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How to Downsize to a Small Family Home

March 3, 2017

 

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Living large in a small house?  Written by Elisa Bondy, Adele Barrett Interiors

Like many people my age, I’ve found myself getting wrapped up in the need to “have” certain things in life, that I should own a beautiful, large home that was perfectly appointed. As an Interior Decorator this desire seemed perfectly reasonable. I justified and gave credence to the idea by telling myself that my home would show clients what I was capable of creating and what was possible in the areas of design. I thought my children should grow up with space and have a place they were excited to bring their friends, and that the more I could provide in a house, the more successful I would be. So when it came time for Jay and I to move our young family, it is fair to say my expectations were high. What I very quickly realized however, was that in today’s vastly competitive real estate climate, our money couldn’t buy the house of my dreams……at least I thought it couldn’t.

As a society I think we have the tendency to associate success and happiness with money, and what money can buy you. But, I have learned that success and happiness are relative terms. There was no question we couldn’t afford a larger house in our preferred neighbourhood, so our options were to buy a smaller house, or move further away. We chose to do both, and something truly amazing happened!

We settled on a 60’s bungalow in the country, about 20 minutes away from our previous home. Everything was original, from the tired wood panelled walls to the orange kitchen counter top, but the house had modern appeal and was well within our budget. We immediately set to work renovating the interior, and as the old materials gave way to new ones, so too did my previously held ideals. Suddenly I was confronted by a profound understanding. We had purchased our dream house without even realizing it.

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The Things We Have Gained:

– What we lack in interior space we have made up for in exterior landscape, surrounded by trees, farmlands and hiking trails.

– My creativity and design experience have flourished, as I am challenged to make every room beautiful, as well as functional.

– My family spends more time together since there is less space to be apart, and my children spend less time with technology, because they are too busy discovering the outdoors.

– On top of all of that, we have more disposable income. This has allowed us to not only to furnish and finish the house exactly as we’d like, but also to travel and have other family experiences that we could not have accomplished otherwise.

– The renovations have increased the home’s value and so have improved our financial well being.

And so, if you asked me today if it is a good idea to downsize with a young family, I would say, most definitely YES.

Elisa Bondy, Interior Decorator and Certified Stager

Adele Barrett Interiors

About Adele Barrett

Adele Barrett is a consulting interior designer in Hamilton and Dundas. Over twenty years of conferences and continuing education classes keep Adele Barrett Interiors design practice both on trend and timelessly classic. She started collecting paint chips from the local lumber yard when she was 3 years old, and a seed was planted that grew into a career. Continue reading...