The Small House the quest for enough

Toward the end of the last century (and by that I mean the 1900's), the concept of the luxury of more dominated new home construction. Families were asking for - and builders were supplying - huge homes with master suites the size of large New York City apartments, walk-in closets the size of small apartments, and bonus rooms above garages big enough to build out as a guest cottage or in-law suite.

The McMansion trend led to a counter trend toward smaller spaces, less stuff, and de-cluttering. During this period I was heavily influenced by two books: The Not So Big House, by Sarah Susanka and The Simple Home - The Luxury of Enough by Sarah Nettleton. Both authors are architects who were based in Minneapolis at the time their books were published.

After several years of apartment living in Washington, D.C., I learned that Susanka and Nettleton were on to something.

It is very possible, and perhaps even desirable, to live in a small space as opposed to the standard 3,000 to 5,000 square foot home many suburban Americans have become used to. When I moved to Connecticut, I lived in a 1,000 square foot apartment for several years, continuing my small space pattern. When I decided to buy, I settled for a 1,500 square foot home, built in the 1800's and moved onto a new foundation in the 1950's. It is a good size for one to three people.

The three season front porch is well lighted by the morning sun and provides a good spot for light storage and morning coffee and breakfast. It can also serve as a "third place" when working from home. A short walk for a change of venue from the home office.

The dining table is constructed of planks once used to sort tobacco at nearby farms along the Connecticut River.

The dining room is at the center of the house and serves doubly as reading space and work space. It is the main transition area between the front entry, the kitchen, and the living room. The dining room chairs can be moved onto the porch or into the living room for extra seating.

The galley style kitchen is at the rear of the house, along with a first floor bathroom near the back entry. There is no room for the standard island demanded by most home owners, but the kitchen is narrow enough that a lunch counter on the inside wall can serve as additional prep space, a place for a quick meal, or as a serving station for guests.

Office and living room.

The floors are wood and the inside walls are painted various shades of white.

In combination with the dappled sunshine that moves through the house all day long, the light wall colors make the home feel clean, bright and more spacious than it is.

The luxury of enough does not require you to give up extras. For instance, a spare guest bedroom can serve that purpose, but it is set up most of the time for yoga. It could also be used as a closet or dressing room.

The master bedroom is big enough to have its own work and reading nooks.

How much space do you really need? That's the most important question to answer when moving to a new location - as most of us do every five years or so.

I have found stripping my inventory of belongings down in a minimalist way de-clutters the mind. There are fewer possessions to worry about, to think about, and fewer things to move when the time comes. The open space of a small home, filled with only your essentials, offers great relief from the stress placed on us by other aspects of our lives.

For collaborations:

Dean@DeanPagani.com I DeanPagani.com I ThisDecisiveMoment.com

© Dean Pagani 2019


© Dean Pagani 2019

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