One of my friends bought a tiny house that sits feet away from a soft sandy stretch of Pacific Ocean in Oceanside, California. It serves as her weekend get-a-way. This place, built around 1927, is a simple Spanish Revival style that holds just one bedroom and bathroom, a tiny porch area, the narrow kitchen and a compact living room/dining area at the front of the structure. The precious fireplace in the main room, no longer working, is flanked by two small crank out windows.
The original owner lived here full time for all those years confined to about 880 square feet. Granted she had the amazing Pacific as her front yard, but still there was virtually no storage space in a home with just one bedroom closet and limited cupboard space. Perhaps she had a garage out back or a storage shed, but it couldn't have been much. Surely not like the use of a basement or attic space. It gets me wondering about this lady who moved in this place during the depressing Depression era. Was this a down-sizing move for her at the time? Was she experiencing the same shrinking up of a household that lots of people are encountering today? Often the real estate on the shore costs so much more than inland and what gets built typically is a much smaller sized home for more money.
During those years in the late 1920s and 1930s thousands of Spanish Revival bungalows were built that offered two and three bedroom homes with garages. While larger than this place, they still were relatively tiny homes by any standard. Folks thought nothing of having just one bathroom at that time. But then, there were owners alive at that time that very easily might have been raised using out-houses to go to the bathroom. My own grandparents, immigrants from the impoverished South of Italy, grew up in homes that shared the downstairs with animals and they used outdoor facilities for human needs. They were elated to just be here in America, so the idea of just one bathroom was of absolutely no concern to them. They were grateful for everything here in this country, especially their Spanish Revival home at 1818 W. 70th Street in Los Angeles with two bedrooms and one bathroom for everyone.
What changed during the last 80 years or so that makes young people feel that they are entitled to their own bedroom and bathroom? What makes perfectly successful Boomers feel apologetic and not eager to entertain friends in their own home just because they live in a condo and not a larger home? Where does the idea of proving one's worth with the size of a home come from anyway? Wealth can be defined in many ways. Worldly possessions come and go and can be lost at any time. We have attached significance to the size of one's house and the amount of influence or wealth that accompanies the larger homestead. We assume that the people who live in larger places are richer and happier. Not only is this not true, but this path of thinking can interfere needlessly with finding contentment in a much smaller home.
Oh to have lived in this place - on this blue ocean - and drink in all those dreamy sunsets, fresh sunrises and balmy breezes. On this lonely beach with few houses in those days and little noise other than the pounding rhythm of waves. That woman, whoever she was, she was a rich lady!