Page 1 of 6 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 56

Thread: Stepping Back: What are the Consequences?

  1. #1
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    VT/NJ
    Posts
    8,064

    Stepping Back: What are the Consequences?

    When I mean stepping back, I mean stepping away from the bar set by the increased comfort and standard of living most people have been known to expect with regard to housing. But I'm actually learning about the rewards that stepping back can have. I'm actually wondering why more people don't live like this.

    For instance: small square footage. I am not finding anything at all difficult about living in 700 square feet. In fact, it's SO EASY. So easy to clean, so easy to tidy, so easy to live in. So comfy and cozy.

    Another example: we only have one bathroom--an adorable one with a clawfoot tub and a stained glass octagonal window. But it's hard to shower. Like, impossible. So, the plumber is coming on Monday, and I'm going to ask him about installing an outdoor shower. That's fine for me.

    Another example: We have an extremely small kitchen and a wonky pantry/microwave/refrigerator area. But it works. I can make the same stuff I've always made. It's easy to clean, and we have a multi-functional chopping block/island/dining space.

    Another example: No air conditioning. We have ceiling fans and we're on the lake, so there's a breeze. Yes, it's been hot a couple of nights, but not unbearable. I have no intention of buying an air conditioner.

    I adore this house. It's just what I need, and no more. It's adorable, it's quirky, it's got character. And so I wonder why people feel this type of a home is good enough for a lakeside cabin, but not for a "real" house. I know my realtor, who has a half-million dollar house that she renovated to look like an HGTV showpiece, shakes her head when she sees me effuse with love for this house. She's already advised me to shut off a door, move the LR/DR area, paint all the espresso-stained woodwork white, paint the whole house greige. In other words, turn it into another HGTV/Joanna Gaines cookie-cutter house. Nope.

    But will guests get it? Will they want to go outside for a "real" shower? Will they talk about us on the way home about how they had to "rough it" and they can't wait to get back to the 21st century comfort of their own homes? Not that I worry about that a lot, but I think about it. I'm getting better about worrying about what others think, but I still have some insecurities there.

    So my question is: what is your comfort level? What do you NEED to have in a house--otherwise, you feel like you're roughing it?
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    829
    I have marveled for 20 years that people around me say: when are you going to build a big new house? (people who worked for me who were themselves big new houses with bright shiny mortgages)........when will you buy a new car? We know you can afford it. Well, I drove that one 17y and then I did buy a nice shiny new car for the next few decades.

    The mountain cabin is 1250sq 2bed/1 bath. Our city home is 1850 2bed/2 bath. Each is plenty big for us. Our city home could be smaller but heck, it's what we bought in 1991 and we do not plan to leave it alive.

    Outdoor shower in Vermont? Don't forget to wintererize it every September!

  3. #3
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    12,494
    Interesting question, and I am grappling with the hypocrite in me on this topic.

    For the past several years I had thought that I could live in 1200 sq ft house, disregarding DH’s extensive collections of STUfF which are almost completely tools and building materials stored in various basements, garages, and tiny houses-we-use-as-tool-sheds.

    So now we have a weekend house that is around 1400 sq ft. Hell, that should be Enough, right? RIGHT? And here we are, planning to turn it upside down in renovation and also probably add on to it. !!!

    On the one hand, I often marvel how easy it is to live there with everything on one floor, everything close. On the other hand, I dont really “live” in it, I “Weekend” in it.

    It is not functional for real 100%living. Yet.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    2,634
    I have been getting many emails about estate sales lately. 7 this week alone. What astonishes me every time is the sheer volume of stuff that is in every corner of these houses. Not antiques, crafting stuff, or simply furniture. But closets overflowing with decorator, collectible stuff.

  5. #5
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    9,068
    My old condo, which I remember fondly, was just under 1000 sq.ft. That was probably enough, though I would like a second bath. It had a nice sized kitchen--unlike my current house. So about 1000 sq. ft. with a garage and a small outdoor space would suffice, along with privacy and quiet surroundings. My must-have is a pleasant view of some kind--no looking at the side of the house next door.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Nevada
    Posts
    4,580
    Catherine, you are not living there year round so you still have all your stuff elsewhere. I lived fine in 869 sq ft by myself. We now live in 1400 sq ft with large shed for DJ’s junk. We like to entertain and I can have more people over than in my condo. Once winter sets in you are in more and need more room. People think our home is small but it works. Plus we have 3 dogs. If you live there permanently and get rid of other home and stuff and are still content then I will be impressed. Sorry don’t mean to be a downer.

  7. #7
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    VT/NJ
    Posts
    8,064
    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher Terry View Post
    Catherine, you are not living there year round so you still have all your stuff elsewhere. I lived fine in 869 sq ft by myself. We now live in 1400 sq ft with large shed for DJ’s junk. We like to entertain and I can have more people over than in my condo. Once winter sets in you are in more and need more room. People think our home is small but it works. Plus we have 3 dogs. If you live there permanently and get rid of other home and stuff and are still content then I will be impressed. Sorry don’t mean to be a downer.
    You are right. We do have 3 outbuildings for "junk." But that doesn't include the 1900 square foot storage locker in NJ with a big mortgage. But I'm learning that I don't miss anything there. I am hoping that I can learn from this experience, go home and purge A LOT.

    I will continue to report back. I don't know why, if I can live for 3 months just fine without feeling "I wish I brought this/that from home" I can't do it permanently. I'm hoping to impress you--and myself.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Posts
    2,162
    It's the elsewhere stuff I am having trouble imagining getting rid of, although it would obviously be easier to find an inexpensive new house in New England if I did not need so much space for stuff and for patterns of living such as two work at home people, one of whom (not me) is a talk outloud auditory person.

    You may indeed be able to pull it off, and consider me impressed--but we have been living in too small houses for the past ten years--four years in one that was 860 square feet, year round, and I could not at that time get rid of the boxes in the garage, and I had no guest room or second bathroom, both of which it would be lovely to have. I have tried the "here, we will pay for you to stay at the xyz lodge and you'll have so much fun at the waterpark," etc. and are always greeted with sad faces, but we want to stay with you, and eat pancakes.

  9. #9
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    VT/NJ
    Posts
    8,064
    Quote Originally Posted by Tybee View Post
    I have tried the "here, we will pay for you to stay at the xyz lodge and you'll have so much fun at the waterpark," etc. and are always greeted with sad faces, but we want to stay with you, and eat pancakes.
    I agree. This is the crux of this thread. My son is coming up at the end of August and we have offered to clear out and stay elsewhere, and he and his family (1 wife, 2 young kids) can live in our 2 bedroom house. But they pushed back. I told him specifically that we chose to buy a small house and then pay for guests, because that's cheaper than buying a bigger house so that you can accommodate the occasional guest, but this is not acceptable to them.

    And, if we did clear out and let them have this house, I can't see my DIL being thrilled with the 10 gallon hot water heater.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  10. #10
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    12,494
    “...not acceptable to them.”

    hmmmm. I think you know what I would say about that were I inclined to say it. Still, I am proud of you that you did not fall into the trap of big house to house guests who are there only 7% of the time. You are close to your kids, you will work this out.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •