700 square feet. Shared

by singlemomseeking on March 23, 2011

Don’t laugh, but at last I’m moving in with my husband. I mean, we only got married last year, right?

Every week, I’ve moved more things from my home into his home… really making it our home. In between all this blending together, we are also planning our addition — and learning a lot about each other. Case in point:

When we first started to plan the details of our dream home, we went out for pizza, just the two of us. That’s when TP pulled out a bank piece of drawing paper, the kind that architects use, and pushed it across the table towards me.

I touched the crinkly paper, and looked up at him, blank.

“Go ahead and use it,” he told me. “Draw whatever you imagine.”

When my man dreams, it comes in images and shapes. Just for fun, he’ll pull out a drafting pencil to sketch a bedroom with a view, or draw a reading nook with a comfy chair. He sees the world in 3-D. In his spare time, he loves to design with “Sketch Up,” a program that our friend Jim introduced him to.

That night, I thanked him, then folded up the white paper and tucked it into my bag. I wish I could tell you that I went back to that paper and drew a house with lots of windows and a lovely front door.

Yet, if you give me a piece of paper, I just want to do one thing: fill it up with words.

I think in lists: shower vs. bath, sustainable bamboo vs. wood, lots of light is a must. Any bit of drawing I do comes in the form of writing down ideas — and then drawing clouds around them, like this:

We have so many dreams and expectations about what home means. Some nights, it feels like all we do is talk about the house. FOR HOURS. Often, imagining our dream home is lots of fun. And sometimes all of this communicating is really damn hard.

My friend T told me over the phone today: “You’ll be A LOT closer when this is over.”

“This” as in the three of us living together in less than 700 square feet, in the midst of construction.

So, back to living together — I know that MANY of you come with much experience in this department:

What’s your No. 1 piece of advice when you’re setting up house together?

If you could offer one tip to live in harmony with your man/woman, what would it be?

~~~

Congrats to Bad Mummy who won a copy of Found, the just-published memoir by Jennifer Lauck

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosa Santolaya March 23, 2011 at 10:19 pm

700 is tough, but I will say that two years ago I had 4 kids, a husband, 4 dogs and a cat stuck into 924 sq. feet for 6 months, did I mention we had 1 bathroom. I actually think we had to get along and although we did have to watch the same shows, play the same games and we went for walks alot. lol – I think that you two will be just fine, but if you like having your own space maybe each choosing a corner/room area of the house that is just for you, a space to read, dream, knit, whatever – he should have a place just for him too. Good luck~

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singlemomseeking March 24, 2011 at 4:06 pm

@Rosa: Your comment seriously makes me feel like we CAN do this. Thank you!

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Memoirs of a Single Dad March 24, 2011 at 6:12 am

My #1 piece of advice – it’s all downhill. The beginning is always the hardest. Planning, arranging, MOVING (ugh). Those are all the hard parts. Being, living, talking, enjoying. Those are all the fun parts! Unfortunately you have to go through the hard parts to get to the fun parts.

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How Does She Do It Mom March 24, 2011 at 6:42 am

Easy..but I have 2…communication and respect!!

Brian and I recently downsized from a two storey home to a 1 floor 750 square foot apartment, that might I add is AWESOME!! There are 4 of us living there kids included. Most people would think we are crazy but is was a step we made towards our future and planning/building of dreams….oh and the minimalist lifestyle which we now LOVE!

Now 2 kids, Brian and me all in a 3 bedroom apartment…oh and did I mention that we both work side by side all day long…we are together A LOT!!! I will however triumphantly admit it has never been an issue…and the two reasons above are why!

Communication…we talk about EVERYTHING….there is no room for problems because before they arise we talk about it. If he needs space or I do we simply ask..and don’t take it as a criticism.

Respect is the big one! I always swore I would never be one of those women who nags about dishes etc…and i never do…that being said Brian and I are both a little bit of a neat freak…he has things he likes done his way and I have things i like doing my way…we respect that and don’t fret about the small things.

This all ties in to the whole post from a few days ago about waiting for the “right” partner…when you are with the person who is right for you…you make it work!

I am sure that you and Thunderpants will enjoy and do exceptionally well living together…

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T March 24, 2011 at 7:46 am

You’ll be a lot closer in a lot of ways, sweetie!

You’ll learn when he needs help… and when he wants to be left alone. You’ll learn what aggravates him… and what aggravates you. You’ll learn the beauty of shared space and responsibility. You’ll learn to communicate better even if it makes you uncomfortable. You’ll learn things about each other you wish you wouldn’t have.

Then, you’ll be thankful for it later.

I, like you, think in words too. Then, give me a room and the things on my list and I can create a beautiful space with it! I have to see it in person though.

Good luck to all of you. Very excited for you!

(thanks for the link love. xxoo)

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Kevin March 24, 2011 at 9:04 am

Having been married once, the first question I had was: “Which side of the bed do you like to sleep on?” Of course, I’m sure you already know this answer, but if you both like the right side (or the left side) that can call for some tricky negotiating.

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Anna March 24, 2011 at 12:54 pm

This is timely — thanks! The Man will actually be moving up here with us for a while, because he just sold his home, and hasn’t bought a replacement yet (the replacement will be a fixer-upper for us, which he will fix up so that The Boy and I can move down there with him permanently).

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Jordan with Rock Your Marriage March 25, 2011 at 9:37 am

I’m so glad to hear that you are actually getting to live with your husband now. That is an important step for sure.

One tip: Self-denial. Realize that your way (as well as your husband’s) is not always best. What is best is to deny yourself and serve one another. Compromise, love, and laugh! Selfishness causes much havok in many marriages. Enjoy the time to grow and learn!

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Kimber Simpkins March 27, 2011 at 9:23 pm

My best suggestion would be… let go of all expectations. Don’t get caught up about the laundry or the dishes or about wanting things to be a certain way and just enjoy being a family! It was so great to meet you this weekend! Great blog.

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Audrey Mora@after prom party March 29, 2011 at 2:21 am

Find out the similarities + Respect the differences. I believe this is the recipe of having a great relationship. :)

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May W. Parks April 12, 2011 at 11:32 am

I think it’ll be space. You were not born together, so most of the time you would want to arrange the room “this way” or “that way”. Respecting your partner by asking him/her what his/her preference is can make your house more like “your” home. Very Nice article!

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Kat Wilder April 27, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Late coming into this discussion but how much space matters less than how much space you help each other have in the relationship. A “dream house” is nice, but that adds nothing to a relationship or family; sometimes, it drags it down. The stuff we have doesn’t matter either. 700 square feet seems little by U.S. standards but may be palatial by others; I’d look to see who lives in less and how they manage it. It might offer insights into things you haven’t even thought of.

In any event, mazel tov!

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singlemomseeking May 9, 2011 at 11:59 am

@Kat: Indeed, whenever I get whiny, I think about ALL the people around the world who live with extended families with many young children in LESS than 700 square feet. It’s a good reminder. Thanks.

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