The Big Little

After we watched our tiny-house dream dissipate, we had to decide what we wanted to do upon waking from that dream. We talked about how we had enjoyed living in our small one-bedroom house even as we had spent the last several months rhapsodizing our joy that we’d leave behind the awkward kitchen and the creepy cave crickets that perpetually dwelled in the bathroom. We weren’t leaving behind those cave crickets though. Instead, we were faced with the decision of staying in our rental another year or doing something with that pile of cash we’d set aside for a down payment on our tiny house.

I started idly browsing houses in Lawrence. Most houses seemed like oversized monstrosities compared to the sleek and trim designs we’d been envisioning. Eventually, I found something that seemed promising, and I sent it to Lee. He suggested we take a look at it, but I cautioned that I only wanted to actually look at houses if there were a realistic chance that we’d buy one. After some number crunching, we started looking to buy a traditional house.

The traditional houses we saw were anything but our dream homes. Well-meaning family and friends tried to console us and point out that we’d have space for our stuff, but such consolation missed the mark. We had, after all, chosen to live a purposeful life with fewer belongings so that we could have more personal and spiritual fulfillment. We looked at the large empty rooms as burdens, needing to be filled with meaningless junk. To avoid that end, we wanted a small house; one of our three deal breakers was that the house had to be less than 1,000 square feet. We also needed a large yard and a good location for us that would allow us to still only need one car.

Eventually, we settled on a three bedroom, one bath house that was a little outside of our ideal location and nothing  newhouseparticular to write home about. It’s a perfectly adequate house, with the perk of a one-car garage. More importantly, it has a beautiful side yard with plenty of sunlight even as the house is surrounded by mature trees. In such a pleasant yard, I could envision my bees drifting from flower to flower on a gentle summer breeze. We would have plenty of room to garden and a comfortable place to live in for the years to come. The house even comes with a chicken coop!

Initially, everyone we told about our impending house purchase was significantly more excited than we were. After all, it’s not the dream home we spent years idly wishing for and months planning for the real logistics; we don’t love this house. Even more amusing were the reactions to the size of our new house: 908 square feet. I’ve found people’s reactions to the size to be only a subtle shade off from their shock of us wishing to live in a 280-square-foot house. Either sized house seems inconceivable to people; both have sparked protests as people have told us over and over again that they couldn’t live in that size of house. While 908 square feet is easily three times as large as we had expected—practically a mansion—we are genuinely starting to feel excited to live in our “big little” house. It’s cavernous and yet small enough to be intimate and keep with our live-tiny values.

chickensI’ve spent more and more time thinking about our garden, bees, and chickens. I know that we’re closer, at least in a small way, to the kind of life we want. And while this house certainly isn’t our dream house, it’s charming that our home appraisal included the note that “two live chickens” were included with the personal property. That’s surely some kind of benediction on our sweet big-little house and our future lives spent inside it.


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