Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Things I Love about the New House or Less is More

Is it sick to say that I'm downright giddy about cutting our square footage in half?

the buffet in the dining room
Over the last few years, the houses we've lived in have gotten slowly bigger. An extra bedroom here, an office there. Before I knew it, we had nearly tripled the size of the townhouse we started out in. And had acquired enough stuff to fill all of that space.

Sure, we had plenty enough room at the last house for my parents, my mother-in-law, my brother, and my brother- and sister-in-law to all come and have a bed to sleep on, each in a different room of the house, without batting an eye or doing any shuffling of our normal sleeping arrangements. But can I tell you how often all of those people came to visit at the same time?

Not once.

i love the little details that go into things like heating ducts
So for the vast majority of the time, we had several rooms full of furniture that we never even touched. A sofa I never sat on. Beds that were never slept in. Empty dresser drawers. Stuff. Sitting there. Collecting dust.

claw-foot tub
Even rooms that seemed "practical" when we were moving in (the play room, for example) really became a place to throw stuff and shut the door every night on nights that I didn't feel like cleaning. The space didn't bring more family together, it allowed me to shut the door on family when I didn't want to deal with them.

Not that I would ever send my kids to the playroom and shut the door.


detail of the buffet glass
So here I am, sitting in a house that is significantly smaller than anyplace we've lived in recently. And I love it. I love the charm that is built into a home that was constructed roughly a century ago. I love that this house was built by the man who founded the little village (neighborhood, now) where we live in order to provide housing for his employees. I love that supposedly he brought much of the wood down from the Chicago World's Fair rather than allowing it to be thrown away (we may be walking on the very stage Nikola Tesla stood on, for all I know).

dining room: bay window, corner cupboard, chandelier
I love that my family is here with me as I type this, crawling all over me, rather than in some other corner of the house. I love the forced togetherness that the smaller space requires. I love that I can't be as selfish with how I spend my time. I don't have a choice about being engaged in my children's play, for they are playing right here with me.

You know what? We have two bedrooms and one bathroom for 5 people, and so far there hasn't been a moment when we have truly needed any more. In fact, we feel like we have a lot of space.

I guess we just like being together.

come and have some coffee with me on my porch

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