Wednesday, October 08, 2008

My Dream House

Several years ago our family hosted a house warming party shortly after we moved into our house on Chepstow Drive in Nashville, Tennessee. Toward the end of the evening, one of my friends (originally from New Zealand) said something that has stayed with me ever since:

"So you have achieved the American Dream... You have a great, big house and no time to spend in it."

This statement obviously didn't make me go quit my job or sell my house (in fact, we still have it, if anybody's interested...). However, I have pondered this off and on since that autumn evening. This memory has floated back into my consciousness a lot more over the past couple of months as I've been reading about simple and eco-friendly living.

Why do we need huge houses that take up lots of space and use up lots of electricity/gas/water? According to my sources, it is a status symbol. You buy a large house to show the rest of the world that you have succeeded in the game of life. (Unless you have eleven kids and you simply need the space.) I honestly bought a big house so I could comfortably entertain my friends. However, everybody always ended up in the kitchen (and on the deck) anyway. The other rooms stood there empty and lonely. More to clean, more to insure, more to pay taxes on, more to heat, more to cool, more to maintain, more to sell...

Now that we have the opportunity to select a new home in a new location, we are thinking differently about what kind of house we want and where it should be located:

  • Close proximity to grocery shopping and other necessities so we can walk or bike.
  • Well insulated with Low-E glass windows and preferably solar panels for renewable energy.
  • A root cellar would be cool.
  • A lot of wood and natural materials.
  • Close to work.
  • Wide open spaces and lots of light.
  • Scandinavian design.
  • Just enough space for the four of us - no more, no less.
  • Close to nature/parks/green stuff.
  • Enough space for a baby grand (for me) and a library (for Todd).

When I was in Decorah the first time, Todd drove me by a house that pretty much exemplifies what I want (at least the general exterior design):

Rebecka is already working on our version in SketchUp.

She wants to be an architect.

How convenient.

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