What Guests can Teach us at Our Little House

We had a great weekend this past weekend as my friend, and Living Large community member, Kathleen Winn, paid us a visit.

Entertaining in a tiny/small home is always a challenge – especially when there are six dogs underfoot – but I think Kathy had as good a time as we did.

She good naturedly allowed the dogs their “wild time” as they always get very excited to see people other than me and Dale (although I gave her free reign to tell them, “enough”) and said Our Little House didn’t feel as small as 480-square feet sounded and didn’t feel cramped, but rather, “cozy.”

As well, we didn’t spend a lot of time at Our Little House, as I wanted to show her around the area too. We took long walks on our road, visited a couple of my favorite retro/antique stores, ate a nice Asian lunch (I had sushi, Kathleen had Chinese at the same restaurant), spent some time on our beautiful lake, ate a nice dinner of bacon wrapped shrimp and even did some target shooting.

When we were home, we made use of the Party Deck. It’s always good to have outdoor living spaces in a small home.

It’s also great that we have The Belle Writer’s Studio, which is equipped with a fold down futon and its own bathroom, which gives us and guests plenty of privacy.

We don’t entertain overnight guests a whole lot, maybe a couple of times a year. I like to give our guests a B&B feel when they’re here, which means setting them up with refreshments in the studio, complete with coffee for the next morning and cold drinks in the mini-fridge.

Unfortunately, I think the biggest glitch to the weekend was that we forgot to turn on the hot water tank to the studio before her arrival. We use it so occasionally that we typically do not pay to keep it on, which also saves energy.

She described her shower on Sunday morning as “tepid.”  Oops.

I love having guests come and stay with us at Our Little House. Last week, I wrote that our first five years here had been full of mixed emotions literally rooted in feeling homesick for our hometown.

Showing Kathleen around Our Little House, the beauty of our area and what our new home has to offer made us appreciate even more our move here. This is a side benefit of seeing good friends again. Acting as a tour guide, it allows one to see their home in a new light too.

I also immediately made a master “to do” list of everything that needs to get done before someone else comes to visit. Maybe they’ll even get a hot shower.

Do you have a small space? How do you accommodate guests or what is the biggest benefit, aside from seeing friends and loved ones that you’ve found when they come to visit?  



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26 Responses

  1. We had guests over for dinner in our small space and it does get tight in a hurry. I like your idea of spending plenty of time outside. We were planning on doing that but the weather didn’t cooperate. Still, it’s nice to chat with friends. Too bad the shower wasn’t a bit warmer;) whoops

    • Kerri says:

      It’s great to have good friends, especially forgiving ones. 🙂 We are planning on having my inlaws down in a couple of weeks. It is way too hot now to entertain outside. We’ll be pretty cozy for a few days.

  2. Irene says:

    Sounds like you are a wonderful hostess, Kerri. Entertaining is more about the environment you create that the space that houses it!
    Best, Irene

  3. Jane Boursaw says:

    It’s always interesting when people around these parts say they have lots of summer guests. Most of them moved here from somewhere else, and thus have lots of friends and family that “come north” to visit. Having lived here our whole lives, all of my husband’s and my family and most of our friends live within a 20 mile radius – so we never have the “summer guests” thing happening. Which is probably good because our house is always a disaster.

    • Kerri says:

      LOL, Jane. I say that the only thing that gets mine really cleaned well is when we’re having guests to visit! 🙂

  4. sarah henry says:

    Sounds like that lovely deck — and separate sleeping and bathroom quarters — made having a house guest in a small space much easier to manage.

  5. Merr says:

    We have a small space and not too many sleepover guests. But when they stay it is either couch or air mattress. Company is indeed fun, and as I think about future homes, I will plan differently, even if the space is small!

  6. Kerry Dexter says:

    I’ve let lack of space deter me from having guests in recent times — I am in space about as small as yours, Kerri, with my living room standing in for the Belle Writer’s studio. Still, I am reminded that sharing experiences is the best part of having guests, and there are always ways to do that.

    Like the look of your deck and the idea of those walks in the woods. Sounds as though you and Kathleen had a fine time, and that you have a good plan for welcoming guests to your home.

    • Kerri says:

      Before we had the studio, our German daughter came for a visit and she slept in the living room, which also has a fold down futon. It worked, but it doesn’t make for much privacy. I think it can work and we would make it work even if we still didn’t have the studio. Thanks, Kerry, we did have a fine time!

  7. I’m coming next! LOL. Wish I could. It sounds like a lovely retreat for guests and I would be thrilled to be greeted by 6 dogs! We never have guests here, but do often at my parents’ lake house and the sheet changing and towel washing is exhausting I find!

    • Kerri says:

      HA! See, that’s my secret, Brette, I never entertain more than 1-2 at a time. Easy-peasy! 🙂 You’re welcome at Our Little House anytime, I wish you could stop by!

  8. What a wonderful visit it was, and Kerri isn’t exaggerating about the “B&B” treatment. I felt thoroughly spoiled by the cozy accommodations and beauty of the natural surroundings- deep timber, lovely birdsong and soft breezes rustling through oak leaves. It’s truly a special, peaceful place and I now understand why Kerri feels inspired just by being there.

    Belle Writer’s Studio is Kerri’s office that doubles as a guest cottage when she and Dale have company, and it certainly is as charming and comfortable as any bed and breakfast I’ve ever stayed at. Kerri went out of her way to think of every detail, right down to a coffee maker ready to brew my first cup of the day at the touch of a button. I didn’t mind my “tepid” shower at all, was having way too much fun to want to linger there anyway!

    Thank you so much dear friend, for your hospitality and kindness! Your sweet doggies are just a bonus to the visit, each one with its own unique and special personality. I loved getting to know them, after only reading about them on your blog. They are real to me now, as is the serenity and charm of the Little House compound, nestled there in the Ozark mountains. I hope to visit again, and can’t wait to take another early morning walk with you through the woods, with a hot cup of coffee and canine companions in tow! Thank you for a wonderful visit! 🙂

  9. Alexandra says:

    This past weekend we had extra guests at our B&B, so our personal space was reduced to my office, where I slept, and Sven’s studio. We share our home with strangers on a regular basis. Comes with the territory when you run a small B&B.

    • Kerri says:

      I once thought I would like to run a B&B, but my husband reminded me that I don’t actually like to make beds. 🙂 You have my admiration, I couldn’t entertain when I didn’t feel like it.

  10. Vida says:

    Hi Kerri,

    Your deck looks lovely!

    In summer we get lots of guests including my husbands family and friends who like to troop here en masse in August. We turn over the entire house to them and go and camp on a treetop platform that we built for this (one day hopefully it will be a cabin). Generally we have a bedroom for guests in our loft area and the sofa can be converted into a single bed at a pinch (we designed it this way). So our tiny house will comfortably sleep 5 people. By the way, it is no hardship for us to camp out and leave the house trembling to its foundations with the snores of our guests each night!

    What I like best when our family from Italy visits are the wonderful meals that we have on our terrace. They love eating and cooking, we love eating and cooking… we also take advantage of their presence to invite more friends from around and often we have dinner or pizza parties for up to 20 people! It’s all great summer fun!

  11. Sue says:

    I love your deck, Kerri! It looks so peaceful and shady.
    When we have overnight guests it is one big slumber party! haha! We have a daybed/trundle bed that acts as a couch most of the time. We line the floors with blow-up mattresses! Sometimes the visitors bring their own camper or RV. We don’t have hookups for that except electrical, but if they use the cabin bathroom and kitchen and the RV only for nighttime they can get by self-contained for a few days. Ideally, I would like to have a little tiny guesthouse one day. That may or may not happen so in the meantime we make do.
    We spend most of the time outdoors and are in the cabin only for sleeping so it works out ok. And like you, it is fun to take guests around to our little part of the universe!

    • Kerri says:

      Thanks, Sue, we love the deck too, it’s one of my favorite places here. We have room for someone to bring a camper or RV, but they haven’t. As long as we don’t have more than one person or a couple, the studio works great. I hope you get to put one in at some point.

  12. Heather L. says:

    We rarely have overnight guests because there’s no place comfortable to put them. My father-in-law, when he was here, had to sleep on the couch. I do have a formal dining room that’s not used for anything that I would like to make into a guest room, but it has no doors. So the guest would have to be someone that didn’t care.

    It sounds like you had a lovely time with your friend.

    • Kerri says:

      Wondering if pocket doors could be added to your dining room to make it more private, Heather? At the very least, you could always put up those decorative room dividers when you have guests.

  13. Olivia says:

    We have one spare bedroom in our small home, although, I suppose, in a pinch, we could accommodate one additional person in our “office” on a blow-up bed. We only have one bathroom, however. Being a hermit by nature I am not into entertaining crowds of people, even for a meal. I’m not the one who looks forward to LARGE family gatherings or scads of friends for dinner parties. (Memo to Self: Ensure that kids and grandkids get this message!)

    The biggest benefit, aside from the pleasure of their company? Having them enjoy the beauty and tranquility of our little island: showing them around always makes me so grateful that I live in this beautiful and civilised place, despite our long winters. In fact, it is our long winters that keep this place what it is – our beautiful, pristine beaches would likely be lined with hotels and condos if it weren’t for our winters. As it is, they remain unspoiled by signs of human habitation.

    • Kerri says:

      I’m not a big entertainer either, Olivia. I think I do fairly well with one or two guests, but more than that makes me nervous, it always has. The only time we have more than two people for dinner is when Dale is doing Dutch Oven cooking or a BBQ and I can sit back and relax. 🙂 It is good, though, to see your own home in a new way with people who have never seen it before. It does make one appreciate it.