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Living rooms are so 1950s
Dennis Wyatt new mug
Dennis Wyatt

I live in my father’s house.

Well, not exactly but given my home’s footprint of 988 square feet with two bedrooms and a bathroom built in 1953 along with a 6,249-square-foot lot with a detached garage on the alley I come pretty close.

The first seven years of my life was spent in a home built in 1940 that was the first house my parents bought. It had 1,083 square feet with two bedrooms and a bathroom on a 5,749-square-foot lot with a detached garage on the alley.

Thanks to the Internet postings of companies eager to sell homes I know that house in Roseville is worth somewhere in the ballpark of $406,500 while mine is in the vicinity of $373,800. Based on square footage my home is supposedly worth $4 more per square foot now than the house in Roseville.

There is also one other big difference. Except for periods where I had a prolonged “house guest” since moving in 14 years ago, it has been just me and the 988 square feet.

It’s a big difference than back in 1962 when we were a family of five living in a house with two bedrooms with my sister on the way. That was about 200 square feet per person compared to the 988 square feet I have all to myself today.

My sister was home for the hospital for just three weeks before we moved into another house in Lincoln twice the size on a double-lot they paid $20,000 to buy.

You might think six people in a two-bedroom one bathroom house is preposterous or unheard of on this side of the year 2000 but that is how many lived in my house before it went into foreclosure and I ended up buying it in 2008.

Give that a thought for a second. Four boys and their parents in 988 square feet.

What brings this up are two random observations — one by a friend and another by myself. Shortly after I moved in back in 2008 the friend dropped by and couldn’t believe I bought a house with just one bathroom and with bedrooms that we so small I’d be hard-pressed to fit in a king-sized and large screen TV of which I had neither at the time or even harbor a desire to have one or the other even today.

My observation was made a week or so ago when I was thinking I probably have too much space.

The biggest room in my house is 13 by 19 feet or exactly a quarter of my 988 square feet of living space.

Back in the 1960s such a room would have been referenced as the living room or front room. It was where adults gathered to talk. It was generally off limits as a play area. It also was where you found the TV that you had to be on your best behavior to watch one of five channels in glorious black and white with a console the size of a washing machine and a screen as a large bound Rand McNally world atlas.

If you have no idea of what a bound world atlas is you have no clue as to what a phone chair is either.

We also had a phone chair in the living room with the prerequisite shelf for a telephone directory. Answering the phone was only for adults or responsible children with privileges. And you always answered it sitting in the phone chair mainly because the cord was too short to sit anywhere else.

The front room or living room, you might have gathered, was for serious business.

So, what, you might ask, is in my living room? I have neither a tethered phone or a TV. Nor do I have a couch, loveseat, chair or even a formal table.

I have three different weight benches, a rack holding two racing bicycles, racked weights, two barbells, assorted exercise paraphernalia such as medicine balls, kettle bells, bocce balls, and my latest addition that’s a rowing machine. The only furniture per se is a chrome rack shelving with my semi old-school CD stereo.

And, no, that is not all of my exercise equipment. I have my stationary bike that I actually use for spinning and not as a clothes rack in the spare bedroom.

My exercise equipment isn’t the only think that “bleeds” into the spare bedroom. It is where my stand-up desk, two filing cabinets and two bookshelves can be found along with a TV and chair.

My real desk — a rolltop that requires a couple of people to move that aren’t predisposed to having hernias — is in the room originally built for dining. This is my “office” complete with more bookshelves, a futon, and an armoire that I use as if it was a credenza.

And, yes, there is another bookshelf in my bedroom with the prerequisite bed and nightstand along with another armoire.

Toss in the fact I’ve removed all closet and cupboard doors and the only interior door is a fluted glass door on the bathroom that I just had to have a black toilet and its clear that whoever designed the house in 1952 did not have such a use — or furnishings — in mind.

I’m sure if my father were able to somehow see my house today, he’d think I was certifiable crazy. If for no other reason I’m probably the last person on either side of the family that anyone suspected would devote 30 to 50 minutes in any given day to exercising.

Altogether I have three chairs in the house if you don’t count the futon. As for a dining or kitchen table I don’t get the point.

There was a time when I would have worried just a smidgen about what others think.

But as I’ve been told, if it works for me who cares?