For the past four years we have called a fixer-upper with a great location home. We never want to buy a fixer-upper again. Three years before that we called a rental house in the not-even-near-a-gas-station-or-grocery-store suburbs where children outnumbered grass blades home. We never want to live as extras in the Lord of the Flies again either. Now it’s time to pick our third place together as we shift our focus to the Pacific Northwest. Let’s hope the third time is the charm.
I’m writing this for feedback and ideas from the blogosphere because I’ve just opened myself up to the idea of not living in a house.
As it turns out, living in a traditional house in the suburbs surrounds you with traditional folks. This is perfect if you are a traditional couple, but we are not. We don’t have kids. We sleep in hammocks. We have one car between us and mostly commute by bike. We don’t wake early on Sundays for church or aim our efforts at winning a gardening award. One of us is terminally ill and might not make it to 40 so we prefer to live now and take it easy later.
After living there for seven years, the idea of moving into another house in the suburbs makes me twitch. I can already see the line of mothers outside my door asking me how many children we have and if we’ve found a church home yet. My calendar will fill with baby showers, children’s birthday parties and candle/perfume/jewelry parties I cannot avoid that I will survive by sneaking liquor into my punch and excusing myself to the bathroom. My weekends will be consumed with yard work, paint projects and foundation repairs.
No! Life is too short! Not this time!
Until a few months ago I thought the only choices were to live in a house in the suburbs, a loft or apartment in the city, a farmhouse in the woods, or under a bridge in a cardboard box. With two large dogs the city loft would not do. With one car and two jobs for two people the deep woods would not do either. I thought a suburban house close to a city was our only option.
I was wrong. There are so many more choices!
A few months ago I met a couple that lived in a hangar. They built an apartment inside an airplane hangar at an airport and lived in it. They invited me out to see their place and I met lots of other people that lived in hangars at that airport. They were as much a community as any neighborhood group.
My partner introduced me to one of his friends that transformed an old school bus into a domicile and lived out of it for a few years with the guy she was dating. They took all of the seats out, added some plumbing and furniture and drove it all over the country. I keep meaning to ask her, how did you get your mail?
I found some blogs people have written about transforming industrial spaces into living environments. Turns out if you have the know how, you can turn an abandoned factory or church into a shabby chic paradise.
Then there’s the whole Tiny House Movement. It fascinates me, but I’m not sure how to make it work with two big dogs and a man who packs three times his weight in medical equipment for a weekend getaway.
Real estate in the Pacific Northwest is close to double that in our part of Texas so we have accepted that we will be downsizing. But what we downsize into is still up for grabs.
I feel like I have opened Pandora’s Box. What else is out there that I’ve never thought about? Do you, or someone you know, have a unique living quarter? Please share in the comments!