CHAPTER I CHOOSING A PLACE TO LIVE
Blessed indeed are they who are free to choose where and how they shall live. Still more blessed are they who give abundant thought to their choice, for they may not wear the sackcloth of discomfort nor scatter the ashes of burned money.TASTE AND EXPEDIENCE
Most of us have a theory of what the home should be, but it is stowed away with the wedding gifts of fine linen that are cherished for our permanent abode. We believe in harmony of surroundings, but after living, within a period of ten years or so, in seven different apartments with seven different arrangements of rooms and seven different schemes of decoration, we lose interest in suiting one thing to another. Harmony comes to mean simply good terms with the janitor. Or if (being beginners) we have some such prospect of nomadic living facing us, and we are at all knowing, we realize the utter helplessness of demonstrating our good taste, purchase any bits of furniture that a vagrant fancy may fasten upon, and give space to whatever gimcracks our friends may foist upon us, trusting that in the whirligig of removals the plush rocker, the mission table, and the brass parlor stand may each find itself in harmony with something else at one time or another. Some day we shall be freed from the tyranny of these conditions and then——!RESPONSIBILITIES
But when the time comes to declare our independence of landlord and janitor, or at least to exchange existence in a flat for life in a rented cottage, we find that freedom brings some perplexing responsibilities as well as its blessings. Even if our hopes do not soar higher than the rented house, there is at least the desire for a reasonable permanency, and we have no longer the excuse of custom-bred transitoriness to plead for our lack of plan. Where the home is to be purchased for our very own the test of our individuality becomes more exacting. A house has character, and some of the standards that apply to companionship apply to it. In fact, we live with it, as well as in it. And if we have a saving conscience as to the immeasurability of home by money standards we are not to be tempted by the veriest bargain of a house that does not nearly represent our ideals. To blunder here is to topple over our whole Castle of Hope.RENTING, BUYING OR BUILDING
But the test is most severe of all when good fortune permits us to choose locality, site, and building plans, and to finish and furnish the house to suit our tastes, even though less in accordance with our full desires than with our modest means. Now we may bring out our theory of living from its snug resting place. It will need some furbishing up, maybe, to meet modern conditions, but never mind!
Whether we mean to rent, to buy, or to build, the problem of where and what and how is before us. As folk of wholesome desires, we insist first of all upon good taste, comfort, and healthfulness in our habitats; and since we may agree upon the best way to attain these essentials without ignoring our personal preferences in details, we may profitably take counsel together as to what the new home should be....