Thursday, August 25, 2011

small spaces - lesson one

The journey from renter to home owner has not always been sweet. Living against the typical American grain will likely prove to be a challenge for me as long as I live...

Our most recent rental (prior to purchasing this home in 2005) was what I considered at the time, my dream home. It had three bedrooms, a very wonderful open kitchen & dining area, and a predefined landscape that took no thought at all. At the time, our girls shared a room, we had our lovely Joy in another, and I was able to fit my glorious king size bed and a couple pieces of furniture into mine. Bliss. Even with one bathroom, it was a perfect fit for us.

We had all sorts of visitors, as it was a city house, and it was perfect.

Through a series of interesting twists, God placed us here. He didn't leave us here, but I know that He had many lessons in store for me, and perhaps, all of us.

Here... We live on a couple acres in a very, very small house. We do have a large blue "shop", which is completely full of other peoples treasures, and we have our lovely Joy with us again, this time in an apartment tucked into another shop. Joy brought her husband and kids along for the ride, and it has been a blessing to have them all here...

Here... located outside of town, beyond sidewalks, up a hill and on a virtual highway which impedes cycling, here...

The first thing I noticed was the isolation. Strange, to think that a mere handful of miles out of town would be so incredibly isolating, but it is, for a city girl like me.

After a couple years and a full time job, the most common thing I struggle with is space:

Where to put the family that lives in the house?
Where to put the stuff that lives with the family in the house?
Where to keep the dogs that have their stuff and live with the family in the house?

I'm constantly intrigued by our culture and the idea to just get a storage unit or just buy a bigger house. Images from India will forever live in my mind, of a two room apartment with a tiny freestanding kitchen - no cabinets at all - and a shared bathroom down the hall. I'm pretty sure there were no Store-All locations nearby. And quite frankly, the opportunity to get a larger apartment only presented itself upon getting a new job. Not something that most of us see as a promising prospect.

Our house can't grow and we can't move. Making the most of this space has taken some creativity, and occasionally, some raw honesty. Our dining room table, for example, took over our entire dining space. There was always space at our table for guests, and there was plenty of room there for homework and mealtime. Guests, however, are few and far between... and as the years wore on, I noticed that homework stayed on as piles rather than moving back to school. So this summer I made a radical transition and replaced our dining room table with what could be called a dinette. There is cozy seating for the five of us, when you pull up the chair from the desk. The space, however, has been transformed. Its perfect. For this space...

Looking out at my 2.5 bedroom house with a single bathroom... I know we can make the best of this space and with the potential challenge of adding to the mix, I'm thinking creative. This will require a serious purging, but I feel up for it. First room, my bedroom. Stay tuned!

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