Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Small home living - lounge and dining

Our new house is pretty small by today's standards. Just 104m2 all up, including the internal garage (which we have turned into Paul's office). I realise that is not as small as some houses out there, but it is the smallest we have ever lived in. Our Wellington home was 134m2, so quite a bit bigger.

The thing is, I'm glad our house is small. There are so many advantages to owning a small home. Shall I list a few?
  1. Cheaper - we were able to buy a house in this crazy inflated Auckland market by buying smaller. Now our mortgage payments are a lot less than we were paying in rent. 
  2. More land for gardens - the house footprint is small and made smaller by the fact it is two stories, so that gives us more land to plant fruit trees and build vegetable gardens. The knock-on effect is that we will become more self sufficient, and the food we grow will be fresher than what we can buy, won't have any packaging and won't take any petrol to get to us. 
  3. Rates, insurance and electricity bills are reduced - so we are saving even more money. 
  4. Intentional living - we can only keep things in the house that we really love and use, so we are not wasting our time buying, cleaning, sorting and organising stuff for no reason. And we save money again by not having to insure things we don't really need. 
  5. Living together as a family - the kids are in each others' space, so they play together. Or fight. Or whatever they need to do. There is still room to escape outdoors, or to Paul's office or the bedrooms if they need some alone time. This isn't tiny home living, just small.
  6. Quicker to clean - one of my readers reminded me of this one, and it's so true. We have less windows to wash, less benches to wipe, less floors to clean. I can vacuum the whole downstairs without switching power sockets. Same thing upstairs. This frees up my time for much more exciting experiences. 
So those are just a few reasons why I'm digging our new digs. Now I'll share some photos of our living and dining areas.
Living room and front door.
The house didn't have any window coverings when we purchased, so I had white, wooden venetian blinds installed on the window above the couch. I knew I didn't want curtains that would get caught behind the couch, and the blinds don't take up any wall space so they allowed us to install a shelf between the wall and the front door.
Front door. 
Paul installed the shelf next to the front door so we would have somewhere to keep hats, sunblock, hair things and keys. Again we were making use of vertical space, just like in our kitchen.  The basket on the floor houses a pair of shoes for everyone - the rest live upstairs.

Looking into living room from our deck. 

From left: entrance to kitchen, baby J, stairs to second story and door to Paul's office. 

From left: view of ranch slider leading to deck, TV and dining room.
Kids playing with play doh on the covered part of our deck. 
The deck really helps extend our living space. Its top section is covered, so I'm able to set the kids up out there with messy play, even in the rain. The bottom part of the deck is big enough that the kids can roller blade or scoot around. The deck has built-in seating all around, which is perfect since we don't own an outdoor dining set.

The uncovered section of deck, our yard and garden shed. 
If you haven't caught up with the rest of my new home posts, you can view the bedrooms here and the kitchen/laundry here.

I'll do a garden post at some point, when we figure out how to get into our garden shed and retrieve the garden tools that are trapped in there. (Long story.)

Paul's office probably deserves its own post, but I'll wait until we replace the garage door with a ranch slider (whenever that might be). The room is pretty dark at the moment, just the way Paul likes it. 


  1. That looks awesome and we'll organised. Loving the big yard.

    1. Me too! It's quite a bit bigger than the yard at our last place, so I'm excited.

  2. We recently moved from a small house to a larger one...you've forgotten the major benefit I miss the most about 'small' living...less spaces to clean!! :D
    Hope you're enjoying the new home.

    1. Ha, you're so right. I was just thinking that to myself tonight, as I whipped around and cleaned everything up in a very short time.

  3. Great post Emma! There are many reasons to appreciate a small house :)

  4. I love it! After 5 years of 50m2 apartment living that looks to me like a wonderfully luxurious space with indoor outdoor flow! Well done you guys! Great house choice

    1. I actually looked into buying an apartment, but I really, REALLY wanted a garden. It helps me feel grounded. You guys are doing so well making the best of your apartment though. It doesn't feel crowded at all, and it's nice that you've got a large courtyard to soak up the sun when needed.


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