I think my favorite spaces in our new home are the smallest ones. The places where we attempted to capitalize on the space we had, so as not to waste a bit of it.
My first love in this house is the bookcases. It was really an afterthought as we started considering the interior finishes. Why not have a wall of bookshelves? In our previous home, we had bookshelves scattered all around the house in various rooms. I was constantly shuttling books from point A to point B, in hopes that I could remember where to find a book, or spark interest in one of my youngest readers. To have all of our books in one place seemed like a dream.
And I promise you, it has been a dream. My children are constantly finding new books in the bookcases. They enjoy organizing the books according to size, subject, readability...you name it. There are parts of the bookcase dedicated to crayons and colorbooks, puzzle books, and games. It's a nice change from the haphazard way things were organized before.
There are some empty spaces, and that is a good thing. I would rather these bookcases evolve, grow, and change with our family.
My second love in this house is my pantry. Or, as Isaac would spell it, my pan-tree, get it? I have never had a walk-in pantry before, and now I doubt I could ever be without one. Not only can I store numerous appliances, but also all of our dry and canned goods. Standing amongst these shelves there is both comfort and longing. Comfort in knowing everything is in one place -- that I don't need to look in hidden corners to find all that I need. Longing -- the wanting to fill these shelves with things made and preserved by my own hands, from my own garden. Someday.
In conjunction with the pantry, I also have a baking station. The idea behind the baking station was to have a part of the kitchen dedicated solely to my baked goods. Counter top material and height were to be "baking friendly," which meant a lower height and some sort of stone material. We were fortunate to find a remnant of soapstone to use on this little nook, and, properly seasoned, it promises to make the task of kneading that much easier, along with the reduced counter height (It has already shown promise).
I think, no, I know, Rich's favorite part, is that we can close the space up and tuck it all away. I can be a bit of a whirlwind in the kitchen -- especially when I am juggling bored young ones and baking. It is very easy to just shut the doors and walk away, either closing up shop for the day, or putting on hold the job of clean up for a later time. And no one but me ever knows the difference.
The last space that I have grown quite fond of is the mudroom. Initially we thought to make it a laundry/mudroom, as our old house was. I am so glad we moved the laundry to the side of the house with the kids bedrooms, and left the mudroom as simply, the mudroom.
It has a drain in the floor, which is genius for these winter days and upcoming spring days where nothing but muck is tracked in. Everyone has their own cubby with a drawer below and a cabinet above, which right now holds shoes and extra coats/snowpants. All winter gear -- hats, gloves, scarves -- are contained in the box below the cabinet. Coats, backpacks, and snowpants are hung from the hook within each space. Library books find a space on the shelf or the bench, wherever there is more room.
At first I thought it would not be enough room. Winter can be a beast with all the gear that can be involved. But it has proven to be more than enough room, and is a comfortable space to store exactly what we intended. I love that our doorways are no longer cluttered. I suppose I cannot say the same about that whiteboard chock-full of papers, eh?
It's these nooks and crannies that make this house our home. They are the bits that illustrate how our family lives, and what we value. Organization is important in a family of five. There are a lot of mouths to feed, there are a lot of papers coming home, and there are a lot of personalities to keep entertained. The peace of mind that comes from knowing how to find what you need when you need it, is invaluable. I think that's why I'm so fond of these spaces.They aren't just an exercise in how not to waste space, they truly are my sanity savers.