Friday, June 18, 2010

Friendly Fridays

Welcome to Friendly Fridays!  Each Friday over the summer we will tour a 'real life' smaller house or space.  Today I'm excited to show you my neighbor Monica's house where she lives with her husband and three children.

Aren't these great colors she chose for the outside of her home?  The brick is a natural red, the siding is taupe and the shutters are black.  Classic is always in style!  This house still falls on the smaller side - under 2000 sq. ft. - but there is an addition over the garage and in the back.  Let's go inside.
Here is the living room.

And the dining room.

Notice the french doors to the family room.  These are always wonderful in a smaller house as they add light and create more visual space.

This is the family room, an addition to the back of the house.  How about those red walls.  Nice!

Here is the original galley kitchen. 

The master bedroom is part of the addition over the garage that created a bedroom suite.  Again, notice the french doors into the bathroom.

I'd love to have this bathroom.  Again, this is part of an addition.

Here is the girls' room.  How cute is this!

And the boys room.  Monica did a great job with decorating both childrens' rooms.  I wouldn't change a thing.  And notice that the children share rooms.  Which as far as I'm concerned, is the only way to go.  For my tips on raising children in a smaller space you can click HERE

A small very functional and practical study.  I love the colors and the serene feeling.
Down to the basement.  The perfect place to put the kids and all their stuff.  For more about where to put the kids when you have a smaller home click HERE
This work/play area in the basement is a great idea!  The overhead shelving is brillant.

This laundry room is part of the addition.  Wish it was mine!
And since it's Friendly Friday let me also welcome you into my back garden.

I have about nine feet of space between the back of my house and my neighbors' yard.  As you can see, there is not much room for planting.  But I have managed to cram a lot into the three foot strip of soil that is not paved over.

I have pear trees...

and peach trees...

and cherry trees with ripe cherries. 

I asked the neighbors to help pick the cherries before the squirrels and robins ate every last one.

The little boy on the bottom rung of the ladder is my next door neighbor.  He speaks fluent Chinese and English!

Buddy also enjoys the garden.  He likes to look out the back fence and see what is going on.

And sometimes he goes out to play with his friends.

Have a great weekend!



  1. Is the house over 2,000 square feet with the additions off the back and over the garage? It looks as though it must be.

    And then there's the square footage of the finished basement.

    Not small!

  2. Hello,

    Just a quick reply to anonymous. In the case of this house, because it is in my neighborhood, I happen to know the family and have access to the floor plans. With the addition, it comes in at just under 2,000 square feet. Not small by European standards, but in this country, certainly 'smaller'. The question of what is considered small will always be open for interpretation which I discussed last year in the post 'What qualifies as small?' June 2009.

    So where does Jewel Box fall in the small house size category? Rather than tiny houses measuring 1,000 square feet or less, a size too novel and impractical for many people - especially families with children - Jewel Box concentrates on homes in the 1,000 to 2,500 square foot range, a modest living space by American standards, but "doable" for most households.

    As important as size, is the philosophy of a Jewel Box Home. These living spaces are designed to meet the needs of home life, rather than follow trends or impress neighbors. The comfort of family and friends takes center stage. Beauty and function are valued over accumulating space and things. Just as a jewel box displays the gem inside to its best advantage, a Jewel Box Home enriches the lives of its people.

    I am quite sure many people will consider Jewel Box dimensions too large for the small home category. But I am hopeful that those households living in much larger homes, might see a beautiful 2000 square foot Jewel Box as a reasonable and achievable shift toward living more lightly on the Earth.

    It is also worth noting that good design will make a small house appear bigger.

    Thanks for the comment!

  3. I think your idea of "small house" and mine are different...

  4. I just love the discussion that Anonymous started about what is small! As she said in her last comment, she and I have different definitions of small.

    Here are just a few more thoughts on that subject. Since the small house movement began, what qualifies as a small residence has been discussed endlessly. Sarah Susanka, who arguably started the small revolution with her 'Not So Big House' books, was the architect of the original 'Not So Big House' which measures over 2440 square feet and the 2004 Showhouse totals 3476 square feet. In 'Not So Big' Ms. Susanka says, "While you might not be able to afford a 6,000-sq.-ft. house, you may find that building a 3,000-sq.-ft. house that fits your lifestyle actually gives you more space to live in." It appears that by Ms. Susanka's definition, any house under 3,000 square feet might be considered small.

    On the other hand, Apartment Therapy which runs the annual Small Cool Contest has the following categories for living spaces:

    TEENY-TINY 300 Square Feet and under
    TINY 600 Square Feet and under (but over 300 Square Feet)
    LITTLE 900 Square Feet and under (but over 600 Square Feet)
    SMALL 1,200 Square Feet and under (but over 900 Square Feet)
    INTERNATIONAL All non-US entries (under 1,200 Square Feet)

    As defined by Apartment Therapy, anything over 1200 square feet is not small. Before going any further, I have to add that I do love the Apartment Therapy mission espoused by its founder Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan. "A calm, healthy, beautiful home is a necessary foundation for happiness and success in the world."

    To cloud the issue further, the Small House Society, where Jewel Box is listed as a 'Resource for Life' has members with houses ranging in size from under 100 square feet to over 3000 square feet. What I like about the Small House Society is the open discussion it promotes that focuses not about people claiming to be “tinier than thou” but rather people making their own choices toward simpler and smaller living however they feel best fits their life.

    I must say, a love a good open discussion!


  5. I agree with "Anonymous". I'd like to see a house in the 1,000-1,500 square foot range featured. Or a feature on how to entertain in a house with NO dining room.

    If my house was the size of the one featured I certainly would NOT feel like I live in a "jewel box home". And for anyone to even consider a home in the 3,000 square foot range as "small" is an insult.

  6. Hi All,

    We've got a wonderful discussion going here! This last comment is in response to Laurie. The question is, what is a smaller house? I agree with Laurie, that 3000 square feet - found in Suzanka's book, the 'Not So Big House' is not really small.

    For Jewel Box, I have chosen to focus on houses in the smaller range 1000 to 2000 square feet. Some may be slightly larger. Although my house is shown on the website as 1800 square feet, I found out it is really 1500 square feet, based on our recent tax assessment. Decorating, entertaining and living in a smaller space - in the 1000 to 2000 range - can be challenging, especially for families. And Jewel Box is here to help make smaller living spaces not only functional, but beautiful. The house on the first Friendly Friday is only an example of how one family chose to handle that challenge.

    For houses 1000 square feet and under, Apartment Therapy has an excellent website. Although many of those spaces are also larger than 1000 square feet.

    I also realize not everyone will agree with my definition of a Jewel Box Home or how to decorate, entertain and live in these smaller spaces. But I'm all for an open dialogue and welcome everyone no matter what size their home.

    Also Laurie, that's a great idea to show how to entertain in spaces without a dining room. Look for an upcoming post on that.