Small House Love

I’ve been dreaming of living in a small house for the past several years and here we are, finally. Our new house is just 859 square feet, almost 1000 square feet less than the house we sold back in Portland, and nearly 250 square feet less than the house we just moved from. And yet, we fit in just perfectly here, and the space is more than adequate. It’s cozy and comfortable without being cramped.

Back when we lived in navy housing, we were always assigned a small house and I always wanted something bigger. I realize now though that’s because we were in an acquisition phase of our lives, buying furniture and decor, appliances and other accoutrements, especially when we lived in Japan. However, right after Brett retired we moved into a nearly 2500 square foot house . . . and we were miserable. There was more than enough room for everything we owned and then some, but it was just too big – we didn’t like rattling around in all that space.

We started downsizing then and eventually moved to a smaller place, even as we added the girls to our family. And now, here we are living in less than 1000 square feet again, just like back in our navy days. And it’s perfect.

Here are some promised pictures of our new place:

The view inside from the front door

The view inside from the front door

The kitchen: Still no dishwasher, but way more counter space and a bigger refrigerator! To the left is a big laundry closet with washer/dryer and more storage. Our microwave oven is to the left of the sink.

The kitchen: Still no dishwasher, but way more counter space and a bigger refrigerator! Out of sight on the left is a big laundry closet with washer/dryer and more storage. Our microwave oven is to the left of the sink.  Oh, and those are granite countertops. Not my favorite surface, but they’re beautiful.

Looking back to the front door and small living room area from the hallway. Can you see the laundry hanging out on the racks on the lanai?

Looking back to the front door and small living room area from the hallway. It’s actually more spacious than it appears in the picture. Can you see the laundry hanging out on the racks on the lanai? So happy we can finally use a “solar dryer.”

Main bathroom: The landlord provided the beautiful shower curtain!

Main bathroom: It’s like a spa compared to the bathroom at our last house. The landlord provided the beautiful shower curtain, hotel quality. The floors throughout the house are etched and stained concrete – they’re gorgeous.

Master bedroom, located in the northwest corner of the house.

The “master” bedroom, located in the northwest corner of the house. We have a large wall closet with mirrored doors located out of sight to the left.

The girls are set up in the actual master bedroom, and have their own attached 3/4 bathroom. I'm guessing they might have all their stuff put away by the end of next month. It's a slow process with teenagers.

The girls are set up in the actual master bedroom, and have their own attached 3/4 bathroom and a giant closet. I’m guessing they might have all their stuff put away by the end of next month. It’s a slow process with teenagers, but they are happy with their room and with the house.

The side yard

The side yard. It’s a bit hard to see from this picture, but the eaves are very wide and deep, and keep the rain out unlike at our old house, where the minute it started to rain we had to quickly run around shutting all the windows or risk getting soaked inside. The border around the house is made from tumbled glass (!) – geckos, snail, slugs, etc. won’t cross it.

The back yard: We plan to put a vegetable garden in next spring. Up the hill are an avocado, guava and lemon tree.

The back yard: We already have a compost bin going, and plan to put a vegetable garden in next spring. Up the hill are avocado, guava and lemon trees. That pipe running through the yard is an automatic sprinkler system. A yard service comes every other week to take care of the lawn (dead lawn areas are where he apparently over-sprayed weed killer before we moved in).

The other thing we have here is a big, two-car garage that we don’t have to share with anyone (so the door isn’t always open). We have loads of storage out there which helps keep the house free of clutter.

30 thoughts on “Small House Love

    • Laura says:

      Don’t know about spiders, although we’ve yet to see one here. There are LOTS less bugs here than we had at the old place, which was pretty much Bug Central.

      The kitchen is wonderful. And, it has an amazing amount of cabinet space. I would love to have a dishwasher, but new sink makes it loads easier here than it was before.

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  1. Hawaii Planner says:

    Beautiful! We moved from a much larger house to about 1,000 less square feet in California, and I don’t miss it at all. I could go smaller! 🙂 I think I may be the only one in the house that is ready for further reduction. 😉

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    • Laura says:

      Brett and I plan to go smaller after the girls have all left the nest, but for now, with the four of us, this seems just about right. I think the girls would have rebelled if we’d tried to go any smaller. Plus, this house is laid out very well. Having all the storage space in the garage helps as well.

      Less really can be more.

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    • Laura says:

      We are so happy with this house and the neighborhood. We were just back at the old place a little while ago to turn over the keys and get our deposit, and being back there really reinforced for us that it really was time for us to move on. So glad we found this place!

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  2. Karyn says:

    What a beautiful home! All the little details are so pretty! How wonderful for you!
    I will be happy with a smaller home also. I just need my sewing room and I’ll be happy!

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    • Laura says:

      The features in this house are amazing – the owner/builder really paid attention to the details, and chose quality all the way.

      As long as the living room stays uncluttered here, I’m happy. I’m kind of surprised that the girls seem to be so happy about sharing a room again – we thought that would be the one glitch in this whole thing, but so far it’s all been good.

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      • Laura says:

        I almost can’t believe (or don’t want to believe) that WenYu will be heading off to college next year. I honestly worry about how she will do with a roommate. She is a lovely person, the sweetest daughter, but she is a slob when it comes to housekeeping. No two ways about it. YaYu is more organized, and when they shared a room before she could get quite exasperated with WenYu’s constant mess. But, so far they seem to be rising above it this time and just enjoying each others’ company.

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  3. Cheryl says:

    It is beautiful. Love the glass border, would be a bonus for me. The rooms are a nice size without being cramped and think of how fast housework gets done. Cheryl

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    • Laura says:

      The glass is really interesting – we’d never seen it before. Bits of it seem to get up on the lanai now and then though, so we have to be vigilant about keeping it swept.

      Keeping this place clean is a snap (well, all except the girls’ room but I’ve given up on that and just shut the door).

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  4. Joy Franks says:

    I still wonder if they don’t calculate square footage differently here. The place is great and your furniture looks lovely and fits like a glove.

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    • Laura says:

      I sort of agree – this house does feel bigger than the reported square footage, but I think it’s just very well laid out, has lots of storage both inside and out in the garage so it doesn’t feel cluttered or stuffed inside, and has high ceilings in the kitchen and living room which make it seem larger. Being able to wall-mount the TV made a huge difference as well. G really thought of everything!

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  5. Jen says:

    Love, love, love your new place. I can hardly believe that you just moved in since everything looks put away and the frames are already up on the walls. Having a house on solid ground is so much more satisfying, don’t you think? And being able to have your own outside space, too! Loved the photos. The glass moat to keep the critters out. I loved having geckos in house when my husband and I were first married and living in Saipan, but at the same time I felt like they should really be outside and wondered if they couldn’t find their way out. Better for them to not find their way in! What a great place. I am so happy for you about how this all worked out. Now you can really live your Hawaii dream. But, one question, there is a gate at the corner of your yard. It must lead to a path? To where?

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    • Laura says:

      This was the easiest move we’ve ever done. By overlapping the last month in the old place with our first month here we were able to put things away as we brought them over which made setting up go so much more quickly. And, we were anxious to get out of the old place and get settled here, so we were quite motivated as well to get things done here.

      The gate just leads into the neighbor’s yard next door. I have no idea why it’s there. Actually, I never really noticed it until you pointed it out!

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  6. Carole Carpenter says:

    Oh, your home is just beautiful! So happy for you and your family that you are settled in to such a beautiful living space. It looks like a very good usage of square footage. The modern appliances give it an upscale look/feel. Your optimism is inspiring; I’ve always believed that an optimistic spirit forges the way to more positive things in our life.

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    • Laura says:

      Thanks!

      We couldn’t believe this place when we walked through the first time – the owner/builder thought of everything and did it all first class. And, it really is laid out well. It’s truly the nicest home we’ve ever had.

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    • Laura says:

      We really do like it here. I’m especially loving being on the ground floor, and not having to constantly climb the stairs to bring things into the house, or do laundry, etc.

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  7. Libby says:

    Thank you for sharing – the new digs look great!

    We live in a 768 square foot house so I have a question for you – where will Meiling and your son & his family stay when they visit you? Entertaining in non-warm weather is one of our challenges.

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    • Laura says:

      Meiling will most likely sleep on an air mattress in her sisters’ room; there’s enough room there. Our son and family will be staying in a hotel just down the road. We don’t know if Meiling is going to come back to Kauai to work this next summer or not – it’s one thing to camp out for a couple of weeks for the Christmas holiday, but something else to do it for an entire summer. We’ll cross that bridge though when we get to it.

      I’m very impressed by the size of your house! Brett and I hope to downsize to that or less once the girls have all left the nest.

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  8. Diane Sherwood says:

    Hello Laura,
    Thanks so much for sharing your pictures! As we approach retirement ourselves, DH and I have been on a realtor’s list of potential sites on the big island….your home surpasses them all, and I’ll have to keep looking!!
    I love your floors (I chose big tiles, but yours are wonderful) and the glass border….I’ll remember them for our future place, hopefully. One or two suggestions as I remodel our old farmhouse and made my own mistakes….I had your shower set up and note to self—the waterproof curtain goes inside the tub and you can make yourself an inexpensive colorful cotton curtain for the outside. It really keeps the water in and the beauty out–those Hawaiian prints are gorgeous, too. About the dishwasher…..since there’s a cabinet right beside the sink, I wonder that you couldn’t put the dw there. They did that in here with minimum trouble (except for the loss of the cabinet!). Maybe your owner would let you contribute to the cost of the dw….there are some great buys, even online. Good luck, and enjoy your new place……wonderful space!
    Diane

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    • Laura says:

      Keeping my fingers crossed that you find the perfect home on the Big Island? Which part of the island are you thinking about relocating to?

      Not having a dishwasher is my only regret with this home. According to the owner, it’s not possible because of the septic system. The lot is pretty small, with only a small drainage field for the cesspool. Same reason there isn’t a garbage disposal (the cesspool). We thought about getting a small portable dishwasher, but decided against it. If we install anything here, our landlord hopes it’s air-conditioning. Not likely, but unlike our last place, this house is arranged where a small portable A/C can be used, so if it gets too bad next year we’ll go with that. We love the shower curtain he provided as well – it has a plastic liner that attaches under the mesh at the top!

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      • Snoskred says:

        We have a small portable dishwasher sitting in our garage from years ago when we were in a house without one. If you can pick one up for a reasonable price they are just as good as a regular dishwasher. Which reminds me I should probably try to sell ours on one of the local classified groups. 🙂

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      • Laura says:

        I loved the portable we had when we first moved to Portland – it worked well and had a butcher block top that got a lot of use. We have room in the kitchen for a portable, but we have a “designer” faucet now that can’t be fitted to a portable.

        Oh well. I really don’t mind washing dishes once I get started. And, our new kitchen sink is very big and deep, which makes it a whole lot easier than it was at our old house.

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