“For serenity, always prefer the cottage to the palace!”    ― Mehmet Murat ildan

Quotes almost always make me think.  Some quotes help me see connections between things that were not connected for me before I read the quote.  The quote above is one of these quotes.

I look at pictures of palaces and I am often awed by their beauty and spaciousness — and I know I would never want to live there full time.  A visit would be nice, but I simply cannot imagine that I could find comfort there.

On the other hand, I look at pictures of the tiny homes that are becoming popular and I immediately want one.  I am awed in a different way.  Rather than being awed by grandeur, art work, and massiveness of the palaces, I am awed by the tiny home’s sense of intimacy, efficiency, coziness, and comfort.  The ladders to get to the sleeping loft are a different matter!  No ladders for this lady!

I find myself wondering why the tiny houses or cottages are gaining in popularity now.  I think it might have to do with our sense of being disconnected from each other, our lack of a sense of community.

If two people are living in a 140 square foot tiny home or a family of four is living in a 900 square foot small home they will be “in community!”  They cannot avoid each other all the time.  The need for private space is important and needs to be provided for, but it isn’t where most of one’s time is spent.

The knowledge that someone is there to help and support you is inescapable in a small space.  I think that is a good thing.  That is part of the definition of community and it is something that is lacking in our suburban communities with 3,000 square foot homes and our family members who are scattered across the country or the globe.

Children love blanket forts or forts made from sofa cushions or dining room tables.  It gives them a sense of protection and privacy and closeness with their friends — imaginary, stuffed, or otherwise.  Tiny or small homes seem to have some of that same character.

I cannot imagine feeling serenity in a grand dining hall with a table that seats 20 or a parlor with four or five different sitting areas and 15’ high ceilings.  For serenity I would choose the small cottage, or the 15’ by 15’ log cabin my husband built.  If I want to be awed by grandeur in a serene way, an old growth forest or a mountain stream would fill that bill.  So why does spaciousness feel serene when it is in nature and not serene when it is man-made?  Probably a different conversation.

Where do yo find serenity — the cottage or the palace?