By today’s standards, my husband and I live in a hobbit house. At 1,089 sq. ft. our tiny cottage has a kitchen, living room, dinning room, bathroom and 1 bedroom. It’s the kind of house that people would rent for a rustic weekend. For us, it is just enough. Not to say that the projects my husband and I conquer aren’t always done with BIG ambition but there are defined by the small, physical space we inhabit. In my husband’s mind, “anything worth doin’ is worth doin’ right” and that often lends temporary and small improvements to become expensive, perfect and permanent projects! Our saving grace is that our house is small, making our projects and home improvements much more pocket-book friendly.
Sometimes though, I feel that our house is somewhat inadequate compared to the homes of our friends and neighbors. Our rooms are small and quaint and afford no space for superfluous furniture. The petite size of our home also makes it difficult to have large parties or holidays because we are limited in the furniture we can stuff comfortably into one room. But most of the time I feel relieved. Our space is just enough. It is manageable and provides us will all that we need, including a physical limit on our ostentatious dreams. 🙂
Today I saw this New York Times opinion piece titled, When less was more, by Jayne Merkel. All I have to say is Thank You Jayne! It’s a wonderful look at our past and the mentality that came with World War Two, that less indeed, can be more. As I read this piece I started to think about the previous owners of my abode and the world that they inhabited when living in this little cottage.
Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon White lived in the house for over fifty years and in my opinion really stretched the physical bounds of what this space was capable of. At least this was my mentality, when our neighbors recounted to us the tales of Sheldon and his wife raising 5 children, tending a huge self-sufficient garden, canning food and raising chickens all in this tiny, itsy-bitsy house.
But reading this piece I have begun to re-evaluate that opinion. We were a different society and culture sixty years ago. Priorities, time and family were all defined by different standards. Space served a utilitarian and decorative function. It makes me think that maybe, this little house of mine really is more by being less!