Welcome

Welcome! My health problems add craziness to my life. Here I post ideas I've tried, also questions I'm still asking. I have an electrolyte disorder. So I have crazy neuro stuff like complicated migraines, alkalosis, loosing my speech and paralysis. (including legs and hands) Little by little, foods had to go, they affected my brain and immune system. So I avoid like the plague: soy, dairy, gluten, nightshades, and try to avoid refined sugar. My body requires pink salt and electrolytes. I now use a speedy red wheelchair that I love. I've craved a simpler life, but how do you do that with crazy health stuff? I've already had a fire and flood, so I really don't value possessions. I value people and experiences. I am not compensated for any posts, just my opinions.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Efficient Houses- What do you want your house to do?

This weekend, I went to visit a Frank Lloyd Wright House. http://www.woodlawnpopeleighey.org/aboutpope-leighey/  I was very curious to see it, because he was a pioneer with his ideas and philosophies. So much different than most architects of his day. I enjoy learning about how others think and live. Especially when their ideas aren't like everyone else's. I appreciate creative thinking. Even if it's not something I plan to try, I still like pondering the ideas. One of my first thoughts inside the house, was that it felt like how I remembered houses in Japan.  I loved the big long windows and built in furniture of the Wright house. The space felt bigger than many homes that I've been in, the same size. I was told Frank Lloyd Wright visited and studied in Japan before building this series of houses. In the office, there was a sign of quotes he stated about his Usonain houses. Like: gabled roofs, gutters, trim and light fixtures are unnecessary. He also purposely didn't do a lot of storage space, so people wouldn't fill up the house with junk. I personally have trouble with most overhead lighting, causing me visual sensory overload. The lighting in this house was all recessed (simply), with the sunlight being most of the light source during the day. The dining room overlooks the patio, with floor to ceiling windows. Fruit trees and gardens were often planted close to the houses. These things all helped to make me feel very comfortable and appreciative of the efficient, yet beautiful uses of space. I felt that the house could really meet the average person's housing needs, but Americans seem to like more stuff and bigger spaces.

I lived in Japan from 1980-1983. Small spaces, sliding doors and tatami mats, but very efficient, with beautiful plants and gardens. I have memories of: zoos, tea with friends, amazing bicycles trails, cherry blossom festivals, with amazing picnic places. I even visited a traditional bath house. In "American Village" (temporary housing until could get on base) they had these big, 3 foot deep bathtubs, with very hot water. I plan to have a bathtub like that one day! Growing up with a big family, in base housing (military enlisted), I watched my mom get really creative with space. Once we had one bedroom with dressers in the closet to fit one more bed in the room. The closet in next room over had the dresses for all the girls. I visited two houses (only about 900 square feet), where my ancestors raised 5 kids. It didn't feel crowded.  Downstairs you entered the house into a living room. Then you went through the living room for the bathroom and master bedroom. Kitchen was off to the side. Upstairs, where the dormer windows were, the children all slept. A divider went up. Girls on one side, boys on the other. Sometimes an actual wall was built. Sometimes during the summer kids slept on screened porches.

Families started getting a TV in the late 1940's. But they didn't have entertainment centers, video consoles, DVD stands, computers etc. Homes weren't the entertainment. You ate, slept, washed clothes, worked in the garden, cooked, read, wrote letters, and mended. You worked outside in the fields, in the barns or at factories. Visiting with friends and family was important and enjoyed. During frontier days, a visit to town to get supplies and mail was a big deal. Communities came together to build schools and churches. A much slower and simpler time. I'm sure they had much less debt than we do today too, yet had richer lives. Maybe harder labor, smaller spaces, and less to do, but there were meaningful relationships, self sufficiency and more sustainable living.
old writing accessories: stamps, ink well, blotter, wax seals, pens with nibs

So what do we really need to do in our houses? Does our house reflect that? If we could have more free time, what would we do? How can our house reflect that? What function do you want each room in your house to be? I have one large room that functions as library, office, sewing room, school room and archives room. But my kitchen is only used as a kitchen. My bedroom is just a bedroom, no electronics or work in there.

I decided I would like to write handwritten letters, play violin and do sewing. Over the last year, I adjusted things so that my space is ready for those 3 things that I feel are important for me to do. My music stand stays up, in my parlor, with the violin right beside it, ready for practice. (I'd just move it if company came over.) I have a little writing desk set up with old writing accessories and a fountain pen. I also made it so that my sewing table stays clear, with my sewing machine ready to go, whenever I get some time. I have a rolling basket under my sewing table that holds my current mending. Also my cut out and pinned projects. I love to be outdoors and in a garden. Physically that's been very hard the last few years. So for plan B, to hold me over for awhile, I grew herbs and some flowers in big pots on my deck. I've been in my new house 3 years now. With physical limitations, I value my time and energy. I don't want to spend time cleaning stuff if I don't have to. I realized if I haven't used something since I've been in this house, its not worth my time or efforts. It gets donated, so I have more space and energy for the stuff I do enjoy, that feels meaningful in my life.