I grew up in a 3,803 square foot McMansion. My dear sweet beloved parents had worked hard, been successful, and thus purchased a house that looked just like every other house in the neighborhood in a pre-planned suburban community. The McMansion looked very much like this:
Now, don’t get me wrong. I can’t complain about growing up in suburban Atlanta with upper middle class parents in a good neighborhood with good public schools. Life was, in retrospect, pretty much gravy.
But, argh, the McMansion! More house than our five person family could possibly fill up with anything besides junk we’d never have time to use. It was possible, thanks to two staircases, to spend a whole day and not actually run into someone you lived with unless you wanted to. This was no “east wing” type house, but it definitely turned me off to big houses in a big way.
The fantasy? A cottage. A cozy cottage with two or three bedrooms (one of which I can use an office to write in), a kitchen big enough to actually cook in and even eat in, and one living room/ den (the McMansion had both) with a corner for a dining room table. Bookshelves floor to ceiling everywhere for my ever-expanding collection. A hanging rack for pots and pans and random kitchen implements that I can reach (all 5 feet of me). A fireplace or a wood-burning stove if I really dare to dream. Outdoor space with a nice high fence covered in vines and a big shady tree or two where friends and I can cocktail by a firepit in the fall. A WASHER and DRYER are compulsory- renting has forever made me resent lugging my dirty underwear four blocks on foot to wash them. And I’d love a porch, with a good old rocking chair to sit and read or write in. And the ability to have non-renter-white walls for once in my adult transient life.
So when I read the article in the New York Times about Tiny Houses and especially the super affordable and durable Katrina cottages, I got a glimpse of what I hope to save money for- even though I suspect a cottage would need a little extra insulation to work up here in the frozen tundra. Maybe one like this? Or this?
They’re cost-effective, earth friendly, and they look cozy enough to meet my fantasy need of actually running into people I live with if I live with someone. Plus my grandma’s quilts need a home, and this place looks ready to be filled with them. Now to figure out how to save the money for all this cozy-ness. I suspect dropping my shopping habits and taxi habits (I seem to keep oversleeping now that I spend a few hours awake and sick every night) will help. That and my big new raise that starts next week! Whee! I have until May of 2011 to make myself a home according to my 101 in 1001, so it’s time to get real about what I want. And what I want is home, even if I have to make it for myself.