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Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Posted by lavender_lass (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 16, 12 at 19:01

Instead of 'tea' this week, I thought it would be fun to talk about what makes the 'Smaller Homes' forum special. Why do we come here? What keep us checking in?

For me, it's the wonderful people, who frequent the forum. It's been a rough year and I lost one of my best friends a few years ago...who also happened to be my grandmother. She was always outspoken, truthful, intelligent, funny and wise...and I miss her like crazy. She was the one person I could count on, to tell me exactly what she thought. Of course, she'd tell you your idea needed work, as she served you cookies and tea or coffee :)

So, although it's not so much about age, as character, I find a lot of those qualities here. Guys and gals, who care about what we're doing, what's going on in our lives and what's happening in our homes and gardens. At a time when so many people complain about how much better 'things used to be' I find that this forum is 'like it used to be'. People/friends, who get together, when they can to catch up, offer advice when it's asked for, and support when it's needed.

A big 'thank you' to each and every one of you! And, I hope you'll share why you visit the 'Smaller Homes' forum, too.

And, just as an aside, I find a very similar (if somewhat larger) group, on the Cottage Garden forum. So, if anyone wants to talk about gardening...it's a great place to visit, too :)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

LL good idea.

I enjoy this small house forum for many of the same things you do. Many here I also visit with email and it is friends that keep life fun. I also enjoy sharing ideas on how to live comfortable in a smaller footprint. With out compromising quality of life.How to make rooms work for more than one use. Storage ideas. Decorating a smaller house.

I was so stunned when we moved from 1850 SQ FT to 1250 SQ FT I needed help. I know it was the right thing to do. I learned so much on how to cope and what to keep and how to shed things with out feeling so bad about it. I am enjoying life so much more for the downsizing we have done . It was just hard for me to get it into my head. I know we lived in really small houses but always aspired to get the bigger house.Then to go backwards it was shocking to me but I am so glad we did.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

For a long time, I was only visiting the Garden side of the GWeb site. But then I discovered the Smaller Homes forum, and it gave me more than I've found any place else. Such a lot of
personal exchanges, not like the HGTV shows, and a lot more varied than a magazine subscription.

I've lost track of how many years I've been here, maybe three? But everyone is putting up with my varied interests, which include living in the garden as part of my house, so to speak anyway. Because if you have a small home, you have to make the yard/garden work too. It is not just about the decorating, it includes all the activities our families engage in while home. Like Shades says, emails can be exchanged for a personal conversation, and it just seems so very natural and neighborly.

Smaller Homes is like having all of you folks in one small town, maybe two streets over, and we seem to have a lot in common, but we are definitely not all alike.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

I agree with both of you. It's you people who keep me coming back. This group seems really down to earth, open, honest, and caring about others. My house is not magazine worthy and never will be, but I feel I can show it to you all and ask questions without reproach. I love that when someone asks a question, people throw out every idea they can think of to help the poster. I also love how creative this group is. I feel like I'm surrounded by artists.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Cause my house is small! ;-)

Actually I have not been around in a while, I have two young boys (turning 7 and 2 1/2). I feel like I'm just starting to ease back into some normal life now that my youngest is not really a baby any more.

I remember when hardly anything was posted on the Smaller Homes forum. And now I can come and get (or share) practical advice from folks who can relate to living in a smaller space.

I hope to pop in a little more frequently just to see what's going on!


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

I know, melle sacto, it used to be so slow here. But I once I found this forum, I was here for good. It was just like home.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Participating in Smaller Homes forum is like sitting around on the front porch on a lazy Sunday afternoon, visiting with the neighbors as they walk by, sometimes stopping to sit down for a nice chat. :)


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

This forum is visited by a special group of people. Good, down to earth, common sense folks. I feel comfortable here asking questions and sharing comments. The people here are the kind I'd love to have as neighbors. I don't have the opportunity to chat as much as I'd like, but visit here most week days to see what's going on, get ideas or suggestions for my own house & enjoy the progress of all your projects. Marti is right, you all seem to be an open, honest & very creative group always willing to help.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

I check on here because we downsized to an 1800 sq ft house, and I am remodeling it. I like the way everyone else here has a smaller home and can relate.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

I mostly lurk, but living in a small, modest 70's ranch, I find it hard to apply ideas seen on most decorating shows and in magazines, and even the kitchen forum is too extravagant for my situation.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

jilljohn I think you have hit the nail on the head. I do not have a problem with the kitchen or decorating forums they have been helpful with me at times. But the "Too Extravagant" fits many of their ideas. Not that I would not like to be extravagant some times. It just is not on my vocabulary or pocket book.

The folks here are a little closer to my lifestyle and seem more willing to work through a problem rather then just throw money at it. AND you all here seem to tolerate my insanity. Hehehehehe


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

In our 60's, we don't plan to ever get a "big" house.
We don't entertain a lot, and don't have the money to buy
or keep up a big property, but moreover, we don't want it
either. No envy, glad people get what they want. This house
is over 1600 sq ft, bigger than our last house which was under
1300 sq ft. I feel I already got that bigger home. I was
surprised to learn that a house under 2000 sq ft is considered
small...


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

I think I can only echo what others have said. This forum embraces more than small square footage. It embraces simplification. There is a component of that in the decorating and kitchen forums, and of course in the organizing the home forum, but here it seems to be an overriding theme. I like that.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Organizing home forum. hummmmmmmmmmm Going to have to go look that one up.I think I used to go there and had forgotten about it. Seems the older we get the more things get misplaced. Was hoping to have it all in perfect order so I can always find the things I want to use. Wonder if it is possible to ever be totally organized?


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Down to earth seems to describe this group. Describes me too. I think many of us with small houses are not so much into the bling that you find on some of the other forums. Working with the small house you have, even revelling in it, is a good thing.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

I am new as of last month, but I come here for the great advice, tips, and tricks as I enter first-time home-owner-hood. I feel like I fit in and can relate!
Especially learning everyone's rituals for company, holidays, decorating, organizing, etc. utilizing the space that you have.

If I had 3000 sq feet then I would need to buy enough stuff to fill it...... I'd be in the poor house.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

The people here are so encourageing. No matter what you show them, they have good advice and kind words. I've gotten a lot of good ideas from looking at some of the house projects.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Agree - simplification - a small house definitely prompts one to live a simpler life out of necessity.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Definitely. Simplification is the solution. I'm still working on it, but haven't made it there yet.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

My thoughts... simplification, focusing on what is necessary as opposed to extravagance. While I pop in and out here, I usually read what new topics are discussed, and particularly enjoy when new members ask questions. Many of my friends (from an 'earlier life') remain in their huge homes and have no money issues whatsoever. There is NO WAY they would understand working with a small budget. I love the mentality, the camaraderie, the ideas at this forum. Some of the others are great for specific ideas... but this one does feel best!


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

I visit here because this is one great bunch of people! I belong to a lot of different forums, and find it interesting how different forums have different personalities. The good people here are welcoming, supportive, non-judgemental, sensible, fun (and funny) in short- the same qualities I like in face-to-face friends.

Of course, there are a lot of good discussions about living in smaller homes and how to cope with it, but for me, it's the people.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

I barely qualify as our current home is 2200 square feet, but I feel like I fit in b/c we have six people living here and several pets, too, yet I don't want it to be any larger.

It's 800 square feet larger than our last home and I am looking forward to going smaller again once a couple of the kids are gone.

I like it here because folks don't assume bigger is necessarily better, and I like to see how other people handle some of the prioritizing and oraganizational challenges of smaller homes.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

I like coming here because you receive a warm welcome right from the start(thanks shadesofidaho)
As stated previously people are supportive, give great advice are non-judgemental, warm and they would never say things to you with a mean undertone. I have never heard that here. :)
You are the kind of people I would like to meet over a cup of tea or glass of wine !
Also when I finally post my photos I know you will help in any way possible.
My opinion is small homes promote coziness which is good for human's(and cat's) attitude(s).(this is what my cat told me to say)


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

I lurk here because I've lived in tiny homes all my life so little spaces are near and dear to my heart :)

I discovered Garden Web just after we put our 800sqft home on the market last summer. We were a little tight on space with two adults, two teens and five pets but mostly we wanted to live in the country again. So, it was more location then space that promted the move.

We ended up with a 1302sqtf home in the country that has a full basement (making a total of 2704sqft). So I don't qualify as a small home owner anymore...


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

oh leafy, you are sooo outa here! (just kidding!)

and basements don't count on here either!

when I was raising my 4 kids 1800 sq ft seemed like sooo much space. I'd need a map if I had 3,000 sq ft (and a maid). I'd probably need a map (and a maid) for much more than I'm getting. I do plan to make a list for each room and closet. I'm sure to forget where just about anything is w/in a week of putting in whatever space.

everything others listed as reasons. they are all spot on for this forum!

I feel like it's family here. We can ask the weirdest things, I know 'cause I have! And someone's already been there, done that - just as weird as me.

I love checking in on kitchens, but so many on there are way over my head in space, budget - and obviously wants and needs. I feel badly when someone posts that they don't want to post their kitchen because it isn't 'up to' what else is posted there. Tho, I've never read where anyone said anything but good about their budget redo and have given ideas for them too. They can be intimidating especially if one brings up laminate counters, vinyl flooring or those 4" backsplashes - lol! hey, we're all different - those are things I WANT. Others do too but i think are often afraid to say so. I'm not. LL and a few others aren't either.

While I can love seeing the super kitchens (baths etc), giving my ideas and think most of it is beautiful - it just isn't what I'd want to LIVE in/with. There have been a handful on there that'd I'd be comfortable living in/with. They're usually the older style (put in an older house), a farm type kitchen (love those!), or one with Mexican/Spanish touches (so close to my heart).

Here I feel that IF we had the money, time and energy we could join forces and go from house to house here and all pitch in to GET'ER DONE! Wouldn't that be soooo fun?


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Steph, we would all start at MamaG's and either be filled with inspiration or would give up and walk away shaking our heads that we could never be that creative! So MamaGoose is the last stop on the tour!

I have plenty of woodwork to paint. Jim installed new baseboards and door trim in my halls last month, plus baseboards in the kitchen and family room. And if anyone enjoys crawling between a countertop and an upper cab in order to pick excess grout out of rope liner, I would let them use my far infra-red sauna afterward to recover. I also have two french doors that need to be sanded down and re-stained. Since sanding is involved, you can put me on the Small Home Brigade agenda for late April or in May. DH is a great cook if you like vegetarian. And as for accomodations, I have a rather large yard for a city lot, so tent space abounds. Don't be bringing any of those fancy motor homes, I do not have electrical at the front exterior of the house!

Oh! for a small home, we are blessed with a half-bath, so potty breaks should go fast, given that we have TWO toilets!


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

It feels very comfortable and homey here. Like a favorite pair of jeans and a big soft sweatshirt.

I used to just stay in Kitchens and venture out once in a while to Paint or Floors, and I thought I was taking a walk on the wild side checking out the Decorating forum. Then someone mentioned THIS forum on Kitchens, and I thought, "Small Homes? That's pretty much what I have!" Well, small home-just one. ;) I peeked in on you all and played the lurker a bit, as you seemed to really "know" each other, and I didn't want to be an interloper. LOL.

ANYway, I realized that I had some information to offer on one of the threads, and I just held my breath and jumped right in. Everyone was very welcoming and encouraging.

So, thank you. :)


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

" and basements don't count on here either! "

In that case, I will start posting :)


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Steph- It is fun to get the kitchen forum talking about vinyl floors, laminate countertops and ceramic tile (LOL)

Cozy- Of course you should stay! Everyone has different needs in their home so 1,500 square feet may be a lot of space for one person, but terribly crowded for six. I think 'smaller homes' is more of a concept...organizing your storage, having flexible spaces, using every room (almost) every day and trying to make the most, of the square footage we do have.

Shelayne- I'm glad to see you over here! You've contributed some great ideas and I hope other 'lurkers' will jump in, too :)


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

IMHO, we will always have something to discuss here. If we finish a KITCHEN project, we feel sort of at loose ends hanging out in Kitchens. And the same with paint or roofs or whatever. There is a built in wall around those forums, and we get away with discussing EVERYTHING, because we have the whole she-bang as our subject here. Sound good so far?

I think of this forum as a neighborhood. The friendlier the better. There's always room for more folks.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Thank you moccasinlanding for the invitation. Although I have been reading about all of your great ideas for many years, this is my first post. I must say it is a bit scary. With that said, I'll just jump right in.

Hi everyone, I'm a 32.5 years French teacher from Louisiana. I love gardening, decorating, and DIY'ing, but my passion is antiquing. My parents, who grew up during the Great Depression, instilled in me the value of a dollar. My idea of a good time is getting great deals at thrift stores and repurposing my finds.
I have a DH of 35 years, a college-student DD, a mini-schnauzer, 2 shepherds, and a bob-tail tabby cat. I live in a small home in the country.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Lovevintage- Welcome to the forum! Gardening is one of my favorite things, too...but when it's too cold (or hot) to get outside, then decorating and designing are my second choices.

Your idea of antiquing...going to thrift stores and discovering great deals and repurposing...those are all things my grandmother (also a Depression kid) loved to do! She taught us all that it's easy to go out and buy something new, but to be unique, visit a thrift store and remake something into your own creation :)


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Welcome Lovevintage. You are right up my alley in vintage stuff. Mine is not really great stuff except for a couple of pieces but I love it and living with it.I am totally into nothing matches.

Glad you joined us. We love pictures of anything and everything.Even off topic stuff. I think we are all pretty lax on that here.

chris


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Because you are all such a friendly, caring group of posters. I have not had much to report lately, but will
start a new thread to catch you up.
Phoggie


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

welcome! yep, we love pics. even of a broken screen door... or missing threshold...lol!

i also love old things. Would much rather have my old stuff than new stuff.

and hey - we're not scary here - BOO!


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phoggie

I was wondering about you yesterday! glad you posted. got a layout / plans to post?


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

I have lurked for awhile since I have lived in/prefer smaller homes. Now DH and I are building and we are struggling to keep it as small as I would like :( We aimed for 1600 and are at 1800 now. I have tweaked and tweaked and I struggle making things smaller while still having a house that will suit our family or 4 for the next 30 years (well the girls are only 1 and 2.5 so they won't be here for 30 years hopefully!).

I seem to keep coming back to forums as a way to connect and learn depending on my stage of life (when I was getting married, pregnant, with a newborn or for my passion- photography). When we decided to build, the first thing I googled was "house building forum" which brought be to the build a house forum but so many of them are building such huge houses, I feel a bit silly with my little build. :)


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

sweet.reverie- I hope you will post your progress here and on Building a Home. I lurk there and am always longing to see more realistic builds. ;) The ones posted are nice, but there's no reality in them for me. I want to see how a family builds creatively, smaller, and on a more reasonable budget. Those are my favorite.

As for Small Homes....

This is home! We're the only tiny house on our street, nestled among the prewar mansions, so SH has become my own little "neighborhood." I hop on to see what everyone is up to, gather some inspiration, and say hello if I have a moment. It's like a porch party for this porchless girl.

Most of all, I love the collective wisdom of the kind people here. They are willing to share and do so with great sensitivity and creativty. I've learned many things about living small, living simply, and it is an encouragement to me.

In the "real world," my age group seems to be all about MORE and BIGGER, a concept that I just can't relate to at all. I've always longed for a quiet, simple life, and this forum helps me remember that that's OK!


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Just stopping to say "hi" to a great group of people and to let you know they poured the footings for my new "small house" and I am so excited. Like some have stated, with my budget, I don't seem to fit into most of the other forums, ( or feel like I can post my modest house in "how is your build progressing") but you all make me feel so welcome here.

Some of you have seen my beautiful lot...and I'll admit that is where a chunk of my money went, but looking at the water will be good therapy for me after DH's untimely death and when I no longer need this house, it will be the location that will help my house to sell.

I wish each of you could come sit on my porch, look at the lake, and have a cup of tea or coffee with me.

Blessings to you, my friends!


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Aw Phoggie what a sweet invite. We will have virtual Tea with you when your deck is finished.

We went the manufactured home rout for this house. They are not as cheaply built as they used to be. I am all with you on building modest. As long as it is quality with lasting ability we do not need all the frills. We have been very happy in our smaller house. It is so hard to imagine we have already been here over 4 years.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

phoggie, please do post pictures of your progress here. It is an encouragement to me to see others forge ahead and git-er-done.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Phoggie, I'm so excited that you've gotten started on your home. I look forward to seeing and hearing about your progress.

I too really don't qualify for the small home forum. Our house is 2050 sq. ft, but the upstairs is usually closed off and we live in about 1300. Our family is grown & on their own. We do use the extra space when they visit.

We are currently trying to decide whether to stay or try and downsize. DH just found that he will be required to take early retirement which causes us to rethink many things. While I love our home in the woods, it is difficult to care for and may be too costly for us to continue to stay. It is very hard to consider changing after spending 20+ years building both a home & life here for our family. You all give me much encouragement that whatever we may do will ultimately be o.k.

Have started looking for small & simple house plans for a possible retirement home, although retirement is still a few years down the road for me. Love hearing about you all are doing with your homes & viewing your plans!


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Thanks friends and I will try to keep you up to date on my progress. Tomorrow I am going to price some more cabinet and hard flooring OUCH! I certainly miss having my DH to help me making all of these difficult decisions so hope I do them right and build an affordable house to live in for the rest of my life.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

I'm one of the originals here. We got this forum going because so many of us just weren't on the McMansion bandwagon. I haven't posted much lately but visit nearly every day. Love to see the works in progress and befores and afters.

We lived in a small Cape Cod in upstate eastern NY on 1/2 acre or so for 7 years, but the yard work got to be too much for me (DH is partially disabled) and other factors made it clear it was time to move on. Listed the house 3 days before the "crash" so it took 2 long years to sell. Very frustrating at the time.

We too opted for a double wide mobile home but ours is in a senior park not far from our other house and only a couple of miles to nearly every store I'll ever need!


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Hi Wanttoretire. Good to see you posting. How are you liking your new home? Sure looks cute in the picture. I used to slave away in the yard but now for me it is not possible. Always wished for tiny yard I could make drop dead gorgeous. So we have the smaller home but we still have the half acre. Thankfully a good part of it is in lawn.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

I've wandered back here several times. Just recently, we paid off our mortgage and thought about renting this place and getting a slightly larger place. We had our eye on a 1900 sq ft model home, but I just couldn't bare leaving my little cozy, just under 1000 sq ft, home. My kitchen is so perfect. Our yard just big enough. I just really need to get my paper hoarding under control and I'll have some free space!

The small homes forum is like putting on your comfy sweats, sipping some wine, and cozying up to a good book! Except here you can cozy up to good people..... who share a similar living style.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Shades, I too have scaled way back from the whole yard thing. Last year I planted all perenniels and they all came up in spades this year.


The soil had been amended. I'd like to expand a little, like putting hostas on the edgings to soften the transition from driveway to crappy soil. Pretty labor free and pleasing to the eye.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Wanttoretire watch out for moccasinlanding She is the hosta queen around here. She has a huge gorgeous collection. We are too hot and sunny in our yard. I have a few hosta but had to cover the new ones with shade cloth. I really love them. Your flower beds look great.

Caligal have you seen that Neat Desk scan into computer thing. You can scan your papers through it and everything goes digital. Buy an external hard drive to store the information on and you are good to go. I know there are other brands then just the Neat desk. That one is about $400.00 but that is a whole lot less costly than moving. I was also a paper hoarder. I got over it , now I hoard glass, but I do understand the desire.

I love my external hard drives. I have several little flash drives and a couple larger drives. Watch for them to go on sale at at staples or your office supply store. I keep all my pictures from four computers backed up on an 8 GB flash drive that I just keep plugged into my laptop. Over 10 years of pictures at my fingertips.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Shades, I have looked at something similar, but what happens when you need a paper? I also hoard magazines.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

caligal - you print it out? I'd worry my drive would crash. good idea to have important papers done like that and keep the flash drive somewhere else tho - in case of fire, flood etc. hmmm - guess I should do that and have my BIL put in their safe. They'd have the info in case something happened to me also.

wantto - can you post a closer up pic of your steps? maybe from each side? I need to make me some steps...
I absolutely love that green you have on them and your rail. It looks awesome! Maybe you should just send me yours and save me the trouble of making some...

We have a number of mfg home retirement areas north of me and I've enjoyed driving thru them a number of times just looking at their 'yards' and outside decorations. Out here their 'yards' are mostly stone/rock, southwestern things (gecko, road runner, saguaros (metal or stone), coyotes, etc.) and real cacti. Such neat things. I have a flagstone coyote and my puppy sometimes sees it beyond a bush and wants to attack it. silly pup! I used to have a few other flagstone 'things' but my friend killed 'em with the forklift.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Caligal, The thing I have found is there is rarely a paper I ever need again. I have online banking so can go back many years on statements and all the checks show up.I was such a paper hoarder I no longer allow magazines come into our house. Funny this is being discussed as just last night I came across a desk drawer I have not used in a long time. So long ago there were deposit slips with our old address on them We moved 4 years ago. I cleared out a pile of papers from that drawer.

The paper things I allow myself to keep are all the letters from my Mom. I was adopted and found my Mom when I was 32. The letters are like a time line for me. I keep them in a small child's trunk I have had for years.I also have a few letters from my friend that passed away last December.

I used to have a four drawer file cabinet full of papers. Now my husband and I each have one metal file box. the ones with handle on the top. Mine has my old medical records. Some banking stuff.Income tax stuff. A few misc things. I clear it out every couple of years (just did that last winter) if the filing gets tight.I can hardly wait to toss paper stuff out of my life now.It caused me so much grief.

I used to save magazine articles. Spent hours and hours clipping and filing them. I never went back to them. I would go through them once in awhile and when I did the stuff was so dang out of date(mostly decorating stuff) it was worthless. I just bit the bullet and threw it all out and saved myself so much future time. It had gotten to be a chore to look through the magazines and pull out what I wanted then file it and store it. Some times weeks of evenings wasted doing this. Now I waste my evenings reading books or being on the internet or doing my mosaics.

Letting go of all that paper stuff has liberated me in a really good way. The paper stuff not only clutters your house it clutters your mind.Good luck. it is a hard habit to break.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

I just saw this forum. I downsized from a 2189 square foot house to a 1169 sq ft bungalow. I love my tiny house. I love decorating. I renovated it completely in under 6 months on budget... and I mean completely, including a septic field. I love the charm of little houses. Of course I do not have any closets at all. That is the one thing I wish this house had. And an extra bathroom.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

desertsteph, the first pic is the best view. The green porch was already there, tho the verticals were white. I thought that all green would ground the whole look and am happy with it. We replaced the very unsafe preformed steps. That said, I'm not happy with the green floor and green stair steps. They show the dirt and mud too much. We had a ramp built in the back, also painted green, but just stained the walkway. Much better looking and doesn't show the dirt.

Being in the desert, I think I'd go with regular stain only, not colored.

Shades - the left-hand side of the second pic is now shaded by a carport and wrapping around further to the left faces north where I have hostas, ferns, bleeding hearts and astilbe. I underestimated how quickly they would fill in, so will have to do some rearranging! On the front of the porch, which gets full afternoon sun (carport only comes up 6 feet), I hung a couple of white sheets on tension rods, an idea I stole from you, so I can have some shade loving plants on the porch. This summer has been a real test of my diligence to WATER THOSE PLANTS EVERY SINGLE DAY. Next year, larger pots, less watering, I hope.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

myhouse, Welcome! What a lovely fireplace. Congratulations on your new home & your remodel. A 6 month renovation on budget is very impressive, and your room is beautiful. Good to know that it has worked out well for you. We're hoping to do the same thing before too long!


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Myhouse, wow! Really? 6 months!! You are my hero. We have lived here 21 years and still are trying to get rooms redone. I'm super jealous. Did you contract out for many things?

Love the fireplace! Something else we need to do. I just take too long to make a decision about anything. I second guess myself too much.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Shades of Idaho, my paper hoarding is so out of control. I'm sure there must be a thread here somewhere on conquering this problem. I need to dump my magazine collection cold turkey. If I try to sort through and look at some of the pictures, I talk myself into keeping them. Seriously, I think I will go pick 10 to throw in recycler now!

Good to know, you have never really needed to find a paper In your scanned copies. I just wondered how you search for the paper if you do need it. Also, do you copy receipts?


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Caligal-I love magazines too but stopped subscribing years ago, now I get all my magazines at the library so in 7 days back they go. I realize there will always be a new recipe to try so I don't need to clip and save. I'm really good at memorizing so when I make it once I usually can make it again. I will make an exception for Mother Jones because you are not allowed to check it out. I am so adverse to more paper that I can't bring myself to subscribe yet ! I need a new shredder and as soon as I get it I'm spending a weekend ruthlessly shredding everything except the truly important documents.
Take a day and bring a stack to the beach and glance through them on the way out throw them out or better yet leave some at the train stations. People on trains are always looking for something to read. I like stations where people drop off their paperback books.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Caligal I had a long post started them company came by and I lost it. Anyway email me. We can discuss this more if you want.Email on my ME page. I do not have a neat desk. I would like one for the city paperwork. I literally tossed all the paper stuff in the garbage or burned a lot of it. Still never have needed anything I threw away. Probably still keep too much.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

I too am obsessive about some paperwork, like old tax returns. Having been through a couple of audits 'way back when, I do keep all of those records. Also 2 prior house sale papers, mortgage payoffs, etc. However, I finally put them all in a tote in the shed, telling DH that if the Revenuers ever come, we will tell them the mice ate it all LOL.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Here is a link to a great article on getting rid of financial (paper) clutter - What you should keep and what you can toss.

Here is a link that might be useful: Purging financial clutter


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Thanks for all the helpful advice and link above!

Just another reason to visit the smaller homes forum.....all the friendly folks here sharing suggestions and experience!!


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

wantto - as much as I like that green, it wouldn't work for me in the desert. I tend to want to blend in with the desert, not stand out in it. i could maybe use a color like that on a plant pot or 2 tho. I'd love to have a ramp! They're expensive tho - too much for me right now. I have too many other things that need done.

I got a few mag subscription a few yrs back - they were free. By about the 2nd month of them coming I began to dread the mail. I didn't even look at most of them - I sure didn't 'renew' any of them (3 I think). I did take a few mags w/me to the laundromat to glance thru - then left them there.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

steph, if I lived in the desert again (lived in Tucson for 1968) I'd go all natural to blend in as well. I miss it a little, but not the scorpions, summer heat, and the wind.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Can I revive this old thread in order to (sort of) rant?

I just discovered this forum and have been reading through old threads. I live in a 1700 sq. ft. 2-storey cape cod. I'm fortunate that it was a choice (well, sort of... my husband bought the house when he was single, before he knew me) rather than a "forced downsizing" because of the economy. And frankly, even with relatively high home prices and extraordinarily high property taxes around here, it's beneath our means, as I know is also the case with many on here. But, even at 1700 sq. ft., it's more space than we need. We could get a bigger house to put on display the factthat we're upper-middle class professionals, but that would be ridiculous. We have no kids, we're not going to have kids, and even now, a lot of space is wasted.

For the longest time, I only ever went to the garden forums, and then I discovered the home decorating, kitchen, and bath forums. I read them for kicks, but I just got so frustrated and often disgusted (particularly in the kitchen and bath forums) with the sort of herd mentality. I feel like if you want to talk about some change that isn't a $50,000 kitchen renovation with the latest trendy cabinets/appliances in your 30 foot kitchen, you don't get great responses. Not all the threads are like that, but that's the general feel, and it's kind of the feel I get in real life! I'm sure people make certain incorrect assumptions about us because we live in a very modest house.

From reading this forum, I see that I won't run up against that here, which is refreshing. It also seems fairly balanced... there might be some people who are absolutely against any "normal" sized house, and obsessed with living in 500 sq. ft. or even much less, as part of some sort of movement, but for the most part it seems like a community of rational people, in a range of small house sizes, living that way for a variety of reasons.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Welcome Lizzie,

I think you are exactly right about the reasons most of us like living in smaller houses. Having lived from 800 SQ FT to 1850 SQ FT and all in between I can honestly say I have experienced the large and small of it.We did choose to make this house just for us and it is the perfect size for us.

I think most of us here are fairly frugal in our thinking. I also have a hard time relating to extravagant just to be extravagant. And I am sure the kitchen and bath forums figured I was just a nut. Whatever. I did meet a few fun people over at those forums. I just can not go along with the $400 kitchen faucets just because they were expensive.

Again welcome and we love pictures and projects.

Chris


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Hi Lizzie,
Don't get me wrong--I love the expertise and willingness to help of the people on the other forums. But sometimes I get the feeling I must gross about 10% of what those people do!

(Funny story: the folks over at the Kitchen and House Building forums occasionally mention make up air--which I now understand is a used to bring air back into your house when your super powerful oven hood sucks it all out. Well, before I knew that, I would occasionally see MUA, and I thought they meant fresh air source for make-up stations, as in to save the air from suck away hairspray and foundation powder... I was thinking, wow, what amenities will they think of next!! Not my brightest moment...)

We're building a 2,300 sf home, which is too big for this forum, but the people on this forum have let that slide :) There is a thread a little ways back about small-house envy, check that out. I knew I found a great forum when Eat Real Food told me she swooned over low cost per square foot!!


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

LOL Cam, I wondered for a long time what MUA meant.

Lizzie, I used to feel that way about the kitchens and decorating forums, but I finally decided it just takes awhile to break into the circles there. I'm sure they are sick to death of me, but no one seems to care that I am doing a budget remodel of my kitchen and they have been very helpful.

Now it used to be that people on the other forums, or most of them, were very blunt about things that didn't meet their standards, but I've noticed in the last year especially, that most people on the other forums try to say something nice about every reveal posted, whether it is to their taste or not.

I do agree with shades that most of us on this forum lead a thrifty, down-home lifestyle. When I was younger I used to have serious house envy. But I finally had a lightbulb moment when I realized that with a smaller house comes less upkeep, smaller bills, and more time to do the things we enjoy. The house we have now at 2000 sq ft is much too big for us now that the kids are gone, and I have a dream of downsizing to 1200 sq ft with a tiny yard and TOTALLY FREE WEEKENDS!


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

yes, welcome lizzie! I agree with all shades said...

we are pretty rational on here. We aren't 'for show' that's for sure! Unless it's to show off our re-purposing of something or a great bargain - those things we're real proud of!

If you're stumped on how to do or what to do about something those here are very helpful. There's a mix here that's done most everything.

my new place is around 1400 sq ft for just me and 1 dog (part time at this point - cause she's a pest and rowdy) and I mostly 'use' about half of it. So, 1700 for 2 isn't 'overdo' if you have a hobby or other interest that might need some space out of normal eyesight. There are times already tho that I wonder about the huge (to me) space I have to walk from bdrm to kitchen. I seem to do that so often - I'm now considering it my daily 'walk'. It's probably all of about 18' from my bdrm door to the kitchen.

I often feel bad for some on kitchens who are doing a few thousand (or even less) re-do/ remodel and post that they don't want to post pics because theirs is so not what most there are. Some of those kitchens cost more than my land, mfg home, car, furniture etc all put together! They sure are beautiful to look at but would really be a waste for me. I'd feel uncomforable trying to work in some of them. They are so much more than I need or want. I'd be the first one to drop a bowl of chili right down the front of new white cabinets... and things like that aren't the exception in my life, it's the norm - lol! I just accept it and go on. White isn't something I usually wear either.

I couldn't imagine spending 400.00 or more for a faucet. 200 seems a lot to me. And it wouldn't be that much if I wasn't being concerned about things like the hght, the 'reach' of it etc because of my back and my short arms (I should sue someone about these arms!) AND the fact that I don't want to put money out for one and pay someone to put it in only to have to do it again in a yr or 2! So I will spend 50.00 or so more than I'd like to get a good brand, one w/good reviews.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

I think part of the difference might be that if you are pro-smaller homes, it's because you see the value in the lifestyle and tend to be less concerned with "keeping up with the Joneses."

And, this could be just a total coincidence, but I have to tell you a story. Our last house was in a cul-de-sac of homes built in 1980 as the Street of Dreams homes for the town. So, they were older and not new fancy "McMansions" or anything, but still nice, high property taxes for the area, etc. We lived there just over five years. We had zero neighborly friends. We knew one neighbor by name, only because he would come over and complain if our bushes were too close to the sidewalk and killed a strip of our front yard grass so that it wouldn't touch his driveway.

We have lived in this smaller house in a more modest neighborhood since mid-October and I honestly have lost track of how many neighbors I've met. People taking walks stop to chat, the neighbors across the street offered their help if we needed anything, there are kids that my kids are playing with, on and on. It's crazy how different and friendly they are.

Now, it could just be that we lucked out on the neighborhood, but I can't help but wonder if it has something to do with the more modest means. Like, no one is worried about impressing everyone else. Whatever it is, it's wonderful.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

steph, I can't tell you how often I have regretted going for this granite instead of laminate. At least it's not white cabinets, which would be permanently spotted with drips. If dh decides not to sell after we get finished, I am going to be really ticked. I think. The more I look for a new place, the more I like this location. Well, until I woke up this morning at 5am with skunk smell permeating the house.

But the granite was for resell, not for me. I haven't broken a dish yet, but it's coming.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

hey marti - we were typing at the same time I guess. If you plan to sell I guess something like a granite will be helpful. I love my sister's granite and pet it every time I go there - lol! I just don't wanna cook / fix food on it or handle dishes (unless plastic) around it. That and her tile floors. She doesn't really either. She retired from cooking yrs back and her dh now does all the cooking.

I do think a lot of those on kitchens even if they can afford and are putting in a mega kit do still participate on a lower level kit base (like bee, buehl, and many others) and love to put in their help (lots of knowledge and style). And many on there have such a totally different lifestyle than a lot of us here. me for sure. I certainly don't 'entertain'. Seldom have visitors (or go visiting). I struggle to make it down the road to my sister's once a wk for left overs and other stuff she has for me (like boxes for packing).


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

"there might be some people who are absolutely against any "normal" sized house, and obsessed with living in 500 sq. ft. or even much less, as part of some sort of movement, but for the most part it seems like a community of rational people"

Hey that's me !
Obsessed: I LOVE living in a small space. The rents @$1600/mo.and up for a "1" bedroom in my neighborhood and the single family homes 600-700K...I'm obsessively smart. Even if I had the money for a much larger ugly american box I would choose to buy a few small homes around the world.
I am however concerned with what will happen when we are forced to make a major life changing shift in this country. Most people are ill prepared for the changes we will go through here.
What's wrong with movements ? The only things that have ever made positive changes have been movements(labor movement/woman's movement etc). If enough people start demanding with their dollars small homes (let's say 1000sf-1500)-we'll get them.
I think if you lose your job and are saving to buy a house for cash (I think it was desert or moccasin who posted the article link)you can live in a smaller than "normal" house (whatever that is).
A tiny house(I could never live in one unless I lived in S. Italy-hey that's an idea I like)can work if you have land for gardening/farming/recreation and you live in a great climate.
After all Quentin Crisp came over here from England and was able to follow his dreams by living in a studio apartment. His backyard was MASSIVE.
On one of my trips to London an actor who was doing one of the "walks of London" mentioned that Americans are obsessed with square footage. We are also obsessed with our "class" and what we "do" for a living.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Regarding the kitchens forum - I read on there a lot. I LOVE to look at everyone's kitchens and all of their layout advice, etc.. I just try to keep my lifestyle/budget glasses on when I'm looking, lol. There is no way I can afford most of what I see but I figure I can learn from the color scheme's/styles and layouts I like...just have to apply them to my budget. I do get a kick out of some of the over the top kitchens where the homeowners don't even cook........wow. I have had some luck with posting for ideas over there too. I think everyone is pretty nice - just living in a much different lifestyle.

marti8a-count us in on getting the granite to hopefully help sell this place. What I love MOST about the granite.......is actually the under-mount sink! I don't mind the granite, it's okay, cleans up easily...but really I do love my sink (came free with the granite) and faucet more. I can say I've never broken anything on it though. So when we build - I will likely put it in again just because I am so enamoured by that SINK and how easy it is to sweep up all the crumbs! We did actually buy some property though so we will be moving for sure - just not sure when that will be...it's all about the budget and living within our means.

Steph-the tile floor on the other hand - cleans up so easily but it also is not forgiving AT ALL! I've lost a dish and a jar of salsa (what a mess) on that. It is bullet proof when it comes to my dog and kids (and water/sand) though. That's why we ended up with it. Kids have just about outgrown the sandbox but that dog - SANDBOX MAGNET. I do like running my hands across the granite too though - it is so smooth. Otherwise it's just like anything else, it loses it's newness and then you don't even really 'see it' anymore.

EATREALFOOD-From time to time I have pondered if I would build/buy more if I could afford it but really I honestly don't think I would. I see no sense in building a massive house just because I can, but I'm sure that does happen. We are going to build and I am really trying hard to keep the square footage in check to only what we will use - and make it quaint. I think if you go too large anyhow you lose some of that charm and cozy feel. And for the most part - I'm just not a shopper (lucky for dh). I think the more you shop the more you end up buying, impulse buying and then you've got to find a place for all of that STUFF. Surfing on the internet is much cheaper. ;) On the other hand - I do think if I could afford it I'd probably ease up on the DIY...that is a little dreamy to me. We do as much DIY as we can as that allows us to have a bit nicer stuff or more choices but I do sometimes envy those that can just call somebody up and have it done.

So glad there is a smaller homes forum.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

"The rents @$1600/mo.and up for a "1" bedroom in my neighborhood and the single family homes 600-700K."

yikes! at those prices I wouldn't be able to afford a studio apt!


"Otherwise it's just like anything else, it loses it's newness and then you don't even really 'see it' anymore. "

yes, I've found over the yrs it works like that with many things! I think I've just gotta have something, then months down the road I'm disgusted w/myself. Often I wait and a few times have lost out on a good thing - I can only think of about 3 things over the yrs that looking back I do wish I'd bought. but I've survived nicely w/out them - lol!


"but I do sometimes envy those that can just call somebody up and have it done. "

I can certainly understand that! but when you think of it - just remember all of the posts of those paying good money for a gc /sub for very bad to no work being done.


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Those prices - ugh. I found an old post the other day and posters were stating the cost of their land and then their build, OH MY, jaw hit the floor. The land prices were in the quarter of a million dollar range for not a lot of acreage. We couldn't afford the electricity or groceries in those parts. Yikes.

Steph-on the DIY - so true so true! That would be maddening. There are a few projects (okay 1 in particular, lol) we've tackled that even though it was painstakingly long I love it most because it was what WE created - and that was dry stacking our gas log fireplace. It is uniquely our own and when we move that is about the only thing I will truly miss besides the memories of starting our family here and all of that other sappy stuff. :) Otherwise I don't really mind painting and doing flooring is okay but it makes me feel old when we are done! Recovery is not what it used to be! Told dh we'd better hurry up and build in the next couple of years if for nothing else our physical age is resisting our mental diy selves!!!


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Autum it can be staggering on the cost of lots in some areas. We are really low end here from about 12K for a city lot which are 50 by 150 ish. They vary. We bought half an acre for 19K. Wish it was smaller but to get what we wanted on the lot we needed this much because it is a triangle. So we ended up with more dreaded lawn than I wanted.

My friend has two houses one huge at 6 bedrooms two story.Daylight basement being one of the stories. Barns out buildings and a second smaller two bedroom house all on almost 10 acres for 160K. So on the other end of the scale there are places going pretty darn cheep. Certainly more than we want to deal with no matter how inexpensive.

As far as DIY it is so much harder as you say the older you get. Some thing that I could easily do in an hour and not even batting an eye takes me so much longer now and I some times have to think if it is even worth it. And with my DH 10 years older then I am I can not always ask for his help now as I need to consider if it will cause him as much pain if not more than me. I was just thinking today to get it all done as fast as I can now or seriously consider hiring some one to help me.

I just hired a guy the other day to lay some pavers in the dogs yard to lower the mud level in the house this winter. There was just one little corner needing to be finished filled in.He lifted and carried four pavers at a time when I would struggle with carrying ONE. And my knee does not work=bend like it should any more. Needs surgery I have to wait on. My ankle is still healing from a fall a year ago.I struggled to carry an end table this morning to move it from one room to another. A few years ago it was not hard to move.And I still have not finished painting the inside of our house and usually I have a house painted inside and out in the first year. This was a new house but builders paint is crappy. NOW the outside needs painting too. Next year and we all will get to decide what colors. So glad this is a small house. The cost of paint is staggering now and where I buy it in Oregon they added two dollars a gallon fee for?? some thing about the environment.GGGRRRRRRRR


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Autumn.4 we have mostly greedy landlords around. Now that it is so desirable or necessary for many to rent the rents go higher and higher. My neighborhood used to be very affordable(just us proletariat folk) until many people with lots of money came in and rezoning started for "Luxury"(gag)condos. It's really nasty what's happening...trying to push & threaten people from their apartments.

on a happier note:
BTW saw your kitchen, I really like the "U"layout, It looks nice, very easy to work in.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

"The cost of paint is staggering now and where I buy it in Oregon they added two dollars a gallon fee for?? some thing about the environment."

shades, the EPA is gonna break us all. The cost to heat and cool our homes is gonna skyrocket too. I need to have this place painted outside too - am hoping I can do it in the spring. The cost of the paint scares me and then i'll have to pay someone to do it. I'm afraid of heights and getting on a ladder is just too dangerous for me anyway.

I hope by next yr this place will be looking fairly decent. Right now it's all a mess - inside and out!


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

I wish we had MORE square footage, since our current house seems a bit cramped. But, the remodeling of the farmhouse will have to wait, until my husband is better...so I'm redoing our current house. And, it's been really fun :)

By moving some rooms around, I feel like we've gained more space and still have the office areas for the business...but I don't feel like the business is taking over our house. I think I've beat it back into a corner, where it's still very functional, but contained! LOL

Also, by moving our bedroom into a larger space, it's given me room for a little reading area. What a treat! Perfect for a cup of tea and a good book...

From Home pictures


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

LL, glad to see you back! We hadn't seen you in awhile!

Our thoughts are with your husband.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

desert-I can only say I'm thrilled with non-voc paints.
I cannot tell you how many places I have lived in that were painted with "cheap" landlord bulk paint.(those large containers of paint are as toxic as those 25# of burger from costco)
I used Eco spec for all ceilings and trim and Aura(not completely non-voc) for the walls--so nice never to smell that other stuff. Whenever they paint the halls you smell it for weeks...
Anyone with any health concerns should use non-voc for interior.


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

Cam- Thanks :)

EAT- I just got some non-voc paint for the bedroom. I didn't want to smell paint fumes for days...but also wanted to paint, before spring. Glad to see they work as well as advertised!


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

LL-I read on your kitchen thread that your DH is doing better. I wish you the best,xxxooo

ps-your little reading corner looks nice & cosy. Your situation has been so stressful-I hope you are well yourself(well I guess if you went to "kitchens" you are :) If I see you on "appliances" I'll know for sure !!!


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RE: Why we visit the Smaller Homes forum...

I was busy for the past month with a project (not for the house) and today I am recovering, in my recliner. So I went back and read this thread. Welcome to Lizzie and My House and Lovevintage and JillJohn and Pekemom Mainegirl and Leafy02 and Cozy Farmhouse and Sweetreverie, I don't think I have met you before. I believe I remember the rest of you all from other threads.

I agree that we have a community of like-minded people here. We live in smaller homes and are willing to talk about it and be happy about it. People who would prefer the McMansion but can only live in a smaller home are not likely to be online talking about it, I would guess. So here we talk about thrift and how to stretch our space. We are "down to earth" as Krayers said above. One interesting observation was from the thread where we decided to show our pictures. A whole LOT of us have gray or white hair. Where I live, not many women will allow their hair to go natural as they age. I thought that all the undyed heads in that thread spoke volumes about our values. I know I come off sounding superior here, but I don't mean it that way. We white-haired middle agers and young elders on the forum just have other things we prefer to do with our time, energy, and money. We value those things more than we value following mainstream beauty trends. Whatever it is that makes us think that way has also made us happy in our smaller homes, and we are here to talk about it.

Steph, talking about how even #200 for a faucet is way too much reminded me of my last faucet buy. I met a guy at a no-name gas station a few miles away and exchanged cash for a Danze, new in box, like we were doing a drug deal. He said that the construction company he works for had special ordered them for a build, then the homeowner changed her mind. They sold them for half price on Craigslist rather than pay the shipping and restocking fees.


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