Small Living Spotlight: The Ashley Family

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Unexpected blessings are the best kind. Especially when they come in friend-packages. 🙂 When I tagged along on this podcast awhile ago, I met a family who lives about five minutes away from us and who also carves out a meaningful life in a very small home only a teeny bit bigger than our Shoebox. Better yet, I gained a sweet new friend who is an encouragement to me every time we get together. So today I want to introduce you to the Ashleys. Meet Anthony, Kristina, Sophia, and Claire: small living extraordinaires and really cool Colorado family. 🙂 

Ashley family

I asked them a few questions about living small from their perspective. Their answers were so … just… YESYESYES! that I’m super excited to share their reply with you! 🙂 Read on for a little Q&A from my new friends, the Ashleys…

 

 Q: How did you come to embrace “living small”?

A: It’s funny. For both of us, the house we are in now actually felt like a huge “living large” move when we started renting it. Our first home together was in a couple’s re-finished basement. And before that, I lived in a basement bedroom in the home of a family of 5, and Anthony was sleeping on the floor (by choice) in the basement of a house he shared with roommates. When we found this house we were just so happy to be out of the basement! It was a dream come true to have our own space, just the two of us. This new house didn’t start to feel small until we had one–and now two–children sharing it with us.   Whenever things start feeling extra snug, we remind each other what a huge gift this house was, and still is, and we try to get creative. A year after moving in we suddenly realized that we could clean out the narrow bed of rocks surrounding our house and turn it into a pleasant side yard complete w/ sandbox and outdoor seating. Three years in, when it was becoming no fun to share our bedroom with two babies, we realized we could sell our bed and just sleep in the living room. Each time we choose gratefulness and creativity instead of discontentment, we embrace small living a little more.

 

 Each time we choose gratefulness and creativity instead of discontentment, we embrace small living a little more.

 

Q: What are the hardest parts of living in a small home for your family?

A: Hands down, the hardest thing about living in a small house for Anthony and I has been our limited ability to entertain others in our own home. We LOVE to have people over for dinner, to host worship events, big themed parties and Bible studies, but our space just doesn’t allow us to do everything we’d like. We feel like we are constantly asking people if they’d be willing to host a party that we want to throw. It makes even a simple birthday party a bit more of a hassle.

 Q: What unexpected blessings have you uncovered along the journey of living in a small house?

 A: My favorite unexpected blessing of living in a small space is simply our family’s consistent proximity to each other. Anthony works on the computer a lot. I love to cook a lot. And, like all children, Sophia and Claire love to play. In a bigger home, these activities could easily all take place in different rooms. In fact, when we’ve house-sat for friends who own bigger homes, I distinctly notice the distance between all of us. The girls play in the bedroom where the toys are, Anthony works in the study, and I’m alone in the kitchen. In our house, all of our activities naturally happen in the same space, which allows for a lot more spontaneous interaction and family closeness. I absolutely love that.  A second blessing is that I really love feeling like the master of my home. Because it is small, and there’s no yard, I can clean the whole thing—top to bottom—in about an hour flat.  No matter how messy it gets, I never feel like a slave to my space. I know I can whip it into shape in the amount of time it takes my 4 year old to watch an episode of Sesame Street. 

small living home

 

Q: What’s the best thing about your little home?

A: The best thing about our little home is that it’s full of details that bring us joy. The kitchen sink faces the living room, so I can do dishes and watch my girls be so silly as they play. The porch faces a beautiful section of our street, and Anthony and I can sit, sip drinks and watch dusk slip in. Our table is in the center of our home, and I want it always to be that way. Our small house really feels like a gift in a million small ways. 

 

guitar and chair

Great thoughts, huh? Some other fun notes that I love about these people: they use cinder blocks in their home “decor” too. (High five!). Also, their kiddos share the bedroom and Kristina and Anthony just sleep on the floor in the living room. I am so impressed.

Thoughts? Comment below to share your appreciation to the Ashleys for baring their hearts and home. 🙂

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4 Comments
  • Premkumar Masilamani
    October 16, 2014

    Woww…. nice… on question though… what about privacy?… when do they express their intimate emoitons, if the whole family is in the living room all the time?

    • Evelyn
      October 17, 2014

      Great question. I know for my family, if one of us needs a little alone time we’ll either go outside or nab a few minutes in the bedroom. 🙂

  • Dale
    October 16, 2014

    While I love the idea of spending more time together… there are times when a couple wants to be a couple and kids (mine are 15 and 16) need their space too. I am looking to size down… just not to this extent.

    That said, whatever floats your boat! If they (and you, in yours) are happy then what more can you want? It’s fantastic to have a whole family on the same page…

    • Evelyn
      October 17, 2014

      Thanks for commenting, Dale! Yeah I’m pretty sure I’d like a little more space for when our kiddos are older…:)

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