The space is­sue

Timber Home Living - - Contents - SARA BROWN, Ed­i­tor

City liv­ing teaches you some­thing about tight quar­ters — and my ex­pe­ri­ence liv­ing in down­town Bal­ti­more was no ex­cep­tion. Mar­ried just a few years at the time, my hus­band and I moved into our 700-square-foot, street-level apart­ment with not much more than a few boxes of dishes, a beat-up sleeper sofa and our 70-pound labradoo­dle, Win­nie. Look­ing back, it’s a good thing we showed up with next to noth­ing. The apart­ment was lo­cated on the first level of a three-story row­house, one of the thou­sands built in the late 1800s so that Bal­ti­more res­i­dents of av­er­age means could af­ford to live in the style of the times. And while it oozed with char­ac­ter, quirks and charm, it was a lit­tle short on space — a fact not par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant to a cou­ple of new­ly­weds, but a fact nonethe­less.

For­tu­nately, we quickly got cre­ative with the place, turn­ing the front side­walk into an out­door seat­ing area and the long shot­gun hall­way into a makeshift dog run for Win­nie who turned out to be most cer­tainly not a city dog. We even used the kitchen penin­sula for a counter-turned-laun­dry fold­ing sta­tion. (Our stacked washer and dryer was tucked in next to the fridge so, in a way, this setup worked out per­fectly.) “One day we’ll think about this place and smile,” we used to say. And we were right.

That apart­ment was our home for one short but very spe­cial year, and we still take our three young chil­dren to see it ev­ery now and then. What we fig­ured out — and what you’ll fig­ure out, too, as you plan your dream house — is that de­tails and a healthy dose of de­sign smarts can lead to a home that suits you and your life­style per­fectly — no mat­ter the size. That’s why I think you’ll love “Small-House De­sign Strate­gies” (page 56), where we share ex­pert tips for de­sign­ing a not-so-big house that lives large. From cre­at­ing di­ag­o­nal views in your in­te­rior spa­ces (the in­creased distance be­tween two fo­cal points will make a room feel much larger) to in­cor­po­rat­ing spa­cious walk­ways and lots of nat­u­ral light, there are plenty of sim­ple tricks to make even the small­est home feel more spa­cious.

You’ll also find in­spi­ra­tion in our home tours, specif­i­cally “Haven in a Hay­field” (page 34). Show­cas­ing a sim­ple yet stun­ning 2,100-square-foot tim­ber home in Ohio, this story shows the ben­e­fits of not over-de­sign­ing and keep­ing things sim­ple.

So, if build­ing small or just build­ing smart sounds ap­peal­ing, this is­sue has some­thing for you. And re­mem­ber: When it comes to your tim­ber home, it’s the mem­o­ries that will mat­ter most. In fact, while writ­ing this ed­i­tor’s note, I asked my hus­band about that tiny apart­ment on Bank Street from all those years ago and we both smiled, just like we said we would. Some­thing tells me your tim­ber home will be even more mean­ing­ful and mem­o­rable, whether big, small or any­where in be­tween.

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