Tuesday, March 27, 2012

our house is a very, very, very small house.

We live in a modest little ranch house that doesn't have a bathtub* or dishwasher. And for the first 2 years we lived here prior to having our baby, it was perfect for us. And for the first 7 months after we had our baby, it was basically fine. But now that our little lambchop is mobile, it suddenly feels unbelievably cramped.

(the front of our house in the fall of 2009 -- yep, that's us)

When we moved in, we knew that this wasn't our dream house (far from it) and didn't think we'd be living here forever. But I don't think I anticipated feeling a powerful need to move this soon.

The house needs work. The kitchen is ridiculously outdated: ugly laminate counters, old appliances (plus, of course, the whole no dishwasher thing), the worst wallpaper you've ever seen. The bathroom is atrocious (aforementioned missing bathtub is just one part of the problem -- let's just say the moldy-oldy seashell wallpaper border is one of the best features), the basement was flooded before we moved in and consequently the tile (made from asbestos, we think) is ruined and needs to be removed and replaced. The ceiling of the garage is falling apart, the chimney flashing needs repair, the backyard is overrun by creeping charlie.

(our living room; photos by Chrissy Deming Photography)

At the same time, there are things we love about the house. We put in a patio the first year we lived here, and it's perfect for us. The backyard is large and has a very lovely flowering tree -- and the giant maple in the front is the envy of the neighborhood. Our living room window lets in the most amazing afternoon light. We live so close to campus that my husband can easily walk to work every day, saving us money on fuel and the environment some greenhouse gases and giving him the opportunity for some exercise and contemplation time. The house is on a quiet little cul-de-sac where our daughter will be safe to play when she's old enough to scamper around outside.

(L's nursery)

So, what to do? It feels very small now, but if/when we have another child, we will have to move -- The Professor has made it abundantly clear that he needs a home office so he can work in peace and quiet, and we'd have to use the last of the three bedrooms for the new little one, so we're out of luck unless we can figure out a way to construct an office for him in the basement (but it seems like it'd be depressing to work in a dark dungeon of wood paneling!). All of the "problems" I mentioned are probably easily fixable for someone with DIY skills, ambition, talent, and time. That person is not me, and it is definitely not my husband.

(in the backyard 2.5 weeks before L arrived)

It's a buyer's market, so I know we could find another house that's a better fit for us with little difficulty. But it's a buyer's market, so who is going to want to buy our goofy little home so that we could move?

And I feel embarrassed for even saying this, because I grew up in a tiny ranch house with old laminate counters and only three bedrooms + 1 small bathroom and parents with no money to fix anything and you know what? It was a house filled with love and happiness and I wouldn't have changed a thing. And considering that my great-grandfather was born in a sod house on the prairies of Nebraska and my husband's mother was born in a displaced person's camp in post-war Germany, I don't really have any business complaining.

So for now, I'm trying to stay on top of the seemingly-endless clutter and pull myself away from the real estate listings...

*I should mention, lest you think that we are very unsanitary, that we do have a shower and a little plastic baby bathtub!


  1. Ooooh how I feel you. We were outgrowing our apartment before the Cub, and now that #2 is approaching, I am constantly feeling suffocated. Having seen your house (only once, I'll admit) I think it's adorable, though I understand the need for a tub and a dishwasher!

  2. Yep. Our house is only 1080 square feet, and I'm constantly feeling overrun by stuff. Now with Adelaide and everything she entails, plus my husband's drum business... it's too much too often. There are so many home fix-ups that we could do that would make it feel more at home, but with what time and money? I have neither. And even if I do have the resources for certain projects... by the end of the day I just have no energy. I'm really hoping that this summer, when I have Adelaide in daycare part time (just so she doesn't forget routine), and I have no work, that I'm able to get some things done, cheaply.

  3. Our house is only 1080 square feet too, but I've always liked small cozy spaces. My husband would prefer a MUCH bigger house, but since our yard is big it kind of makes up for the lack of space inside.

    When Avery was a little younger I felt completely overrun by her things. After she turned 3 we were able to really condense the amount of things she needed, and we don't keep any toys in the living room. That has helped so much in making our home feel less cluttered, and has given us more space.

  4. We're going through a similar quandry at the moment. We love our house, but the school system that it's in is just okay. Actually, it's probably better than okay, but some of the best ranked schools in the country are 15 minutes from our house. Hubs is ready to put the house on the market now, but I'm trying to convince him that we can wait a few years at least, since we've got 4 years before Noah would even be in kindergarten.

  5. If you ever want help ripping down wallpaper/painting, I'd be more then happy to help...or even just do it myself! Those are the kinds of projects I love and I'd have no problem coming and doing them!

    1. wow.

      above is one great friend.

      wanna come to denver and paint some walls? i wish i knew someone like you. ;)

    2. That's my amazing little cousin who lives in a waaaaaay smaller place than either of the two of us do and makes me feel guilty for even complaining! Though she doesn't have a baby to contend with, just lots of pets...but still, Adria is awesome. :)

  6. I totally hear you. I keep walking around the house trying to decide how we'd fit another baby. I loved our house because it's old and has a lot of "character." That also means a lot of projects. Projects that I don't really have the time or the money for right now.

  7. wow! are we in the same boat, or what?!

    we were so excited to buy our house and still do LOVE our house but, at 572 sq feet of livable space (we have a basement for storage but not sure that totally counts) we are starting to feel a little overwhelmed and cramped. and we only have one bedroom. so we are starting to feel greatly the desire to have an extra room to plop ramona in. don't even get me started on an office.

    so i have nothing to add except: i feel ya girl! i love it and hate it all at the same time. but bottom line: home is what you make it (the name of my former blog actually) and ain't that the truth. sounds like you three have a lot of love and creativity to go around and, really, that's all that matters.

    p.s. 2.5 weeks from L's arrival?! sheesh, you were tiny. that was me at 20 weeks ;)

  8. Oh man does this post hit home for me. I plan to post about it sometime in nearish future...but in the meantime..I'm suffering not so silently with my first world problems:)

  9. Hey! Why does Chrissy get photo shout-outs but not me?!?! :) Those are two excellent photo-shoots, I must say. I can't wait to get back in the summer and get some shots of L outside motoring around!