My Retirement May be a Rebirth


Designing Furniture for my Music Collection (Yes, I will get judged for my antiquated media)

I’m retiring and working more on my house. Yes, it still needs work and now that I’m retiring I’ll have more time to do it.

I started this blog to share ideas about doing your own design and your own building and thinking differently to solve your own specific needs. I strongly believe in not giving in to the pressure to follow the norm. Think outside the box no matter how hard that box is fighting to be a typical box.

Make up your own rules and think and experiment to figure out how to make your home really reflect who you are and specifically built for you. Make it deeply personal.

I hope you’ll stick with me on this continuing journey.

Below are excerpts from a piece I wrote about quitting my 35 year design career…. Note I started the trend …
You can read the full piece by clicking the link below :

Without a job they say: “what will you do?” or “you’ll have no purpose”

“When I tell people that I’m retired they look quite surprised. It seems like a fantasy or even a joke. People seem a little impressed too but believe me I have no financial plan. I haven’t made good investments or consistently filled up a savings account. I have no 401k or IRA. I haven’t worked my butt off or made lofty salaries – No, quite the opposite, I am lazy and the worst financial planner ever.

What is my secret? I’m good at quitting.”

“I know it’s kind of trendy now but I have always put my sanity first. Even as a kid I loved mowing lawns and painting houses but when I did it for other people, for a little cash, I got sick of it real quick. Mind you, I work hard and people want me back but I guess I’m just selfish and don’t work when I don’t need the money. I’d work very hard for short periods of time because I’d be called in when they were under the gun. I worked fast and I worked smart because I wanted to be done.”

“I’ve found work to be a lovely combination of high stress, politics and some very nice people.”

“All I’m saying is don’t believe the hype. If you don’t live to work then don’t wait until it’s over to have a life.”

There’s only one thing I like about the “tiny house movement.”

It’s not a movement… It’s actually a sign.

It’s a sign that people are not necessarily confined to “the norm” or some idealized concept of home and also that trailers are finally getting the respect that they always deserved.

Historically if you told someone you live in a trailer it would conjure up images of dirt paved trailer parks and unruly children running wild. If you told someone you live in a van down by the river, well, that’s just a ridiculous Saturday Night Live skit. If you told someone you live in a mobile home well then you’re just asking for the question: “What are you doing with your life?”

Americans have plenty of jokes about living in your parent’s basement or garage but in some countries parents actually want their kids at home.

I just heard a joke saying, “I don’t date guys without a bed frame.”

I feel targeted since I sleep on a futon… oh the disgrace.

For some reason, right now, tiny homes and trailers are gaining respect and are even seen by many as their ultimate dream.

from medium

When I first moved in, I didn’t realize that this house was all that I would ever need.

from medium

“It’s much more important what your home looks like on the inside than what it looks like on the outside. It’s more important that you want to cook there than whether your kitchen has trendy granite and stainless steel finishes. We should not be looking at others for approval we should be looking within for insight. Don’t waste too much time looking at Pinterest and lifestyle magazines for inspiration from others and spend more time looking within to decide what is right for you.”

Past and Present

I’ve been spending ridiculous amounts of time on Instagram.

Please check it. I like the immediacy of it. My goal this year (in addition to the continuing work on my house) is to update my various forms of social media more often. I want to integrate everything and make all of the different forms work together and share common information. Each type of social media has its own benefits and I’m going to try and learn how to use them to create the best experience.

I managed to insert a YouTube video from my channel at the bottom of this page:

Taking a break…

I have plenty of work to do but I have not been doing it.

the end view that faces the ocean

The exterior of my house looks done. Meanwhile the interior needs tile work and finish carpentry that I’ve been avoiding. Sometimes you have to live a bit. I know that I’ll get it done and also that it is never really done. I’ve been scheming and designing and building since I moved into this tiny house in 2000. Now it’s 2020 and I feel pretty good about what I’ve accomplished

Living Life

I’m still amazed at how much room I have.

I have an actual bedroom. Over the years I’ve gone from a 250 sq ft cottage to a 700 sq ft house. It’s been an interesting journey and I have no regrets. Throughout this process the only thing that’s constant is change. I’ve become very comfortable with chaos and the unknown. Perhaps I’m too comfortable and perhaps on the inside my life looks out of control. It’s a good metaphor for my life in general – on the outside I look kind of like I’ve got my shit together but on the inside I’m a messy work in progress.

Fighting normality

I think we all have to reject “normal”

One of the things I follow a lot on instagram is the “tiny house movement.” Although, I think “movement” is an overstatement. People are not protesting in the streets for tiny houses but some laws are changing regarding in-law units and housing density and even what the minimal legal size of a house is. For instance, my house is considered “sub-standard.” The fact that law regulates what size your house can be is ridiculous. I’m happy for all of us that both laws and thinking are changing. We need to think outside the box. We need to fight the norms. We need to imagine new ways of building and of living

The idea of house and home has become too standardized. It’s standard to the point where people believe their house isn’t enough unless it matches some societal norm or some idealistic picture in a magazine. Of course there are construction standards and furniture standards that help to make sure things work but there can be huge variation within those guidelines. If you’re working with a contractor don’t blindly accept their word.

That’s my neighbor on the left. They hate me and they hate that the city let me build my second story addition. They live in a development across the street and their house is still taller than mine

It’s your house so own it

I’m treating my house as an experiment.

I know my house doesn’t look that radical. It’s just a product of all the parameters that the lot and the codes allowed. There were a lot of ways to fit within those parameters. This is just what I chose to do but it wasn’t an accident and it wasn’t based on a lot of preconceptions about home.

I’m rejecting the norms and preconceptions. I’m rejecting the status quo and the magazine ideals. For me, this is an experiment. It’s deeply personal. It’s intimately connected to who I am and what I do and how I want to spend my time.

One of the reasons that I’ve been taking a break is that I want to enjoy the process. I’m actually not fixated on the end product. I want to enjoy my life even while changing it and building it. I’m not static and I don’t demand that of my house either. I’m having fun over-thinking and designing myself into a corner.

I’m sure some people see my lack of progress as a weakness or an inability to get a job done but maybe I’m not waiting for anything to be finished. I’m enjoying life right now. My life has chaos and messiness and unknowns and I’m enjoying all of it.

No really, I’m enjoying it…

It’s not all fun and games but I’m always pushing the limits of my knowledge and my patience.