Give me simplicity or give me death!

Okay, not death. That’s a little extreme. How about a penthouse condo instead?

I’ve been thinking about the idea of luxury living for a little while. The thoughts began flooding in after a friend of mine was talking about actually building a beautiful, humongous and wildly expensive new home. She already has a gorgeous home that’s paid for and very few people to occupy it, and I got to wondering –how much house does one need? It’s an intensly personal decision, of course, and to be frankly honest, if one has the means to do it, then they should if they desire it.

I began thinking about the home I live in. I find it to be my dream home, and not nearly as expensive as most. It’s large, only 10 years old and very pretty. It’s not overly extravagant and right now, it needs to have new flooring and a few other replacements. Having 5 kids plus all their friends in addition to 4 cats, a beagle and a dalmatian really takes its toll on a home and in my case it shows. My place is no model home.

I’m not writing this to put down people who want big beautiful homes. The reason why I’m writing this is to ponder the subject of luxury. What constitutes luxury? What do you find to be a luxury? What is your favorite luxury item in your home and why? Do you prefer a simple, cottage home? Is not tying up all your money on a piece of real estate considered luxury living? Having money for something else besides the mortgage every month can really be considered luxury-At least I think so.

In my life I’ve come to love and find it hard to live without the following domestic luxuries: central air conditioning, my dishwasher, the microwave, the ice maker built in the door of my fridge (which has been broken for 4 years now, but hey, it was nice while it lasted.), and my most prized luxury, right smack at the top of Emily’s Luxury List–The Garage Door Opener. Yes, you read it right. I love having a garage door that opens by the press of a button from inside my car. I can drive right into the garage, put the door down and leave the world behind. I can’t begin to tell you how cool I think that is. If it’s raining, or snowing, I can drive in and not suffer the elements, because there is a handy door that leads from my garage right into my laundry room. I think this is the ultimate luxury-More than granite counter tops, more than a sunken in tub in my master bath. Yes, in my world the garage door opener is king.

At this point in my life, the last thing I want is a bigger house. I’m already thinking about downsizing my living space. How long will we hold on to this big house after the kids grow up? I’m already having silly fantasy’s about living with my husband in a trendy condo right in the middle of a happening part of town, walking distance to all the places I love and need to get to. I definately don’t want to bite off more than I can chew financially. In fact, I say sell the big abode and plop down cash for a groovy condo where you don’t have to cut grass, you can take the elevator up to your unit and if you want, plant a container garden on your veranda.

The simple life is what I’m craving. Right now, I’m in the process of zinging all the crap in my house, trying to make my space more breathable. By removing the stuff I don’t need, I will be enabling myself to have a cleaner, more tidy home. That spells ”stress free” for me. The lawn alone is so much to deal with. Just this year, I paid a college landscaping company over $1000 dollars for grass cutting and lawn maintenance from last spring through October. I can hear you all saying, “But Emily, you have 2 teenage boys! Why are you paying a landscaping company to cut your grass when you can pay your kids?” Well, this blond has already thought of that, and employed my son’s to do the job. For about 3 years, I paid them $25 a week to cut the grass. You know what? They did a crappy job. They wouldn’t weed whack or sweep the cut grass off the sidewalks. The exterior didn’t look much better after they were finished because they didn’t do a thorough job. So, I decided “Screw it.” For and extra $10 over what I paid my boys, I can have these college kids come and do a bang up job that makes me feel proud to be a home owner. They weed whack, blow the stray grass off, weed and cut the lawn on the diagonal. I just had a fleeting thought. Maybe these college boys are my favorite luxury.

What I’m going for as I begin the second half of my life is to pare down and simplify. I want a lovely place to live, but I also want to have money to enjoy life. I don’t want to be a slave to a mortgage. Having a big sprawling house just isn’t something I desire at this point in my life. If I decide at 55 to take a trip to Paris, I don’t want to sacrifice the opportunity because I have to use the money I would have otherwise used for the trip to go towards a huge mortgage. I just want to go to Paris, thank you.

I also have this thing where I like good quality home goods, but I can’t afford the drop dead expensive house and the expensive Pottery Barn stuff to go in it. So, how about a not so expensive house with some nicer amenities instead? I imagine how lovely it would be to have a simple, sweet cottage, updated with wood floors, slipcovered sofas and cool, smooth granite counter tops. It seems like the best of both worlds to me.

Don’t let me influence you. This is simply the Emily way of thinking. My husband would even disagree-He doesn’t want to live in a condo. He loves living in a big house, and you know what? He probably doesn’t even want to go to Paris.

Until it’s time to make a dwelling change I need to do the necessary repairs on this wonderful home I live in now. Franz Manor needs some updating, and worst of all, I need to get my garage door opener fixed. OMG! It’s broken!

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