We have a small house for seven. When we first moved in it was two bedroom, one living/dining room, one kitchen, one bathroom, a small study and a hallway. It is now four, almost five, bedrooms. We turned the study into a bedroom for Gary and I, the hallway into a bedroom for Thomas and the odd shaped upstairs bedroom we divided into two separate sleeping areas – the privacy of two separate bedrooms but with only one door – perfect for the twins. However, in terms of square footage, it has stayed the same.
I adore my home. It is old, over 200 years old, it is cottage-y, with wood beams and stacks and stacks of character. But it is small, and very quirky. It’s front door is actually at the back of the property, the twins room has a whopping great chimney going straight through it (which incidentally one can crawl through should one want to), the living room has no external windows, although it does have one weirdly located interior window, and our bathroom is twice the size of the kitchen, oh and it is located off the kitchen. See. Quirky.
One has to think outside the box when one lives in a cottage-y wonderland such as this. And I am the queen of seeing things, not as they are, but as they could be. I use the long hallway connecting the stairs to the kitchen to store the majority of our food, in wall to ceiling, incredibly thin cupboards, hand built by my very patient husband. I house the washing machine and tumble dryer in the bathroom – a fact that the electrician visibly shuddered at when I asked him to make it legal and safe.
My long suffering husband is just that – long suffering. I have plans all. the. time. I do not have the skills to make these plans come to fruition. That’s where Gary comes in. I plan. He builds. I dream. He puts in the hard work to make it all happen. We are the perfect team, although I’m thinking he probably has the raw end of the deal.
Why am I writing this? I guess I want to demonstrate how small does not necessarily mean limiting. I have carved out a special area for each of my children, so they have a place to go. A place to call their own. A place where they get to be and do anything they want (within reason!). We have a small house. But we have many magical nooks and crannies, that make living here with seven people doable. We don’t tend to step on each other’s toes, or irritate each other, or get in each other’s way, because we each have a nook. The great thing about these nooks and crannies are that they are easily changeable as each child grows and develops. What was Lillie’s art studio, is now Charlotte’s reading nook. What was Charlotte’s office is now Lillie’s art studio come office.
Over the next few months, I will be picking one nook or cranny and showing how we created a small but wonderful space for each member of our family.