ANCA is working on a public art project to help tell the story of the housing crisis in the
North Country. To support this project, ACW is gathering writing by our audience on the
theme of housing.
Write about a time when you did not feel at home in the place you were living. What made it difficult to feel happy and secure? How did (or didn’t) you develop sense of home there?
Dream Home #1
I designed my dream log home, made the drawings, supervised every detail of its construction, and lived in it with my husband for 13 years until he passed away. During that time, we added naturalized landscaping, terraced vegetable gardens, and a large barn for the boy-toys. Log homes require constant maintenance. Particularly when they’re large with three levels. Then there’s the 200 feet of beach and 2 ½ acres of sloped woods. I can no longer maintain this alone. Especially feeding the hungry mouths of the wood stoves all winter.
I need to downsize. Simplify. Purge.
Dream Home #2
“My next house is going to be one level—no basement, no attic. It will be all synthetic—vinyl outside, vinyl inside, less than 1000 square feet, two rooms with vinyl floors pitched to a drain in the center. All furniture will be resin or plastic outdoor patio items (preferably from the grocery or big box store). Then I can simply leave everything in place and hose it all down twice a year and call it spring or fall house cleaning. There will be no stairs to climb or enough storage space to hoard.” I tell this down-sizing dream to anyone who will listen.
The search for this ideal place doesn’t take long. I find a Lustron home in a charming nearby village and buy it. Lustron homes are early pre-fab post WWII structures produced in 1949 and 1950. They’re like a car. Enameled steel panels cover the outside and the entire interior. Roof tiles are overlapping conical Italian style but in enameled steel not terra cotta. Generally, these homes were put on a slab—so no basement. Heat is a radiant system from the ceiling—so no attic. All interior doors are pocket sliding panels. The layout is practical, private, and efficient. Detailing misses nothing. It is approximately 1000 square feet. There are no floor drains. The furniture isn’t plastic, still, it’s self-assembly from big box stores.
I decide this is close enough to the dream.