Monday, December 22, 2008

Tight quarters

These days our house seems really small. There are a few factors. We're (yay!) taking the week off from our regular out-of-home commitments, so we're here a lot more than usual. Erin is not at school during the day. She's inside the house, rather than lingering in her cabin, because the temperatures are so frigid. We've got a Christmas tree taking up a not-insignificant portion of the living room. We've got the "sleeping part" of the house cool and closed-off during the day because it's hard for the wood stove to keep up and it's nice to contain the heat to the "living part" of the house. And it's partly that we're now sharing our home (even, I confess, our couch) with a dog.

It's full full full in here. Not just on the floor and the furniture. We've got stuff hanging on all the walls and ledges and shelves, and the ceiling is serving various functions as well. The photo from our living room is illustrative. I've cleared a swath on the mantle where I can set bread dough to rise. Beneath the mantle the mittens and gloves hang drying. Beside the woodstove hang the jackets and snowpants. Above the hearth the laundry is drying. In front of that is the exercise zone, with the gym rings. Below all this, not visible in the photo ... winter boots drying, folding chairs and small stools (since our family size exceeds our available permanent seating), violin cases, bookshelves and more bookshelves, the Christmas tree, a small couch and a couple of proper chairs, the woodstove and hearth, the TV and stereo ... and a tiny bit of open floor. And behind the camera, more up-in-the-rafters clutter -- another laundry rack, a chin-up bar, the stereo speakers.

To give you an idea of scale, that lighter wood to which the gym rings are attached is in the exact centre of the room. It's not a big space.

I have a friend who used to facetiously say "if I want to enjoy clean, uncluttered space in my home I can always lie on the floor and stare at the ceiling." Ha ha. But that wouldn't work here.

But I do like living in a space that's just big enough. At least most of the time.

(Still hoping for that cathedral for our music studio, though.)


  1. Anonymous7:31 pm

    We've got 5 people in 800 square feet during the week and when we are busy it is jsut fine but this week things are alittle slow (then manic for short peiods as happens around the holidays). Truthfully a little more room would go nicely about now but then they'd all jsut end up where I am anyways...

  2. Anonymous9:55 pm

    We've always been fans of small houses, but as our kids got bigger, we noticed that our 1130 sq. ft. house didn't seem as spacious as it once did. We built a staircase to the attic, but the project remains unfinished because of structural problems with the roof, and the basement is also not usable in winter, except for occasional chilly forays down to the washer. We also spent most of the time in the room with the wood stove, waiting for heating technology to improve before replacing the ancient furnace that crouches under the floor of the central hall. Now that we live in a slightly bigger house (one of fifteen of the same pattern!), I no longer have the recurring dream in which I become very excited because I discover an extra room we haven't been using. We've overlooked it because it needs repairs or is full of junk or I just never noticed we had it. I wish!


  3. We too try to embrace small space would be nice to have one more room for a bedroom or a rec room typ area. Read "Little house on a small planet"...its inspiring! Lee

  4. When all 5 kids were young and homeschooled we lived in quite a small space. Then we added an extension and for a couple of years had a lot more living space. Then the 2 older boys left home (one moved back briefly for a few months). Now the third has gone off to college and won't be back living here except for short visits and we find ourselves with an excess of living space. We don't use much of it or heat much of it either. It is a big change from the crowded days of lots of foot wear and sports equipment etc. We also have a dog that uses the couch:)


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