How To: Small Home, Big Family

We bought our house in October 2011, five months before our first son was born. I spent the first week painting all the trim and baseboards, painting almost every room, and making our little home just that: ours. “This house is perfect for three people and a dog!” we thought.

God probably laughed a little bit (or a lot) at that, and here we are, two extra babies later, still hanging out in our 1,000 sq. ft. of happiness. And crowdedness. And privacy-less-ness. Still, happiness.

Let me begin with this:  I really struggle with wanting more. My dream would be to renovate a farmhouse that has more than enough bedrooms, a toy room, and a master suite, AND a room where I can write. But it’s just a house that I dream of, and I want my dreams to have more substance than just things to have. I’m learning to put aside what I wish for and enjoy the little piece of heaven we have right here.

Step one: Knock down a wall.

If you can. If you can’t, knock down half of a wall. If you can’t do that, find a different house. Just kidding! But it is the first thing we did once we had the keys. We knocked down part of a wall, and eventually took down cabinets that separated our kitchen from the dining room. I’m all about that airy space, seeing everything, letting natural light in. By the way, I’m no interior decorator, architect, nothing. But I do advocate community, and I like how our big open spaces allow that to happen.

Step two: Paint and then repaint.

You know, I thought I had a good eye for design when I was 21, but the fact is, I didn’t. For example, we painted our dining room bright yellow. I wasn’t totally keen on it in the beginning, but I eventually grew to abhor it. It made everything else look yellow too. So, after removing paneling, re-drywalling, re-paneling (which is more like shiplap) and then repainting white, I feel like we’ve finally got it. I’m all for trying something, even if it ends up sucking. It’s more fun. Maybe more work? But hey, I got to spend even more time with my cutie of a husband because of it.

Step three: Get over it.

My list of “things to do” to improve our house is getting pretty long. But we also have three boys to take care of, a business to run, and a life to live. Having a beautiful house is not the prize. Sometimes I wish it was, because I love to decorate and then redecorate. But I have to choose to get over it at the end of the day, because the goal isn’t to have perfection. The goal is to live in it and love it where it’s at, serving Jesus through it. He’s the prize, after all.

Have a small house with a lot of people? How do you manage? Tell me about it!

Published by Janelle Delagrange

Wife to a graphic designer, mom to three young boys, and writer of the soul.

2 thoughts on “How To: Small Home, Big Family

  1. We actually have this issue too and are getting a quote to add on! Hopefully it’s not more than expected $$$. Also, I think it’s different when you’re living and working in a small house like you said. It feels even more like everyone is on top of each other….daily….by the minute. And I mean we all love each other. But some days you just need to admit we need space! We have 1400 square feet and a closet sized bathroom that we all share. It’s insane. Doable, yes, but also in all honesty…we NEED more space. I want an office, not a living room with a working desk…it’s incredibly distracting and impossible to make calls. I dream about space that each kid can call their own 🙂 We live here, work here, school here, sleep here, eat here, play here. And I think dreaming about making that space bigger as the family gets bigger is good planning. I think ahead even past the right now…the family will only get bigger. 3 kids x 3 babies each or more, give or take will be 15 with spouses. I want to be able to house them all!

    1. Having a small business out of your house is no joke! Some weeks we don’t leave the house for a few days because we don’t have to…and I can always tell because everyone (namely myself) is a little more snappy. 🙂 I agree, dreaming is great planning! I really need to write down all my wants though, because the list is getting long!

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