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Lovin' My Small Home

Posted by rachelzuck (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 6, 06 at 10:07

Yesterday I had a great relaxed day at home. July had been a tough month at work, but all issues have now been resolved. So as I "recovered from July" and relaxed, I just became completely "in love" with my house. I told myself, "I'm never selling", and "I love this place!" I was so content.

It's funny 'cause when things are going so-so in my life, or the place gets totally out of control with mediocre housekeeping, I begin dreaming of bigger places with more space. Then when I get unfinished projects done*, get things cleaned up, and get my work/personal life in good shape, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE MY HOUSE.

How about you? Do you blame the size of your perfectly wonderful house for the other issues in your life? And do you let comparisons with larger homes around you make you feel defensive and apologetic about your own home? Or is the size of your house truly a limitation on your life? Let's hear it for small houses!

Rachel

*Project List
I have been clearing projects off my "To Do" list which have been left over from a stressful kitchen remodel done in March/April. Such as building a countertop over my front loaders and painting it. Painting a free-standing cabinet a beautiful blue. Finding a carpet guy to properly attach the carpet to the threshhold instead of lapping it into the kitchen by one extra foot like my General Contractor did. Finishing these projects has been a relief to me.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Lovin' My Small Home

Rachel, I think I could have written that post myself. :) When I am "in control" of my home, I absolutely love it. It really is perfect for me. I am cleaning closets and drawers in my bedroom currently, and the more organized it gets, the more peaceful I feel. It is definitely a mind-over-matter thing.

Good luck with your project list!


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You kidding,....it took us one year to design our "perfect" little house, naturally it's perfect. We haven't quite moved in, but almost. It'll be a while before I start "testing".


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I also love my home. I will love it more when all the renovations are done, but I do love it. I took a LONG time to choose it. I must have looked at 80 houses before I found this one, and I knew it was "home" even before I entered the door.
I still know the lady and her family whom we purchased it from. She adores the garden and I give her seeds. The grandkids love to come inside and go over and over again about what it used to look like and where they used to sleep :) Wait until we finish indoor renovations...the kids won't recognize the place.
Miss Earnestine loves that we made the house our home. She did. She had her son renovate to their liking, and she always says "I wish I had the foresight to do what you've done!".
That makes me love my little place even more.
The funniest thing is how much out pets LOVE our home. I have never seen a cat appreciate her house more than my Boo Boo. They all recognize it from a distance, (which is odd for cats), and they all love to sit on the porch in the evening and gaze at the garden.

GGG


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I find that it's true about cursing your small home when it's out of control, but loving it when all is organized and functional. I was very ambivalent about moving back in here after my parents passed away and their estate was closed, and it took a few years before we knew what we wanted to do in terms of renovation.....that time for me was hard and I almost caved to the "I want a bigger, newer, nicer (fill the blank in with which ever word of the day I was feeling then...lol) house" blues. But thank God, my DH helped me to see the potential of this house, we didn't move and now that it's newer and nicer (but NOT bigger), I'm a happy camper.


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I'm still in chaos with far too many loose ends and would love to kick back...tis time. Glad you have found your special time to do so, it is difficult to relax with strangers in the house and so much out of place.

Remodeling wasn't part of my moving in, this little house is all I need and really could have just moved in and put my feet up. But updating major needs like new roof, plumbing, electrical hit early on. A new kitchen had already been done, but that was about it. At first I was going to do these things during the first year on an even schedule, but all at once the price of supplies started jumping....Copper for plumbing almost tripled in a month. So I decided to do what was possible as soon as possible. The upheavel of remodeling or fixing major items defintely is a stress.

While all was going on I started the painting process inside. Still in boxes, but former owner had done some terrible faux painting I couldn't live with and also reclaiming the garden while spring was a given. Didn't get the painting done....only two rooms, it is impossible to do these things with workmen around.

Do not paint anything before a roof is put on....should have known to close windows....am still cleaning up what is similar to "black sand" inside and old pieces of shingles and tar paper in the yard. The newly painted trim inside took a beating and had to use the shop vac together with washing down. It needs to be repainted again.

All of the above is over, so I am starting to enjoy the small house by dreaming of small changes to make it me. I enjoy painting, can't really complain about that part. And don't get mad at me for saying this, but winter will be here soon. Can focus on the interior...snuggle in.

Part of the small house enjoyment, at least for now, is that the cost of my projects were half what a larger home would have been. And when things are done I can "see" the changes, almost touch them in my every day life. I was tired of rambling in big....loving all the possibilities of small.

Small house dilemas do not make me want a bigger one, am ready to have the days when I can sweep through and all is in order and clean....know I'll get there soon. And never will I be apologetic to anyone for small. We are giving rather than taking by retaining them along with a bit of cost savings for the environment and our pocketbooks.

It sounds from the replies that we all are fairly organized, some can do quite well with chaos going on.....but we seem to need a normal comfort level. I haven't invited anyone to visit yet, when a bit mroe organized it will feel right. Patience is the key and glad you are getting/finding the comfort.



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RE: Lovin' My Small Home

Ditto that I could have written your topic myself..
Great thread
Another thing the homes in our neighborhood go up to 4000sf and shoot they are gorgeous and very reasonably priced because of our location - on the edge of the sticks the suburb support system of retail hasn't reached here yet- we travel 7 miles to a grocery store.. and for about 4 months- we were in this funk torturing ourselves about not buying a huge home... but we are past that now and dh is totally in LOVE with our house.... me I won't be till the decor is done... I just can't seem to get things right... I see something in my minds eye and I feel like I have such trouble bringing it to fruition... I guess working on a shoestring budget adds to that frustration lol. Sorry for getting off topic... still waiting to fall "in love"
RaNae


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I agree that when things are going so-so you may wish you had a bigger home, bigger rooms..I've been there myself. My husband and I have 3 children and we are raising them in a home under 2000 ft, which I hear that is considered small nowadays. I do have a small kitchen, but I have really grown to love it and the rest of my house. I truly think it is about being satisfied and content and living your life with as little regrets as possible. So while everyone around me seems to be building huge mansions I will enjoy the uniqueness of my own surrounding.


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No, I don't blame my home for other issues in my life but I can see how it could become a source of displeasure if things got out of hand. That's the key - keeping things in check. And you sound like you are making good progress in that area with that To Do list. It's a great feeling, isn't it, getting things checked off. We spent the better part of yesterday getting lots of those little nagging things done - putting up the new towel and tp holders, touch-up painting, hanging a shelf and mirror, etc. It felt sooo good to get those things out of the way and off the list.

I'm a fairly organized gal but it's amazing how renovating can change that. I find myself laying things down on any free counter space I can find. Then I get it cleared off only to clutter it again. Drives me nuts! And I expect it will only get worse for the next few months. Maybe by Christmas I'll be sane again. ; )

Diana


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Great thread! For too many years I grumbled and complained about our small home, under 700 sq.ft. Then something happened. We started doing a little bit here and there to it and now I love it. We've still got projects going on, decluttering and junk removal to do, and I've really been trying to keep things picked up and cleaned up and feel so much better. It's wonderful to come home from work to an air-conditioned, straightened up atmosphere. Contentment, wherever I am, is what I want.

Living in a small home is challenging and it is also rewarding.

FlowerLady


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The biggest home i've lived in has been 3300 sq. ft., and I wouldn't trade my small home(almost 1700 sq. ft.) for all the tea in China! It's cozy, has personality(mine!!), older and better, stays neater/cleaner, cheaper utilities, less costs in re-doing floors,painting, etc., and everything in the house is in 'close proxmity'. I can't imagine *ever* living in anything over 1900 sq. ft.! ;o)

patty_cakes


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My husband and I realized last night that we've come to terms with our little house.

Ever since we moved in we've been thinking about the next, bigger place we'll have, and now we feel like settling in for a longer haul.

We really don't need more space, and we'll be in a better financial position the longer we stay put.

Also, it's a darn cute little place!


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I read somewhere that it takes 7 years to really settle into your house. I've never lived anywhere for 7 years, but I plan to be in this house forever. We've been here 3 years, and as my daughter was still a toddler when we moved I didn't do any pre- or post-move painting or decorating (or even thinking!) Now that I've figured out where the sun lives in the garden at different seasons, and what our traffic patterns are, and dd is in school full time, I'm just getting started putting some of my ideas into action. I FINALLY got the first coat of paint on my bedroom yesterday. DD walked into it and said "Now THIS is my idea of a pretty house!" Yay! We've got lots of plans in the works.

My former house was so awful - truly horrid - that I never complain about this one. No mold or mildew, no creepy crawlies or rodents, lots of sun, a real garden - a big step up!


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I guess by the square footage, my home is a small home because it is under 2000 sq. ft. But it sure doesn't feel small with just me and one small pooch living in it. I wish I had the money to paint inside and brighten the place up - also, make it more "mine." But that is not happening anytime soon.

With regular yard help, the place is looking better than this time last year. This is an old house, c. 1910, and the long, narrow hallway is a wasted space, but the 9 ft. ceilings, original oak floors and "vintage" charm are what I like about the home. Plus, this brick house has been through a lot of hurricanes, and it feels really safe in a bad storm. Then there is also the communte to work of only 2 miles. :o)

So until I win the lottery, I have come to terms with my small, old home, too.


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The biggest home i've lived in has been 3300 sq. ft., and I wouldn't trade my small home(almost 1700 sq. ft.) for all the tea in China! It's cozy, has personality(mine!!), older and better, stays neater/cleaner, cheaper utilities, less costs in re-doing floors,painting, etc., and everything in the house is in 'close proxmity'. I can't imagine *ever* living in anything over 1900 sq. ft.! ;o)

Well, I could've written that myself! ;-) I love my cozy home -- in fact, it's really more room than we need, seeing as how it's just the two of us and the cats! My previous house was around 3,500 sf ... good grief, just vacuuming that place was horrible!


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I enjoy my small home also, although it doesn't have a basement, just a crawl space. It is 1420 sf. I am trying to convince the DH that we don't need a bigger house since I have to do all the cleaning :-)


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Oh, I am so glad this thread has been revived! We (DH and I) custom built on our own lot, and so chose the size and style, orientation trim and fixtures etc. of our 1300 square foot home. We feel so fortunate. It is exactly what we wanted. In August when this thread started we had not been in it very long. I loved it, but so many of our freinds and family were shocked by it (I think that many of them were expecting something much grander) that I thought maybe my feelings would change :( and I would miss the extra space.
Well I don't. I love, love, love my small home. I agree that I am happier when it is clean and organized- but unlike our larger home this one is almost always spotless. It is soooooo much easier to clean and keep clean. We don't have a lot extra in it and I kept only the stuff I LOVE. Just my nicest things. And....For those in my family aflicted with terminal awful taste (it's a family thing with us- no one ever learns to tole paint geese until they are unquestionably out of style), we had the BEST Christmas ever. We were able to tell relatives that because in our new house we just don't have any extra space for "stuff" we requested they just confine gifts to things like cookies etc. that we can share :). Less trauma and guilt for all of us and we had such a nice holiday season.
Society seems so fixated on big, INMHO there are more important criteria especially for a home. One of the best things about the new house is that everything is on a scale that I can manage by myself. I am finding I am quite independant.


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It is nice to hear from two more small home owners about how they love their places.

I would love to see some pictures please. Pictures are such great inspiration.

I also am happier when I keep things more organized, and cleaned up. Storage is a problem that we keep working on.

We still have the bathroom and the bedroom to remodel and when those two things are done, our little place will really be our home sweet home, small as it is.

On the way to work today I did some 'curbside shopping'. I had to go around the block to come back for this. It's a Sterilite wide 3- drawer cart (pkg. of 4 wheels in one of the drawers), and it's a light lavender frame with clear pink drawers. I've never seen one like it, clear but not colors. It doesn't look like it was ever used. I have no idea where I'm going to use this but it sure made my morning.

FlowerLady


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FlowerLady, congrats on the great find! It's kind of funny but I am more tickled about a treasure like that than I am about shopping! My best finds have been from an area dump (!) rather than curbside but I'm delighted with all of them - work table, vintage chair and a vintage doll most recently.

My DH and I absolutely love our home - it's just around 1500 sq. ft. plus a finished basement that adds about 500 sq. ft. These days that's considered small but more than enough space for the two of us. As an earlier post said, I can't imagine living in anyting bigger. Don't need it - don't want it. Lots of room for the kids and guests to stay and lots of space to entertain, but small enough that it is easy to keep the chaos under control. It helps that we purged and decluttered all of our belongings before we moved in and actually do that on a regular basis. It's hard sometimes, but unless it's something we love, we don't buy it or we get rid of it (even if it was a gift- ouch!).

When we moved in the decor was classic 70's decor. Nothing had been updated, so we have been doing a bit of that each year.

Margaret


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RE: Lovin' My Small Home

I am enjoying reading the thoughts here on small home living. I have lived in mostly small homes all my life, and DH and I have bought and sold many times to supplement his electrical contracting business. Many people wondered how we could fix up or build a house and put so much of ourselves into it, and then walk away, but we have been trying to get to a point where we could buy or build with no more debt. Right now we are in a house that is about 2,500, not huge, but real estate here is in demand since hurricane Katrina, and now one child is married and the other is working toward getting his own place, so we are thinking about going for it now. We have a lot of equity here, and are weighing the pros and cons of selling out now. We are tired, but we know we can do it again. I love to get all the input I can from people that have made wise decisions (or not so wise but lessons learned) when downsizing. I constantly look at cottage floor plans or small farmhouse plans and I already have them decorated in my mind! We have collected many antiques and pruned out our mediocore stuff for things that are better quality. In a smaller home, we would have to pare down again, but I have given several things to my daughter and my son has dibs on a few things, too. I just want to be content without too much worry about the economics rollercoaster that this society has taught us to ride, have a cozy home, and be able to concentrate on other things, you know? I am a real suzy homemaker type, and I love to be puttering around or working on a project, but it sure would be nice to be a quilting project, or working in the garden instead of construction! LOL! Please keep the inspiration coming! I need it to think about when I am lying in bed at night with my eyes open decorating a house that doesn't exist yet!


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A number of years ago (almost 10 - yikes!), I had to downsize from a four bedroom century home to a one bedroom apartment. Serious purging happened! It was easiest for me if I asked myself the queston - why was I keeping it? In many cases, it was just because I had always had it or I might use it. So, out it went, usually to a thrift store or a charitable organization.

When my DH and I moved into our current home, we were actually blending households, so we went through much the same process - if we had duplicates, out it went rather than keeping it because we might use it someday. It has become much easier to do that continuously; there is a corner of the garage designated as the yard sale/giveaway corner.

Margaret


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RE: Lovin' My Small Home

Margaret ~ Our little cottage is a little less than 700 sq. ft. and we live on 1/4 acre. DH and I love finding stuff that we can use that others have thrown out. Just last week I said I needed a new ironing board cover and on my way to work I passed an ironing board that someone was throwing out with an ironing board cover that is printed to look like a potted plant. I'll take a picture later. That was on the way to work, on the way home I stopped at a box of stuff someone was throwing out in a nice section of homes and got two angel candle holders, an angel lamp with shade and two nice velvety feeling polyester blankets, in a pale gray/blue and a pale sage green. I didn't realize they were polyester until I got them home. We have found many, many things in our 37 years together. Shopping at stores is a drag, but finding freebies is FUN.

I may put yarns and crochet threads in this little cart I found today. I can't wait to show DH when I get home.

Your name Serendipity says a lot about how we try to live.

FrenchKitty ~ I think you'll feel great when you downsize. It's a lot less upkeep and it's not as expensive to care for. I do look at country homes on line as we would like to move if the opportunity arose, but I keep the size under 2000 and a one story also. I love wrap porches, a view of the country side, hard wood floors. Neither of us wants to be going up and down stairs as we get older.

For now, I am falling in love with our little cottage that is paid for and with every little completed project the place is turning into our little jewel.

FlowerLady


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To pick up on one of Frenchkitty's thoughts, I have been pretty frustrating for most realtors to work with, because they want to show the maximum house you can "afford", and I have never wanted to work to support a house. That is, unlike some people, I don't want to really stretch to buy a house on the theory that I will be paid more every year so that in 5 years I will be able to take a vacation as well as make the mortgage payments. The best realtor I ever worked with figured this out quickly, but I think to many of the others I was rather a nuisance - don't make that much money to start, and on top of it I don't want to spend everything that I could for the house.


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Interesting thought, Elisabeth. There are many things I have found out about myself (DH, too, as we are very close and are true partners in everything) one of which is that the house itself is not what makes us happy, nor are "things". Granted, I love to decorate, and I love traipsing through antique shops or thrift stores, and I get lots of inspiration from other people's talent in such. But I found that I am a creative person-I like to make things, come up with ideas and see if I can bring them to fruition, but I don't have to KEEP them all! I can make things for other people, help others decorate their homes, and just keep in mine what I need and the things that really have some sort of meaning to us.

We have fixed up houses and moved several times. Along the way, we had to rent a storage. In went several pieces, mostly antiques that did not fit in the apartment we lived in while we built, or the next house. We kept thinking we would use it again or sell it to recoup some of our money. Well, the months, then years ticked by, and to make a long story short, those things got ruined or damaged. We should have just given them away! Not only did we pay for the storage, we lost the stuff or it was moldy or cracked, etc. etc.

Also, there have been times we have had plenty, and times where we had to tighten the belt. And when I think about how much a mortgage company wants to make off of us with a house that we built almost completely ourselves, it makes my stomach crunch. Like Elisabeth said, I don't want to work to support a house. I want a place that feels like a safe haven that is truly ours (unless they decide to put a highway through our property)!


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FrenchKitty ~ DH and I never wanted to work for our home either. We live pretty frugally, and serendipituously. We don't have to have new all the time, or get things NOW. We also have had to tighten our belts, but heck we feel much better and appreciative for having gone through lean times. Our cottage used to be on 1/3 of an acre instead of 1/4, as the country did come through here with imminent domain and took a depth of 15' across the front of our property to widen the road to 5 lanes and sidewalks. Developers are going around buying up property and putting in townhouses etc. so we are hoping that doesn't happen to us, with imminent domain because the county sees dollar signs with upgraded housing and out go people like us who have lived here for many, many years, making our places our havens from the crazy world that we live in. I try not to worry about that, and just take each day as it comes. Worrying does no good whatsoever, but living in the moment has great benefits.

FlowerLady


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Bleh, I hate my teensy house (750 sq ft). The only thing that saves me is a basement and detached 2 car garage. I know people with apartments that are bigger than my house! My problem is that I work AND live in this space. It's sort of like living at an office, lol. I just happen to have a small room where I can keep a bed to sleep on.

The kitchen only has 14 inches of counter space on each side of the sink, so I try to avoid cooking now. It's like one of those one-piece kitchenette units in some effeciency motel rooms. I used to love cooking when I was married. Now it's a logistical nightmare.

I don't have a tub, just a shower. Lordy, how I miss soaking in a warrm bath once in a while. The bathroom is about 6x6 ft, if that. One bedroom, about 9x10, which I use for storage. My bed is in a small room reclaimed from the original front porch, just big enough to hold a twin bed and a small dresser (6x10 ft, maybe).

The main room is 11x22...and that's HALF the entire house's original footprint. Thru the years, part of the front porch was closed in, and a mud room of sorts added to the back. The mud room is on a slab and mostly taken up by stairs...one set goes up into the house, the other set goes down to basement. There's a little space for some shelves along the walls.

Because I'm a multi-media artist, I need a lot of storage for supplies. Also my sewing requires several machines and a large stash of fabric, notions, etc. I'm at my wits end, and some days I get very frustrated looking for things because things are stored in plastic bins stacked up on each other.

However.......the redeeming quality is that it is 100% paid for. No mortgage. All I have to do is cough up the property taxes each year. I specifically wanted a place I could pay cash for, and that's what I got. Utilities could be better, because it's an old house with little or no insulation.....but it's still better than a big mortgage.

Storage is adequate, between the basement and garage. It's not easy access to go digging thru boxes of stuff, but it beats a mortgage pmt. Besides, I still get my car in the garage, and that's worth a lot also. Better than leaving it on the street, out in the weather. It's 10 years old and is in near-mint condition because it's been garaged all its life. (I'm the original owner)

Best of all, the place came with an intact, but very neglected perennial border. I first saw the place in late winter, and saw nothing but dormant grass from one lot line to the other. Lo and behold, the spring after I moved in, dozens of perennials started poking thru the grass mat along one fence line. Here I was expecting the time, money & work of starting a perennial bed from scratch....but it was already there. It's taken me four years to really reclaim that border, but now I have peonies, iris, daylilies, roses, etc just gorgeous.

So small houses? I hate 'em, but dang it the price is right. I absolutely LOVE not having a mortgage. Anytime I get frustrated, I remind myself that I'm not a slave to any bank. My property is mine, and mine alone.

So the vast majority of people with uber-sized homes don't have a lick of nuthin' if they are mortgaged. The BANK owns it, not them. I own mine, outright.


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Loved reading your post, A & G. Your little house sounds intriguing -- though I can empathize with your lack of bench space... I also love to cook, and that would be teeth-grindingly frustrating..

Is there a way to build a fold-down preparation bench on an oppsite wall?. I guess without seeing the floorplan it's foolhardy offering any suggestions :)

Owning it outright must be the best feeling in the world!


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Yes, I love our small house. Let me count the ways:

1) the two of us can clean it in 1 hour

2) my 350 sf studio in garage

3) the apartment above the garage for rental income

4) lot is just large enough for a easily maintained garden

5) low mortgage payments.

Angie


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Yep, Graymoss, anytime I get frustrated by the lack of space, I remind myself that I don't have to pay rent or mortgage pmt. It takes a lot of stress off during the times work is slow.

The wall opposite the sink/stove/counter is occupied by the fridge, the bathroom door, a metal storage cabinet and a small recessed cabinet. The idea of a fold-down counter would be perfect, if I could part with the metal cabinet. But that would mean storing stuff in the basement. I can't decide which is worse, having counter space, but trekking to the basement for cooking stuff? Or having storage but using my work table in the next room as temp counter space?

I just avoid complicated cooking now. It's soups and sandwiches these days :)


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Arstist/Gardener...

One of the old small houses I looked at had shelves above the doorways, all around two walls of the bedrooms and bath. The little place was pristine. Wasn't sure if it had been "staged" or the owners really lived as nicely as it appeared. The bath had glass shelves for towels and extras, the bedrooms wood with colorful clothes...all folded beyond neat. I had to do a double take to realize these shelves were actually being used for storage.

Do you have room for a potrack in the kitchen? I've decided to get mine back out and use it over the table. Saw one made from a wood ladder which was done well and certainly inexpenisve. A potrack could add more kitchen options.

I also see the shelves for your fabrics/art supplies.

My artist side took over trying to visualize your little home. Are you using your livingroom for an art/work space? What type of media/art are you doing?

The no bathtub would be a big issue for me too and was a given when looking for a home. I cannot give up those long soaks.


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Emagineer, Oh YES one of the first things I did was hang a potrack. Never had one, but I am liking it a lot.

I've also taken advantage of vertical wall space as much as possible. Many tall shelf units, in any unoccupied wall space, bathroom included. In fact, one day during a video chat, the other person asked me if I was in a warehouse, ha ha. They could see the shelving behind me, it was pretty funny. Any wall space that isn't blocked by a window or heat vent has a tall shelf unit on it.

I do have a decent amount of storage, as I said, but because most of it is in garage or basement, I have to be careful what I keep in those places. Things that may be damaged by humidity have to stay in the house. Despite using a dehumidifer, my old basement still gets seepage occasionally, so I have to be careful what I keep down there.

I make dolls, jewelry, assemblages, collage, altered books, clothing, I also paint with oils, acrylics, watercolors, etc. Most of my projects incorporate more than one media. It's fun but it also means needing a lot of stuff close by because when a flash of inspiration hits, and I know exactly what item or medium will work for what I'm doing, I need to grab it without too much digging.

Yes, the living room is my studio. There's no real furniture. Two chairs on casters, an 8 foot work table, easel, a door on sawhorses for my computer stuff, three sewing machines (another three in storage, lol) & their necessary gadgets, bookshelves, cabinets and drawer units.

The real problem is me & my vocation, ha ha. It would be a cozy cute little place if I had a normal 9-to-5 job, and only needed a couch & tv in the living room. For a single person who is gone all day at work, it's perfect. It has beautiful wood floors, some great landscaping, aluminum siding and vinyl windows, so is very low maintenance. Also five minutes to freeway & a five minute walk to downtown, which is the county seat.


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