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New idea? Old idea! Micro-apartments

As cities throughout the globe find that micro-apartments are a great way to create housing for one-person households, we look back at ways teensy apartments fit into the housing mix decades, even centuries ago.

Often these smaller quarters were built that size, but sometimes they were made from larger ones, splitting one apartment into two.  Or in this case, making an apartment out of an old porter’s office and washroom.

But these are not new ideas.  People have been building apartments for centuries.  This complex in the Yemen desert looks quite modern.

DesertCity1

But a closer look reveals it is made of mud walls.

DesertCity2
Good protection from marauders as well as an efficient use of space.

Or this micro-apartment from 12th century China:

ChinaApartment1

Quite a popular idea back then.

ChinaApartment2

Maybe it’s these ancient micro-suites that inspired a modern-day architecture student in China to design this 75 square-foot home:

ChinaAprtment4

See more at this link.

The growing housing market? Or the housing growing market?

I’m sure you have a friend who quit smoking and then turned into the world’s biggest anti-smoking fanatic.  Sometimes I feel I’m turning into THAT PERSON about living in a smaller space — I love it and it’s such an improvement in our lives.  Let me proselytize a bit, I’ll probably calm down in 20 or 30 years.

Now that I’m a confirmed believer that small is the new black (should I get that on a T-shirt?  No, maybe not) I am on the lookout for stories that others are joining the movement, buying and building smaller houses.  There’s the Tiny House Movement and for a while it looked like housing in the US was getting smaller.

The median size of new homes built for sale peaked in 2007 at 2,295 square feet, then fell to 2,159 two years later, after the housing crisis hit.

But it looks like that trend is over — in fact

the appetite for ever-larger homes has returned: In 2012, new homes reached a new peak of 2,384 square feet and, according to the National Association of Home Builders, some 41 percent of new homes had four or more bedrooms, up from 34 percent in 2009.

Those quotes are from a story in the New York Times about how the recession-led reduction in the size of new homes was just a blip on the radar screen.

“The housing market is being driven by the move-up buyer, the luxury buyer,” said Brad Hunter, chief economist and director of consulting atMetrostudy. “And those who have strong incomes, secure jobs, their stock portfolio is doing well — they are able to buy whatever they want. And what they are buying is larger houses.”

The New York Times is also the paper that tells of the jobless recovery and the shrinking middle class, so I’m guessing these mega-houses are out of the question for most of the population.  But some people feel they are entitled to buy huge homes.

Maybe it’s sour grapes.  But this seems out of line to me.

This six-bedroom house, which has six full and three half bathrooms, measures about 9,000 square feet, including the basement. … added a wall of windows to the basement and furnished it with a pool table, a media room, a wet bar, a home office and a suite for their youngest daughter to use when she was home from college. …

That’s right, this 9K square foot home is for two people.  Sure it has everything they ever wanted in a home, but did it really take 9,000 square feet to indulge their every whim?

Media rooms, sunrooms and in-law suites can be added to standard models. Some customers are even opting for a so-called dirty kitchen, a separate galley off the main kitchen that is used to prep food. It keeps the dirty work of cooking hidden so it doesn’t sully the increasingly large kitchens that have morphed into granite-slathered family gathering spots.

It’s not just schadenfreude to think that these people will very soon become used to living in such, let me say it, excessive luxury.  It’s human nature to forget the joy of possessing something new and shiny, and to want something newer and shinier.  It’s called the Law of Wealth’s Diminishing Returns.  The reality of maintaining that huge house, vacuuming and dusting all those extra rooms, mowing those acres of lawn will take over and you’ll find that the property owns you, not the other way around.

And let me tell you something you probably already knew.  When you have more space your stuff expands to fill it.  There’s some kind of law of physics that explains it, but to put it in layman’s terms you have something, it wears out, but you keep it because you think you might use it sometime, it cost you something to buy, and YOU HAVE THE ROOM TO STORE IT.  So you do. And your stuff increases exponentially.

And lets not forget the cost of those homes.  There’s the larger mortgage which is easily absorbed when it’s 1 or 1.5% but could really get ugly if the rates go up even as high as 7%.  (I’ve seen rates as high as 12% but then I’m a little old lady).

And the enormous amount of power and resources it takes to build and run a home of that size.  It doesn’t help that your refrigerator runs on less p0wer if you have three of them.

This is not likely to become a big problem in our neck of the woods.  For one thing the costs of these homes is quite modest when compared to Vancouver prices.

Affluent buyers have been flocking to real estate, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, with applications for home loans of $625,000 to $729,000 up 56.7 percent from August 2012 to August 2013. Mortgageapplications for more than $729,000 were up 41 percent.

As I say, this is still a relatively small market.  This “trend” won’t ever have the devastating effect on the subprime mortgage crisis did.  But it still makes me uncomfortable.

I don’t understand why people can’t be happy in less space – happier than they would be in a large house.  With more money to spend on travel and fun experiences.

Nostalgia is not what it used to be.

As one gets older (and that’s the plan, remember?) one finds oneself with what you might call “obsolete skills”.  For instance, while I am in charge of de-jamming and refilling the multi-use colour photocopier at work, I also carry in my brain knowledge on how to run a Gestetner machine.

Gestetner

If you are about my age you will recall the sound of the drum whooshing around, the smell of the duplicating fluid and the sight of purple-printed pages heralding a class hand-out or exam.

I don’t need the ability to run one of these machines, just as I don’t need to know how to send a Telex, or operate an old-fashioned switchboard.  But the knowledge remains, crammed into a little corner of my brain.

Technology has made a huge difference in the way we disseminate information–we have to constantly learn new skills to keep up with it.

But in the home these changes are not as apparent.  The vacuum of my childhood might have been an ancient Kirby bought from a door-to-door salesman, but it worked the same way my new built-in does.  The fridge defrosts itself, but it still cools stuff like our old round-shouldered Kelvinator.

The only domestic chore that has completely changed is the way we wash our clothes.  I was pondering this fact the other day, as I loaded sheets into a machine that will weigh the load, adjust the water level, and deliver clean items painlessly and surprisingly noiselessly.

I want to pay homage to the home makers of the past, and to this very important talent that was once such a difficult and time consuming task: to keep the family’s clothes clean.

How to use a wringer washer:

Because everyone changed their sheets on their beds on the weekends, Monday was wash day in our home.  Yes, all day Monday. Set aside at least 6 hours, because you are doing a whole week’s worth of laundry.

Separate the laundry into whites (sheets and towels), brights, darks, and dirty (Dad was a blue-collar guy, his clothes got dirty).

First the washing machine would be rolled to the sink.

VintageWashingMachine

We had a basement, and big double concrete sinks, so that’s where the washer would be placed.  A hose attached to the faucet fills the machine with straight hot water.

Put in the detergent and let the agitator mix it into the water, then start the wash.

First load:  sheets.  Set the timer for 20 minutes or more (depending on how dirty the clothes are) and go and do some baking or cleaning or God forbid write a letter or have a cup of tea.  When the timer goes off, go back downstairs, swing the wringer over one of the concrete sinks that you have filled with rinse water, and then feed the sheets into the wringer so that the soapy water runs back into the washer.  While the sheets sit in the first rinse, put in the second load.

After swishing the first load around in the first rinse water, swing the wringer so that it sits between the two concrete sinks.  Feed the sheets through the wringer into the second rinse so that the soapy water runs back into the first sink.  Empty that sink.  Rinse it and refill with fresh water while you wring out the items for a second time and load them into the basket to hang up outside (if it’s sunny, even if it’s freezing out there) or in the basement on the clothes lines especially installed for the purpose.

When it’s time to wring out the second load, put them through the wringer into the second sink — thus the second rinse from the first load becomes the first rinse of the second load.  That way you conserve water because this method uses a lot of water.  And you rinse in cold water because hot water costs money, kiddo!

As the saying goes, lather, rinse, repeat.  All day.  Put in more water if it gets low in the washer, but it will get progressively more grotty — that’s the way it is.  Put in more detergent if you add more water. Do the dirtiest clothes last.

As each load is finished and wrung out, carry the heavy basket of wet things to the back yard and reach into the basket and lift and pin the item onto the clothesline so that it will catch the slightest breeze and dry.  It sounds like hard work because it is. It’s a lot of stooping and standing and carrying heavy loads.  In the winter your hands will get very, very cold.

Eventually the last load is finished and it’s time to empty the washer (we used a kind of siphon that Dad had hooked up to the washer so it could empty into the sink).  That lady in the picture above?  She had to open a spigot in the bottom of the tub to drain the water into a bucket which she would then empty into her sink.

And that button on the top of the wringer?  That’s to release the rollers when your child tries to help and the rollers grab her hand and pull it through the wringer up to her elbow.  Ask me how I know about that.  The pressure on the rollers was adjustable, too, so you could fix it according to the weight of the fabrics being wrung.

Now remember — the laundry must be whisked inside off the line at the first drop of rain.  And you must bring everything in before the dews of the evening make it all damp again.

Fold and put away the items that don’t need ironing, underwear, towels, dish cloths.  Put the items that need ironing into the clothes basket.  That’s for tomorrow.

Affordability? It’s a relative thing.

The news this week is that Vancouver housing prices are the 2nd most unaffordable in the world.  The prices are not necessarily the 2nd most expensive in the world, just when compared to what you could earn if you move here from another large city.  We are hit with the double whammy of pricey real estate and lower wages.  Or, as Tsur Somerville of the Sauder School of Business at UBC says,

“Places that have a lot of amenities and are places that people really want to live, pushes up house prices, but also lowers wages, and employers are paying people less who are willing to take a lower paying job to be there. So you get a higher price-to-income ratio.”

I don’t ski on the local mountains in the winter, I don’t wake board in the local waters in summer.  I live in Vancouver because my family is here.  So I’m paying for those amenities that draw people to the area even if I don’t use them.  But we have found a way to live in a comfortable home — our laneway house.  It’s the smallest place we’ve ever lived in, but for us it’s a perfect solution to the dilemna.

I don’t expect you to wander the streets until you find a nice yard and ask the people if you can build a laneway house in their garden — laneway living is one solution, it’s not the only solution to the housing squeeze in the Metro Vancouver area.

The sad truth is that if you move to Vancouver you are going to be paying more — maybe a lot more — for housing than you would in another city, which means you will probably have to downsize (one bedroom to studio, etc.).  But there are still ways to make an attractive and comfortable home with less space.

Today we have a few ideas for living comfortably in a studio apartment.  They are sometimes called bachelor suites — another term for a separate dwelling with its own bathroom and kitchen facilities, but no separate bedroom.

If you’ve some funds, you can get some swell built-ins to add to your space. From Life Edited, here’s a suite in Warsaw, Poland for a mother, her son, and a dog. It’s just 237 square feet.

Small-apartment-Warsaw-living_1

Small-apartment-Warsaw-closet

the suite has “normal” height walls, it’s great to see someone doing something up high in that limited space.

In Barcelona, this bachelor completely built-in his life into this 258 square foot suite:

With bachelor suites you may not want to hide your bed away, but rather make it a focal point:

ManhattanBachelor

See the rest of this sweet suite at Apartment Therapy.

But Isabelle LaRue completely transformed her studio space with some clever hacks:

Isabelle is loaded with talent that way — check our her blog at Engineer Your Space.  But you could incorporate a lot of her ideas into your studio even if you are not as handy (maybe you have a few handy friends?).

Here’s another way people divided their space to get a private bedroom:

how-to-divide-living-room-into-bedroom-1

There’s more ideas on fitting a bedroom into a living room here.

The lesson I’m trying to jam down your throat here is that even if living smaller is not by choice (if, for example you have to live in a city with a tight housing market — I’m talking to you Hong Kong!) — you can still find a way to live comfortably in less space.

As I repeat — Small is the new Black.

Skip to my loo

I love our new bathroom.  Although it’s not really a bath-room, as we don’t have a tub, just a glorious, tiled shower with a rain head.

(Pictures?  Not yet.  Although the bathroom is nearly finished, we still have a couple of things that have to be fixed, and I won’t take pictures until it’s perfect.  Just take my word on this for now).

And we have surprising amounts of storage in the bathroom.  Our designer gave us, not only a Godmorgen sink and drawers

godmorgon-edeboviken-sink-cabinet-with--drawers__0172346_PE326412_S4which is super efficient, but she also carved a space for the Lilangen cabinet to sit inside a niche in the wall

lillangen-mirror-cabinet--doors--end-unit__0133086_PE288202_S4And she stacked two of them on one wall.  Giving us a full-length mirror and oodles of storage, with the mirrors flat against the rest of the wall.

You don’t need to have a small house to have a need of a small bathroom.  Who amongst you has ever wondered if you could get a shower into the same footprint as a powder room?  Have you never thought “it would be so handy to have a full bath right there?”

Well, there are ways of doing this. Houzz has 9 tips for fitting more into less space in the bath/shower room.

My favourite is the European style Wet Room.  The whole room is the shower.  All the surfaces will need to be wiped down after your shower, but if it’s a teeny room that’s not a big deal.

When inches count a wall-mounted toilet can really save space.

We couldn’t do it because our toilet is set against an outside wall (full of insulation, etc.) And we have a regular sink, not this eensy weensy one.

But that’s another way to save some space.  Apartment Therapy has some great little sinks — handsome, too!

ATBathroomSink1This one allows you to put a powder room under the stairs — great space saver.

ATBathroomSink2

No room for a toilet and a sink?  That’s what you think.

ATBathroomSink3Small space solutions.  Because small is the new black. (I just made that up but will be using it mercilessly in the future).

More space for less stuff

The shelf guys were back this week to give us more space.  They put in shelves in places we had hardly thought of — great horizontal spaces for us to put our stuff.  And just moving boxes out of their way to install the shelves showed us once again — we have too much crap.  Er, things.

F’instance they installed a shelf under the kitchen sink so we can finally put our composting, recycling and garbage out of the way….and discovered we had stored bottles of carpet cleaner under the sink for the past 6 weeks.  We don’t have any carpets.  Ergo, we don’t need carpet cleaner.  Into the recycling they went.

Removing what we don’t need is part of our de-cluttering quest for this year.  And it’s a long, hard, constant job. Or, as LifeEdited puts it,

editing, i.e. getting to that essential, irreducible quality…is something that takes time and great effort.

They have a point, this life style demands a shift in thinking, a paradigm shift if you will.  One of the most important questions we have to ask ourselves is

What would my life look like in its most essential form?

So we’re changing our way of thinking in five essential ways, as suggested in this article:

1. Attention. Practice doing one thing at a time–whether it’s work, driving, reading or talking with a friend.

No more watching TV while writing, reading, doing the crossword.  Let’s concentrate on what we are doing.

2. Space. ask ourselves how we can make the most of the existing space and how we can remove any elements that don’t support how we live.

Like carpet cleaner.

3. Clothing.Create a wardrobe where every item is our favorite.

And that means no more shopping for shopping’s sake — even during the sales.

4. Food. eat less, but better–healthy, fresh food that supports longterm health, not immediate gratification.

Now the holidays are over and all the candy/snacks/desserts are gone, let’s keep it that way until next December.  The only food to grab and eat will be fruit.

5. Stuff. we might continually ask whether we need the stuff we have. Do we use it? Does our frequency and quality of use justify its residency in our lives?

As we move things from our rental storage space to our laneway home we have to keep getting rid of things we don’t use and don’t need.  Yes!  Everything we get rid of makes our lives simpler, more elegant, easier.  And cleaner.

Living a conscious, serene life.  Isn’t that what we all want?

Decorating for the ages?

Back a year ago or so when we saw the design that would eventually become our laneway home, we decided to get rid of our furniture (which would not have fit into it anyway) and go with a mid-century modern decorating scheme. Choosing one theme means that all your decorating goes together and you eliminate a lot of other choices when selecting furniture and accessories.  No to that French provincial pouffe!  Ixnay on the cottage-cute curtains! We consulted our designer, and came up with the interiors that we really wanted.

We like the calm, sleek look of the mid-century vibe, plus we know that it is a look for the ages.  The last thing we want is for people to step into our place and estimate to the month exactly when we chose each piece.  We want a timeless look, if you will, avoiding the pieces that were right “in style”, so our interiors would never go “out of style”.

Dated trends like overstuffed shabby-chic upholstery from the 80s, shag carpeting and the orange-and-brown colours from the 70s, the items that would immediately mark our place as “2013”.

If you know what I mean.

BHG0556

This room will be trapped in 1956 forEVER!

But of course, we failed.  Not entirely, because some of the items we picked were chosen to evoke the 1950s — turquoise headboard and fabric in the bedroom, sputnik lamp above the bed — that are specific to that time.  But we failed in the sense that some of the newest trends of 2014 (according to Style at Home) were incorporated into our decor almost by osmosis.

In the bathroom we stuck with classic glossy white subway tiles and hexagonal tiles for the shower surround.  But we chose matte tiles in a neutral grey for the floor.  And that is a trend for 2014, according to S@H:

Trend-bath1

 

As is the floating vanity, which was chosen because it’s easy to clean underneath (and it shows off our floor tiles).

In the kitchen, which is the room that you really want to get right because it’s so difficult and expensive to change it, we ended up with two features that are trends,

Built-in cabinetry that looks like furniture.

Very much like this, but with horizontal grain.

Very much like this, but with horizontal grain.

As it is described in the article

Far from the unfitted kitchens we’ve seen in the past, the new trend in kitchen design for 2014 is built-in accent cabinets that act as framework for the rest of the cabinetry. “We often design these cabinets tall and narrow to sit right on the counters, flanking the stove or on either ends of the run of cabinetry,” says Erin. “They’re usually quite contrasting in both colour and style, introducing more detail than the simple door profiles throughout.”

Because our kitchen and our sitting area are the same small space we want the cabinetry to look like built-in shelves you would find in a den or library.

Another “trend” we went with (honestly, we had no idea it was a trend) is carrying on the kitchen counters up the wall as a slab backsplash.  The article recommends veined materials like marble or limestone, but in our tiny space we wanted to keep the patterns to a minimum and went with the white quartz of the peninsula and counter to be used as a backsplash behind the stove and around our little counter-height window. It looks great, the lights above catch the glints of the stone embedded in the slab, and it is a dream to keep clean.

Another trend we didn’t realize we went with was the neutral-taupey-grey colour we used throughout the space.  We thought we were being as classic and timeless as we could, but according to S@H, it’s a trend.

 “Trends are moving from cool to warm greys and towards beautiful taupes, explains Bev Bell, creative director for Beauti-Tone Paint.

We had to keep the paint colour neutral, we wanted a grey undertone, but we knew if we went with a bluey cool grey the rooms would look cold when the weather was gloomy and rainy.  Instead, the warmth of the taupe keeps the feeling cozy.

IMHO, I think people go with decorating trends because new things become available — attractive new products that make a lot of sense at the time.  Shag carpet in comfy warm oranges had never been on the market before and people liked the intimate feel it gave the room.  Some people even upholstered their walls in it — remember?

And there’s a kind of zeitgeist that is reflected in our decor.  Back in the 1950s, new products incorporating the plastics that had been developed during the war were available in colours people had never seen or used.  And it was the “atomic age” when the A-bomb was going to guarantee our future security, as atomic power was going to fuel it.  The futuristic shapes of moldable plastic influenced art and decor.

"Dreams of Eames"

“Dreams of Eames”

So it’s not such a bad thing that we have some trends that are reflected in our decor.  We can’t really avoid it, we are part of our times, we live in this era and that will inform our choices when it comes to decorating as it does our choices in wardrobes, entertainment, technology.

And our home will always reflect this time — as long as we are living in it.

I’ll take that challenge!

You may know that I am a decorating junkie (and if you didn’t know before…..that statement was a dead giveaway).  Every Christmas my husband “surprises” me with a year’s subscription to Style At Home.  I follow decorating blogs and get updates from Houzz and Apartment Therapy.  It was a bit silly when I was living in an 1100 square-foot-condo that I couldn’t afford to renovate, but it’s ludicrous when we’re living in a teensy laneway house with all-new furnishings and finishes.

Or is it?

Although we are going to concentrate on de-cluttering and minimalising our lives this year, we will also have to finish off the little things that will make our house our home.  And Apartment Therapy has a great way to do it, with lots of help and tips.  It’s called The January Cure — a month-long step-by-step way to give yourself a

 “new” cleaner and more organized home.

What’s the sense of moving into a perfect home if I keep up all the bad habits that got me into clutter-strewn life I lived when I had more space?  I’m sure it will take me many iterations of the cure to rid me of all my bad habits but I will start small.

Step One (I should have started this on Thursday, but won’t have to spend a lot of time on it):  Make a List of Projects.

ApartmentTherapyCure

Hmmmm. Starting in the front foyer area, we need to put a picture over our electrical panel.  It’s well-recessed into the wall, so a picture on a good solid hinge can also hide lots of “front door clutter” behind it.  We also want to hang some more art.

We have to wait until all the deficiencies are addressed to get some of these projects finished BUT making a list will give us a good start. I’ll go through the place room by room to make the list.

Step Two:  Weekend Chores, Flowers and Floors.  Hah!  That’s a snap.  Our built-in vacuum will de-fuzz the floors followed by a swipe with the damp mop. Quick work.  Plus a visit to the market for some flowers.

Step Two also includes finding Earth-friendly cleaners.  We have been relying on tried-and-true cleaners, but this is a good time to check out some of the more ecological choices we have. Luckily Apartment Therapy has some suggestions.

We’ll also see if we can’t complete one task from our project list: hanging the bedroom blind.

Well, I feel I’ve accomplished something already.

Fresh starts!

I don’t really make resolutions.  I find that they just add more pressure to my life, and I like making goals and working towards them rather than just saying “I will eat more healthily”.

So instead of just saying “I will live more minimally in 2014” I have set ourselves the task of getting rid of our rented storage space.  I am giving myself the wiggle room that we may move the rest of our stuff into a smaller storage space, and then continue our process and our progress into 2015.  But we will definitely be ridding ourself of stuff.

So far so good with keeping to the more minimal lifestyle on the retail front.  We ventured out on Boxing Day and managed to come back with just what we needed — a tray for the sitting area to make an ottoman into a coffee table, plus an HTMI cord so we could connect my laptop with the TV and watch videos (went through the whole Harry Potter canon during the holidays). I even bought some new bras, and came home and tossed my old ones.  There just isn’t space to save old AnyThing, if we get acquire  new, we have to shed something.

Today I got another little kick in the pants reminder to keep downsizing.  My twice-weekly email from Houzz included some handy tips for editing belongings.

The author mentioned one of my bugbears.  I am not looking forward to editing family pictures.  We used to have so many walls we could just toss pictures of grandparents and ancestors, so many surfaces to hold stiffly-posed portraits and spontaneous snap shots.

She wisely suggests editing:

 I took all of my family pictures out of albums and off the walls, and then organized them by year, starting in 1972 when Mike and I were married, and moving through our 40th wedding anniversary. Then I picked my absolute favorites and built a new single album, simply entitled “The First 40 Years.” I placed the rest of the pictures in clearly marked envelopes that went into a single large plastic bin. (Plastic bins are a downsizer’s best friend.)

This is a big project.  I am not looking forward to taking it on, but will make a start by sorting through our pictures for family shots and putting them aside.  Hopefully someone will find a quick and inexpensive way to digitize the photo library by the time I get around to it.

Unfortunately, the pictures don’t take up a great deal of room.  Fortunately the stuff that does take up a lot of room is easier to get rid of.  And we have a goal to work towards — no more expensive rental storage.  As this other excellent guide to de-cluttering says,

Begin with the end in mind. Think about how you want your home to be. Browse through the ideabooks you’ve already created and look for themes. Only after you’re clear what you’re shooting for should you begin to purge

Christmas at the laneway house

Back when we had a natural gas fireplace in our condo, I loved to light it when I first got up on a winter morning.  No matter how grey the day it always made me feel better to see the glow. I thought I would miss it, but of course, we adapted to get what we needed.

XmasFire2013

The cable company runs a continuous Yule log that we’ve got going all day.  It looks toasty but it doesn’t make the room uncomfortably warm (as a real fire would).  I’ve even recorded it so we can have it even when the Christmas season is over and we need that little glow in the evenings. Thank you, electric hearth.

Over in the corner with the sectional we’ve put up an IKEA star and I’ve made some covers for our cushions that were a little more festive.

XmasCorner2013

And our Christmas tree?  Well we don’t have room inside for a tree — so we’ve put it out on the deck.

XmasTree2013

We’ve put outdoor lights on a white tree, set on our patio table.  We can see it from our sitting area, and it just adds the right touch of Christmas.  We’ve had some snow and that adds to the seasonal feeling, too. It looks especially nice in the evenings, when the lights glow through the “needles”.

XmasNightTree

We’ve definitely had to cut back on the decorations from when we were living in a larger place, but that’s OK.  We still get a Christmassy feeling, and we are so looking forward to Christmas day, and carrying our casserole (world-famous broccoli cauliflower souffle, recipe a la Susan Mendelson) across the yard to the big celebration, and being able to imbibe without worrying about getting on the road to get back home.  The whole family will be there, including my sister, niece, old friends, and even an ex-spouse.

We have so much to be thankful for this year.  We have this beautiful home that we love so much, and we are so close to the people we love so much.  There have been some tough times, too, and I am missing my parents a lot, but somehow being in this new house with new traditions makes it easier.

And we hope everyone is having the best holiday season ever!

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Lane Way Housing for the Nervous Novice

Apartment Therapy| Saving the world, one room at a time

Lane Way Housing for the Nervous Novice

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Lane Way Housing for the Nervous Novice

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Lane Way Housing for the Nervous Novice

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