Category Archives: Home

Living Small and Why My House is Ineffective

I lived for a while in a small square house, maybe 500 square feet max, a small backyard but with a nice string of grape vines and garden area.  Two bedrooms in the back, with bathroom between, an open plan kitchen with dining area and adjacent living room.   It was perfectly sized, although today I’d want more land so I could have my hens.  The house wasn’t too big, though.  Just enough space for me, my stuff, and room for guests when needed.  After leaving for the school year and returning with my partner, it wasn’t enough room.  We had accumulated way too much stuff to fit in that little house and needed a storage unit.

Today, we have a 1500 square foot house and just over 2 acres.  The house was originally a rectangle, with a square bedroom that was added on to the south.  The land is fine, and we have a barn to house the chickens, 2 goats, and sheep.   The house is stuffed with stuff.  Lots of stuff I need to throw away.  I never knew it took so much time to take care of just stuff.  Both the houses we’ve owned have been stuffed, a sign that we just have too much house, and way too much stuff.  However, that isn’t what has been bugging me the most lately.  Not even the constant walks down the hallway during my working hours, beckoned by my partner that needs something (and obviously she can’t get or do whatever it is she needs), although that does get quite annoying.

What has been driving me crazy is that the space is very ineffective in winter, impossible to heat with just one source.  Sure, the wood stove that gives off lots of heat is in the middle of the house.  However, only I occupy that space.  During the day, I work in the same room, and when I’m not working I spend a good amount of time in the adjoining kitchen.  The bedroom, however, is down a long hallway at the other end of the house, and this room also has 3 outside walls, all with windows.  The heat from the wood stove does not make it down that hallway.  The heat from our furnace does, but we still need an electric heater to keep the chill off.  My partner spends almost all her time at home in the bedroom, so we can’t seal it off for the winter.  Our upstairs (2 bedrooms) are not lived in, so it’s just storage.  I used to have my office upstairs and froze in the winter.  Then I broke my foot last winter and moved my office downstairs.  That has knocked our electric bill down at least $50 since I don’t need an electric heater when I work.  The milder winter has helped knock down our electric bill another $50, so we’re doing better.  But we still have to buy wood for our stove and fuel oil for our furnace.  Would love to get rid of the electric heaters.

Ideally, I would prefer a square or even circular house so the rooms can be connected and heated easily with a wood stove.  I enjoy my wood stove in the winter, and would love to have it as our primary heat.  Unfortunately, not in this house.