Living Room

No, I don’t mean that part of your house where you entertain guests.

I mean how much room do you really need to live in. Once upon a time in this vast continent of North America people used to move to less populated places because they needed “living room.”

But how much does a person need? I used to drive for a limousine service offering airport pick up service and I’d take elderly couples to their McMansions and it was like dropping two BBs into a 55 gallon drum. It was ridiculous. In my mind anyway.

No matter how big your house is, you can only be in one place at a time. And if you think about it for a moment, the way most people live is that when they come home from work, if their jobs haven’t been outsourced overseas, they plop down in their favorite chair in front of the TV.  They might even eat their evening meal in the same seat. Perhaps they spend some time on line so they are at a desk and then they go to bed. Easily 99% of their domicile is rarely used. The one concession I would make for large size would be a kitchen with lots of counter space. I love to cook.

I grew up in a house on Cape Cod that was built before the American Revolution.


There were three small bedrooms on the main floor and my bedroom was under the eaves (the two larger windows on the second floor). The kitchen was in the smaller section of the house you see on the right and where the corner post and the roof eaves met they were joined with wooden pegs made of locust wood. There was my mom and dad, me and my four brothers and we all shared a single small bathroom. A few years ago when my brother Mark and his kids and I were driving around while visiting for our brother Gary’s Memorial Golf Tournament we stopped by the old house. The current owner was mowing the lawn and we stopped and introduced ourselves. The owner was very gracious and invited us inside to show us what they had done with the place. What struck me the most was how small it was for such a large family.

I lived on a 26 foot sailboat for almost 6 years.


People, especially women that I was meeting, would ask how I could live in such a small space. Actually, I never lacked for anything. Living in a marina I had a telephone, cable TV service and internet access. But granted, the actual space in which I lived was, indeed very small.


There were the vee berths forward where I slept. Aft of that on the port side was the head and opposite that was a hanging locker that I converted to a shelved space for storing my clothes. Aft of that section you see there were two berths. In the marina the starboard berth cushion was removed and a small refrigerator and a 9″ color tv sat atop it. I used the port berth as my sofa. An ingenious fold-down table was hung on the bulkhead that separated the cabin from the head and it was where I ate, of course, and also served as my desk when playing around on the computer. Aft of the berths were my galley with a two-burner propane stove to starboard and what had originally been the ice box was now used to store my pots and pans. In dead center was the sink. There was six foot head room from the sink forward to the bulkheads forward of the berths. Since I’m only 5’9″ tall it was comfortable enough. But, discounting the head area where I did have to duck my head a bit and the vee berths which were only used for sleeping, my actual living area was about 56 square feet, and the floor space of the cabin area was only about 22 square feet!

In ruminating about how big a boat I would like to build and live on I’ve run through about a dozen possible plans found on line. Many, are only 16 to 18 feet and though I’ve lived in such a small space I really want something larger than that. The 35 feet of my Louisiana shanty boat is a bit too large, too, simply because of the cost of materials. I’m more inclined to something along the order of the Bolger houseboat and the Evening Song posted earlier. They seem fairly simple to build and roughly 200 square feet of living space.

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