....but I've got some potting up of hostas to do now, after almost 3 days of solid rain, and it is still threatening more. Last gasp for hosta gardening before they go to sleep for the winter. And I've been laying landscape fabric, after roundupping the place, and then mulching over that, before I move the hosta pots back in an organized fashion. For the time being. Then after they go dormant, hiding them in the shade where rain won't get to em. Whole lot of pots to move. Helps keep my blood sugar low. :) Exercise is great.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 4:55PM
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so if I tell y'all my secret for getting rid
of the smell from skunk sprayed dogs..and even
under the house/car/barn...can I play?
it is so much easier than tomato juice...

I do have a stove vent though..first one I ever had
and I've had it since August. use it every time
I turn on a burner on the stove. (guess its
the novelty of it)

oh, although I've been on site here since 2004,
I never realized there was a small house forum.
I'm usually in building a home or hvac forums.
my house is just under 1000 sq ft.

sure seems like y'all have fun here.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 10:34PM
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Hahaha do share Energy Rater. Skunk was back last night on the porch. Dog barked through open screen door and the house stinks all over again.:^(

We do have fun here and WELCOME if you can stand the smell. LOL

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 11:22PM
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Hi, Energy!

You did the same thing I did for years....not looking around because I was so focused. When I found Smaller Homes, it felt like moving into a good neighborhood.

People come and go at will, but we have a good time, true enough. Be it a home for young folks beginning new families, or those with teens, and then some empty nesters, and then folks planning for the day they can not get around so easily.....we're all here.

Glad to have another seasoned GardenWeb member join the neighborhood. Look forward to knowing you and your home.
Please note.....we love pictures....the more the better. :)

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 11:27PM
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Oh no, not a repeater!!
Shades, I'd be moving into town, or where ever you must go to get some relief.

And Energy, if you have a recipe for skunk jooce remover, it will be a kindness to put Shades out of her misery.

I'm laughing and shaking my head at it happening twice to the same dog? You must have the stubbornest dog in the world. hehehehe

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 1:17AM
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ml - she's just at the edge of town - she's said she's even walked to work and home again. can't be far. I hope anyway. The end of my drive way seems far to me anymore -lol!

shades - you need to put a sign out there for that skunk - with an arrow pointing the other direction... or maybe the skunk thinks he/she's found a new friend in your dog?

welcome energy! We are a good group and do have fun.

please do post your trick to rid shades place of the stink! that'd be just horrible to have all around you.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 1:41AM
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Yes we do live in the city. Right at the edge as Steph said. I am three long blocks from city hall,my office. Tonight my office was my recliner. Needed to work but I do not like to work in the building all alone late at night and when I do have to I let the sheriff know.

Living in the city still allows the critters. Our city is so tiny (about 165 people now) even the critters hardly notice it is here. LOL

The dog that got the worst of it the first time is the one barking at them still. The other dog heads to the back bathroom to hide as fast as he can. We laughed at him so hard. I do not think he wanted to have to have another bath.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 3:08AM
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I thought of you last night, shades. The neighbor's little dog was over by our fence yapping it's head off, and the other neighbor's big dog barked every so often too so I knew it was right there too. My flashlight needs new batteries and I couldn't see anything so dh got out his spotlight, and it was a skunk.

I put the cat in the garage and called the neighbor with the big dog and told them the skunk was in their backyard, so they called in their dog. I never smelled skunk so I guess it left the other dog alone. I've been smelling skunk a lot lately just after dark. Wonder if they are living there somewhere?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 8:54AM
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here you go
1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide
1/4 cup baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon dishwashing liquid
mix in large bowl..mixtue will make foam
apply on dog while mixture is foaming

don't try to store in closed containers
as it will explode oxygen generator!
and it loses its efficiency,

this works on people, clothes & pets.

for under my house..I mixed up
a second batch & poured it around on
the ground.

something about the peroxide & baking
soda neutralizes the spray.
not a chemist...but it really works.
much easier than keeping gallons of
tomato juice on hand!

I'll be back later to visit.
nice meeting all of y'all.


    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 11:54AM
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Thanks Debbie,

This is a keeper for sure. I do the tomato sauce mixed into the shampoo so it is one application but on the dog that got it the worst it did not work all that well. I will give this a try. Will have to be careful around her eyes though.


    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 12:12PM
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you are welcome!
I usually put a wet washcloth over my dog's eyes.

now I have different dogs..neither of them
seem to go after skunks..but possums..
rabbits..armadillos..its on!
its the littlest one that goes after snakes.
third bite was emergency vet. hopefully
he has learned a lesson.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 12:17PM
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"I do not like to work in the building all alone late at night and when I do have to I let the sheriff know."

don't blame ya at all shades. and smart move to let the sheriff know.

I worked late - alone - in an office bldg when I was in my 20's. by the time I closed up and got out of there and into my car my legs were shaking so bad I could hardly drive. of course, it wasn't a little town like you're in.

I'm gonna save that skunk stink fixer too - just in case!

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 9:39PM
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