Update: go the new blog for the tiny house experience: The House on Belmont St.
I’m pretty tired tonight on the eve of moving from a cozy 900 square foot condo to an old Florida “shotgun” house. It is a small bungalow style, only 13 feet wide, 600 square feet total space, with modest size porches and yard front and back. The owner bought it and moved it to the current site. He elevated it and it is tight as a drum with central air and heat. He believes it was originally built in the 1920s. He kept the orignal windows and screen door, wood ceilings, walls, and floors. In this old style bunglow home there are many large windows that are low to the floors. While it makes it harder to arrange furniture, the light is wonderful. (My condo is very dark.)
The House on Belmont Street is in the Old East Hill District of Pensacola, Florida. The train runs nearby and my friend’s house is behind mine one street above. I can walk or bike into town, and there are several restaurants from southern style bar-b-que to Italian to vegetarian within a few blocks of me. I plan to be on foot or bike much more than using my car, and to become part of a neighborhood and downtown district.
Behind me I leave all the modern conveniences that I have become so used to: dishwasher, stacked washer/drier, garbage disposal, even a microwave. The kitchen is a 1950’s style, with a half-sized electric stove and the most delicious tasting water. Also, I am losing my dining room space, and guest room.
There is a large porcelain tub – the kind you can actually fill and float in – and pale green linoleum in the kitchen, original wood floors in the living room and bedroom, and a porch broad enough to sit with friends on a pleasant night.
While setting up the kitchen this week, I heard so many birds in the oaks, crepe myrtle, and palms around the house. My friends tell me that hawks frequently build their nests and raise young in the tall pines and oaks along the street.
I plan to take permaculture classes to build a garden big enough to grow a significant percent of my weekly fare. I want to learn to care for local citrus which I have in the side yard, and shop at the Palafox Farmer’s Market on Saturday’s. We have a large cooperative grocery downtown as well.
Over the next year I plan to record what I experience, and follow my own withdrawal from so many conveniences. Will I be able to stand it? Should I? There are many older houses that have been remodeled with all the bells and whistles one can desire. I just seized this opportunity because of the location. What will it be like to live in the urban core of a mid-sized city? Grow my food? Walk or bike to meetings and evening events? Will I get in shape? Participate more in civic life and the local cultural scene?
Living in a condo in the suburbs I found stifling after a while. At age 69, I found myself getting all too comfortable. I noticed that most of the residents keep their blinds closed all day and night. Why? Privacy? But, all the light, the trees–life!– is shut out that way.
I will be living on a limited income and need to find smaller places that I can afford. So this is my first venture in that direction. I will create a separate blog site for this year’s experiment. Check back here for the link.! [HERE IT IS]
So…here I go!