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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Living Large In Small Spaces - Living the (Cottage) Dream


Eleventh post in the series
My guest today is very, very special to me.  Although we only know each other through our blogs and emails, we have become dear friends.  It's pure joy for me to welcome Kim of Exquisitely Unremarkable to A Joyful Cottage today.  Kim's story goes to the very heart of what Living Large In Small Spaces is about. She's a great communicator, and  I know you're going to enjoy reading her words as you tour her charming cottage.  

By the way, I paid her to say all those nice things about me and my blog. ;-)


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I have been reading Living Large In Small Spaces each week since the series began. I was hooked from the start, however this was not a surprise. I know Nancy, and I was already a big fan of her blog long before the series ever began. It's a wonderful place to visit, a place I feel at home, relaxed and understood. I bonded with her immediately, through her words, before we even spoke, it was all in the name...A Joyful Cottage...wow. Powerful words.



  

Here was a woman who understood that living in a cottage, a very small space, could be a wonderful, happy, fulfilling experience and it could be a choice! Imagine that! There was someone else out there who thought, as I did, that teeny tiny cottage living was THE dream, not a mansion or a 4,000 square foot penthouse, but a home with room for just enough ~ a kindred spirit for sure!


  


So when Nancy asked me to share my own home, I was thrilled. We do not live in a large house, but we live here happily and by choice. It is not a starter or stop on our destination to bigger digs. While I am not certain about the square footage, I never cared to measure and we didn't buy our home through a realtor, so there was no requirement for the seller to list it, it's small! It was built sometime in the 1920's in a very hilly, summer beach community. Our particular home was actually built as the first year round structure in the neighborhood, big billing at the time, although we don't really see any difference between our cottage and many of the other bungalows that were specifically built for summer!


 

 The "year round" layout boasted a living room, two teeny bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen big enough for two people to stand inside. There was no dining area and the basement was covered with dirt. Fancy! By the time my husband and I bought the house, the basement had been finished, a dining room had been added, along with a master bedroom and bath. The entire house needed work, updating and an addition to make the kitchen functional, but we adored the home, its charm, its location and, frankly, its price, so we snatched it up.


  white+cottage+kitchens.jpg (865×753)


We were in love with the house and felt like we had hit the jackpot. I have to say, others were not so impressed by our choice. We live in the land of bigger, better, more and our new home was none of those things. It wasn't a big step up from our old home (which was actually right across the street~ I kid you not ~ when we moved, my husband wheeled our barbecue over!) which was only 900 square feet, but to us it felt enormous. More importantly, it felt doable.


  

I was a stay at home mom. My husband was a child of divorce and my mom was widowed when I was in elementary school. It was very important to both of us to try to keep me home with the kids, to give them something that neither one of us had growing up. While we could've afforded a larger home at the time, we liked that fact that this one was super easy on our wallet. For example, if my husband lost his job, we would be fine here, family vacations weren't something we would have to do without and debt was a word we wouldn't ever have to carry around with us and our young family. It also meant that we would be able to renovate the house and yard to make it our dream cottage and still not break the bank.

  

In the beginning, we tried to explain our reasoning to others, how we actually loved the cozy footprint, how we were generally all in the same small room hanging out anyway, that this was the dream house, but eventually we gave up. A guy my husband worked with asked if we could afford the house and when we told him yes, he told us "then it isn't big enough." We kept getting comments about how our "next house" will be the big one, as if this couldn't possibly be the goal. Even the kids' friends got in on the act. One little girl literally said, "This is it?" when we pulled into the driveway for a playdate.

  

Yes. This is it. Three small bedrooms, a living room, tiny family room and a kitchen. The furniture is all small in scale, nothing standard ever fits. Private conversations are very difficult to have. You can't load the dishwasher on a Saturday morning without waking everyone in the house and when someone sneezes, it's broadcast loud and clear. I live here with the people I love most in the world and being close to them is a gift. Why I would need any more room is beyond me.

  

Of course, after more than a decade here, people still ask if we're going to finally take that next step or build up. I have quit trying to explain myself. I just say that we are content here and that the house may be small, but it has a great layout and lives very large.

  

 Of course, that may just be our attitude!

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I love your attitude, Kim. Thank you for inspiring us with your story and beautiful cottage.

Kim is a writer, wife and mom who shares loads of great crafts, DIY projects, decorating tips, giggles and "a lot of red" at her blog Exquisitely Unremarkable.  Be sure to visit her for more inspiration.


Living the (Cottage) Dream was featured here -

Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth


Join me next Saturday for another post in the special series

 Living Large in Small Spaces


See more home tours in the 
Living Large In Small Spaces Series here.

From the comments I've received on this series, many
people have been encouraged by the homes and lives shared here.
If you live in a small space I'd 
love to feature your story, too.
Send me an email and let's collaborate.
(See the "Contact Me" page for my email address.)


41 comments:

  1. Very pretty, and I understand completely. We are asked all the time why we bought such a small place, lol!

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    1. Your home is delightful, Sue. And small means less to maintain and more time to pursue the things that bring us joy. :)

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  2. Nancy, thank you for having me here today and for such a lovely introduction! It is truly my pleasure to be able to contribute something to your fabulous series and I meant every word I said about you, my friend! ps- You can send the check out anytime now! ;)

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  3. Dear Nancy ... I love this charming little cottage. I am so thankful that I have "met" Kim through our "little cottage" blogs. Nancy, such a warm and cosy cottage. I most generally fall in love with the homespun kitchens, but in this little cottage, I love it all. Warmest weekend blessings to each of you. Hugs ♥ Teri

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  4. What a lovely cottage! I love the kitchen. So pretty! We live in a big house now and would love to have a house half it's size.

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  5. So charming . . . Love her writing style. I paid a visit . . . delightful blog.
    Looking for comment section, with no luck.
    She wrote a great piece on blogging . . . excellent.

    I love your Living Life In Small Spaces . . . Wondering if mine qualifies . . .
    Small House, Huge Yard . . .

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  6. Thanks for sharing Kim's story with us today. She has a beautiful home and a warm blog and I am so happy to be following her posts!

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  7. I adore Kim and her blog. She's amazing. I love her writing style and sense of humor. Her kitchen has always been one of my favorites. Thanks so much for sharing more of her and her home.

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  8. What a delightful series and such a lovely home.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. Kim's cottage is one of my favorite homes in Blogland.

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  9. What a great feature from Kim and her warm and charming home! I am off to visit her blog as well. I have to agree with Kim... Nancy, you are a very welcoming and kindred spirit and we have only just met through blogland. Have a wonderful day!

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  10. Nancy,
    Another great small home that is cozy and beautiful. I am heading over to her blog now.
    Kris

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  11. Good afternoon, ladies!

    I too understand living large in a small space. I've been married for almost 33 years and between graduate school back east and living in a dorm with my husband to living in a small apartment (but right across the street from the ocean), we have learned to love our nests. Now, we have the perfect cottage for our needs AND our dreams. Living large IS an attitude and the more we all cultivate that, the less we need.

    I love Kim's cottage; that kitchen is a dream and every corner is lovingly organized. HAPPY WEEKEND! Anita

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  12. Replies
    1. So glad you enjoyed what Kim shared, Linda. :)

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  13. Oh my, what a charming home! From the pictures it looks like a place of love and comfort.

    Hugs and blessings to you!

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  14. It was a very interesting post. I have no idea why some Americans think a big house is necessary to be happy. It's obvious that Kim's cottage is a joyful one!

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  15. I am familiar with Kim's blog so how nice to see her here. And she's right...most people hang out in the same room, walking by the showpiece rooms and never using them.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for joining us, Deb. Kim and her husband have created a wonderful home for their family, lived in and well loved.

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  16. What a wonderful post. My husband and I don't own a home since we live overseas as missionaries, but whenever we go to the U.S. on furlough we are astounded at how unnecessarily huge the houses are. As I pray about the house we'll buy after retiring, I picture a cozy place much like your pictures. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  17. Dear, dear Nancy! Good morning to you! How lovely of you to come visit me and to watch the video and listen to the music. Music moves my soul and brings me ideas for poetry or writing. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, as we did. It was just me and my husband in our little cottage, but so much love to be shared. I hope you are enjoying the anticipation of child-like wonder during the winter holiday. Christmas is always a great time to rest and rejuvenate for a new year ahead.

    Hope to see you in Blogland as the celebrations commence! Anita

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  18. I really enjoyed this post!! I love Kim's attitude, and how she and her hubby have made their small home live large. LOVE their kitchen! :)
    Susan

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  19. I enjoyed the refreshing attitude Kim shared.
    I LOVE her kitchen as well.
    A beautiful home.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Carla

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  20. i love Kim's beautiful cottage! Here n Denver, Colorado, many older homes are small but also filled with love and beauty.

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  21. Hi Nancy,

    I've been following Kim for quite a while now, and am always so happy to visit her blog for its charm, and her storytelling flair re: all things exquisitely unremarkable! Thanks for featuring her lovely home!

    Happy December!

    xx
    Poppy

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  22. We use to live in a 900 sq foot home and like you said it was small - since we have moved to a bit over 2000 sq foot home and you know I miss my little home.
    You are so right when you say you could afford to make changes because it wouldn't break the bank.
    I left family and good friends and you can't go back - after leaving Long Island, now we can't afford to live there.
    So good for you that you stayed and raised your family there. As we get older we want a smaller place too much work in a bigger place -
    I don't know why people always have to question - and how many times do we need to explain.
    You are a very patience person.
    Happy Holidays.
    Rose

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope you get back to a smaller home, if that's what you really desire. Best wishes for peace in this season.

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  23. I have loved Kim's cottage from the get go! It's so warm and cozy. Love how cheery it is with her red and white. Living in a small space definitely has it's benefits. Our larger home works fabulous when all of the kids and grands are here, but when it's just us two. It seems a bit empty.
    hugs,
    Jann

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  24. Forgot to thank you for sharing her sweet cottage with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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  25. One of the reasons your cottage works so well is your ability to make it utterly charming. I never did buy into the McMansion mentality and it's unpardonable for a family of 3 or 4 to be living in a massive house, using far too many natural resources to keep it all running. Not only your pocket book but the environment applauds your choice!

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  26. What a beautiful tiny home! Kim, the way you decorated the home is simply stunning, and kuddos to you and your family for not buying into the "keep up with the Jones' mentality"! Enjoyed this tour very much, and love your sense of style and decor!

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    1. Thanks for visiting and leaving these kind words behind.

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  27. What a lovely home you have. I wouldn't want to move either. It's wonderful when we have eyes to see our blessing and when enough is plenty. Angels to you.

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  28. Good morning Nancy! This is a popular series with our readers! #1 again :) and is featured as thus! Thank you for sharing on the Art of Home-Making Mondays!

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  29. Visiting from Strangers & Pilgrims....a fellow lover of red. I will be visiting often as we remodel our 1950's Ranch House. It's currently about 1900 square feet and we are adding 400 sq feet for a master with an en suite, with 5 kids running around it definite feels cozy! However, when we have less kids I think we will also get less house! Blessings, Kyle

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    1. 5 kids. . .wonderful! Enjoy every minute. Thanks for visiting, Kyle, and best wishes for a successful remodel.

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Your comments bring me joy! Thanks for stopping by.