(Nick, AKA Dad Most Traveled has been working on the family home all summer. In an effort to simplify our lives and save money to do the things we love, we recently downsized from a 3 bedroom home to a 2 bedroom.
The renovation is more than half way done now. All of our stuff has been moved to the new house but some is still in boxes and totes waiting for its place. In the beginning I thought it was going to be difficult to find places for all of our little stuff, but it seems as if there will be ample room once all the construction is finished.
All of the big projects have been completed now. I still need to get around to building a few hanging shelves in our closet (there is one closet for the entire house) and in our bathrooms.
So, the big question is how do I feel living in the smaller place? I have to say that I love it! Our other house had tons of open space but that often deterred us from really settling in to it. We never had a cozy area to hang out and watch movies or to just drink our morning coffee.
Most of the time we stayed in the office since it was the easiest room to keep cool. As hard as we tried, it never had that cozy feel. The new house has a small living room that has already proven to be a great place to relax and watch TV.
Friends have come over and, though the room is small, it has handled five people fine.
The small size is an advantage because the room can be cooled by the air conditioner in just a few minutes, keeping the energy bill low. Also, the set up allows for opening the windows and doors for a nice breeze on the not-so-hot days during the rainy season.
The kitchen is completely finished as well, except for the deep freezer we have yet to purchase.
The renovation was amazingly cheap with the total cost of the changes coming to around $400 (the biggest part of this was the granite used to make the counter top). The wooden shelves and cabinets will be great at keeping our kitchen supplies organized and are a huge step up from what seems to be the norm in Lao – an open, moldy, concrete area under the sink.
The outside work area has also been completed. We will have the oven, washing machine and dryer outside. Having the oven outside is another energy saving technique since the heat it gives off during baking will stay outside and not heat up the kitchen.
The dryer is one of least used appliances. We have had it for about 3 years now and have used it no more than 10 times. It’s just too easy to line dry everything, even during the rainy season.
It’s been about 6 weeks now since the family headed off to the States. The 3 weeks left before they come back will not go fast enough.
The first week after someone leaves is always hard because of the emptiness of the house. But then you can get to work and the loneliness subsides a little. However, it’s starting to creep back in now the more I see families walking around town. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get everything done to the house before they come back.