Tag Archives: downton abbey

5 Reasons Why Smaller Homes Can Save You Money and the Environment

18 Apr
Image: Creative Commons, mission-sustainable.com.

Image: Creative Commons, mission-sustainable.com.

With Earth Day just around the corner many of us are thinking about ways to create less impact on the environment. We will remember to do little things like bring our own reusable bags to the store, recycle our paper and plastics or turn off the lights when they’re not in use. While these are all points to consider, one thing most of us don’t really think about is how our homes can potentially leave a carbon footprint.

Home ownership has always been part of the American Dream. To some this means buying biggest, best house one could afford. While house size is a matter of preference, it may not be a practical reality for many. With larger homes comes more responsibility in terms of time, money and resources, which many of us don’t have with work, family and other life obligations.

This spring, the real estate market is expected to rebound and buyers can expect sticker shock as home values rise according to Realtor Magazine. While more square footage is desirable, it may not always be the best solution.

Here are five reasons to consider a smaller home:

1. Less Expensive Mortgage  Have we learned our lessons from the 2008 housing bubble and credit crisis? Many were reduced by circumstances to move from McMansion-sized homes to smaller spaces which caused us to rethink our home owning options. Want to read up on extreme cases small living? Check out this one family affected by the crisis who went from a large home to a less than 700 square foot sized cabin. For even more extreme cases, read up on the Tiny House Movement where people opt for less than 200 square of living spaces.

2. Less Maintenance Costs While HGTV has great profiles of beautiful dream homes, one thing it fails to present is the cost to maintain. Let’s say you buy a 7000+ square foot home filled with massive, chef grade kitchen, eight bedrooms, six baths, tons of living space, a pool, sports complex, beautiful gardens. We don’t live in the age of Downton Abbey where you have Carson the Butler and Mrs. Hughes the Housekeeper and their staff on hand. That’s fine if that’s really your dream and you have the resources to make it work, but most people find it more cost effective to either themselves. With a smaller space you can maintain your own house and save money on labor.

3. Less Hoarding With less space, you can’t hoard or have a collection of rarely used tchotchkes. Have you ever seen TV shows like Hoarders or Clean Sweep where people have tons of junk and keep accumulating stuff? Not to say that people don’t hoard in small homes too, but if you wanted to be able to live comfortably in your space, you’d have to get rid of stuff you don’t need or use or you’d literally be consumed with all your stuff.

4. Less Clutter Having little space will require you to ruthlessly edit your possessions and keep only those things that you truly need. You are forced to rethink buying habits and make decision about what you need versus what you want.

5. Eco-friendly By default, smaller home means you will use less natural resources. You won’t need a large sprinkler system for the large lawn. You will spend less time and energy mowing the lawn and general yard maintenance. Your heat and electricity bills will go down as you won’t have a lot of spaces using energy. If you’re building a new home from scratch and opt for a smaller sized home, you’ll use less building materials as opposed to if you were to build a larger home. It’s a win-win.

What are your thoughts on small home living versus living large?

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Downton Abbey’s Disturbing Episode, Downton at Golden Globes 2014

14 Jan
Downton Abbey Season 4

Image: Collider.com

Last night I was going back and forth on my television between the 2014 Golden Globe Awards and Season 4/Episode 2 of Downton Abbey. Downton Abbey is my favorite series on PBS’s Masterpiece Theater so I had to ditch the glamour and fun skits that is typical of the awards ceremony for a little upstairs and downstairs drama. So yeah, Awards ceremony first, Downton Abbey and then back to the Awards show. Phew!

Anyway, here are some thoughts on this episode’s Downton Abbey:

 

Anna Bates

Image: PBS.org

Oh the horror!
Anna: OMG, I was so outraged at what Gillingham’s valet Green did to you! I hope either you or Bates can avenge the wrong done to you sooner rather than later without bringing the authorities into this and keeping Bates out of jail.

Aren’t a lot of movies made like that where the guy at fault murders someone but no one ever finds out or they’re just lucky to get away with it? Where’s the accountability? I’m thinking of Jonathan Rhys-Meyers‘ character in Matchpoint in which he kills his brother’s girlfriend and no one suspects him. He’s just lucky and gets away with it. Why can’t the righteous ones be the ones to get away with things like that? It’s always the dodgy characters that get away with stuff. That’s not right. Not that someone was killed per se in this particular episode but the way injustice was done towards Anna’s character was just wrong. It’s still very disturbing quite honestly. What was Downton creator Julian Fellows thinking when he included a violence against women’s scene on PBS? I understand the need to shake things up plot-wise but that was not the proper way to do it. I just hope that in future episodes not only does the plot have more appropriateness for a PBS series but that justice is served and Anna gets revenge on Green for what he did to her.

For full details check out the UK audience’s reaction back in October after they watched this episode. For insight on why Downton is horrible to it’s female characters check out Slate’s article.

Downton Abbey Laura Carmichael Michelle Dockery

Image: Downton Abbey’s Laura Carmichael Michelle Dockery. Blogzapit.com

On a Lighter Note
Lady Mary: Things are turning up as a new possible suitor comes along to help mend your broken heart. BTW Michelle Dockery: You looked stunning at the awards ceremony! Loved the Oscar de la Renta number.

Lady Edith: Things are looking good between you and your boyfriend. If you had doubts that your father would not warm up to your beau, rest assured! Your man was able to win back winnings from a poker cheat and your father Lord Grantham said he (boyfriend) “behaved in a way that was gentlemanly” so, yay brownie points! BTW Laura Carmichael: You also looked great on the red carpet too – hardly recognized you in Viktor & Rolf!

Dowager Countess: Favorite one-liner from Maggie Smith‘s character: If I were to search for logic, I would not look for it in the English upper class.

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