Pulling off the ultimate in downsizing

It’s not every day that a young married couple purchases a new home and has to scale back their lifestyle to accommodate smaller digs. But this summer Sara Hornor and husband Steve Strange will face the daunting task of downsizing from a 1,300-square-foot rental apartment in downtown’s east end to a 722-square-foot loft in Spokane’s new Railside Center.

Fortunately, the couple has two seasoned downsizers to help guide them: Sara’s parents, Susan and Rick Hornor, who in 2005 swapped their large suburban house on Spokane’s north side for a unit in the Jefferson Auto Lofts.

“We raised seven children and had to downsize – sorting, cleaning, dumping,” says Susan, who teaches third grade at Evergreen Elementary in the Mead School District. “I’ve been feeding Sara storage solutions.”

Sara, who recently took a position with The Purple Turtle, a public relations and branding firm, says storage space is one of her biggest concerns.

“Closets are the one thing we really worry about,” says 25-year-old Sara, a former clothing store manager who loathes the thought of purging her wardrobe. “I have it so it’s just right.”

Sara says she and Steve, 31, both thrive on the energy and excitement that come with living in an urban setting. But while the couple has occupied their downtown rental for three years, neither seriously considered buying in the area until recently.

“We weren’t looking (to buy), but mom sort of bullied us into it,” Sara says.

Susan admits she was keen on seeing the couple invest in the downtown core, though she understood their attachment to the spacious rental unit.

“They needed to bite the bullet and downsize,” she says. “For financial reasons I just wanted them to do it.”

Ironically, it was Steve, a bartender at Blue Spark and the Elk Pub, who wheedled Sara’s parents into buying their unit in the Jefferson Auto Lofts.

“He saw the plans and said, “That is so cool, you have to do this,’” Susan says, adding “Sara and Steve just loved it down here, and now that I live down here, I get it.”

Although some kids might cringe at the thought of living so close to mom and dad, Sara says she was thrilled with her parents’ decision to buy downtown.

“I knew it would be a great move for them,” she says. “It’s a new chapter, their new life together.”

Even though the two couples live (for the moment) on opposite ends of downtown, Sara says they often walk back and forth between their respective apartments.

“Sometimes we just see each other in passing,” she says, adding that it’s nice to have her mom and dad drop by on occasion.

“We actually get to see them more now that they live down here,” she says. “We get together at least once a week for a meal.”

Before long, another member of the Hornor clan plans to hop on the urban-living bandwagon. Younger sister Bekah, 23, will take over Sara and Steve’s old apartment when the couple moves to the Railside.

“She’s fallen in love with (living downtown),” Susan says.

“We’re keeping it in the family,” Sara quips.

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