Well, today it’s time for Big Surprise #3: my husband and I have bought a house.
When Plumblossom was born, we brought her home to our small, one bedroom, urban apartment. We had no immediate plans to move; after all, we reasoned, a tiny baby doesn’t take up much space. And on that count we were right: her crib fit into a cozy corner of our bedroom, and her wardrobe took up just a small sliver of my closet. I was ready to congratulate myself on smoothly inserting an infant into our tiny living arrangement.
What we realized: a tiny baby doesn’t take up much physical space. Auditory space, on the other hand, was a whole other matter! Our delicate flower has an impressive set of lungs, and no compunction about exercising them. Unfortunately, we were living in a high rise apartment building without soundproof walls. When she cried in the middle of the night, we always wondered if an eviction notice might be forthcoming (!).
Even before our little girl came along, my husband and I started contemplating a house purchase. For the past three years, we’ve been drifting: moving every few months between hotels, sublets, and various apartments. We really enjoyed this nomadic lifestyle…but the continual search for new digs eventually began to wear on us. We’d also grown tired of living with faulty appliances, maintenance men who popped in without notice, and all the other quirks of temporary accommodations.
But most of all, we wanted a little green space of our own. My husband and I have lived almost exclusively in urban areas since college, and always considered ourselves “city people.” But our time in England gave us a great love of the countryside, and made us yearn for some trees, some flowers, a small garden of herbs and vegetables. We wanted to be able to step outside to a quiet little oasis, to enjoy dining al fresco, and to someday watch our daughter toddle on the grass and pick wildflowers in the backyard.
We’d kept an eye on the local real estate market during my pregnancy, but never saw anything too compelling. The biggest challenge: finding a small house in our preferred area—close to my husband’s office, a charming downtown, and several beautiful parks. Such a lovely and convenient area means a high premium on land—so most of the housing stock is of the 3000+ square foot variety.
But one night at 3am, with Plumblossom in one hand and my laptop in the other, I struck gold while browsing the listings: a small, midcentury, 3 bedroom rancher on half an acre. It’s in an older neighborhood with wonderful character and mature trees—a little pocket of modesty in a rather posh area. We settled on in it thirty days later, and just recently moved in.
The house itself has an open floor plan, and lots of glass to the partially wooded backyard. We’ve already painted all the walls bright white, and love the light, airy effect. Right now, it’s a big empty space with a few pieces of furniture and a scattering of baby items. As you might guess, we have no interest in filling it up—plus, I think it’ll make a great open place for a toddler to play and run around. It also has a lovely deck, which is becoming our second living room as the days get warmer.
Although at 1700 square feet it’s considered a small house, it’s the largest space we’ve ever lived in. It may seem antithetical to the how-low-can-you-go, tiny living movement—but it’s the smallest we could find in the area (local ordinances ruled out building a tiny house), and I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m an empty space junkie.
I look forward to sharing our new space with you as we get settled. However, home improvement moves at a snail’s pace with a new baby on board. And with spring rains and warm weather coming, we’re focusing what little time and energy we have on getting the garden planted and backyard in order. However, I’m really excited about tackling the interior—and in time, look forward to exploring with you the joys and challenges of keeping things minimal in our “larger” space.