Downsize without relocating

January 2, 2008

Enclosed PorchMost of the country is paying for heat right now. Being on the Gulf Coast, I wasn’t until this week – but with temps dropping into the twenties Fahrenheit, I’m starting to rethink the location of my home office.

You see, my house is like the one shown (from a real estate ad). Mine was also originally built with a porch, which was later enclosed with walls and permanent windows. When I open the real front door, now ‘interior’, and a French door to the dining room, I get heat or air conditioning from the rest of the house. (Don’t worry, my HVAC system is sadly oversized, like most in the country – that’s another post.)

I have used that porch as my home office for several years now. But I’m starting to think about moving the office to another part of the house – and giving this room back to the elements.

Why? Well, first, the HVAC bill. An easy way for me to ‘downsize’ my heating and cooling requirements is to reduce my house size, and this drafty porch is telling me: “…I want to be a hammock room…” Fortunately, no structural changes required – when I’m ready to ‘move’ I just take out the cheapo 60’s windows, pull the ‘new’ front door off its hinges, and put up the solar screens.

The porch is even on the corner, so I’m sure to get a crossbreeze. Hammock and a mint julep from the garden during the heat of the day, allowing the house AC to be set a little warmer.

Come spring, I could start my garden seedlings here, and shorten my food miles. Maybe those cheap windows will have a new life as a cold frame.

Now, to find a place for my office – perhaps with one of those Murphy Beds I can take over the guest room.

(photo from City Island Real Estate)