Friday, August 14, 2009

Saving Home Sweet Tiny Home

Today's Wonder of the World is... Little Bitty Houses that I Find Doing Research and Want to Rescue and Live in Forever

Like this one. Except it doesn't look like it needs rescuing. Still, I would dust it and caress it and love it with all my heart.
Maybe I've got little houses on the brain because I'm trying to distract myself from the fact that we move my sweet Sarah back to college this afternoon and that girl has tricked me into getting used to having her around again. I'm going to seriously miss her, but let's not talk about that. No, let's swallow the lump in our throats and move right along...

I've spent several days this summer driving around the Upstate of South Carolina, lurking in textile mill villages of old, falling in love with the houses and doing research for a book I want to write one of these days. I know I've blogged about my obsession with mill villages before and probably sound like your Great Aunt Mabel droning on and on about how wonderful the party line on her rotary phone used to be, but I haven't shown you many pictures yet, so sit tight, bub.

First, a little background, if you please. If you've heard this before, feel free to talk amongst yourselves. It'll only take a sec.
From the late 1800's to the mid 1900's, my corner of South Carolina was known as the Textile Jewel of the South. Everywhere you found a textile mill, you'd also find the village the mill owners built for its workers.
Many of the mills look like this now.

Dilapidated shells of what used to be the center of daily life for hundreds of families.
But not all mills are broken down.
Some lucky ones look like this.

That's The Lofts at Mills Mill near downtown Greenville. Very fancy.
It's very trendy now to refurbish an old mill into condos. People love the high ceilings, exposed brick, and the chance to live in a place steeped in history. I wouldn't mind living there myself one day, though I must say that the villages attract me more.
Some villages are in considerable disrepair...

like these on my Meals on Wheels route,
or like this mill store half a mile from my house.

Others look pretty good for their age. I like the broken down ones best. Whenever I start telling Todd my dreams of rescuing a mill house and nursing it back to health, he furrows his brow and starts spouting off about muscadine grapes or how he needs to give our dog a haircut. Then he turns on the radio.
I can't explain it, but those old houses call to me.

Maybe they remind me of my Granny Farley's house, one of the places in my life where I've felt the most loved. By this pretty lady.

There she is on the patio, holding my college sophomore. How I miss her!
There aren't any mill villages in Sandy Hook, Kentucky, but her house was about the same size as one. Until my uncles added on a back room, it had only a small galley kitchen, one finished bathroom, two bedrooms, and a living room. I loved how close people always were to each other in that house. They had to be!

We're lucky to live where the cost of housing is relatively low, so our house is fairly roomy--not huge, but big enough for us. The neighborhood is safe for bike riding, and there's a neighborhood pool and yards big enough for kickball games. But once my kids are grown, I'd really like to adopt one of those mill houses and nurse it back to health. If I can find another husband, that is.
Just kidding, sweetheart!

I know it's entirely possible that once I move into my mini dream house, I might be overcome with claustrophobia and run screaming out, begging Todd to take me back to a house where I could turn around without bumping into something. (In which case I'd have to start wearing a blond wig and dressing like Marilyn Monroe just to keep him from unloading all the I told you so's he'd have saved up. But I doubt that would happen. At least I hope not.

Cute, huh? And no repair needed. Probably. Maybe.

So what do you think? Does a house rescue appeal to you? Or do you dream of spreading out in a mcmansion with a suite for just your shoes? No judgment here. Everyone has a right to their dreams!
Have a wonder-full weekend, y'all!
Love, Becky
PS. Look at this. I found a kindred soul!


Kat said...

That house is adorable! I can see why you would want to rescue it.

And yes. Rescue houses call to me. One in particular, as my hubby and I bought a foreclosure a few months ago and are in the middle of a complete and total renovation. It is not as much fun as it sounds. ;)

JaxPop said...

The little house with the azaleas could pass for our first home. It had 4 rooms - very tiny rooms. We were just talking about it the other day - how cramped but great it was. (Proof that newlyweds are clueless? - Hey it was 34 years ago!)

Bought & completely renovated a beach house in 2001 - turned a lump of coal into a glittering diamond. It's a lot of work but, stepping back to look at the finished product - very cool. Just go for it!

Felicity said...

Oh, yes, big rescue dreams here! Mine is usually a brick cottage with upstairs attic bedrooms. And the front door must be arched. It must.

ParisBreakfasts said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE this post!
As one who grew up in a tiny room off the old attic, I always gravitate to small cosy rooms. Nothing claustaphobic about them for me-just friendly and inviting...maybe womb-like?
Qui sait?
Love the video too..wish there was a link to her..hmmm

Susan said...

This was a fun post. I remember living in a tiny house as a child for a short period of time. Somewhere along the way I remember rooms that didn't have doors, but curtains, as in the video. All in all it sounds a bit claustrophobic to me. But in a fun way, I'm sure.

LW said...

A perfect post at a perfect time. I have been looking at a lot of
on line real estate lately. For it is almost time (a few years) for my hubby and I to
Love , love the mill store if my pockets were fuller I would run right down and rescue
that one…

I like small house with large rooms. Large rooms keeps you from that tiny boxed in feeling.

A book about SC mill towns is a wonderful idea..
I also enjoyed the video. I had a refrigerate like that, I loved it but it was an energy user, my electric bill was very high I had to get rid of it after only using it a few months..


Liz said...

Wow, I love that house. Such a fascinating post,I have a thing for old houses and town stories.

Rosemary said...

What a cute house!
I love looking at old buildings in need of some care!
I would love to read your book about that!
Have a great weekend,

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I'm like you--I adore little houses. It pleases me when people rescue them and it pleases me more when old factories get renovated into living space. I plan to live in a tiny cottage (rescued, of course) when I downsize!

FYI, the blog "Just go!" featured your book today!

Susan Sandmore said...

It appeals to me, but "playhouse rescue" is probably more in my budget! Or maybe dollhouse rescue . . .

ToddR said...

Maybe we could build a little house like that in our backyard. You could write there in privacy. I could build another one beside it with a wood stove, a coke machine, and store my canoe there. I could then invite my friends over to hang out.
I think I better stop now.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Honey, it's not the same thing.
What canoe?

R & L said...

Hi Becky -
Love all antiquey stuff, cars, furniture, small cute homes, and all other sizes. But don't care too much for some of the creepy looking victorian style, as in the munsters.
Remember as cute as a house may be, and as cute a house as you may be able to turn one into, you still have to live in the neighborhood. And I'd love to tell you how critically important the neighborhood is, and your location within it. Whewh! We are happily into our new / 7 yr old house, and boy what a relief to have more space now- over 3000sqft. And you'll wonder why we need all the space, with just the two of us and a dog? We hang onto sentimental things, antiques, collectible things, a room for a library, a room for an office, spare room for visitors, etc. Our homestyle is Colonial Charleston as is the whole neighborhood that is limited to 40 homes. Our previous home was just another cookie cutter home in a hood of 400 homes and I mean hood. Traffic, noise, very loud place to live, though it didn't start that way with only 20 homes.
To cut to the chase, only buy a fixer-upper if the neighborhood is going to be acceptable to live in. I would still hang onto your main home, and keep the little one as a project that you can one day sell for a profit.
I hate to pick sides, but I think Hubby will help you with his best advice, and trust him because your emotions are in turmoil with Sarah heading back to school. The Mother-Daughter bond is tightest one that exists among humans. I can only begin to imagine how difficult it must be to send a daughter off to college. I sympathize very sincerely.
Oh, would love to have a Pawley's Island vacation home to fix up! Gotta run ... Our best always.

Sandy Mastroni said...

This was a great post . I watched the video .... I never heard of linoleum rugs !
and yes yes .... I LOVE old houses !
Houses that need attention
and I would LOVE to fix one up ... but .... I would need another different husband too [ this does not interest him at all ] Ha ha
He thinks I'm crazy !
Hope you are cool tonight !

rochambeau said...

Me too Becky~ I want to adopt them all!
What a great post. I did see that youtube recently. She's a cool lady with her own style.
I live in a tiny world in a large house. I like little.


TattingChic said...

I think buying a recently rescued house and keeping it up sounds appealing. I don't think my poor back could handle an actual house make-over if I had to actually participate, LOL! Oh, it would be nice, though, if I had all the money in the world to rescue one and pay lot's of different people to come and make it all pretty and stuff!

Ummm...after you finish your book on mill towns can you write a book on lurking in moss covered cemeteries? LOL! Just kidding. I just remember that blog post for some reason! I thought it was a good one. I think I read it when I first discovered your blog last year!

May Vanderbilt said...

Becky I think you'd LOVE living in a cottage. We live in a teensy eensy apartment and I love it. I always know where my dog and husband are--no hollerin' all over the house--and it's so...lively.

That video was awesome. I want to live in Luxton Lake!

Silicon Valley Diva said...

Oh, I love this post. Can't wait to read your book--sounds fascinating.

We have a small house here, less than 1200 sq ft. but my husband always likes to remind me, it's huge compared to his prior shoe-boxed size apartment he had in Paris.

Natalie said...

We have rescued homes before and it is gratifying work... I could not feel *at home* in a McMansion... I know because we have been renting in a place we call Garage Mahal... that is about to change... won't you please wish us luck?

Totalrenovering said...

Wow beautiful house. Its really a sweet tiny home, FABULOUS! Thank you for sharing.