When we bought our home, there were 3 of us. Little Miss was 13 months old and we bought our home on a whim. We were happily living in the city, in a large condo style apartment with all the fancy fixings. We had 360 sq. ft. of community garden right across the street, 986 sq.ft of living space with a heated indoor garage and were walking distance from just about all you can think you might need. We had been trying for Little Miss for almost 4 years when she came so we were pretty sure our family was done, this was the way life would be. The 3 of us and the cats, happy slightly hippie city dwellers.
Then this home went up for sale and for months, driving by on the way to Saturday night dinners at my parents’, we looked and thought “it’s still for sale”. We finally took a look at the sale notice online and fell in love. Little things too, like the knotted pine arch ceilings in the kitchen and the living room facing the yard instead of the street. But mostly, it was the land…
So much work, but so much potential! The house was small (less than our apartment in square footage) but it was sitting on 1/3 acre of beautiful land and it dawned on us : We could really live here. It was LIKE our apartment, with a huge yard! No more crossing the street to get to our gardens. And with just one child, this home was the perfect size! So we jumped in and bought it.
Then a miracle happened…
We were 4! He was perfect, he was loved, he was the first boy in my family (2 girls that had 2 girls) and we had NO CLUE how this would all work! We had 2 bedrooms on the main floor (one of which is only 7.5 ft X 10 ft) and one in the unfinished basement (yeah, that wasn’t gonna work!), so Little Man moved in with us! For the record, he is still living with us in the master right now!
This is when the flow of questions came in : “You are gonna move right?”, “This is a cute starter home, but do you really think it’s big enough for you and 2 kids?” and my favorite : “You have so much land, why don’t you just build an addition?”.
So of course, we pondered and reflected. Selling was not an option. We LOVE where we live. When we bought this home, it was with visions of us retiring here. This, to us, was not a starter home. It was a “our home” home. Plus, at this point, we had invested so much in the backyard, there was no way we would make any money selling it only a few years after buying it in the first place. Then the addition question : To build an addition in any direction would mean cutting down centennial trees. NOPE! So we decided to view this differently : How can we make this home bigger without changing anything about it? We came up with a 3 part plan :
1- Letting go of “labels”
What is a bedroom? Now, what is a master bedroom? Would our bed fit in the smaller bedroom, allowing the kids to share the master with the walk-in closet for their toys, crafts and books? What is “me” space? Does “me” space require physical walls? Can “me” space be multi-functional? Can I create a space for myself without the “box” around it? Is the garage less my husband’s “space” if it also houses the bikes, the outdoor pack-n-play, the winter tires and the strollers?
This took breaking down YEARS of conditioning and it wasn’t easy. Most people that we share our plans with don’t understand and definitely don’t agree. You get attached to certain things. who doesn’t want a walk-in closet??? But the reality was, that space could be better used. So we are right now in the process of re-inventing our home. I’m buying the paint today to redesign our master bedroom into a lovely space for a boy AND girl to share and my husband and I will be moving into the small bedroom and downsizing our possessions to fit it all in! I look forward to sharing the progress with all of you.
2- Less stuff equals more space!
I’ve already shared with you our yearly goal of reducing our material possessions by 50%. As the year is progressing, our progress has been slowing a bit since we are now neck-deep in the “little things”. But as I’ve stated before, the more we get rid of stuff, the happier we are. We still need to attack the crawl space (our home is almost 100 years old and half of the “basement” is a sanitary crawl space we can only use for storage) and I have a feeling that part will get us to 50% with no issues.
3- Spend more time outside.
Really, I’ve come to believe that the only reason why a room (or in this case a home) would feel small is if you spend too much time in it! They don’t call it cabin fever for nothing. So as Little Man grows up (and stops trying to eat every rock, leaf and branch he puts his hands on!), we plan on increasing our time spent outside the home. That will, I believe, make us appreciate the coziness of our charming little nook even more.
So there… thought I would share this morning. I’ve always found that laying things down in writing motivates me, gives me a goal. Seeing it in black and white has always made things seem more “real”.
Wishing you all a wonderful day!