In Search of a Pretty Property

Have you ever seen a vine as happy as this one?

I’ve been casually looking around for another property. Casually because my Boston condo has yet to sell – it will though – just a matter of time, and Chatham doesn’t close for a few more weeks. The rate at which properties pass papers these days makes it silly to do anything other than gaze, and gander from a good distance away. The looking is a sort of disease. I’m signed up to so many alert services that some days slogging through the in-box is like moving through quicksand, but when I come across something that shows potential, it stirs the butterflies in my belly.

Set me up in this one.

I got a text this weekend that had my heart stop for dramatic effect before it started to Salsa. It was a tiny little two bed in Chatham, NOT yet on the market, but the owners were ready to say good-bye to it. They called it a tear down – impossible I thought, they know not what they speak of. It’s a non-conforming lot, and the risk you take if you remove a building is that you won’t be able to replace it, let alone put another larger home on the property. Of course their are Zoning Boards of Appeal, where you can plead your case, but it’s a gamble, and I am not willing to put $1.1M on the line for the chance they might be in a good mood the day I ask.

A pillow, a good book, and both my feet up, you’d find me here in the morning.

My heart returned to its steady beat when I learned about the size of the lot. It slowed even further when I visited the property to look it in the eye from the outside, assess the neighborhood and such. She knew it, and I knew it, the company that she kept was not stellar, star-studded, or seaside. A problem if you want to cash in that lottery ticket.

I’ve never wanted to force myself into being a numbers person, but when it matters, I seem to be pretty good at doing the math. This little house had numbers that didn’t work. I have never expected to get something for nothing, but renovating a home is hard. The only easy part of the process is spending too much, taking too long, and underestimating what others will give you for it. No, she wasn’t for me, but I’d take one of these little beauties, whether it was falling down or not. I’d move right in, set up my laptop, and tap away, breaking now and again to gaze out at the sea, and think to myself, how very fortunate I am to just be.

You mustn’t forget the view – even if it is only in your mind’s eye.

The Tiny House

I love the word tiny.  It conjures all manner of cozy, innocent, beloved, cherished, untarnished.  It’s fitting that the tiny house movement is dubbed just that.  There is a simplicity to it all that defies the complications of actually making it happen.  One must, I think, approach it like a small child might – without giving too much consideration to all that could go wrong, to the hurdles that will surely be erected to halt your progress, crush your dream, ensure conformity.

tiny cottages:  Top. Case de Sabine . Denmark. Below Left, Pink Cottage . Middle, CA Cottage. Right, Cottages of Nantucket (available for rent)

Ah conformity – look where that’s gotten us.  1/3 to 1/2 of all our income goes to pay for the home in which we live.  And those homes have grown over the decades while the number of people that live within those “four walls” have decreased.  No one said anything that was adult was going to make very much sense.  15 years of your life – just to pay for the place in which you lay your head.  It’s a “tiny” bit crazy, don’t you think?


UK Tiny on the Sea

I’ve talked a lot about my fascination with small spaces.  My Cape Cod upbringing gave me early exposure to the interior of a boat cabin.  I’ll admit the allure is enhanced by the lapping waves against the hull, the bobbing of the cabin lantern strung from a cord that spans the cozy interior.  A little bit of a pot bellied stove, tea kettle whistling.  Back in the womb.  Totally protected.  Appealing, no?  Well it is to me, and I am certain that it is a significant contributing factor to my sense of ease in small spaces, and my fascination with this movement.


Provincetown . Cape Cod – Christopher Seifert via Flickr

It reminds me a bit of the Prius – a social statement that made trading your Range Rover totally acceptable.  It’s hard to imagine living in a 2600SF home – the average size of a dwelling in the states.  I, like a child desperate to feel loved –  need boundaries I can touch.

Now I have made it clear that I am not a builder, and I am not a designer – though I design my own homes as I attempt to flip-flop my way into retirement.  Still many years away, none-the-less, a dogged pursuit.  BUT – the tiny house movement has captured my attention for reasons beyond my fondness for the petite.  I think I could actually learn to build one.  Now I know that is not where my passion lies, but I know too that understanding how things come together, how they work, and being apart of the process of creation, from a construction standpoint, would be both edifying, and incrediblably gratifying.

Stay tuned as I hatch a plan……