In our culture, bigger is better. Cars, yards, homes, you name it–America loves things big. Often, this comes at the expense of connectivity and walkability, as new neighborhoods tend to develop on the edge of town. Generally, we are supposed to move “up in house,” always looking for more bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage. As an architect, I’m always designing the latest and greatest. Case in point, the homes I’m working on now are between 8,000- 17,000 square feet. So I’ve always assumed that my family’s next move would be to the coveted larger home.
We’ve been in our current home for over 10 years. It is a 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom, two story with over 3,500 sq ft, a large yard, and an in-ground pool. It’s a great family home, and we have really loved living there and putting our personal touch on it. But our life is busy, like most people’s. And when I read back over that description, I also see lots of cleaning, lots of mowing, and lots of maintenance. We also own some other properties, including a lake home we would like to spend time at. Additionally, my husband has an apartment in the Twin Cities, as he works there several months per year. We are finding ourselves spread thin trying to be at and enjoy multiple places and keep up with maintenance, etc.
So…we are ready to make a move. We are cleaning out, packing up, and listing our house, in favor of a new adventure. We own a small commercial property in a nearby town, and will be finishing out a 1,000 square foot second floor loft for our family of 5.
Not quite a trendy “tiny house”, there will be trade-offs in personal space and convenience. My kids are intrigued, but lukewarm. And while I’m in heaven picking out modern finishes and customizing every square inch of storage, we answer daily questions from family and friends who aren’t quite sure about this move. Where will the dog play, how will entertaining work, and most often-why? Why would we “give up” so much?
Our answer, at this point, is that we value our time together more than anything else. We love to travel, go out to eat, visit friends, and want to spend more time and money on the things we love. The loft is meant to be a temporary move, but no timeline is attached at this point. This post is written as “part one” in at least a two-part “before and after” piece. I look at it as a chance to journal the daily challenges of living smaller, and hopefully the fun of being able to pick up and go. It will also serve as a great study of design functionality, and what we would do differently in future living space. So stay tuned…things are going to get interesting!