Posts Tagged ‘small house’


sweet summer

August 4, 2013

After a pathetic start to the summer season (lots of rain, and three weeks of illness) things have turned around and there are still a few weeks of summer to go!

In addition to the usual, we’ve been busy with building a new house; harvesting our first crops of potatoes, onions and garlic; enjoying summer visitors from out of town. I’ve also been getting into canning and sewing for me (rather than just for school).

July 22 - collecting river rocks

While enjoying a mini vacation I made some strawberry jam in anticipation of figuring out a buckwheat cracker recipe that tastes good. Then I found transparent apples but didn’t have time to figure out what kind of GF shell to make so I canned them all for future experimentation in the fall.

I’m slowly getting better at finding and using my camera too. Documenting the progress on the house has helped, as has the documentation of textile dyeing by others. Today I even pulled out the gorilla tripod and took shots of our crabapple jelly processing.

Aug 3 - Hand-dyed goodness

After three years of being on the fruit tree program call out list, I was finally able to help. Pickers help take the fruit from trees so that bears aren’t attracted to it and then distribute it among themselves, the landowner and the local food shelter. I wasn’t sure what to do with crabapples but since they weren’t plums and I was available I thought I should help. It probably didn’t hurt that 2 nights earlier I’d witnessed a huge black bear walking across our foundation and then up into the big old plum tree next door. Branches cracked and the whole tree shook as he picked it nearly clean. (Of course I wasn’t in the habit of carrying my camera so no proof, just the story!)

Crabapple surprise!

And I almost forgot – I went blackberry picking in my own town! Usually we rely on Gulf Island field trips for our seasonal fix but they’re abundant, juicy and more than a tad tart right here. Last year they were wizened and kind of gross, but I remember our black bear sightings went up right as the berries got ripe. It seems the same is true this year as I saw the black bear on the same day as I picked my first blackberry of the season.

I also saw this:
Aug 2 - new local wildlife sighting
which, thanks to my growing collection of field guides, I can identify as a common skimmer. (Which reminds me of another first encounter with an aquatic bug – a giant stonefly. It had been familiar to me in name only and it was so interesting to observe and learn more about it that fine spring day.


how much house

June 7, 2009

For some reason, assessing what possessions need to go has been far more difficult for me than figuring out the reasonable amount of space we need to live happily.  Well, except for the kitchen anyways!

Our current house is just over 1500 sq ft on the three developed levels and of those we really only use two.  Further still, it’s really only the kitchen, dining room, bedroom and bathroom we use.  Oh, and the little sub 20 sq ft computer alcove in the family room.  The “sewing” room may as well be a closet because I use the dining room all the time anyways.

Many months ago I made a long lost list of the dimensions of the rooms we use.  Then I went one step further and looked at how much space we actually needed to be comfortable in those rooms.  We could add so much storage and still only need a single level of our house.  No wonder this house seems big, it’s huge!  Even if we added a family member we would still have too much.

This exercise, that started as a way to illustrate that we could handle a Tumbleweed B-53 has shown it might even be a little on the big side!

I was still a little worried about the kitchen and how much space the given layout would have so I went and used the Ikea kitchen planning tool.  I got a little carried away and came up with this makeshift sketch of the main floor.

06 house sketch

The kitchen: I did so many tweaks of this space since it’s the A-1 most important room in the house for me.  I like light, a connection to the main living spaces, and a minimum of corner counters (but no galley or walk through please).

I’ve been in a few show homes that have the window in the space that  would otherwise be wall between  the counter and top cupboards and I love it, so I added that.  There’s still a big window higher up at the sink – not that you can see that.  To the right of it the counter goes a little ways and then the idea is to have the wall which is the back of the coat closet.  The apartment sized fridge would be in its own enclosure beside the closet, with the door facing the stove.  My sister has a similar set up in the best bachelor apartment I’ve ever seen and it works fantastically!

The bathroom The plans for this house actually include a dining booth in this space and as much as I like that idea it’s really hard to lay out and cut fabric using that kind of set up.  Moving the bathroom here frees up space for laundry which is a big plus.

Second entry While I really like the look of the main door at the front I know enough to know that I need a place to put shoes and jackets right at the door.   This new side location seems to work well, at least in theory.

Dining area I like, perhaps even love built in benches.  They provide storage, can be personalized with relative ease and since I’d probably make it myself, I would know exactly what it was made of.   No chemical flame retardants for me thank you very much!

I’m thinking that the bench would be a good place to store my sewing machine and could put the reigns on my fabric collection too.  Of course if we’re to have a wee one, then I’ll probably have to restrict my collection even more!

Having the bench on one side also means that it’s easy to add chairs or even a table, to fit more people.

Living area I suspect the main living area will be the area around the built in sofa but it’s always nice to have a bit of an away space – thus the un-labelled bookshelf and chair near the door.

I’m not quite sure how to go about designing the sofa so it can go double duty as a bed, but that would be the goal.  With bookshelves along the outside we would be able to fit our current resource library and some other goodies.  Since books aren’t that deep we could have an access under the cushions to store board games and the like.

I still need to tweak the staircase layout as the recommended one makes me too nervous of falling and breaking more bones.  Regardless, there should be room to wire in the “control station” under the stairs.  We mostly view things on our computers now but there’s always the possibility of a projector sort of thing image on the wall if we really want to go there.

Other I ‘m not sure what the space requirements are for a hot water tank and the plumbing to eliminate the first plug of cold water, but I’m hoping that would fit under the stairs on the bathroom side.  In the tallest space under the stairs I was thinking we could house a smaller deep freeze (a necessity with our diets) and then have more storage above it.

So that’s it for the main floor and apart from the stairwell I don’t see a need to tweek the upstairs!