The other morning I was standing at the kitchen sink, craning my neck to try and catch a glimpse of the two-doors-down neighbours' new extension. In the years since we've lived here, as we've planted trees and welcomed babies, we've watched the two-doors-down neighbours' children grow up. The youngest is driving with L-plates now and her once home-based mother is part of the morning commute. We've watched and imagined a time like that in our future, when owlets have grown and money's less tight and maybe that longed-for extension, that studio or parent's retreat or extra living space…
We've imagined waking up and looking across the river as the sun rises and warms our bedroom, overlooking the garden. We've imagined a breakfast bar and sweeping deck, or double-glazed family room and extended kitchen. We've imagined the suburban standard bedroom each and a studio. Oh the extra space! It was one of the attractive thoughts painted to us, on that first day we set eyes on our little green house, by an eager real-estate agent, playing the dream-making game.
Seven years in to our life here, we've begun building a garden that means the world to us. Our little nest is comfortable and well loved and lived in. We've spent happy nights with all our owlets squishing into our bedroom, sleeping on the floor if they must, just to be closer. Seriously, the amount of times we find ourselves in the same square meter of this nest is hilarious.We remember the large family who lived here before us and the childhood bedrooms we shared with siblings. The closeness, the company of shared quarters. How much space do we really need?
Waking up in the morning, we sit up in our bed, overlooking the front garden and the river, as we watch the sun rise and start our day. We have a version of that dream already. And I'm back to craning my head to see the two-doors-down neighbours' extension and it dawns on me…
We spend lots of time looking at and thinking about tiny houses. At life pared back to essentials and smart storage solutions aplenty. We imagine running away to an off-grid life and a tiny cabin in the woods. We think about it lots.
And then we remember Huz's job and the opportunity and potential it brings to create change. We remember the convenience of being near people and things we need, like activities for growing owlets and friends… And this garden. This house by the beach and bush, where owlets have been born, lost and grown…
What if we just stop here now?
What if instead of expanding this house and imagining more here, we imagine less?
What if we apply tiny house philosophy to our medium-sized house and just improve it?
What if our cabin in the woods has been here all the time?
What if a mansion in the suburbs wouldn't create the connection and life we want?
So we're creating for ourselves a tiny-house inspired nest. A little nest that we don't intend to grow, so much as improve. Slowly, we're refining and simplifying. The permaculture plan is slowly and steadily being implemented. The basic renovations we needed to do to improve the existing rooms are almost complete. A little touch-up here and there will see it feeling less tired. We just need to be smarter about how we fit us all in here.
It means paring back. It means negotiations and long discussions with owlets about more and less and enough. It means simplifying. Giving away or selling whatever doesn't belong in our dream house. Because this is it. Here and now. We have what we need, now lets' make it what we want. Slowly. Steadily. This is home.