Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Vancouver builds, Brendon and Akua wait...

Summer is construction season. I never really noticed how true this was until now. It seems as though everywhere I turn someone is building a laneway home. Partially I know this is because I'm just more sensitive to new buildings but I think that it's fair to say that this mini home idea has taken off in the city. Just on my route to work (a 12 minute bike ride) there are 4 small homes going up. This makes me both excited and anxious. Excited because it reminds me how amazing it is going to be to have our own little house. Anxious because right now we are in 'no mans land' when it comes to our own building schedule.

Our building design is in the hands of the architects and the first true iteration won't be finished for a couple more weeks. This puts a number of other things on hold as well - like the building permits, the site prep and the interior design. It suddenly feels like a lot of waiting which is especially difficult when all around you buildings are going up.

So instead, Brendon and I have taken up a new hobby, combing the alleyways on our bikes looking for signs of construction and documenting the evidence. This past weekend we found three new examples of laneway homes all at different stages in the building process. Frankly, as cute as they were, we are pretty convinced that they are going to be nowhere near as nice as our own. :-)Take a look for yourself and tell us what you think.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Small home, even smaller priorities

Earlier this year a Whiskas commercial came out that totally mirrored our relationship with our cat, Steven Purdy. The first time we saw it we cramped up laughing.

As D.I.N.K.S Brendon and I can totally relate to this guy, so much so that our cat has begun to feature quite heavily into our mini home design. For example, our front entrance will include a cat door so that Steven can gain more independence and go in and out of the house at his leisure. We are also considering a catnip patch on the roof for his amusement.

Currently, Steven is recovering from a nasty cat fight and a potential mite infestation. As a result, he has been sporting the 'cone of shame' for the last four days. Brendon couldn't get enough of the photographic potential and has been documenting his recovery.

Who's the most handsome prince!

Here we are on a picnic!

Ps. The garage sale went really well and we not only cleared out lots of stuff but we brought in a good amount of dough as well.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The story of OUR stuff

It's been almost 10 years since either Brendon or myself lived out of a backpack or panniers. I was in my twenties when I biked through South America carrying few outfits, stilettos (essential for Argentina), a passport and a diary. When I came home from that trip I felt a strong commitment to live on less and the sense that there is freedom in having fewer things. Partially this was because I was forced to survive on what I could carry on my bike. But I think there is a little more to it than that. The experience also reoriented me towards things that were really important - and none of them had to do with things.

When Brendon and I move into our mini home we'll be loosing almost 200 square feet, going from 900+ square feet to just over 700 feet of living space. We can't do this without getting rid of tonnes of stuff so last week we started going through all of our things and figuring out what we can part with. A friend recommended that we approach this with the goal of clearing out 50% of our stuff. Apparently, this is a benchmark for de-cluttering a home since most people use less than a quarter of what they own, so half will still leave you feeling like you have enough. While the fact we're moving into a smaller space is definitely an incentive, I feel a little revolutionary about trying to get away from the constant call to "Buy, buy, buy!". That's not to say that we'd renounce all earthly pleasures and live on fairy dust and moonbeams but it does mean that I like the idea about being more deliberate about what we own.

Okay, so I'm getting a little too philosophical here. Let's get back to business. Since Saturday last week Brendon and I have been getting things ready for a garage sale this weekend. So far we've pulled together everything from amazing camping equipment to top of the line speakers (you getting my hints here?). But I have to admit that my favourite part has been going through Brendon's boxes of childhood keepsakes. I don't think I've ever met anyone who has collected as many things as Brendon when they were kids. Let me just run through a few of my favourites:

1. Alf cards

2. Tin Tin books

3. Garbage pail kids cards

4. Rocks

5. Smurf figurines (over 50)

6 Coins

7. Comic books

Want to get a sighting of any one of these collections? Stop by 3597 West 23rd this Saturday June 11th between 10am and 2pm for an awesome garage sale!