About 7 years ago, we were looking to buy a house. We looked at Victorian homes that needed structural work but had lots of character. We saw cute 50’s ranches with outdated kitchens. We looked at one with a random cinder block tower in the backyard. Yet another was purchased by a developer in cash before we could even get out of the car. You get the drift. In the end, we stumbled on an offer from a builder that we couldn’t turn down. For well below our budget, we could build a brand-new house, choose the finishes and not have to worry about the intricate dance of working with sellers. We put down a deposit just a few days later.
At the time, we were ambivalent about having children. We were also traveling a lot and rarely home. Lastly, we knew that we would eventually sell and that the location was desirable. And so the 1200 square foot home on a tiny lot was a perfect fit.
Fast-forward to now. We are slowly but surely outgrowing our tiny home. Our son will be 3 in July and we’re bursting at the seams. We are entertainers; usually if there’s a family party it’s at our place. Our outdoor hobbies mean our garage is stuffed to the gills with gear. We recently took on a storage unit to reduce the clutter and save the things that will one day fit in a bigger house.
Sometimes, we’re tripping over one another. Other days, if one of us needs to get some work done, it can be tough to find a quiet spot. And when we add in just our immediate family members, we have more than ten people crammed into the common areas of the house. It’s fun, but it’s tight.
One time, shortly after we moved in, a less-than-tactful visitor to our home exclaimed “Wow, it’s so small. And it has no yard.”
Yes…we know. We chose it that way. But at this stage in our lives we are starting to think of what’s next.
Whenever I get frustrated with our lack of space, I think of this country song I remember from when I was growing up:
“But you know, love grows best in little houses,
With fewer walls to separate,
Where you eat and sleep so close together.
You can’t help but communicate,
Oh, and if we had more room between us, think of all we’d miss.
Love grows best, in houses just like this.”
-Doug Stone, Little Houses
While we plan to upgrade to a larger home soon, we hope to find something that isn’t big just for the sake of being big. While we sometimes feel cramped or wish we had a nicer space in which to entertain our frequent guests, I know I will miss it.
It’s a house with no echoes, but it’s a home with room for everyone who walks through our door. It’s where you must brush up against someone to pass in the hallway and where we laugh about sitting on top of each other on the patio. It’s been our shelter through many ups and downs. It’s our son’s first home and it’s filled with his things. We’ve sang happy birthday and said Merry Christmas here. And it’s a luxury many people do not have. I am thankful for it.
Big or small, fixer upper or brand new–a home’s worth is really the people inside, no matter how crowded it gets. I will remember that no matter where we go from here.