Roughly calculated, we used almost 5000 1.5” finishing nails to install the beaded board ceiling and the v-groove plank walls, both tongue in groove, throughout the house. Each nail required at least three “whacks” to get in—that is a lot of hammering. I can hardly think of a more meditative job; it is tricky enough that you have to stay focused, but not so difficult that you get frustrated. Each plank leads to the next and the next and next, and so the hours pass. Sebastienne made up a little humming song, Winnie the Pooh style: “Pick it up, slide it in, waggle, waggle, waggle, whack, whack, whack, hammer, hammer, hammer, and again.” (The whacking here refers to gently using the mallet to get the tongue into the groove without damaging it.)
By late Friday afternoon, we had finished our bedroom nook and the closet, and could sit back to enjoy our progress. The spring breeze flowed in through the open Dutch door (Thanks, Forrest!) and the Dogwood trees’ white blossoms lit up the forest. All was good in the world.
We have a tiny bedroom; the emphasis is really on the bed part, rather than the room… The nook itself is 55.5” wide and 84” long, which fits, without much room to spare, a full size bed. Here I feel the need to add something for those of you who might be thinking of downsizing and/or building your own house: Our “tiny house” is almost twice the size of most houses built on wheels because we wanted to have a separate bedroom on the ground floor, plus a closed off sleeping loft for our daughter. Since we also wanted a backdoor to the porch, we did not have the option of turning the bed sideways, which is why all we can fit is a full size mattress without filling up the corridor. We are not particularly big, vertically or horizontally or circumferencely, and we are mighty fond of each other—a full size bed is all we need, but we did think over our sleeping habits and needs carefully before we made this design decision.
Another instance when size and compatibility can make a big difference is the closet. Luckily, we are the same size and have, more or less unintentionally, developed an overlapping clothing style. We do not only wear the overalls and plaid shirts and whatnots we use during construction, but we tend to stay with the basics and share most of our clothes. I have a handful of favorite dresses that Sebastienne would not wear, but mostly, we have one closet instead of two. (Sometimes it is practical to have a same sex partner!) Ada would wear her black tights and grey hoodie every day if they did not have to get washed occasionally—her closet needs are miniscule.
We have been sorting through our closet regularly for the past year, slowly getting rid of everything besides our absolute favorites, those clothes that we fight over and that always seem to be in the laundry. I gave most of the dresses to my dear friend Jody, and I enjoy seeing them around town, the rest of the discards went to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. As with everything else, the more we get rid of, the more the things we keep shine. To have a closet where everything is a favorite means that our clothes resemble the love worn “Velveteen Rabbit;” threadbare and a little frayed at the edges, but it also means that they feel “real.” Our goal is that all the things and beings around us, from the teapot to the dog, will feel just as loved and appreciated. (If Alma, our hound dog, did not grow new hair, she would be naked by now after all our kisses and cuddles.)
I guess that one of the secrets to a small (large) life is to know what you love, and to love it well. Then the rest is just details.