In Search of Real Community, Part 4: A Home

home

This is the home I hope to build. When I began exploring small homes, I stumbled across this design by Nir Pearlson. I immediately liked it. To me, it felt welcoming and open. Though I looked at smaller designs as well, many of which were also of Pearlson’s design, I ultimately decided on this one.

If you’ve read the previous post, then you should recognize a key feature in this home – a large front porch. John Bryson, a local pastor in Memphis, often talked about how we no longer build porches. To him, it is the loss of a point of connection between neighbors, and I agree. As I’ve spent more time in older, poor neighborhoods I’ve seen what happens where there is often no A/C and plenty of front porches. Neighbors gather!

This home, with its small size, also represents another important principle to me – simple living. I’ve learned, often the hard way, that I am healthier and happier when I have less. In part, this is because its easier to care for. This is an important part of my decision. I’ve learned over the past year just how important it is that I be healthy myself. For me, healthy means owning very little and avoiding clutter. When I moved into my sister’s house, I was most happy when there was scarcely a piece of furniture and a lot of open spaces. I had very little trouble keeping up with chores despite a busy schedule. When I invited a friend in need of a place to stay with me later, I found myself once again immersed in clutter. It was hard for me when my home ceased to be place of rest and became a constant to do list. It was an important lesson.

In addition, smaller homes leave more time for other tasks like gardening, or music, or writing, or spending time with people.

But what about entertaining? 800 sq. ft is awfully small. Entertaining is part of the reason it is 800 sq. ft. and not 640, or even 320. I believe it is ample space for bible studies or a small church gathering, and I believe the overall design of the house is suited for many of these activities to either bleed into or be entirely outdoors. It is also designed so that living, dining and kitchen are a shared space creating a larger internal area. A large kitchen is also a boon to entertaining others and my own personal preference. Furthermore, this is a two bedroom home. I would love to once again have an open guest room for friends and travelers coming through town, or the occasional stranger in need of a place to rest.

I’m also excited about the possibilities this house presents for exploring options in sustainability and simple living that may help us in the future. The roof of this home is ideal for solar panels, and at some point I would like to transition primarily, if not completely, to solar power. This may be an important factor in future tiny or small homes used for ministry.

Finally, I want to build this home because I am building to stay. No one knows the future, but I intend to be here for the long term unless God moves me elsewhere. I like this home not only for the present, but also for the possibilities it holds for the future. Even if that future includes, as I hope it does, a family.

And this is one more piece of the immediate dream.

-Kirk

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