Grand. Gracious. Stately.  Regal.

One of our lovely neighbors

In the South, everything lives big. From homes, to hair, to feelings about football, there is no shortage of “large.”  Perhaps that is why our 1740 sqft 1940 cottage looks so clearly out of place on a street of Southern mansions.  And, yet, that is why I feel in love with it.

Our cottage as it appeared when we first met it.

We first put a contract on  a newer, larger cottage.  After sitting it alone for four hours while the inspection took place, I realized it was not the place for us.  It was homey yet too large.  (Luckily, the inspection turned up a major issue that put us back on the hunt for a house.) So, it was no surprise that when we started our search again, the next set of houses I selected to view were small and  thus well under what we had planned to spend.  One was even a 2 bedroom one bath cottage, which left my realtor saying, “Are you SURE you want to see that?  Do you really want to share a bathroom?” We may have settled on our current 3 bedroom two bath cottage, but with our main bath under renovations for almost 2 years, we’ve been sharing a 4 x 6 bathroom for most of our time in this home.  Go figure.  😉

The larger, "almost" cottage. We walked away due to an issue with the HVAC unit.

We love the size of our cottage.  What we don’t like is the lack of practical storage.  That is ultimately what has left us house hunting once again, this time with the hope of building from a personalized plan.  Of course, plans for small homes with big storage are hard to find!

This morning, we visted one of our favorite places for a demonstration on solar power.  Serenbe Farms has a new section called The Nest, and it is comprised of small homes designed by Lew Oliver.  At just under 1100 sqft, the model  operates for a utility cost of less than 200 dollars per year. 

Serenbe's model for The Nest

 I must admit something.  BeachBoy and I pay more than that per month for one utility bill alone. The thought is sickening.  I dare not calculate what we would save in an entire year. 

The bright plan feels anything but small.

As much as we love the idea of our little cottage, there are some major flaws we cannot change.  One is the cost of the utilities.  Our old home is well built but poorly insulated.  So, as our hunt continues, solar power and geothermal heating and cooling are added to the list.  They were surprisingly affordable. 

Cozy master retreat in the model

But, that’s besides the point today.  What I wish to convey is that while the Southerners have lovely homes, they are missiny g out on some of the finer things in life: a small cozy space that forces simplicity and invites beauty and peace.  Our cottage will never be the home people stop in front of to admire while taking the walking tour through our historic district, but it offers something very special inside. And, when my utilities make me doubt that it’s special, I just remind myself that my neighbor in his grand estate is paying 1200/mo for heat in the winter.  😉

Serenbe has a farmers' market each Saturday