Living Large In Small Spaces - The Art of Living Smaller but Larger
Sixteenth post in the series
"Living Large in Small Spaces"
Hello and welcome to another edition of Living Large In Small Spaces.
My very special guest today is Su of the blog Butterfly and Bungalow. Some of you are familiar with Su and her fabulous blog. I don't remember how I made first contact with Su, but it was love at first sight when I saw her uber-charming cottage and unique style of "romantic, vintage finds with a ruffle of French and Swedish country with a Southwest sprinkle." Su writes in her profile, "In our cottage there is painting, whimsy, music, gardening, creating, kitties, and a toy poodle." Su has truly raised living large in a small space to an art form. She inspires me and I know she'll inspire you, too.
Please join me in giving Su a LARGE cottage welcome!
It was sweet of Nancy to invite me as a guest, and flattering, and I hope I can do a good job. Hi, I'm Su and I blog at Butterfly and Bungalow. Our blog is a hobby, because I like to fix things, take photos, and meet like-minded people.
In my opinion, when we had a large home we were doing what many desire. Oddly, I never wanted a large home, because I grew up in a large family in a smaller home. I couldn't understand what you do with all the space and no people, but it took my spouse, a member of a small family, to come around to my ideas.
We downsized from a large home. Having one income and my daughter's interests, it made sense to live in a smaller home. The main criteria is that the house had room for a grand piano. .
A small home lowers expenses, and we are able to have experiences that would be more difficult to do with a larger home. Last summer we were able to send my daughter with me as chaperone to Europe to study piano in a program that she received acceptance.
This home was a fixer-upper. We put an energy-efficient roof on it, so our electricity bills in the summer are almost half our neighbors. But compared to our former home, the electricity bills are less than a 1/3, and we can keep it at 74 instead of 78 in the summer.
The challenges are storage and clutter. I kept the large furniture pieces and they serve double duty. The armoire in the dining room holds kitchen items, glassware, and seasonal items. The armoire in my bedroom holds spare blankets, pillows, and clothes. The china cabinet in the library holds books beneath, and special plates. I have to stay on top of the clutter, because it can be seen quicker in a small space. The kitchen is only 83 square feet. We designed the cabinets, because we were having a hard time fitting a refrigerator and preparation space, and we did not want to knock out a wall due to expense of moving plumbing that had been replaced by a previous owner. We chose a large sink that hides the dishes from the front door. The funny thing about this home is that it is more me than any of my other homes. A powder blue refrigerator is fun.
We also have only one bathroom, but it works fine most days. We installed an Ikea sink console, and it has an amazing amount of storage.
The problem with an older cottage is that there can be initial repairs, but a good inspection will fill you in. The benefits of this home is that there are no home owner associations or club fees, and because it is small and old, the taxes are low. (Young families might not realize that when you purchase a new home you pay for all the new infrastructure: school buildings, pipelines, et cetera.) I also can grow a vegetable garden, and I am allowed to have citrus trees, which one cannot do in newer sections of the city. We planted four types of citrus; our lemon tree produces lots of fruit. Last February I grew our lettuce, tomatoes, and basil. This saves money. There is also no special assessment on the developer for new water infrastructure, so my water bill is a quarter to a third of what it used to be, even though I garden with irrigation.
We repaired the sleeping porch, which desperately needed it. It's a three season porch (there is no heat or cooling there, but it has a foam roof) where the laundry, microwave, and coffee are located. We can't sit out there in the summer daytime hours, but we can in the summer evenings with a fan. We installed retracting screens over the French doors to let the air in, but not the bugs. It is usually not cold here in the winters, so it doesn't need heat. The foam roof fixed the cool problem of the winter, and lowered the summer temperature. The porch is a nice space that works in a mild climate, and it has a bed for lounging and guests.
Sleeping Porch (Laundry, Desk, T.V. and guest bed)
We use every space of this home. We installed organizers in our tiny closets and shelves in the potting shed. We even found a way to turn the storage room in the carport into a work space for my spouse.
When one lives a bit smaller overhead is less. Maybe someday we will have a tiny house, but we will need a place for books and an upright piano.
"Everyone can identify with a fragrant garden, with beauty of sunset, with the quiet of nature, with a warm and cozy cottage."
Thank you so much, Su, for sharing your story and lovely cottage with us. You may be "living smaller" when it comes to square footage, but you and your family are Living Large in every way.
Visit Su's blog for more photos of her charming home, and lots of DIY, budget-wise and space-saving ideas: www.butterflybungalow.com
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.
Living Large In Small Spaces Series here.
From the comments I've received, 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.