Welcome to Little House, Lovely Home.
Here’s the short story.
I’m Emma. Two years ago, when I was heavily pregnant with my second child, my husband and I decided to move to a smaller home. 860 square feet small, in fact (or 80 square metres for my metric friends).
We downsized to save money so we could travel more. It is a challenge, but a worthy one. I started this site when I realized that many other families felt the same way. Little House Lovely Home hopes to give you actionable tips, advice and inspiration to help you live better in a small space.
Want more details? Keep reading… (I understand if you’re not interested).
The really long story
At the time of our downsize, we owned a much larger home, nearly 1400 square feet, 3 bedrooms, a separate dining room and two toilets. Our big house also had a garage. Before that, we’d always lived small (our first son was born in a 500 square feet apartment) but we had this notion that a family needed a big house. So we bought our big house and tried to fill it with stuff. We have always loved to travel, and spending money on stuff to fill our house felt completely unnatural. Instead, we filled one of the bedrooms with unopened boxes and junk we really should have decluttered. We kept that bedroom door closed.
The house was old and in need of full renovation when we purchased it. It was going to be our fixer-upper. Nature had other ideas and threw a few major earthquakes our way, rendering us victims to an arduous insurance claims process. So now, we’re stuck in a big empty house, that we can’t renovate because it has major earthquake damage. That was a depressing year.
One silver lining to the earthquakes was the surge in rental demand. At the same time I got a portable job. It was time to travel, so we rented out our house to a family in need of accommodation, packed up our nearly 2-year-old and boarded a flight to Mexico, via San Francisco. We were away for 15 months. During that time we slept in many budget hotel rooms, a cruise ship cabin, on trains, planes and rented one lovely apartment in Spain for a six-month stay. It was in Spain where we realized we didn’t need a big house.
Our Spanish apartment (you can see some pics of it here on my other blog) was no more than 645 sq ft (60 sqm), and the shower was so tiny you couldn’t turn around in it without touching one of the doors (seriously, why are showers in Spain so small?). It was sparsely furnished. The best feature was the patio, tiled in traditional pasta tile. Those months were some of our best as we grew accustomed to Spanish life. We enjoyed the sun, the beach and the plentiful and cheap cafes. Life in Spain changed us and gave us a new goal. We wanted to retire early and move to Spain.
When we fell pregnant, we had to think long and hard about how we were going to make our dreams of moving to Spain a reality. We no longer wanted to have a big house and all the associated bills and maintenance. That money would be better spent growing our retirement nest egg so we could move to Spain. We started to entertain moving to a small rental property we owned. Could we live in a small space with two kids? How would we fit them and all our stuff in? Would we go crazy?
Well, I don’t have all the answers yet, but we’ve now survived living in a small home with two kids for over two years and have no plans to move (until Spain, that is).
More things you should probably know.
I live in Christchurch, New Zealand and, usually, speak the Queen’s English. But, as most of my readers are in the United States, it makes sense to write in American English. I’m not perfect, so please forgive me when I add in an extra ‘u’ here and there (colour, color; odour, odor) or get my ‘s’ mixed up with my ‘z’ (realise, realize).