We are well into our second year of living at The Barn now, and I STILL wonder at how we can be so content in this little home, having previously lived in large modern houses in the south east.
It was certainly good for us to 'downsize', as we cleared out huge quantities of un-needed stuff, even including furniture that we simply didn't have room for! I have to admit that the loft space at Rowan Cottage still contains several boxes containing curtains, light fittings and decorative glassware that have lain there untouched since we put them there a couple of years ago...
So - what is our little home like?
Well, it's all on the ground floor, and the ceilings are all low, at about 6ft 10ins. There's just the one outside door, which opens into a small outer hall which has coat and boot racks as well as a three cupboards which contain food in tins, packets and jars. There's also dog food, the vacuum cleaner and ironing board out there.
From that, a door opens into an inner hall, which is just a passage connecting the other rooms.
We have one bedroom, size about 14 feet by 8ft 6, furnished like any bedroom with bedside cabinets and dressing table/drawers. Sue has exclusive use of the built-in wardrobe.
We have a second room which we have furnished as our study. This is 13ft x 10ft. There is a desk for the computer, filing cabinet and bookshelves, plus a comfortable armchair and a display cabinet housing my Mum's collection of porcelain ornaments. There's also a built in wardrobe which contains my clothes, plus an airing cupboard/linen store. I've added extra shelves in most of the cupboards to make the most of every inch of storage space.
The bathroom is quite large at 9ft x 5ft 6, and has an old oak beam in the ceiling and stone shelves above the bath. The bath is huge, and we never use it, making the most of the electric overbath shower!
Then all that's left is our living room. This is a total of 22 feet long by 12 feet wide. Taking about 8 x 10 feet at one end is the kitchen, with a dresser across the room as a room divider - it has its back to the kitchen, a bit like a wooden wall. In the rest of the space is a small refectory-style dining table with four chairs, two two-seater settees, and a matching armchair. A deep wall cupboard houses the hi-fi, and a further cabinet conceals the TV when it's not in use. We have a wonderful multifuel stove on the stone hearth.
Outside, there's a big garden, with a number of well established pine trees providing some shelter from the wind. I have a small, slightly damp garden shed. I keep most of my tools in my van. Beyond the garden, we look over our field to extensive views to the mountains and the sea.
And that's it. Plenty of space! I have to wonder why we strove so hard to buy ever bigger houses when we were younger.