I turned to Eric and said, “This is finally beginning to feel like home. Do you feel it, too?” He nodded, and said, “I love our little house.”
In case you’re wondering, Magnolia loves it here, too. She’s so adaptable..she’s been at home since the first day we moved in.
What The Heck Happened?
I’ve been writing this blog for more than a decade, and I’ve never gone more than a few weeks between posts. It’s now been more than four months. We’ve received dozens of emails, all of which tentatively ask, “Are you guys okay?” That turned into, “Are you ever going to post again?” And more recently, “You’re never going to post again, are you?”
It’s nice to know that you’re out there, and that you’re reading, and that you care. I’ve always known that the best part of writing this blog is the connections we’ve made.
So, what happened? Getting settled into a new home, a new community, and a new life has been all-consuming. More than that, we needed time to integrate all of the changes in our lives, not just from the last year, but from the past three years.
Time To Regroup
The pandemic + losing my dad and my mom + giving up our full-time travels + selling what we thought was our forever home in Oregon + renovating and making our home in Florida + deciding to sell our Florida home and build a tiny house in North Carolina + living in Airbnbs for eight months = TOO MUCH. One thing we know for sure is that we don’t want to be making any more big changes for a while.
We didn’t realize just how much we needed to regroup and recover until we moved into this house.
We moved into our tiny home on August 15th. And we’ve been working on getting settled ever since.
You might be thinking, “It’s a tiny house! It should be easy!” But living in a tiny home presents unique challenges. For example, figuring out where to put the kitchen trash can. I’m not going to bore you with the myriad of details and decisions we’ve had to make over the past few months, but the trash can dilemma is a perfect example.
Tiny Space Reality Check
Putting a trash can beneath the kitchen sink is not an option, because that’s where the large pots, toaster, coffee grinder, and pot lids live. So I ordered a big rolling trash can for the pantry. And then we realized that was a dumb idea, because who wants to drag a trash can down the hall every time you need to throw something away? Plus, it took up way too much valuable pantry space.
After far too many hours of looking at trash cans, I finally found a sleek stainless model with a butterfly lid that fits beside the counter. It’s as attractive as a trash can can be, which is a good thing since it’s right in the center of the house.
Magnolia likes to sit on the trash can next to the counter while we prepare meals. She really wants to be a sous chef…but we do not allow her to touch the food. (Doesn’t mean she doesn’t try anyway.)
The Challenge Of Simple Living
We have had to be intentional about every single thing we’ve chosen for this house. Everything has to have a place, and everything has to have a job. That appeals to my like-to-have-everything-in-order nature. But sometimes, it’s tiresome. Because there is nowhere for stuff to hide to “deal with later.”
Making It Our Home
One of the wonderful things about once again having a home is that we’ve been reunited with our artwork and small treasures. In the photo above, there’s a lithograph from a Pacific Northwest Coast First Nations artist, a copper mirror from a Santa Fe artist, a block print from a good friend on Lopez Island, a carved driftwood sandpiper made by a friend of my folks, and our oyster shell Christmas tree from Apalachicola.
We enjoy being surrounded by our eclectic collection and reminiscing about our adventures. And we’re looking forward to adding more to our collection now that we once again have a home. Although we have a tiny house, we have lots of empty wall space just waiting for art.
So Many Changes
It’s easy to forget how many changes we’ve made to this house in the short time we’ve been here. We’ve customized just about everything possible, including the floors, countertops, kitchen tile, appliances, sinks, toilet, fixtures, lighting, and ceiling fans. Still on the list are window treatments, but we needed a break from making decisions.
Painting the kitchen and bathroom cabinets was an enormous amount of work, but it made a huge difference.
The furniture we had made has all worked out to fit the space perfectly. In the office, we had a local cabinetmaker create a built-in cabinet with a file cabinet, drawers, and shelves.
We had planned to use sliding barn doors for our clothing closets, but the measurements are not standard and custom-made doors are ridiculously expensive. We also realized we didn’t like the barn doors on the closets in our rental last summer. (The doors make a loud “clunk” every time you move them, and they’re always in the way.)
I got tired of looking at the open closets and ordered rods and curtains as a temporary fix. “I feel like I’m back in college,” said Eric. But everyone who has seen the curtains loves them, and we’re considering keeping them. Feel free to offer your opinion. We’re suffering from decision fatigue, so we’re taking a poll. :)
In the evenings, we wheel the living room ottomans into the office to make it comfy for watching television. Magnolia likes to hop up for a free ride.
The bedroom is tiny…with a queen-sized bed, it’s pretty much wall-to-wall bed. To save space, we ordered a queen-sized RV mattress (it’s five inches shorter than a regular queen) and had a platform bed frame made out of the same rustic cherry we’ve used for our other furniture. We were accustomed to sleeping on that size bed from our years of RV travel, and knew that it was comfortable for us. We’re using floating shelves beside the bed as another space saver. The bedroom is still waiting for art and window treatments.
We use our screened front porch all the time. Well, not so much now that winter has arrived. But until it got too cold in November, we ate all of our meals on the porch.
We love our view of the enormous oaks and the horse pasture. The porta potty we could do without. Hopefully that will go away soon. The neighborhood is still under construction, and probably will be for another year or so.
Click on photos for a larger image
One more thing to wrap up our home tour. We’ve decided to enclose the back porch. I’ve been painting (not just cabinets) and it’s too messy without a dedicated studio space. Art and craft projects in a tiny house are a disaster. The enclosed porch will become a combination studio/sunroom. I’ll post photos when it’s done.
Beyond The House
Along with settling into our home, we’ve been settling into our new community and hometown. Our community has been all that we hoped it would be. I enjoy the yoga classes and daily walks with new friends. Eric enjoys biking in the nearby orchards and discovering new birding sites. Best of all, this is a neighborhood where not only do we enjoy socializing together, but everyone looks out for each other. For example, Eric and I both came down with Covid in mid-December (yes, we had the boosters). Neighbors brought us homemade chicken soup, checked in on us daily, and brought us groceries.
We are very happy with our decision to settle here. And we love this area.
We did lots of hiking in the fall to enjoy the colors.
We got new e-bikes and have been having fun exploring nearby trails.
We’ve enjoyed the holiday festivities in the area. The light show at the North Carolina Arboretum was fabulous. And so was the Biltmore at Christmas.
We’ve had friends visit us in our new home, and are making new friends in the community. We’re so fortunate to have so many wonderful people in our lives.
And On To Another Year!
As of last Tuesday, we’re off on a two-and-a-half month adventure, heading south for the winter. Honestly, it was kind of hard to leave home and new friends after barely getting settled in. But we made these reservations a year ago, and we’re excited about returning to some favorite places and exploring new locales.
Happy New Year, dear friends. We hope that all is well in your lives, and that this year brings you an abundance of all good things. Thanks for coming along with us in this new chapter of our lives. :)
Laurel, Eric, & Magnolia
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”