Hit by a Pitch

Little House

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I am very pleased by the fact that we live in a small house — 950 square feet to be exact. It’s not something I really talk about (except for now, of course) because it’s one of those things (like being a vegetarian, cloth diapering, or biking instead of driving a car) that, when you talk about it, kind of makes you sound like a self-satisfied, smug asshole.

That said, indulge me for just a minute. I think many people think they need more space than they really do. It’s something that really bugs me when watching HGTV, which I do quite a bit, especially now that I’m getting into serious nesting territory. I’m always amazed by what people think they “need” when looking for a house. They need way more bedrooms than they have people, a finished basement, a “man cave” (don’t get me started on that bullshit) and/or a scrapbooking room, a master suite, a play room for the kids, 27 bathrooms, and a gigantic kitchen with great room (also, don’t get me started on the still-raging obsession with granite counters and stainless steel appliances, which I think are boring, gross, and one day soon will be looked on with as much disgust as the avocado green of the 70s). Many of these people complain about formal living rooms, saying they never use them. Well, duh! You have so much space in that house, there’s no way you could use all the rooms.

Here’s what we have: tiny foyer (I hate front doors that open right into the living room), living room, dining room, kitchen, two tiny bedrooms, a miniature bathroom, a teeny tiny silly little room off the kitchen that I use as my closet, and an added-on room in the back of the house that we use as a laundry room. We also have a small yard with a postage-stamp-sized patch of lawn in the back.

This is all we need. We actually use our living room because, well, we have to use it. It’s where we “entertain” (as they say on HGTV, which is really annoying) and where we hang out and watch tv. I don’t see the point of having a separate room for “entertaining” (sorry about the scare quotes, but I can’t make myself seriously use that word) and watching tv/hanging out when it’s just us at home. I mean, the more rooms you have, the more energy you have to use to heat, cool, and light those rooms, and the more cleaning you have to do.

But. Yes, there is a but. I’m finally willing to admit that it is going to be a very tight squeeze to incorporate a kid into this tiny little house. We’re going to do it — we’re absolutely, positively not moving to a bigger house — but it’s not going to be easy. I’m trying to consider this a good thing, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t incredibly stressful and hard right now.

We don’t need a baby’s room yet — our plan is to cosleep (have the baby sleep in our room but not in our bed, which now is referred to as “bedsharing”) for the first few months. However, we are setting up the baby’s room. I figure now is the best time to do it — we can take our time, get/assemble/paint/configure the furniture, and have everything ready now, before we’re exhausted from dealing with the baby.

The problem is that the baby’s room is the only extra bedroom we have (and it’s just as big as ours!). Since we’ve lived in our house, this room has functioned as storage space and as B’s DJ studio. His DJ studio takes up quite a bit of room — he has a bunch of vintage stereo equipment (most of which is huge), a zillion speakers, turntables, a desktop computer, two laptops, a mixer, and a bunch of other stuff that I can’t keep straight. At first we thought about having the kid share a room with a condensed version of the DJ studio, but then realized that we might as well move the DJ stuff now, because it’s not going to get any easier when the kid is older.

The problem is that there’s really nowhere else in our house to fit this stuff — 950 square feet isn’t that much space and our rooms are small. We might be able to fit stuff in the living room or dining room, but it would look cluttered and detract from the rooms (not that they’re all that or I’m any sort of professional decorator, but the rooms are decent and comfortable). Our bedroom is out — with a queen-sized bed, dresser, and nightstand, there is absolutely no extra room at all. My closet is packed and there’s no room in the kitchen, even though it’s pretty big (and anyway, that would be dumb).

So, that means B has been moving his DJ studio to the laundry room. Seriously. He’s had to do a lot of condensing (the turntables are out for now) but has come up with some awesome ideas, like gutting a giant, vintage stereo cabinet thing so it can house the mixer and a bunch of other stuff. It’s kind of silly to have a bunch of computer and DJ equipment wedged into a tiny room next to the washer and dryer, but it’s really the only solution and should work at least for a while.

Fortunately, my only hobbies right now are going to the gym, watching sports, and talking shit on the internet, things that don’t happen at home, take up much space, or need much equipment. I’m hoping to take up something more constructive soon (painting, needlepoint, who knows) but I’ll never be one of those super-crafty or scrapbooking types who needs a whole room for it, which is good because, obviously, we don’t have a whole room for that.

Anyway, this is a very long way of saying that we’re going to have a kid and we’re going to live in a 950-square-foot house with that kid and all of our animals and we won’t go totally crazy. Someday, I’m sure we’ll want more space. When the kid is older, we’ll probably want another bathroom and probably another bedroom. And a basement (we have a crappy, partial, unfinished basement now that isn’t good for anything but storage). Fortunately, our house has a giant, unfinished attic, so we could add a bedroom or two and a bathroom. Of course, we might eventually want to just move to a bigger house (probably a little bit south of where we are, if we can ever afford it — we might want to do this anyway because of the schools, which by us aren’t great).

I’ve thought about this kind of thing a lot, and I think a kid can learn some good stuff by growing up in a little house and by growing up in the city. It’s weird because I spent my childhood in a pretty spacious (to me — by today’s standards, it’s probably on the small side) house in a pretty vanilla suburb (and I turned out fine, yo) and my kid’s life is going to be much, much different. We’re never going to live in the suburbs and I seriously doubt we’ll ever live in anything but a smallish house. We’re also a lot less well-off financially than my parents were when I was growing up, although that’s a topic for another day (it worries me, a lot). I suppose everything is a tradeoff, though, and I think there are some awesome things we can offer our kid that I didn’t have.

Whatever happens, it’ll be interesting. Right?

Written by Tracy

August 6th, 2009 at 9:59 am

Posted in and life,Home

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  1. We both wish we’d bought a smaller house, as it turns out. While it’s nice to each have our own spaces, plus an extra bedroom for our work week sleeping schedules, there’s tons of space that is just storage. Those 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath houses in Boulder (yes, I said it) that were the same price as this one in the suburbs don’t look too bad right now. Yeah, we got more house for the money, but did we really need more house?


    13 Aug 09 at 12:25 pm

  2. Tracey,
    Ha! Love it (your sense of humor and HGTV comments…I’m a interior designer and while I’ll take the work I despise todays McMansions). I too live in the ‘hood (34th and Marion) and from the sounds of it live in a very similar house (we have a whopping 980 sf). Generally, I really don’t mind the small house. Although, I do have dreams of going up to the attic to capture that space and grow our current house to a gargantuan 1500 sf.
    We want to have a kiddo, but because my hubby works out of the house, it might be a bit more of a challenge. But, I guess time will tell…
    In any case, congrats on the soon-to-be bundle and (I don’t know how long you’ve lived here, but) welcome to the ‘hood.


    8 Sep 09 at 12:30 pm

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