Tagged: The Belle Writer’s Studio

Comfy Chair Transforms Small Space

The Belle Writer's Studio Before. The chair is now in the far left corner where the futon was.


One of the things we did right in designing The Belle Writer’s Studio is making sure I had enough room for both office space and sitting space, in case I wanted to relax while reading for research or even work from my laptop in a more comfortable chair.

Until now, we only had the futon in the studio. I’ve felt for a long time that it was missing a nice, comfy chair, but I hadn’t found one that wasn’t both small and comfortable.

That was, until a couple of years ago when we visited the lake home of a friend of ours in Kansas.

They had a smaller brown chair that as vinyl, was functional for a lake style home (it just needs to be wiped down and if someone sits on it while wet, it really doesn’t hurt anything) and didn’t overpower their small space.

I fell in love with the chair at first sit, but they couldn’t remember where they had gotten it.


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?  



The Stages of Eliminating Stuff

One of the pieces I didn't want to part with




We buy it, we find room for it in our homes, we clean it, pack it, move it, store it and sell it.

For most of us, stuff becomes an obsession until we no longer own it, but it owns us.

When we moved to Our Little House from a 1,100 square foot house packed with stuff, we realized just how little room we needed once we got down to it.

We were accidental in the Small House Movement, finding out through living it how freeing living without our stuff could be.

The problem became what to get rid of, as I not only had our stuff we had accumulated through 21 years of marriage, but we had my mother’s stuff, some of it sentimentally priceless.

Here’s the process by which we eliminated (and continue to eliminate) stuff from our lives:


Time to Spring into Cleaning


The Belle Writers Studio in the early morning mist


I started making my list for spring cleaning yesterday.

After all, when it feels like summer outside, I feel like I’m running behind.

Dale actually began the spring cleaning two weeks ago. I was working one weekend day, so I took the dogs over to The Belle Writer’s Studio so he could pull out the stove and fridge and vacuum the top of the cabinets.

He also came home from work the other day and cleaned the ceiling fans, as it was hot and we needed them.

My list is still pretty long:


Woodworking, Rural Home Invaders and Coyotes

Dale is doing more with wood than stacking it these days


We had an interesting weekend at Our Little House.

Dale is getting into woodworking, so we spent part of the weekend going to the Big Box hardware stores where he could find the tools he needed to start a project he’s been yearning to do since we moved.

He’s wanted to build a utility table for the deck, one I could use as a potting table and that we could also use when we’re cooking outdoors.

He received some money and gift cards for Christmas, so he purchased some woodworking tools and went to work.

And he did an awesome job, although he didn’t want me to take any photos of it. He built it out of old pallets he had stored from our move, so it isn’t very pretty, but it is sturdy and functional.

A hobby for eventual retirement? Definitely.

A potential source of second income? If he continues on this track, most definitely. I hope he maintains his interest.

It was certainly great seeing him so content working in his garage on Sunday and then rushing home from work Monday night to get back at his table.


Projects that just had to get Done

You know how when a project or two is haunting you and it drives you crazy until you can get it complete?

This was how it was for both of us at Our Little House this past weekend.

Dale has been waiting since spring for the perfect weekend to stain the Party Deck. We had an unusually cool and wet spring followed by an ungodly hot summer. We had perfect weather this past weekend and time is running out before it gets cold again.

I had been waiting for time, mostly, to organize my office once again. I wrote previously about finding the perfect little mailbox to put on The Belle Writer’s Studio, so mail wouldn’t be overflowing on the table at the house.


Ghosts of Father’s Day at Our Little House

My dad, Frank Fivecoat, with my brother, Steve


Sunday is Father’s Day, a day to celebrate our dads and thank them for being a part of our lives.

For the better part of my life, 30 years on July 21, Father’s Day has always been a constant reminder that my dad was no longer able to be a part of mine.


Saving Daylight at Our Little House

It was Dale’s stepmom who clued me in last week that this coming Sunday, March 13, is the beginning of Daylight Savings Time.

“What? So early!?”

I could have sworn that it didn’t begin until April. I would have been right until 2007, when DST was extended from March to November.

I’m all for springing into spring and leaving the winter behind us, but there are some disadvantages to springing forward: