Our house is on the market. We’re getting ready to move (hopefully back to Colorado.) For the past few years, we’ve been slowly working to fix some of the many issues with my parents’ house, which we live in. We’re working on purging, packing, and cleaning to prepare for the eventual move.
This is not my childhood home. My parents bought it when I was in college. When they retired to North Carolina a few years ago and were unable to sell the house (it’s a BIG fixer-upper) we moved in so that it wouldn’t sit empty. A few months ago, they decided to sell it even though our still-needs-to-be-fixed list is still rather long.
Our strategy is to condense our living space into just the upstairs, with the exception of the teen’s room on the first floor, and the bare minimum in the kitchen. The workroom upstairs (which is the biggest room…hubby and I chose a different, quieter room to sleep in) used to be just my writing desk, clean-laundry-sorting (our closet is being remodeled) and my sewing table. Now it’s been expanded to include two old comfy-chairs for me and hubby, and a desk and computer for each of the girls.
Strangely, this is working better than I thought it would.
Even when we had the living room with chairs and a couch, the girls were rarely there. Like Mom and Dad, they spend a lot of time on the computer. (Both hubs and my careers depend on it.) At the moment, my girls are playing Minecraft, communicating out loud (“Dude! Give me all your torches!”) while they each control their own aspect of the game.
They’re having fun. They’re comfortable.
So am I… my writing corner is much the same. Like Thufir Hawat taught us, I don’t have my back to a door or window. My desk always has been and always will be free-standing so I can look up and see what’s in the room. Behind and around me is a collection of shelves, souvenirs, and kid-art on the wall. If someone comes back here, it is immediately obvious that they are in my space.
After we move, we’ll have a chance to arrange our living space however we like. If the girls’ computers were in different rooms, they couldn’t as easily communicate as they play. (Just now: “Dude! I’m on fire!” followed by something about golden apples…) It’s also good that I can see what they’re doing, even though it’s a distraction when I’m working.
Yes, I’d love to have a family room with a spacious couch to cuddle on. I want a nice parlor where we can be a little more formal with guests. (My daughter has special needs…I regularly have visitors who are social workers, mentors, or other ‘village people’ lol!) It would be great for hubby to have a man-cave where he have the things that make him happy and comfortable.
No, I don’t want a tiny-house that has all kinds of origami furniture that folds out of the way when not in use. I don’t want to sleep in a loft with no door or force my kids to share everything.
But something in the middle right be just-right. When I was an architecture student I loved the concept of The Right-Sized House. This is more than simply downsizing. This means figuring out how we really live instead of fitting ourselves to the spaces our grandparents found comfortable.
I still want a comfy-chair for me and one for hubby. That might end up being a love seat. Having a couch is nice. When we didn’t have one, I discovered that I really missed being able to lie down on the couch when I wasn’t feeling well. Maybe we’ll get a couch, maybe we’ll make do with a single nice piece where either the girls or a guest can sit. But I spend most of my time at my desk. So does the rest of the family. I think our preferred living space would consist of comfortable desk spaces for each of us. We still need a few comfy-chairs, but I don’t think we need a traditional living-room set.
When I’m writing SciFi, I try to imagine how people in another society, be it aliens or futuristic humans, will live. Some things will likely be very similar. Many others will be different. (Ever seen a Japanese bathroom? Neither have I. But I hear they’re fabulous!) A kitchen of the future might not simply have a zillion fantastic appliances; it might be practically non-existent. A family room might look like a ball-pit.
If you examined the way your family lived, and you had the budget to make changes, how would you live differently?