Two Kids in One Bed and a Tour of Cabin Living Quarters

July 17, 2011 · 65 comments

The last time we were at the pediatrician’s office for a check up, I asked her if she thought it was child abuse to make two kids sleep in the same bed. Obviously, it’s not REAL abuse, but I wanted to know if she thought it was so far out of social norms that it would traumatize them or something. Our pediatrician is really fantastic. She’s totally non-judgemental and has lots of good advice for folks with all kinds of living arrangements and outlooks on life. I trust her judgement, and I was relieved to hear her say that it was fine, though I already knew the answer to my own question.

Growing up, I always had my own bedroom, and my older brother had his own, too. I can’t imagine what it would have been like if we had had to share a room much less a bed. The reality is, though, that my own kids are going to be raised in a different environment than I was, and, well, the sleeping arrangements are going to be different, too.

view down the pseudo hallway into the bedroom

Henry's dad bought this rocking chair (minus one rocker) at a garage sale in the '70s. He refinished it once, used it for years, and gave it to Henry when he moved out here. As a wedding present, our fantastic neighbor Mary refinished it again and recaned the seat.

 

 

 

 

 

Our house is tiny. By tiny, I mean less than 500 square feet. We basically have two sizable rooms connected by a pseudo hallway and a tiny bathroom. I wanted to share a few photos of the cabin bedroom/living room.

This living area is about 200 square feet plus the hallway. It’s where we all sleep and play. It also holds most of our stuff.

Kid bed made by Henry's dad when Henry was little. The drawers are full of Levi's clothes.

Over time, our organization and space utilization has improved greatly. All the beds have drawers underneath, and we also have lots of shelving.

Personally, I think the wood on wood with wood is a bit much. Henry bought the paneling for next to nothing from a local cedar mill, so we went with it.

We would have more shelves if we didn’t have so darn many windows. When we were adding this room on to the cabin, people kept offering Henry windows for free or cheap, so he just kept fitting them into the layout. None of them match, but they do let in an awful lot of natural light.

That’s most of my “office” on the right-hand shelf.

This is Itsy Bitsy (E.B.). She likes to sleep on the kid bed a lot.

Not only do four people share this house, but we also have an indoor/outdoor dog and one cat who sleeps her days away instead of catching mice.

The cedar chest and the filing box were both made by Henry's dad decades ago. That's our laundry basket, too (not homemade).

Almost all of the furniture in our house was made by us or a family member. It’s pretty cool to know the history of all our objects, including where many of the wood-bearing trees came from.

The view is pretty nice from the bedroom.

When I moved in with Henry, he was living in the original part of the cabin (not picture here) that was only 200 square feet total. We had five pieces of furniture: our bed, a small bookshelf,  a cabinet/sink/counter unit, the woodstove, and the toilet. We lived there together for two years before adding on another room when I was pregnant with Levi.  Even now, that seems insane.

Most of our natural edge maple shelves were made by Henry's brother, Trevor.

That's a digital weather station on top. These cool Willamette Valley-specific calendars with lots of notes on local ecology are produced annually by David Wagner.

 

Our house is in the middle of a crazy steep hill, so at this point, there is no way we can add on any more rooms. The grand plan is to build an entirely new house just up the hill from this one in a few years. It will be bigger, but not BIG. I’m thinking 1200 or so feet would be about perfect.

Henry, his dad, and I made our bed. It’s crafted out of bigleaf maple wood from our property. People kind of freak out when they see how gorgeous it is. I’m trying hard to talk Henry’s dad (a custom woodworker with 30+ years experience) into making and selling similar beds on Etsy, but he’s a little reluctant to dive into it. If any of you are interested in a truly impressive, one-of-a-kind bed like this one, let me know, and we may be able to work something out.

These under the bed drawers hold Henry and my clothes. They're bigleaf maple with madrone-twig drawer pulls.

Except for a few coats, I keep all my clothes in three under-bed drawers. I do own a few things that I haven’t worn in a year or more, but being so limited, I am constantly going through my wardrobe and pulling stuff out to donate to our local thrift store. Having space constraints is challenging but also motivating. It forces us to consider what’s really important.

Henry's reading material

We do make room for books. Lots of books. Henry’s currently reading this  and this.

my reading material

I am sort of currently reading this, this, and this. The beach book is source of info for an upcoming blog post. The Wendell Berry book is poetry. I never read poetry, and I don’t particularly like this collection, but I did get the word “wayward” for Wayward Spark out of this book. Jhumpa Lahiri’s collection of short stories is fantastic. You should read it, too.

Henry's brother Trevor finished the wood for this coat rack.

This coat rack is generally overflowing with garments, but I took a few down for the photo. I think I might have to get rid of some coats in the near future.

Henry hand forged the hooks.

This crib was made from local elm by Henry's dad for Henry and his brother to sleep in.

That brings us to the crib and the sleeping dilemma. This crib is really nice, and Charlotte still fits in it just fine. It does take up a fair bit of valuable real estate, however, and Levi’s twin bed is 3/4 empty. If we have Charlotte to sleep in Levi’s bed, we can get rid of an entire piece of furniture (and that’s sort of a big deal).

When I first broached the subject to Levi of Charlotte sleeping in his bed, he was adamantly opposed to the idea, which I completely understand. The kid has to share everything, and we were asking him to also share the only bit of personal space that he had. At that time, I still wasn’t sure that it would be safe because I imagined Levi throwing blankets over Charlotte’s head in his sleep and her not being able to get them off.

Now she’s a little bit bigger and a little bit more capable, and Levi’s also had a change of heart. We’ve been trying the shared bed arrangement for over a week, and they both genuinely seem to enjoy it. We haven’t moved the crib out yet, but I see that day coming in the near future.

My grandpa made this changing table for my brother before he was born.

Charlotte is making real potty-training progress, so when she’s out of diapers in a few months, I’m looking forward to exporting this changing table, too. I think we’re going to swap it for another family heirloom dresser made by Henry’s dad.

This toy box was a Christmas present for Levi before Charlotte was born.

We also have to limit the number of toys we can keep. Our kids do have quite a good selection, but they also have three grandparents’ houses nearby who have more room and proclivity toward hoarding toys.

Henry's dad made it special for his first-born grandchild. Levi doesn't mind sharing it with his sister, though.

Henry's brother built this natural edge bigleaf maple shelving unit.

So here’s my question for you…Could your family live in 500 square feet of space? Could you fit all your clothes, kid’s toys, office supplies, electronic devices, entertainment systems, beds and bedding in one room? What would you keep and what would you have to get rid of?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Think about that long and hard before you start to judge us for encouraging our kids share a bed.

{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen July 17, 2011 at 9:28 am

I honestly don’t see a problem with it! Lots of people have ‘family beds’ nowadays so that’s not too far off.. at least in this situation the kids are the only two having to co-sleep! ;)
It may be nice for them! I used to always have my sister crawl into my bed at night cause she was scared of the dark and it was a comfort for both of us.

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laura fischler July 17, 2011 at 9:39 am

Thanks for Sharing. We have 3 in a bed here some nights! :)) Family shares sometimes and that’s a good thing.

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Camille July 17, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Our babies have both been in and out of our bed at times. Up until this point, there was always the option of their own beds. If we got rid of the crib, this would be the first time that they wouldn’t have the option of being on their own.

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laura fischler July 17, 2011 at 9:40 am

ps. I just want to rub those little heads!!

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Amanda July 17, 2011 at 9:57 am

I have 3 bedrooms, but 5 kids. 3 all share one room. My littlest is also about to leave her crib and I was considering the bed sharing thing two. However, her sister is reluctant because my baby is a hair puller! Let me know how it works out.

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Camille July 17, 2011 at 3:43 pm

So far, so good. The both have just pretty much absorbed it as “normal.”

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Patricia Miller July 17, 2011 at 10:39 am

I always so enjoy your home tours! My husband and I have spent this past year downsizing our “stuff”. We have donated, at our best estimation, 40% of our belongings, but still have clutter. We are still working to improve on simplfying our lives, and your article has truly opened my eyes to exactly how little we need. Our goal is to downsize to a 1,000 sq. ft. home. Since it’s just the two of us, I think we could live comfortably in 500 sq. ft., but the husband insists on “elbow room”.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with your children sharing a bed. My siblings and I did it, even though we each had our own. It creates a sense of security and closeness. No downfall in that.

Thanks again for sharing!

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Camille July 17, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Good for you! It’s nice to know that there are some Americans out there thinking “smaller” instead of “bigger.”
Don’t get me wrong. There are absolutely times that I would love to have a closet, a couch, or even an office space. There are pros and cons to any living situation.

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Dee Lane July 17, 2011 at 10:56 am

When I grew up (there were six of us kids) we lived in a house with three bedrooms and we all shared a bed. The two youngest boys, the twins, my sister and I. We were still sharing a bed as teenagers and it wasn’t a problem. It was just the way it was. So I would definitely not worry about that. My granddaughters each had their own room (they are 5 and 7) and the little one kept creeping into her sister’s bed so now her room is the nursery for their twin sisters and she and Emma sleep together! I think kids find it comforting.

I love the photos you share and admire your small environmental footprint. We downsized when we moved here (from 3 bedrooms 2 & 1/2 baths with a garage) to a two bedroom w/o a garage and we have about 1200 sq feet now I think. But there are only two of us. Our kids have their own families now.

I also love the woodwork and those amazing beds! Thanks so much for sharing a peek inside your lovely home with us. :0)

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darah July 17, 2011 at 10:57 am

We’ve had several friends who have had their kids share a bed – several friends with much more space (even extra bedrooms!) but the kids just really loved it, so why not? What a wonderful season for your family :)

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Susie July 17, 2011 at 11:00 am

What a beautiful home! But you didn’t include any pictures of the other space…..the kitchen. When we had our home built and it was only 1500 sq ft people thought we were crazy. But I love it small, as defined by most people’s standard for a modern family of four.

Here are the thoughts I had while I was reading…the wood on wood is BEAUTIFUL. What an amazing, natural space to raise your children. As a lover of books myself, I’m an avid user of the library. Cost and storage limit by ability to own/keep all but a few favorite and reference books. Do you library? Your bed…..how big is it? A full size? It’s simply gorgeous.

About the children’s sleeping arrangements – – I suspect if you observe your children as they continue to grow and change, you’ll know in your mother’s heart when it is time for a change. My father (born in 1925) and all his siblings slept as baby’s in a dresser drawer and then later with their siblings. Their generation is probably on of the least screwed up generations of our time. :) It’s a great blog and I loved reading it and seeing your home, but I would advise you not to spend too much time worrying about how you are choosing to raise your children. The norms in today’s world for rearing children is vastly short-sighted, in my opinion. Trust your heart and instincts.

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Camille July 17, 2011 at 3:39 pm

a) I’ll get around to sharing the kitchen eventually. I have to do a little cleaning first.
b) I also love having a small house, especially while my kids are little. It makes it really easy to keep track of what they’re up to, and for now, we don’t really need a lot of personal space. I imagine that will change in the future.
c) My next house will have drywall.
d) We do get kids books at the library. Most of the books on the big bookshelf are reference-type ones that we come back to over and over. I also have too many novels that I should get rid of, but it’s hard.
e) Our bed is a “full.” I would love to upgrade to a queen.
f) I really don’t worry about parenting very often. I’m definitely not at risk of over-thinking things in general. I imagine it will get interesting when they start school and begin to realize that the wider world is a very different place. We’ll see what they start asking for/about then.

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Marlyn July 17, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Camille, I love your question! I think, yes, we COULD live in 500 sf. Reading your blog and seeing your space is very inspiring to me. You give me some great perspective as we work to shape our own journey. We currently live in a very spacious 1800 sf home, with three decks offering a lot of additional living space. We perpetually contemplate moving full time to our much smaller cabin up north. It is about 800 sf and we live very comfortably there several months out of the year. It is a two-bed, two bath home but we (there are 4 of us as well) all sleep in one one room — the girls with me in a queen and my husband in a nearby twin. The girls are getting too big, as in actual size-wise large, to continue this for much longer. We sleep together very comfortably in a king here but the queen is getting a bit tight! The plan is for them to move together into the twin there (and into a full that rolls under my bed here) when they are “ready” to not snuggle me all night. They are 5 and 6 and I KNOW that many people would criticize our sleeping arrangement. But, it works for us. I take great comfort in hearing them breathe and feeling their warm, soft bodies. And my husband snores! HA!

Anyway, back to your question. Our bedroom at the cabin holds both beds and a dresser that my husband and I share. There is room for another dresser and eventually I will find one I like for the girls’ clothes. There are also two very large closets — one that doubles as a hanging space for my husband’s hanging clothes and our snow boarding equipment and a play area that holds all the toys. The other is ample enough for hanging items and storage of holiday decorations and linens.

Books would be a challenge! We have multiple bookcases and shelves and benches full here. And there are a fair number of books already there. We would definitely need more shelves. We would need to configure a space for our desktop, which doubles as our “TV” — we watch movies on it from time to time. I could leave most of the furniture we have here but there are a few pieces that I couldn’t leave that would be a challenge in the smaller space — foremost a walnut armoire that my brother made for me. Also we have a very large quarter sawn oak Stickley dining table with chairs and a sideboard. I love these pieces and they are the quality that will become heirlooms.

Keep inspiring me!

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Sue Castle July 17, 2011 at 12:47 pm

What a wonderful blog post. My own kids had their own rooms, because we could and it was the norm at that time. But grandchildren in both families sleep together (except the oldest boy 10 has decided he wants his own space. Parents are able to accommodate him, so it works). My DH and I are getting close to retirement age and have a 40 ft fifth wheel we plan to move into at that time. That would still be approximately 400-480 sq ft, but we are limited on weight. I am a dyed in the wool crafter, so while clothes might not be a problem, trying to whittle my craft/sewing stuff down is daunting. I was also a book-a-holic, but I got a Kindle as a Christmas gift a couple years ago, gave away over 3000 books and never looked back (except for polymer clay/sewing reference books because of the color photos involved). I admire your furniture and shelves and all the wood, I’d love to have all that wood and that beautiful as well as sentimental furniture. Bless you all and enjoy your closeness, it is special, in my opinion. Smiles and hugs

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Camille July 17, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Good luck downsizing. I have a hard time when it comes to accumulating kitchen stuff, but it helps that we don’t have electricity, so I am not even tempted by blenders, mixers, and other gadgets.

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laura fischler July 17, 2011 at 3:38 pm

When my husband and I were first married we lived in a 980 sq foot home for 6 yrs. The last 4 of those yrs our son was with us. We were comfortable for the most part, as we had a lot of outdoor space.

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Camille July 17, 2011 at 3:47 pm

980 feet sounds kind of luxurious to me!

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cynthia July 17, 2011 at 4:59 pm

loved this article! no! i could not cram all of my stuff into 500 sq. ft., i admire you for your discipline, your house is gorgeous. as for the children sleeping together? my 17 and 14 year old daughters still climb in my bed occasionally when their dad is traveling. it’s ok.

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Erin of Imagination Kids July 17, 2011 at 5:19 pm

What a lovely room! I can’t wait to see your kitchen!
We use to live in an apartment that was a similar size but as the kids grow and the business grows it seems that more and more space is required for homeschooling things and supplies. I’ll be thrilled to finally have my own workshop to keep all the extra boxes, paint, and all that fun stuff at so it isn’t cluttering up my living room.

My kids share a room where they have bunk beds. They often slept in the same bed until the little guy (who isn’t so little anymore) got too big and started kicking too much in his sleep. The funniest thing is that my son almost never sleeps in his bed but rather opts for his nest of pillows and blankets in the corner! I guess he is too young to have to worry about back pain.

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Camille July 18, 2011 at 9:39 am

Kids are so amazingly adaptive. I think my kids would probably opt for the “nest” if we didn’t have hardwood floors.

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Sharon Jones July 17, 2011 at 5:48 pm

My husband and I have been residing in an 500 square foot two room apartment for 3 years and its tough but totally doable. Probably because we don’t have kids yet and no pets either. My issue is that we own a bicycle store and my husband hand builds bike frames so I have bicycles in the bedroom/living area and in the kitchen/dining area. At any given time theres at least 5 bikes in the apartment. We get by and definitely utilize our outdoor patio alot but it hard to keep organized and super easy for things to just get piled up all over. We’re buying our first house and moving in next month and its a whole whopping 1,400 square feet so it’ll be a mansion compared to where we are now. I admire your sweet little cabin though and I’m sure that not having neighbors and owning so much land is well worth the tradeoff! I live in suburbia (Long Island) so I’d take your place any day!

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Camille July 18, 2011 at 9:37 am

I have to admit that we definitely don’t have EVERYTHING in the house (i.e. not the bikes). Having lots of space outside lets us keep quite a lot of stuff, probably too much. When we’re not forced to limit our possessions, we don’t.

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Mo July 17, 2011 at 11:13 pm

It never occurred to me that anyone would even think there was a problem with two kids sharing a bed! My little sister and I shared a room and a bed for many, many years. We didn’t live in a 500 square foot house, either. When I was 12 or 13 I moved into our attic, I finally wanted my own space, but I certainly didn’t feel that there was anything wrong with sharing a room with my sister, either.

Your cabin is beautiful. I am really impressed by the fact that you guys all fit in it and love that one of your priorities is books. I think the kitchen would be where I would have the hardest time fitting stuff. I would also have a hard time getting rid of furniture my dad made, as it would not all fit in such a small space. My dad and I made our bed, too. It’s not even close to as beautiful as yours, it’s a giant, king sized, mahogany monster. It is pretty, sort of, but huge. It is nice to have a king sized bed with co-sleeping, I must say.

I bet it’s going to be a bit of a culture shock when you have a 1200 sq ft house! :)

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Mo July 17, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Oh yes, my kids also share a room, but they have bunk beds. My littlest one spends half his nights in his bed and the other half in ours. If my older one didn’t kick so much I’m sure they’d be voluntarily sleeping together, but I told him he needed to sleep in his bed. Between the little guy waking so much and my older one kicking insanely hard and all night long I didn’t think either one would end up getting any sleep if they were in the same bed. :)

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Malynda July 18, 2011 at 7:45 am

Hey Camille!
Thanks for posting! It is a treat so see a beautiful house and admirable organizational skills.
If it’s any consolation, I didn’t really have my own bed until I was five. I rotated between siblings, sleeping with one sister for a while, then another. In my mind, I got the benefit of everyone’s different story-telling abilities and a whole smorgishboard of snuggling styles.

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Camille July 18, 2011 at 9:33 am

I think there’s a point somewhere between five and eight years old that kids start to get a better grasp on what’s “normal” and start forming their own opinions about what they think is best. Before that point, I think we, as parents, can get away with almost any crazy plan.

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Jenny July 18, 2011 at 8:09 am

My brother and I shared a room from birth until I turned 13. We had bunk beds for most of our childhood that my dad built (he is not at all a woodworker, it was really simple and purely functional). I’m sure Henry’s dad craft construct the most beautiful bunk bed. I can imagine it now…

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Camille July 18, 2011 at 9:31 am

I think bunk beds are part of the medium-term plan. Henry’s dad actually has a set “in stock.” I’m just not sure if Levi is ready for a top bunk (he probably is and I’m just being paranoid), and one twin bed still takes up less space than bunk beds. We’re not proposing to have them sleep together until they’re 18 or anything. It’s just what works for now.

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Amanda R. July 18, 2011 at 10:33 am

Camille – I cannot even fathom anyone thinking they could judge you on your family living arrangements. When I look at your blog, and the glimpse you publicly share, I only see a loving, close family that is living simply and teaching their children what’s important – family, nature and valuing everything they have in life. This is something that we strive for everyday as we raise our three children. We are blessed to have a spacious home…our three children have their own rooms, but I often find them sleeping in each other’s beds looking like puppies all snuggled down (and they’re 8, 11 & 14!). When we go camping, we’re all on top of each other and enjoy the re-bonding it allows us.
I say BRAVO! (and of course…thank you for sharing…again!)

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Cather July 18, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Two of my kids (1 boy and 1 girl) chose to sleep together for most of their young childhood, even though they had separate beds. We transitioned them out of that arrangement when adolescence began. I think sleeping alone might be a modern American luxury!

Could I live in 500 sq. ft? Not right now, but the allure is strong. I strive for a simplified life.

Your home is just beautiful. Thank you for sharing pictures.

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Camille July 18, 2011 at 9:00 pm

I think there are a lot of “modern American luxuries” that we could live without, although there are a few that I do love. My computer!

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mae July 18, 2011 at 8:25 pm

As always, I love your blog posts, and I love how you explain each area of “downsizing”… it’s very interesting to see what a family keeps when there is limited living space. Mike and I live with 1 cat in a 750 square foot apartment, which has a main room, a bedroom and my art studio. I think the two of us could live in 500 square feet if I didn’t need a home studio. Rental rates are so high in Boston that we didn’t have a choice of a larger place, and I really like living in a smaller apartment because there is less room for clutter and less temptation to buy stuff we don’t need. The somewhat restrictive space also forces us to go outdoors and do more exploring of our new city, so overall the pros far outweigh the cons :)

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Camille July 18, 2011 at 8:58 pm

I think we’re on the same page. I would love to have a little extra space for a studio, but that has yet to become a reality.

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Ashley Browning July 18, 2011 at 8:37 pm

Oh my gosh! this post couldn’t have come at a better time! We (my fam of 4) are looking at moving into a 473 sq ft. home on 20 acres! We currently live in a 1000 sq ft home and want to simplify!!!! thank you so much for having the courage to do this and then finding me at the right time! We can and will do this!

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Camille July 18, 2011 at 8:59 pm

I can’t say that it’s ideal or even entirely sane, but it is doable. Having 20 acres to roam around on will definitely help.

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McCalla Hill July 19, 2011 at 4:38 am

I think it is the natural order of things. It is only in VERY recent history that “having one’s own space” was considered normal, or was even possible. It is still only normal/possible in a very small percentage of the world. To me it is natural and beneficial for us to recognize our more physical nature, that is very social and probably naturally incline to living in packs. I believe like “skin to skin” contact for newborns, sharing space is beneficial and positive for human social development. Thank you for showing us, that have forgotten, how to do it!

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Sarah Mac July 21, 2011 at 7:58 am

I shared a bed with my older brother until I was 6 and he was 11. We would trade 30-second back scratches each night. It was a big deal to get to go first because whoever got to go last could just fall asleep while the other was scratching. I’m pretty sure we turned out normal.

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Camille July 21, 2011 at 10:31 am

That’s funny and heartening. I’m glad you’re alright!

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Roya July 21, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Beautiful photos – love it! Also – I grew up in a much bigger house with much more stuff…and separate beds, but I remember my sister and I sleeping in bed together a lot anyway.

Also – your bed is hands down the most gorgeous bed I have ever seen. How much would he charge for something like that? It is amazing.

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Camille July 21, 2011 at 3:27 pm

The price of a bed is still in the discussion phase. It would be somewhere in the ballpark of $3,000 to $5,000. Sorry to be so vague. If you’re seriously interested, we can settle on the details.

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abby July 22, 2011 at 10:54 am

Your home is beautiful. I love that is is so fully handmade (and the wood with wood on wood!). We used to live in a place that was less than 500 sqft, and after that we sold what we had and moved into our VW camper for a couple years, and then lived once again in a tiny place about 500 sqft or less. In our van we had maybe 72 sqft with about 25 sqft standing room? and in many ways we were happiest and felt the most free in that situation. It had it’s challenges of course, and we were living super minimally (even working out of our van!), but we knew exactly what we had and where it was and it all served a useful and necessary purpose. We were also living in beautiful wilderness areas which makes everything feel right and provides plenty of natural space to spend time. Fast forward a few years, and we now own a home, and it is a lot of home for us, and we have acquired tons of stuff. I have a studio full of stuff and Steven has a shop full of stuff and it’s hard to imagine how we would go smaller again. Looking at your small, organized space creates a feeling of relief on some level. To be able to know just what I have, and have no extra, would be ideal for me. It’s makes me feel inspired to go through our stuff and clean out.

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Ivy July 26, 2011 at 8:10 pm

I found you through your post on the Portland Farmers Market blog. I am so inspired by your home! My house is 640 square feet and I think it is fairly well-organized and free of clutter. The issue is the partially finished basement and the garage, where my husband succeeds in filling every available space to capacity!

We have two bedrooms, sort of. My one year-old daughter has an 8×8 ft room with no closet. We are expecting another baby and are planning to put the two kids in our slightly larger bedroom. That means we would be squeezing into that tiny room that will barely hold our full size bed! I am now convinced that we can come up with a way to house both children comfortably in the smaller room. I really have not wanted to make the bedroom switch, so thank you for your inspiration.

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Camille July 26, 2011 at 10:18 pm

I think that’s what this blog is for…inspiration. I can’t say living in a very small space is ideal, but it is doable.

I’m glad to have been found by some PFM folks!

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Anna August 9, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Love love love your home; thanks for the tour!

My sister and I shared a bed until she left for college, and we are best friends to this day even though we live in different countries now. I think it’s great. My husband and I have a big (1180sq!) house and plan to stay in it for the rest of our lives, and hopefully fill it with some more children in time. It’s going to be compact, but we hate to accumulate stuff so we still have lots of space as it is. Even though we have three bedrooms I prefer to have both my babies in one so that they have each others company.

Love all the woodwork everywhere!

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Shena September 24, 2011 at 7:54 am

I didn’t realize how much *useless* junk we had until we were moving to a smaller house. I remember always thinking our house wasn’t big enough and then we moved back to my hometown to a smaller house until we build one on my grandfather’s property (in the middle of a wildlife refuge… LOVE IT!) Being forced to really go through EVERYTHING and make decisions on things was eye-opening! We just had too much CRAP! Even now I’m sure we have wayyy too much but it felt good to get rid of useless space-stealing stuff! Also my girls are sharing a room now but will have their own rooms again once we get the house built. For now we are renting a 3 bedroom and needed one of the rooms to house my husband’s gun collection. Our old house in FL had an office that we used for this purpose. In downsizing some people said we didn’t need a “gun room” but I like the fact that I can lock that door and not worry about the kids messing with things (or worse…) So for now we are tucked away in our nice little rental until winter comes and we start clearing a little nook in the woods for our new home that will ultimately turn into a quaint little homestead… at least that’s the plan… after all there’s 35 acres out there!

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Hilary October 3, 2011 at 3:33 pm

I love it! Nice job weeding through unnecessary things! I love all the wood, it fits your lifestyle great, and what a treasure to have all things made from loved ones. So much love in your home, and you can really see that in these pics. I dream of such things as home made wood furniture, made by my own hands. This is great
Thanks

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Mariah Ward January 11, 2012 at 9:17 am

My little brother and I shared a bed one summer when my parents were building their dream home, ages 6 and 9. We became super close after that experience. We lived in a vacation zone and my parents house sold sooner then expected, the only house open for renting was a tiny cabin that literally had two rooms. My parents house was soon built seven months later– all 6,000 square feet of it. We each had our own floor then.. that was a bit interesting! I can truly say that sharing a bed made us grow really close. We literally lived on top of each other and had to start liking each other :) In fact it took my parents a full year after moving into our new house to break us of our habit of sharing a bed. We would always climb into each others beds after our parents had gone to sleep. I have very fond memories of those years :)

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Julie Gibson February 11, 2012 at 7:37 am

I just wanted to let you know , my girls are 12 & 14 and have their own rooms, but almost every night, they sleep in the same bed…they always have. When they shared a room, they would both end up in one bed, and when the older one finally begged for and got her own room, she would always go back to her sister’s room to sleep. So, I don’t think you’re hurting them at all…I mean, who really wants to be alone at night? We have a very different lifestyle than you, but I so enjoyed reading thru some of your blog and seeing your pictures….even plan to share it with my own young adult kids, as a way to make things work. Thanks for showing us so much creativity and beauty in living simply!

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Cheryl February 11, 2012 at 8:57 am

We have twins that are getting ready to move out. They are 17, one of each, boy&girl. To this day they WANT to share space. They each have their own rooms but constantly have sleep overs in each others room. While they don’t share beds anymore, they are both 6′, bro will pull his mattress into his sisters room for the night. It’s fine to share a bed until there is some REAL reason to not. Kickin, pulling hair – I can understand.
Sweetie and I started tiny, moving up over the years until we had 2,000 sq ft and we realized that was way too much. So when work took us to the other side of the country, we looked for and found 1,000 sq ft. With the kids, this is fine. When the kids are gone, we will be looking to reduce again.

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Paige February 11, 2012 at 2:03 pm

We lived in 600-some sq ft for nearly 10 years, and for 8-ish years before that we had just 2 rooms, with another corner of the back porch closed in as a 3rd “room”, when we had our 2nd baby. I wish I’d measured that house!

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Crystal Mohr March 29, 2012 at 6:21 pm

We are a family of 6 that live in a one bedroom basement apartment. We have a full sized bed for hubby and myself, infant sleeps in a bassinet, toddler sleeps in a playpen, 2 year old sleeps in a toddler bed under the 5 year old’s bunkbed all in the one room. We have many many shelves just like your family. You have no space to store left-and-right so you might as well store things up-and-down :). Our friends don’t know how we do it and my MIL keeps saying we should REALLY be living in a house, but we have great credit, very VERY little debt, no car payments or credit cards, and do live within our means while saving the rest. :)

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Kyrie April 1, 2012 at 2:40 pm

We are small-home people, too-under 850sqft for our family of six (four girls aged 6-1). Our three older girls share a bedroom but have their own beds (too much kicking), and the baby sleeps with us. It might not work forever, but it works for now, and we are quite happy in our little place! Camille, we are nearly neighbors! We live in Corvallis. Glad to have found you online :)

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Camille April 2, 2012 at 9:44 am

Nice to “meet” you.

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Jennifer April 26, 2012 at 6:32 pm

I almost drooled when I saw the picture of your bed. I have had a lifelong romance with trees in almost any form, but burl and natural edges in particular. Alas, I’m pretty sure I can’t afford a custom bed from a master woodworker! (I don’t suppose you’d be willing to swap woodwork for pottery?)

Your home is lovely, and it sounds like your life fits into it well. My spouse and I live with our cat in 1100 sf, but are contemplating downgrading, simplifying, and maybe moving to the Big Island, Hawaii.

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Dan May 30, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Henry came by our home today to remove a bee swarm. One thing led to another, and here I am reading about your kids and home. Our experience with our boy/girl twins some years ago will reinforce what others are telling you about their shared sleeping space. Our kids were 5 pounds at birth, and we quickly learned to do things with them at the same time …. when one naps, put the other down too … its’ quiet, and mom needs rest. When one has the sniffles, treat them both, because the other will have them, too. We bought two cribs, a pink one and a blue one, but slept them in one, to make it easier to feed them at night. At about 8 months we decided they “needed more space”, so we put them down in their separate beds. Well, they must have the colic! They cried for some time before drifting off. Same thing the next night. And so on. Several weeks went by, and I was leaving the room one night, and they started crying right on cue. See the bright light over my forehead!! I turned around and pulled the cribs together in the middle of the room. They were quiet and peacefully asleep in what seemed like seconds. As they grew, the boy learned to pull himself up and over. We would put them down separately, and find them together every morning. When they got their own bedrooms at about five, they would crawl out of bed with a blankie and meet at the hallway where their bedroom doors met at a 90 degree angle. There they would fall asleep, head to head, as they chatted. That lasted until they were about ten. They are 32 today, and the best of friends. Forget modern society and others expectations. Your heart will tell you everything you will ever need to know to raise a child.

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Lena January 20, 2013 at 12:12 pm

I honestly don’t think that it’s a big deal for kids to share beds (or rooms) while they are young. My husband shared rooms with his younger brothers when he was a kid and he has fond memories of his experiences. However, when kids become teenagers, I think they deserve to have some privacy, and sharing rooms (and especially beds) is a possibly not the best idea.

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Lisa March 2, 2013 at 2:32 pm

I think it is awesome that your kids share a bed. I shared a bed with my sister until I was 11-years-old. A double, we lived in a larger house than you. My sister and I are best friends today so I certainly feel that sleeping together promotes the sibling bonding experience.

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Charline April 21, 2013 at 3:39 am

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as yours lol

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Devin October 31, 2013 at 9:13 am

I live in a University town in North Central Florida. I was born and raised here and now I am raising my own children here. I grew up with my mom, dad, brother and sister living in a three bedroom two bath home that was about 1100 square feet. My sister and i not only shared a bedroom until I moved away from home, but we shared a bed until I was in middle school. There is not a thing wrong with it. :)
Great blog!

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Amanda March 16, 2014 at 11:17 pm

Having a family of 5, I’m fairly certain we’d all have to sleep standing up if we only had 500 sq ft! But on the sleeping arrangements….. My oldest, 13, has a full size bed, and a futon in her room. More often than not, the two younger ones, 10 & 6, end up on her futon at night. Before the futon, the two girls slept together all the time. My son HATES sleeping ‘all alone’. So we let them sleep together. 30 years ago, my mother got rid of my brother & sister’s twin beds & gave them a full size. One always ended up with the other, was her reasoning. And I don’t remember thinking that was weird. They were happy & comforted by each others presence. So keep up the good work, Momma!

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danielle March 27, 2014 at 4:44 pm

I love the idea of a smaller space. We live in just under 1000sq ft with two boys. A small cabin in the woods is my dream. I hope someday to be able to live it. You have a beautiful space. Thank you for sharing it.

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Susanne Hoshino March 30, 2014 at 10:46 am

My husband and I raised 3 boys in 576 square feet of space. We moved to our little beach cottage in OC Md when our oldest son was 14 , the middle son 4 and the youngest was born into that house. We also had 3 small dogs and a cat. Our motivation was to be live right at the beach so we could surf. Both of us could commute to our professional medical jobs from there fairly easily. We had a good size private yard and loved spending time outside. Life was fairly simple and we were always very close to each other literally within arms reach. Our oldest son had one bedroom and my husband and I slept in the other bedroom with our 2 younger sons. These were some of the happiest years of our lives. We lived there 11 years. Other people thought we were nuts as they had bedrooms bigger than our whole house. My oldest son travelled the world as a professional surfer for a few years and was exposed to many different cultures. Most people in the world are much more frugal and generous than many Americans. Later he became an orthopedic trauma surgeon making huge salary but the virtues of simplicity, relationships, and experiences over possessions remained core values for him. Our life at the cottage came to an abrupt end when my Mom had a terrible debilitating stroke. We ended up moving into a huge house together and I took care of her for 5 1/2 years until she passed away in Oct 2010. Life was very complicated and taxing as I was also working. We still live I the big house but it is too big. Things that one doesn’t need accumulate so quickly. The 2 stories encourage isolation. We still have our small beach cottage and may move back there soon – just my husband me and our now 9 dogs (2 large 7 small) and 3 cats! The dogs always want to be right next to us anyway!

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a May 21, 2014 at 9:53 am

I love your furniture and the pic of your kids sleeping. My two youngest sleep together and often hold hands while falling sleep. :)

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Miley D. November 18, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Hi Camille:
We had a family of 5 (dad, mom, and three girls) – and we lived in a 900 square foot house – minus the basement – along with cats and large dogs – our last dog was a 100 pound Doberman! Plus ONE bathroom! I really think it makes one appreciate the special time you have spending with family when everyone is together! We ate dinner together and watched TV together. I don’t need a large house or all the things that go with it to be happy – just God, family, and friends – oh yea, and all our critters. God Bless! I hope you post updates soon! I enjoy your blog!

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