Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tuesday NIght Date Night..

Our son forwarded an email from his girlfriend, flagging us that the author of this book was going to be speaking at The King's English Bookstore here in town.

She had become aware of our mission to find a house that wasn't big enough to house a small university, and thought we might enjoy hearing what the author had to say about the idea of living both "small" AND "smart".

Sounded like a perfect off we went to see what we could see.

King's English is in an adorable cottage-y part of town.

The talk took place upstairs in the children's books room.
(It felt like old home week to me...I was a school librarian in the past and also focused on Children's literature in grad school. It was wonderful to see old favorites and new titles by some of my favorite authors.)

I saw this new title, and it made me think of Lovella of course.

(Can't wait till the 'Lil Farm Hand can start going ratting along with the rest of the family someday....Lovella...wouldn't this be just the PERFECT lap book to read to him?)

Anyway, back to the talk on Smart Houses. The author is an architect/engineer who built a perfect efficient house for her mom to live in, but sadly her mom had to move to assisted living anyway.
The author then moved into that space, and applied her professional training to addressing the question of how to best outfit a house for efficiency while being mindful of space usage.
She started the book ten years before the big "Green" movement, and she is somewhat astonished to find that her "sustainable" thinking on such things as sheets and mattresses is now quite hip.
I found her thinking about such things as sheets and mattresses as related to the nightly "freezing I'im baking" challenges of menopausal/postmenopausal womanhood to be very insightful.
She lists 98 items that a house should have, (assuming you do not bake food, her publisher made her create a separate list for the "must bake" crowd.)
Bernie and I are enjoying considering her ideas, and finding ourselves right on board with most of her suggestions. She is quite witty as she goes about deconstructing why we have been sold on the idea of anything labeled "plush", and why AND how we became wired to think of acquiring new or seasonal items constantly, (such as sheets and dishes).
Bernie and I have enjoyed our "Baronial" phase of life in Texas, where furniture and serving pieces and EVERYTHING was bigger and bigger.
Now we are thinking more along the lines of "plain and simple" "will last forever" "won't take up space/easy to move" and definitely NOT grand.
I have mentioned that I raised our kids in a 1,100 sq. ft. house, with a one car garage and no laundry room or basement, haven't I?
I really do know how to live small and efficient.
(and we actually begged our Texas real estate agents to show us small houses...our Kingwood house actually was quite small by Texas standards.)
I think a lot of us boomers are ready to rethink our housing and to make some decisions about our abodes. The Internet has loads of articles about downsizing...and the MegaMcMansions are languishing unsold in many locations.
The thinking is a work in progress with us...but it certainly did provide us with an opportunity to get out and have some fun at the local book store.


Lovella said...

Ah .. .what a fun evening. Oh and I love the book suggestion for the lil farm hand, I'll be sure to look it up, it sounds like a perfect addition to my growing library for little tykes.
I know one thing, if we ever move into a large house, each room will need to have a reason to be there. I love cleaning my small space and as you witnessed yourself, there isn't much excess floor space. I'm quite interested to hear what the author says and will take a look to see if there are more ways in which we can downsize and utilize every inch of our bungalow.

Islandsparrow said...

I enjoyed this post so much! What a lovely children's bookstore - I'd love to drop in there for an hour or two!

Interesting thoughts on small houses - we've always lived in a manse. Someday we'll have to get a little place of our own. I'll have to have a bunkhouse nearby though so that there's enough room for grandchildren!

Vicki said...

What a cute building for a bookstore!

Yep, I'm right there with you on the downsizing. This nearly-1300-square-foot apartment is more than adequate (as long as I have the one-car garage for storing the necessities that rotate in and out, such as seasonal clothing, gift wrap, bakeware, etc.). In fact, if we got rid of the big furniture (curio, bookcases, etc.) and found a house with a larger kitchen, I could probably empty the garage and manage just fine in a space this size. It's definitely easier to keep clean and the utilities are so much lower. This makes my first house (1600sf) seem like a mansion, not to mention the bigger houses we've owned since then.

I'd be interested in hearing more of what this author had to say.

Ladygrande (Texas Marie) said...

Good! Another book for me.
I am reading "Scaling Down - Living Large in a Smaller Space" by Judi Culbertson and Jarj Decker. Simpler is better.

Anonymous said...

Simple is good! Wish I could get rid of my old things and start a new way of living with just things I need and love most! I have a lot of these ideas in my head but never seem to have the time to make them real! That book is most certainly very useful! Greetings from a frosty Stockholm! Pia

Sara said...

OK, this seals the deal. I MUST visit SLC for sure...anyplace that has a bookstore with such a name as The King's English Bookshop, and in the quaint, cottagy part of town...well, it's like a dream come true. I biggified the first photo to get a closer look at the old weathered sign over the door. And then I noticed the woman standing inside looking at could almost be me, but I don't have a purse like that!

I rummaged around on their website for a while too. Couldn't upload the virtual tours however.

The author you heard sounds very interesting. I'm way into simplifying and cutting back these days.