House Envy

May 26, 2013 at 8:15 am (Life) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I suffer from a bad case of envy. Occasionally, I envy my sister’s houses. Occasionally, I long for what my nieces and nephews have. I want a house; a permanent place that is mine alone and for always. A house I can paint the inside of in various shades of colour – a black & orange study, a sea-foam bath, a yellow kitchen, or a vibrant bedroom.

My sibling’s houses vary from opulent to plain, from cozy to staid, but all are comfortable within themselves. They belong to someone. Someone owns that house and it will always be there. There are nine of us altogether and only I have never owned property.

Now, the next generation is buying and owning houses and I am envious.

Victorian Opulence

Growing up, in a house too small for five people, I longed for a large Victorian to live in. It would be big enough for all nine of us children plus all the cousins to explore and I would have a tower room all my own, with cupboards and nooks and crannies to dream in. Can you tell I read a lot of British children’s literature as a child? I wanted the ballet sister’s house or the witch’s house from Bedknobs and Broomsticks. I wanted gigantic kitchens and attic rooms and towers. I thought nothing of how expensive they would be to heat or who would do all the cleaning. I only saw the romance, the adventure, all the possibility that lay in a big house with a big yard beside a small forest and I wanted that magic.

None of my siblings have a house like this. I worked briefly one summer, in a house like this – a B & B, with four stories between the basement and the attic. It had been carved up into twelve individual room/suites and I made the point of sleeping in all of them that summer. I also cleaned them and cooked in the kitchen. It was a lot of work!

Country Style

As I got older, my dream house down-sized to a country style two story house. It would have to have a balcony so that I could stand out there and watch the storms come up over the prairie and so that I could enjoy the stars or northern lights or bask in the glow of a full moon.

It would need a big kitchen (I don’t really cook much) where everyone could gather to cook, eat and gossip. It would need big, old comfy chairs to read in. It would need to have room for all of us – parents, step-parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.  Room enough for a village to rattle in without stepping on each others’ toes and hearts.

Brick House

It must be made of brick. It had to have a front porch – though a wrap-around one would be better. There would be rocking chairs and dogs and cats and always the sound of voices (laughing, squabbling, teasing, arguing, having fun, and occasionally the sound of tears and sorrow). A house like the one Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy lived in.

Corner House

As I grow older, the houses that catch my eye are smaller. I love colour. I hardly ever pass a yellow house without stopping to take a picture of it. I’d only need two bedrooms now- one to sleep in and one to write in. I’d need to have enough space for company. I’d need a basement just in case. I’d need. No, I want. I envy. Occasionally, I dream.


But, I am too practical. I can look at the blue house above and love how the lilacs frame the front and also know the hours that go into insuring that the bushes are trimmed and the lawn is mowed.

I am too cheap. I can live, right now, on a thousand a month for all my housing needs (shelter, heat, electricity). I know that owning a house would cost me more than that. I know I hate yard work. I know there would be snow to shovel, leaves to rake and grass to mow. I prefer to spend my time inside reading or writing and even (occasionally) cleaning. I am not a property owner. I am not a vehicle owner. I still like having the allusion of the freedom to leave it all behind. The ability to give it all away and pack my life into a suitcase and go.

Apple Blossoms

But still, I envy my siblings their houses.

They have colour and space and luxury and security in their lives. They have a place that will always be theirs. They have a home. My eldest sister has said as much – that she feels secure because she owns a house.

I watch the reality houses shows (House Hunters, Mike Holmes, Decked Out, Colour Confidential) and dream.

I yearn for a house of my own knowing that the odds are not in my favour. I will most likely never have/be able to afford a house of my own.

So, I settle for a room of my own…

And I envy.



  1. Kate said,

    When I was a young hobo traveller, I envied people spied through windows at night in their cosy warm dwellings. It made me realize that’s what I wanted. Eventually I got it, with all its accompanying costs and headaches. But now there are times I look at it all and think: what a burden for someone else to handle when I die. I think I wouldn’t mind renting again and getting rid of many belongings. Is the grass always greener on the other side? Maybe. But I guess we don’t know that till we’ve tried it.

  2. solitaryspinster said,

    Yes, it seems the grass is always greener somewhere else!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: