My house’s must-haves.

Through wisdom a house is built,

and by understanding it is established;

by knowledge the rooms are filled

with all precious and pleasant riches.

– Proverbs 24:3-4

My childhood friend Shannon had the entire Barbie set-up: the dream house, the pink Corvette, at least a dozen Barbie dolls. And she used to play with them. I had Barbies, too, but they sat in my toy box. I remember wishing so hard that I’d want to play “House” with my Barbies as much as she did. Instead, I’ve collected a few experiences that have helped me narrow down what I’d like in my dream house.

It began at age 9 when I informed my parents that I would be moving out of the two-story house I shared with them (read: they shared with me) and into my life-size doll house (read: the one they gave me for my birthday). I didn’t pack much nor did I consider the matter of plumbing. There wasn’t any.

I was back at home in a few hours, nevertheless yearning for a place to call my own with, I was hoping, plumbing.

It continued when I started looking for my first place in Missoula. I thought it terribly odd that many of the listings for rooms and apartments on Craigslist advertised a gear closet or “tons of space for all your gear.” What gear? Oh, the gear that goes with living in a four-season playground. After more than three years here, I’ve collected my fair share of gear.

My first home, which I hope to purchase this year, will have a gear closet.

Lastly, I read Anthony Bourdain’s book Kitchen Confidential years ago and, while I enjoyed it and went on to watch the TV show that was inspired by it, I really only remember one thing about it. In his typically crass and endearing East Coast manner, he decries knife sets and then pleads with his reader, “Please believe me, here’s all you will ever need in the knife department: ONE good chef’s knife, as large as is comfortable for your hand.”

His words have stayed with me, and since reading them, I’ve been searching for that one good chef’s knife that will one day sit in a drawer in my very own kitchen.

But what I’d really like to have in my dream house, above all else, even indoor plumbing, a gear closet, and a good chef’s knife, are the precious and pleasant riches of love, happiness, joy, and peace.

On the Cover

It is said that big things come in small packages. It certainly rings true for the Bitterroot couple living in this tiny home. Photography Pamela Dunn-Parrish