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We're Ben and Kelly Zugay, and we're on a mission to live small and give big!

Since 2015, we've been on a renovating and decorating our well-loved 800 square foot condo — our home on Harvest!

When we're not biking, hiking, kayaking, and enjoying beautiful western Wisconsin, Ben is a a university-level entrepreneurship educator and I'm a small business owner.




Ben & Kelly

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Over the past 10 years or so, Ben and I have had a conversation that goes something like: “I always believed when I turned _, I’d have everything figured out!” Well, 18, 20, 25, and 30 have come and gone — and the only thing I know for sure is: We’ll never have everything figured out.

I think, in life, there’s a lot of pressure. From friends and family members — and from my own experiences, too — I’ve heard about the pressure to find the perfect career, pressure to find the perfect spouse, pressure to build the perfect house, pressure to have children, and pressure to be “successful” in all areas of life.

The truth is, though, all of these areas of life are so complex. Finding the perfect career is usually a process filled with lots of trial and error, building the perfect house looks so different for every person… There’s no exact path to such a complicated and unique journey.

There’s no exact path to such a complicated and unique journey.

Which brings me to today’s question: What makes a house a home?

Ben and I purchased our fixer upper condo (our home on Harvest) about 3 years ago. We decided to live small, so we could save well, and give big. “Living small and giving big” is our mission as a family, so moving was a strategic and purposeful decision for us.

Downsizing wasn’t an easy decision to make — especially as our peers began purchasing and building bigger and bigger houses. There are definitely moments were doubt creeps in, and we start to feel like our path is wrong — just because it’s unconventional. (We’ve even gone so far as meeting with builders because we’re just ‘over’ this path we’ve chosen!) But slowly I’m learning, everyone’s journey is so, so unique; some people choose to live small, and some people choose to live big.

So, what makes a house a home? Lots of blog posts will say: the happiness of your family, the comfortable feeling you have, and the personal touches you use to make your home yours. I agree!

I believe it’s…

  • The comfortable feeling you have when you walk in.
  • Having a favorite ‘cozy’ spot you always claim.
  • Having my own photography hanging on the walls — photos I’ve taken from the places we’ve traveled.
  • On that same note: Having bits and pieces of our story as a family of 2… from photos from our wedding day to photos of our recent travels.
  • Picking out pieces you love — without minding trends. (Take my funny gray sculpture below, for example. I just love it!) That way, you can look around and feel content with what’s around you.
  • Filling your home with more memories than things. When we did our major clean-up several weeks ago, I realized how, for me, stuff = stress. Discarding 8-10 bags of garbage and donating 4 car-loads to Goodwill not only made me feel refreshed, but it helped us to have a clean slate, knowing everything we have has a purpose. We’re no longer keeping things for the sake of keeping them; everything has a purpose or sparks joy.
  • Having space for the things that make you you. Aside from the basics, all I really need is a corner to work from. Ben barely needs any space at all, since he’s always outside kayaking or biking. We have enough space for the occasional kitchen dance party ;-) and enough space to make a flort (our word for a floor fort) every weekend… and that’s enough for us!

 

So, what makes a house a home looks different for everyone — and I think that’s the most beautiful thing about home.

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What Makes a House a Home?

April 29, 2018

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