I receive kind, warm comments from people who read about our house, many of which are of the “congrats on your dream home!” variety.
To be clear, this house isn’t a dream home. It’s far from it. While I love the house, and appreciate what it offers and teaches me — and furthers what we’re trying to do — it’s still a challenge and creates inconveniences.
There are things I don’t like about the house, a few of which I’d like to tackle and fix this year (and others that we’re stuck with). In no particular order:
5. The floor. Here’s my original image inspiration gallery. I wanted — and was willing to pay for — dark, varied Douglas fir flooring. We didn’t get that, which ultimately isn’t a big deal (and I can’t complain too much because if we wanted something, we should have done it ourselves). But the bigger issue with our floor is that it was poorly laid (and it’s not a floating floor as we requested, either). I’m no expert at flooring, but I’m pretty sure there shouldn’t be wide gaps between the planks where dirt, dust, and wood shavings have fallen through. It’s impossible to suck all of this out with a vacuum, and I imagine myself on all fours soon, excavating dirt from each crevice on the floor with an ice pick. So, yeah — the floor is a problem.
4. The sink. If you’ve followed along from the very beginning, you’ll know that we didn’t get the one item I really, really wanted: a farmhouse sink. We have a two-basin stainless steel sink — and I hate it. I don’t recommend two basins for a sink this small: each basin is kinda useless, and it’s awkward when washing dishes, so a single-basin sink would be more efficient. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn this detail until the appliance was purchased and installed.
The depth of our kitchen counter is 19.75 inches, while a farmhouse sink, by design, juts out a few inches. We were told it wasn’t possible to install this type of sink given that those extra inches would eat into the “walkway” area — the width of our great room is 6’8″ — but after living in this house, I see that we would have had enough space, and I’d have sacrificed those inches to have the sink I wanted. I guess you don’t truly know what will and won’t work until you’re in it. Small farmhouse sinks exist — they can be pricey, but again, I’m willing to splurge — so I’m toying with the idea of upgrading our sink in the future. And if it’s too much of a hassle in this house, I’ll put one in my next house, dammit.
(I do love our coil-spring faucet, though.)
3. The dimensions of the sitting lounge. I love the rear corner of our house: it’s a little nook where the two sections of our sofa meet, where I can get really cozy. This sitting lounge has its pluses: it doubles as a huge storage area (underneath the seats) and it’s perfect for one person to lie down and even sleep. When we have guests, you can sit four people here, upright. But for two people who live in this house full-time? Not so much. When we measured and designed this area, we underestimated the sizes of our butts, and also failed to realize that the “one person lying down, one person sitting upright” scenario that we thought would be OK is, well, silly. While watching TV, who gets to lie down, and who has to sit up?
That said, I’m generally pleased with how we used this under-the-loft space; I haven’t seen any similar models (Tumbleweeds, at least) that place the sitting area back here. That single seat on the right is 20 inches deep, and extending it several inches would’ve made it more comfy, but we’d lose the floor space in the front, which would make the pathway into the bathroom, to the right, pretty tight. I think we designed it as best we could, and ultimately shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves. It’s a tiny house, you know?
2. The placement of the shower head. Overall, our shower is great. The stall is 30×30, with a shower curtain held up by a tension rod. I like the look: faux brick walls painted black, which was the alternative to black subway composite tile (which we couldn’t find). The shower head is an Elite-E Bricor model: low-flow (1.25 GPM) but quite powerful — I wouldn’t have known it was a water-saving shower head.
The annoying thing, however, is that the shower head was installed opposite the opening of the stall, so if I turned on the water and the curtain isn’t in place, the stream would spray everywhere. And when I step into the shower, I sort of sidle in with the curtain mostly closed, making sure the water doesn’t escape. It’s a cute little shower, but a bit awkward in this regard.
1. The size of the porch. Since our house is based on Tumbleweed’s Elm 20, and the porch was already constructed when the barn raiser was delivered to us, we didn’t really have any room for modification here. The porch is 2 feet and 8.5 inches deep, so it’s relatively shallow. (No room for chairs, sadly.) Right now, on one side of the porch we have a galvanized tub that holds a supply of cocoa bean mulch (which we use to replenish the smaller tub in the bathroom), and on the other side we have a small shoe organizer. In the middle, there’s a welcome mat. And that’s it.
Part of me wonders whether we should have selected a floor plan with a simple entryway, thus creating a bit more usable indoor space in the form of a “bumpout” or front window nook (like the Cypress). But as I dreamed and planned, I was attracted to the romantic thought of a front porch, not just as a transitional space between in and out, but as a livable, lounge-worthy area to sit and relax. But realistically, the porch is too small for this, so it’s become more of a symbol than anything.
Instead, we’ve begun to create an outdoor area on the side of the house, with two lounge chairs overlooking a gorgeous view. So, I can’t complain. I’d like to build a simple wooden deck here, so the chairs (and anything else we add there) aren’t simply on the gravel, but I’m hesitant to add to the “additional external things we need to pack and tow” list and may wait to make these improvements until the house is in a more permanent location.
All that said, I’m pleased overall with the space (and should probably post what I love about it so it doesn’t sound like I’m unhappy or ungrateful). And I love that I can constantly think about the house as an experiment, as a canvas.