we’ve lived in small places since we married. our first space together was a charming one bedroom apartment next to a lake. 575 square feet. it felt like a castle to us. sure, the laundry closet was also the pantry, and yes, there was absolutely no counter (or storage) space in the kitchen, and of course we had neighbors upstairs who kept us awake late at night, but hey- it had new carpet, fresh paint, heat and air, and it cost $475 a month. we were giddy.
we moved states for grad school and searched for a comparable apartment to move into, but after finding nothing close in price or size, downgraded to a snug 480 square feet student apartment with cinderblock walls, cement floors, no microwave, and an impossibly tiny stove that i had to buy special pans to fit in. against all odds, it took no time for us to fall in love with. we put wood floors in. we covered the cinderblock with pictures and maps, pinned with where we’d gone together and where wanted to travel next. we bought a window ac unit for $25 that needed a wrench to turn on. it was a bit tight when we had people visit, and gosh i missed microwave popcorn, but it was even less expensive than our first place, came with free utilities (!!!) and we never ever ran out of hot water. i still miss that apartment sometimes. ac and wrench included. some of our sweetest memories happened in that tiny second home of ours.
after grad school, theodore was born and we moved into a one bedroom + loft with soaring ceilings (and soaring prices), and we really started to appreciate how good our first homes had been to us financially and otherwise. we started house hunting.
to make a long story short, we looked at several properties and ultimately decided our main priority was finding a place close to gideon’s work so we could spend as much time together as a family.
and when we found a small inexpensive home in a quiet, older neighborhood with three modest bedrooms, one bath, a sunroom, and a gorgeous backyard, we put in an offer. so did 8 other people. somehow, we got it.
thanks to talented and generous family members, we were able to remodel the house almost top to bottom. we’re still in the process of fixing, replacing, installing, etc. (there’s been talk of adding a second bathroom and maybe even a 4th bedroom if we feel strongly enough about it) but through it all, it’s really starting to feel like home, and i’m grateful for the cozy and loving environment i’ve been able to have as a backdrop to raising our children.
many of our dear friends have beautiful and newly built spacious homes that make our house look like a humble cottage by comparison. maybe i’ll change my mind in a few years, but living in small spaces has been good to our family, and the more i experience it, the more i prefer it. it’s kept our finances manageable (which has afforded us opportunities to invest elsewhere), and i believe it has added a sweetness to our life. when we first walked into this house, it struck me as an obvious starter home, but the longer i live here, the longer i want to stay.
i guess all i’m saying is, at the end of the day, a home is just space; a place to be together, to live, and to make memories. the size doesn’t matter so much as the experiences that happen within its walls. anyway, this is ours. it’s small.
and small, for us, is so so good.