What is “small home” mentality?

what is small home mentality

I’ve suggested to people that they approach their living space with a “small home” mentality. Most nod knowingly, out of politeness. Eventually though, a few ask, “What do you mean by ‘small home’ mentality?” Small home versus tiny home There is a distinction between a small home and the tiny homes that have become popular of late. Small homes are usually between 400 and 1,000 square feet. A tiny home is anything under 400 square feet. Of course the distinction isn’t strictly followed, so the two terms are used interchangeably. Even Vincent Kartheiser – of the Mad Men fame – owns a tiny home that weighs in at just under 600 square feet. Most people that I know can fathom a life in a small home but only applaud those who can contort into a tiny house. When I talk about a small home mentality, I’m talking to the average folks who want to keep the essentials and make do with just a little less clutter. A few features of a small home Let’s familiarize ourselves with a few small home features. There is a wide variety of small homes, but there are a few defining features. 1. Small homes have relatively open floor plans […]

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Our SEA LIFE adventure

sea life charlotte concord blog reviews

I’ll own up to it, I’m a snob. It’s important to know that before you read anything else. When I agreed to come to SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord, I was expecting much more than an amusement kiosk at a shopping mall. After adults are gently nudged to fork over twenty bucks per fully-grown adult human, they enter what promises to be a beginning to a sea adventure. Of course it ends before it really starts. I hate to say it but my expectations have been set by the New Jersey and Baltimore aquariums within driving distance of Philadelphia, where I grew up. After walking through the entire premises of SEA LIFE in twenty minutes, I couldn’t help but quote the Strokes: Is this it? I can lower my expectations. Unfortunately, that does not translate to lowered entrance fees. I hate to dwell on the price of admission, but let me put this in perspective. Admission to the Louvre, one of the world’s most highly regarded, premier museums is fifteen Euro. At the time of writing, that translates to just over sixteen US dollars. But of course we do it for the kids! At least that’s what I had to repeat to […]

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Brewing coffee with a French press

brewing coffee with a french press

These days, the French press gets a poor reputation. So much so that you’d think it’s barely above Dunkin’ Donuts. Sure, America runs on Dunkin’. Though if you’re like me, you probably run from it, so let’s just end it that argument right there. What the French press is The French press can be traced to the French but the French cannot be credited with its popularity. Like double-entry bookkeeping and the Renaissance, the French press was popularized by the Italians. Attilio Calimani patented his version of the device, in 1929, followed by Faliero Bondanini’s, patented in 1959. The device has changed little in the past sixty years. What the French press is not As any self-respecting coffee connoisseur, I prefer the elaborate, sometimes painful, process of manually-brewed coffee. Though French press brewed coffee is still a labor of manual love, it’s certainly not as exacting as pour over. And though it requires some work of hand, it’s nowhere nearly as theatrical as those siphon concoctions. French press and the art of time management As I’ve mentioned before, Caitlin and I are fans of our morning coffee ritual. In the evenings and on weekends, our Chemex is hard at work. However, on weekday mornings, when […]

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The meaning of a dining table

meaning of a dining table

We spend a lot of time around the dining table. I say “dining table” with tongue in cheek because we use it for much more than just dining. It is a meeting space for our family. It’s where we eat, yes, but it is also a space where we talk over disagreements, play with Giselle, discuss plans for upcoming vacations, and our career trajectories. A simple structure The table is nothing more than just a plank with at least three points of support. In fact, a table need not be more than just a plank made of any material to set food or any number of things. That’s exactly what it was for much of human history. To this day, more than a quarter of the world’s population does not use an actual dining table. Instead, food and drink is served on the ground, perched atop a piece of cloth or a basic structure weaved of plant shoots. The table in history I’m no historian, but the earliest use of a dining table appears to be just before the Middle Ages. Its use spread quickly during the medieval period. It was a prominent feature in royal courts, used to entertain other crowns. […]

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What’s in the daily details of our space?

daily details of living space

Since high school, I was told to pay more attention to detail. For a while, I wasn’t any good at it. Details escaped my grasp. I favored the big picture. I don’t recall where, but I read an article whose claim is that women are good at details while men prefer the big picture. Like all generalizations, that’s hardly the whole story. But for some time, I thought my lack of attention to detail just made me a quintessential man. Work There are men like Proust, whose magnum opus is in many ways a celebration of the quotidian. The late, great historian, Fernand Braudel captured in his work the meaning and symbolism of everyday details in human life. Clearly, the subject of the daily details is as old as human existence, what with all of the archaeologists, anthropologists, and ethnographers. Writing and photography turned me to the details I often missed. Perhaps these two hobbies also made me more type-A than I already was. So what of the daily details? What is in a detail? Words The first known use of the English word is 1650. It’s French ancestor, détail was first used in 1603 and itself originates from detaillier which […]

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One of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Charlotte

most beautiful neighborhoods in charlotte

Fourth Ward is home to one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Charlotte. Century-old, Victorian homes stand in intimate proximity, on tree-lined streets. The narrow sidewalks remind me of colonial cities back up North. The neighborhood is so quiet it’s hard to believe that Fortune 500 headquarters are just a short walk away. Jane Jacobs, in an iconic work on the urban landscape, wrote, “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” The story of the Fourth Ward is in many ways a story about everybody, at its development and certainly through its revitalization. The neighborhood was booming in the early 19th century, as professionals, merchants, and religious leaders made it home for their families. Similar to other cities, as suburbs grew and transportation expanded to the outskirts, people followed. Fourth Ward fell into disrepair, to put it mildly. Then, in the 1970s, leaders from different professions, backgrounds, political convictions, all came together to give this neighborhood a second shot at life. Walking through this part of the Queen City, there is a true blend between the quaint, alternative, and hip. In many ways, it’s youthful and looks to […]

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December moments in Carolina

december moments in carolina

Okay so here is a sentence just to rub things in with my Northern brethren. December saw much cooler days with temperatures dipping well below 70 degrees, to mid 50s. The Milmeyster clan had to resort to warmer vests and light jackets. If only to feel more cozy with the holidays all around us. Out and about town On account of a mention in a recent blog post, one of our favorite places in Charlotte treated us to a couple of mugs of Irish coffee. Besides the heart-warming libations, I couldn’t resist this sandwich embraced by two slices of French toast, with powdered sugar on top. To walk off some of the holiday weight, we made for one of the most historic neighborhoods in Charlotte, the Fourth Ward. It’s one of those areas where, once there, it’s hard to believe that skyscrapers are just behind you. I particularly love this vintage pickup in front of Alexander Michael’s, on 9th Street. We also enjoyed an extra day off running around Atherton Mill. I couldn’t resist this photo opp, with a vintage rail cart to boot. Giselle gets curious(er) Giselle became more creative with her playtime. She’s been frying everything from fish to Elmo on […]

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The value and measure of silence

the value and measure of silence

That oft-repeated thought experiment, intended to prod metaphysical boundaries, where a tree falls in the woods with no one present. But what of silence? What is the measure of silence? I don’t mean to propose any sort of instrument. But what is the value of silence? Silence of course, isn’t just the absence of sound. The measure of silence is the space it creates for something else. The most obvious place where sound features prominently is music. The interval of silence is called “rest”. Silence is what, to me, creates the emotion and anticipation in the music of Schumann, Schubert, and, of course, Chopin. I cannot resist also mentioning the value of silence in daily life. The absence of words, shouts, the hammering of construction just outside our windows. The quiet room, which may be a sound in its own right, is a welcome change, especially in the evening. I find silence pensive, however cliche that may be. The Russian artist, Diana Vouba, authored several paintings on the sounds of silence and held an exhibition titled Measure of Silence. Clearly, silence does not only relate to the dimension of sound but to a larger field of perception. There is much […]

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