Meet Jennifer, whose dream house is tiny but far off

Submitted 5 months ago
Created by
Mark Travis

I thought yesterday's post on starter homes might prompt a millennial or two to contact me about their hopes and dreams. No such luck. Then I thought of my work pal Jennifer. Her dog Chaco has an Instagram account! That's millennial. I decided to ask Jennifer about her hopes and dreams -- which have to come from somewhere, right?

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Tell me about your childhood home.

Oh boy. I had three childhood homes. The first one I was in until 3. After we moved out, my best friend's family moved in! It's strange because I remember growing up in that house, just not living there anymore. I remember having sleepovers with my friend in the basement where my family would have movie nights. My friend had her playroom in the same place I did. That house was in Wilder.

Then we moved down the road to a house that needed a lot of work, but was so unique. It had orange shag carpet, a wet bar, an in-ground pool that was definitely trying to move down the hill. But I loved it. There was the Dothan Brook behind my house and my brother built a tree house in the woods. I would spend my afternoons after school searching for salamanders in the brook. I could walk to school.

Then we moved again … to Sharon. It was a modular home so my parents designed it. It was so fun to watch it being stacked. One long box after another. My parents love fixing up/working on houses so my family spent the next few months finishing it. The week before Christmas my entire family spent a full day putting in our wood floors to a certain point so we could put our Christmas tree up.

Great memories! Now imagine your own home. Is it big? Little? In the woods? In town?

I would like to buy my own hardcore fixer-upper on a lake. Very small -- 800 square feet. In the woods. And also have a place in town in Burlington.

That plan is very far off but that's the goal.

Why both?

Because right now I live in a place owned by my boyfriend that is in a small neighborhood in South Burlington. We have a nice size backyard and trails in the back. We have a garage. The house is about 800 square feet and it's the perfect size. Our neighbors are great, but I grew up with tons of privacy in the woods. So I guess my dream house is little, in the woods, but close to a town. I know that that isn't realistic though. I've looked at enough houses with my boyfriend to know that getting a mortgage for your dream house as a first-time homebuyer isn't possible. You have to settle.

But I think of buying a house as a project and investment. I would rather have a very small house that is renovated with unique touches.

Don’t you need space for your stuff?

I've moved enough in my (shortish) lifetime from moving homes to summer sublets, year rentals and back and forth to college that the pain of moving a ton of stuff is worse then having less things. 

Also ... if you have a small house then there is no need to buy more to fill the house.

So your dream is modest, but it’s very far off. Does that frustrate you?

Not really, mostly because I know I don't have the time or money yet for that. But it's a really fun dream to have. I'm very lucky to be where I am now and there are plenty of projects to be done. I've started gardening and we've been thinking of re-doing the kitchen to make it more open. For now all I need is a fenced-in yard for the dog, a big tree to hang our bird feeder, some flowers and an office. I've got that!

You're lucky! Do your friends dream like you? Or do they just want to rent and let someone else worry about the hot water heater?

My friends live in cities. So for them finding an apartment that doesn't completely eat up their paycheck is the dream. Although Vermont is pricey it's nowhere near what it costs to live in or around a big city.

It's funny you mention hot water heater ... the hot water heater guy was just over last Thursday.

His name is Paul. Very nice.


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