Living Large In Small Spaces - Whisper Cottage
Thirty-seventh post in the series
"Living Large in Small Spaces"
Welcome to another edition of Living Large In Small Spaces.
I believe there are countless ways to live large in small spaces. There's no "right" way. I've featured a variety of homes in this series, from a lovely senior's room in an assisted living center to a designer mountain cottage; a charming basement apartment, a vintage beach cottage, a floating home, and much more. Homes in Canada, West Sussex and Wales; as well as small homes from coast to coast in my home country -- the USA. My mission is to inspire you with good design, interesting style, and my personal favorite -- stories of individuals who have made the choice to downsize and live more simply. Because when all is said and done, it's the vision and tenacity of these people and the joy they possess that inspire me the most, and I have a feeling that's what inspires you the most, too.
Today's featured home is one that I'm particularly interested in sharing with you, because it's the first of its kind to appear here.
The owners Geneva and Buzz are a delightful couple. I ran across Geneva's blog My Heart's Song a while ago and invited her and Buzz to share their home and story. At the time they were in the midst of a move and understandably didn't have the time to write a guest post, but they were more than willing to allow me to tell their story. As you probably know, I've been pretty busy myself with our cottage build, so all this sat on the back burner for a bit. However, I just couldn't put it off any longer. It's my pleasure to share with you today the people and the story behind
In August 2010 the couple sold their beautiful brick home and began the search for a home in which they could afford to retire.
BUZZ FINDS A HOME
As Geneva tells it on her blog:
"Buzz found this mobile home in June of 2010; took pictures of it and thought it might be something we should consider. I spent hours looking at the pictures he had taken since my schedule didn't allow me to see it in person.
"Even though a mobile home seemed like a good option, this one seemed so dirty (from the pictures anyway). Buzz went back at least two more times to check it out from top to bottom...but we decided to put it on the back burner. Honestly, I think I just didn't want to live in a mobile home... no matter how it looked.
"We had always thought we would end up in a cute little cottage some where in the Texas Hill Country and believe me we looked there, and in East Texas and in West Texas, and in South Texas and in North Texas. It never entered our minds that it could be any where but Texas ... :)
"We were both praying for God's guidance.
This wasn't a decision we wanted to make on our own."
Geneva writes, "The whisper came when I was driving home from work in December 2010 'You need to re-think the mobile home'. That's when I sighed and said ... 'I know, it just makes sense.'
I felt excited, and couldn't wait to get home
to tell Buzz what God had impressed on my heart.
LET THE REMODELING BEGIN!
A JOYFUL INTERVIEW WITH GENEVA AND BUZZ
VIA EMAIL :)
A Joyful Cottage: This is your retirement home. And you sold your conventional home to downsize and be debt free in retirement? Is that correct?
Geneva & Buzz: This is our retirement home. Originally, we had thought we would pay off the mortgage on our 2200 sf site built home, but opted to downsize instead. We not only saved a big chunk of our savings, we also saved the money taxes, insurance & maintenance would have cost us each year. We weren't using all of the space in that home and knew a smaller space just made more sense. We sold our home and never looked back.
AJC: Are you willing to share how much you paid for your home? I fully understand if you'd prefer not to, but even if you gave an "under $____" figure, I believe it could be an encouragement to my readers who are looking for alternative affordable housing.
G&B: We found our existing home in a manufactured home community consisting mostly of Senior adults (55 & older) and paid $17,000 for it. We invested another $12 to $15 thousand in remodeling to make it our own. I've given a breakdown of costs in the Q & A section of my blog. Realistically, the home could have been spruced up for much less ... it was simply our personal choice to do the extra things we've done.
The home and remodeling expenses are paid in full ... :)
AJC: It looks like your home was on private property when you purchased it. Is that right?
G&B: Our home was and is currently located in a manufactured home community, which we prefer because of the low maintenance, security & sense of community. This community also provides amenities that we use on a regular basis ... especially when our granddaughter visits.
AJC: You recently moved. Can you share a little of what that was like. Was it difficult to physically move the home? Do you own the property? (I hope I'm not being too nosy, please feel free to tell me to take a hike!)
G&B: Even though moving our home was a major interruption to our lives, it's working out pretty nicely. The new community gave us a great re-locating package which included moving our home, garden shed, carport and decks, as well as putting new skirting on our home. Another plus-since our old community was going away (the property was sold to a developer), many of our neighbors moved here as well (instant community) . The actual moving of the home was a little surreal ... seeing our home being pulled away by a truck was pretty scary. We received very little damage which was a relief since we've done some pretty unconventional remodeling on the interior walls. Packing was a breeze. We didn't have to remove anything from the home ... we just moved things to the center, took pictures/mirrors off the wall and dishes out of the upper cabinets. Even with that, we were able to purge some things that were taking up valuable space ... a nice perk to any move.
Since our garden has been an important part of our lives, we were relieved to learn we could dig up many of our plants and bring them here. This garden will be different ... simply because the space is different, but it's great to have a head start with some mature plants. As soon as we've settled a little more, I plan to do some blogging about our move and our new location.
This move helped us realize we don't have to be afraid if it happens again. :) We still have our home!
AJC: I'm so impressed with what you've done. Do you have any advice for someone considering downsizing, especially to a manufactured home?
G&B: Downsizing to a manufactured home isn't for everyone, but it's certainly been a positive for us. Our primary advice to anyone purchasing a used manufactured home (ours was about ten years old), would be to make sure the home has good bones. Most damage to older manufactured homes come from leaks, which can literally ruin walls and floors. Maintenance of our home is relatively simple, but ongoing ... just like any home. Since we maintain on a regular basis, we've been able to keep the costs low, and use the savings to do the FUN things we want to do at this stage of our lives.
Our remodeling advise (in my blog) isn't professional in any way, but we've been more than happy to share what we've learned along the way.
AJC: Is there anything you'd like to add? Anything at all?
G&B: Our home has roughly 1200 sf of living space and has everything we need. The lot/space that we rent gives us ample room for outdoor entertaining and with landscaping we're able to have pockets of privacy ... outdoor rooms. Basically, for $30,000 we have a home that we're very comfortable with, and our monthly expenses are generally, below $500.00 (lot rent/utilities). A very affordable lifestyle!
Thank you so much, Geneva and Buzz, for sharing your lovely home and life with us. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this photo of you two is proof positive that you really are living large in a small space!
Our Life Lesson
True contentment is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.
We've barely scratched the surface of Geneva and Buzz's home and lifestyle. There's so much more for you to see. Geneva shares wonderful DIY projects and inspirational writings. Go to Geneva's blog here. And be sure to read her Remodel Q&A page here for more details about the project.
Living Large in Small Spaces
See more home tours in the
Living Large In Small Spaces Series here.
From the comments I've received, many
people have been encouraged by the homes and lives
shared in this series.
shared in this series.
If you live in a small space (approx. 1200 square feet or less),
I'd love to feature your story, too.
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.)