home design

the Not So Big House concept: shelter around activity

Creating shelter around a specific activity is a concept that children instinctively understand when they make a cozy hideaway out of a cardboard box. As adults, we do much the same thing when we gravitate to the corner of a room or an alcove to sit. Walls wrap around us so we’re protected, but we can look out into the larger space that our sheltered alcove is attached to.” Sarah Susanka

I’ve dreamed of a window seat on the stair landing heading upstairs. Mostly in mind for me. Maybe I’ll have full shutters that enclose the seat with a window overlooking the lake, and make that my hideout. Naturally, I won’t tell the kids.

Probably the most important aspect of a home educating household is having separate spaces. There’s this notion out there that home educating families are with each other ALL THE TIME. Good chunks of it, for sure. But we like having our separate spaces. Which is the reason I’ve created private nesting spaces for each of us.

A room of one’s own.

Windows in two directions in the kids’ bedrooms; two views, one for the desk and another for a window seat where private afternoon reading consumes the quiet. Haha, I can dream about that quiet.

Even the shared upstairs kids’ bathroom has a sliding door to privatize both the bathtub and the toilet. Hopefully, arguments over the bathroom will be minimized.

Naturally, we have a special room for study baskets. What should we call that room? I can’t call it a schoolroom. Our children’s education is really not an institutional schooled education, so I’d be disingenuous calling it school. How about a study? A study where we’ll meet to jointly practice Latin and French, do history timeline projects and spelling lessons.

So what is the other room called where I’ll write and my husband and I will spend quiet evenings in front of the fire with our books? Also, a study. Dens are for bears. Office is for business. Schoolrooms are for school. We’ll have two studies?

Spaces under windows with a window seat are my preferred quiet space. Beside the Great Room fireplace, perhaps another window seat overlooking the lake. I’m sure I’ll find my girls here with a book in the mornings.

Clearly, I’m creating spaces for our family reading preoccupation. We’ll still support the library and buy library membership cards. But quiet niches we will have.

It isn’t a big space that’s required; it’s the right use of the space that makes the space feel like a mini-home.

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