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post #21 of 41
We had about 1200 sq feet in our old house= 3 bedrooms, 2 baths (1 w a shower downstairs) and it was a split level. Really it was more like 1 full bathroom because the other bathroom was way downstairs and off the laundry room.

We moved when we were outgrowing the space and the neighborhood. We wanted a real kid friendly neighborhood plus walking distance to everything.
DH would not move unless there was a master bath. That was his top priority. We have 2 girls and he is already seeing the privacy factor and I agree. I wanted a larger master and a larger kitchen plus a full basement.

We now have a 4 bedroom, full bsmt, large yard, and walk to all. The 4th bedroom is on the main floor and near the 3rd full bath. Great for visitors and they get privacy.

This house was orginally a 2 bedroom ranch plus full basmt built in 1948. Someone in the 70s added a 3 bedroom addition on upstairs plus 2 full baths. So when we bought the house it was 5 bedrooms and 3 full baths (all needing desperate updating). We took out the 5th bedroom and now its a tv area, pulled another wall out and now we have a larger kitchen and the main floor is very lofty. Upstairs we have finished both bathrooms and rearrnaged ours so the sink area is in our bedroom. Put in a gorgeous shower and tile too. Eventually we will finish the basement and put the tv down there because I miss a quiet sitting area where the tv is now. As we live here longer, we are growing into the space and how we use it. The basement now is the toy area, laundry, workout room, plus a workbench area. DH also has a workshop in the garage and its heated.
post #22 of 41
We are a family of 5 (the kids are almost 16, 13 and 11) and 2 good sized dogs and one temporary mouse in 967 sq. feet. We are mostly fine. If we had more house we wouldn't see each other as much . I second the 2nd toilet though.
post #23 of 41
Well, we are 2 adults and 3 kids. DD6, DS2, DS7 mo. We've lived in a 1100 sq ft house since we were married 8 years ago. It's a 3 br 2 baths, with nice open living areas and hardly any closet space. (2 3' closets, a 5' master closet, and itty bitty hall closet that's very organized with bins and drawers.) We're in Florida, so no basement and my washer and dryer is in the 1.5 car garage that one car also lives in. We also homeschool. I found that the house got smaller when we started homeschooling since that was nother activity to fit in and more stuff to store. I wish I had somewhere to hang school stuff, but the desks are in the dining room and there are no walls since it has a sliding door and the rest is open. DD has her own small room, and DS has a larger room that the boys will share when DS2 is out of our room. It's also the play room except for DD's stuff that the boys can't play with.


I've thought long and hard about what's perfect since we will probably building on our 5 acres soon. Budget is a concern. Our goal is to have a 3 br, 2 ba house with an additional living area for homschool/play off the kitchen. We want more closet space so we can have less bedroom furniture. We'll also have attic space that we will be able to convert into two more bedrooms in case of another child (possibility in a few years) or to move th ekids up there someday and have more room on the main floor.

I'd say 1200-1500 is great for 2-3 kids depending on the genders and such. If you are seding kids off to school you'd have more room. I have a friend with 4 that live in a house only slightly larger than ours, but since they are all boys they all sleep in one room and play in another, so in that sense it's much easier. I could put mine together now, but DD is starting to want her privacy already. :
post #24 of 41
we are a fam of 4 and we live in a 1300 sq ft house/cottage. The layout is 700 sq ft living room w/ vaulted ceiling. Kitchen is big enough for 4 seat table, small bathroom w/ shower and stacking w/d in closet. Girls room in upstairs/loft. We don't really have a master bedroom, its more like a "cubical" off of the living rm. So an addition of a master would be nice. I LOVE having a big living room. I can be in one end, working on computer or crafts, the girls can play and we are still together, but no on top of each other.... I would like a bath tub though.
post #25 of 41
We're a family of six in 1600 sq ft plus three-car garage for storage/tools/bikes, etc. We could go smaller but I would prefer next time to have a one-story house to cut down on the noise. We have 2.5 bathrooms but would be fine with 1.5. Two toilets is really a lifesaver! Three is a luxury but sometimes much appreciated. We have four small bedrooms (plus a 8x8 den that could make a fifth bedroom) but would be fine with three. My husband often works from home so a separate office (the den) is pretty necessary. The layout on our house is not ideal--with tweaking it could be great. I don't often feel like I need more space but I do wish I could rearrange the walls easily!
post #26 of 41
We're a family of 3 with one on the way, and we recently moved from a 1500 sqft 3br/2ba house to a 960 sqft 2br/2ba apartment. I really miss having an extra bedroom, ours was an office/craft room/guest room and I miss the peace and privacy I had in there. As it is, I can only sew on the dining room table now and since it's a part of our main living space there's no sound barrier which means I can only sew when everyone else is out of the house. Hopefully this is temporary and we can find a better place to rent next summer when our lease is up. I think for me, the actual square footage isn't so much important as having an extra bedroom. And I definitely agree with the pp about having more than one toilet, although I prefer having two full baths.
post #27 of 41
we live in a small 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom house, and it's big enough. Sure, another bedroom and toilet would be great, but we are okay without it.
I think long term we will eventually need 3 bedrooms plus an office, since we are both planning to be self employed, and 1.5 bathrooms since we hope to have more children and a big family with one toilet seems tricky.
post #28 of 41
I was living with my h and two kids in a house that was probably about 1500 sq. feet. I moved just myself and my two kids into a house that is about 450 sq. feet. The size of my new house works most of the time because it is very space efficient. It started with a decent layout and I added wall to wall shelving units in a couple of places. It is only two bedrooms, though. Unfortunately, there is no exterior storage, although I could purchase a pre-fab shed pretty easily. If this small house had a basement it would also help -- not just for storage, but also to give the kids more room in which to move. My kids are older, 6 and 11. I have been thinking that for the three of use, a house with about 1000 sq feet with some unfinished storage space would be just about ideal.

I would prefer to get four bedrooms or three bedrooms and a separate family room type space if given a choice. We all have a lot of hobbies, some of which are space gobbling and some of which are noisy and some of which require quiet, so I would rather have extra small rooms in the same amount of space.


I also realized that even if there are certain space consuming things that are difficult to do in a small house (like throw big parties), the space for those things are relatively easy to rent from the local church, fire house, etc. It is also possible that extra rented storage space (even from a neighbor or friend) might be cheaper than adding more square footage and a bigger mortgage.

An extra half bath would be lovely, as would room for a washer/dryer.

If I had an extremely active or large spouse, it might make me wish for something a bit bigger. My sister's h is very tall and would totally be claustrophobic in this space.

Also, I would love enough space to practice yoga without having to brush against walls or furniture.

I am renting now and if/when I buy or rent again, I will look for something between 750 and 1000 sq feet of usable space.... and some unfinished space for storage and messy projects.

Edited to add: I think I should mention that I pretty much a minimalist and don't like to have alot of "stuff".
post #29 of 41
We are 2 adults and 3 kids. Our house is 800 sq feet with a basement. It's doable with the basement but I don't know how we'd manage without the basement. One of the bigger issues here is that the house came fully furnished and some of the furniture is way bigger than what we would have chosen.

I'm dreaming of a house about 1200-1600 sq feet, compared to this, I'd feel like I had tons of room. I need to do a massive de-clutter though, I've found that clutter tends to fill the space available. I don't want to get a bigger house if it will just mean more clutter.
post #30 of 41
We have lived in our current house for about 10 years now. It's about 850 sq ft. We are a family of 5 and we have 2 BR's, 1 bath. I don't like the area we live in all that much but the house itself is pretty nice. At times I wish we had 1 extra bedroom just in case we ever have another child or it would be nice to set up a schoolroom area maybe, but overall I like really living in a smaller house.
post #31 of 41
we've lived our brick cape cod almost 10 years now and will more than likely not move until the kids are off to college (our mortgage is small and we send them to private school so this has been perfect).....the kids are 10 and 12 now.

we currently have a total of 3000 sq.ft. of living space.....this includes a 1200 sq.ft. basement, so 1800 sq.ft. of upstairs living space. we have 3 bedrooms, 1 bath (our house was built in 1935), living room with a big wood burning fireplace, dining room, kitchen, and then the full basement which houses my laundry room, a large pantry, tv area for the kids, and storage space. right now this is working out great for us.

our next house i would like to be a tad bit larger.....not in square footage as i'd be fine with exactly what we have, but in an extra bathroom or 2 and a much much larger kitchen.....better layout. we're planning for the future for kids with spouses and maybe grandkids coming to visit......none of which could fit comfortably in our current house. and of course, my hubby would like that new house to be sitting next to a lake. we'll see
post #32 of 41
We are two adults and two kids, living in a 1700 sq ft house. Officially, 4 bedrooms, 2 full baths. Currently, it is 2 bedrooms, 1.5 bath (will be a 2nd full bath when we get around to fixing the tub!) It feels just right. Two of our bedrooms (about 200 sq ft of the house) are totally devoted to excess junk storage at the moment, but we intend to have maybe 1-2 more kids, so if we end up with 3-4 kids, we will be able to clear out that junk and eventually turn those rooms into bedrooms.

A big part of why I love our house is the open layout. The living, family room and kitchen are basically one huge area, so I can cook or do dishes and still keep an eye on the kids. And the kitchen is set up a big square, so that DD can ride a bike around it when it's yucky outside. The family room will eventually be converted to a homeschool room/ play room (we don't really use that space much at the moment really, other than as a place to toss laundry).

Amount of space that we could comfortably live in, as a family of four? Probably 1000-1200 sq ft, if we got rid of some of our useless junk that just clutters things up.

Our previous house was also 1700 sq ft, and was actually a much better quality house, but the layout was just not so great for kids. It felt too small just because it was laid out in a big line, no open spaces at all really.
post #33 of 41
Our house right now is about 800-900 square feet, although that is just a guess. I find it works just right for us, with two adults and a 2 year old and 4 year old.

It is very small, 2 bedrooms, 1 bath. We took the smaller bedroom for ourselves (it is exactly big enough for a king sized bed, with a small path to the closet with exactly enough room to open the closet doors. That is IT!) The kids' room is slightly bigger, but it doesn't have a closet. There is a decent sized kitchen, dining room, and living room. The bathroom is miniscule, with a sink, toilet, and bathtub crammed into a space smaller than a handicap stall at Walmart.

I'm not counting our backporch/laundry area since it is non-heated space, but it does at least work for storage.

I'm quite comfortable in the house. I have to be absolutely meticulous about organizing, and there is a place for everything in our house. We also don't have much stuff. Our bedroom closet is about a standard sized closet, although perhaps not as deep. It holds: All of my clothes (I hang everything but underwear) all of the kids' hanging clothes, all our movies, all my sewing/crafting gear, as well as random storage things along the top and one side. It is CRAMMED full but it is so organized it doesn't seem so bad.

Our last house was 1200 square feet, 3 bed, 2 bath, and I thought it was perfect for a family of four. The layout of the house was so well thought out that it felt much bigger than 1200 sq feet. (Actually, it was 1147 sq feet.) There was not one square centimeter of wasted space. My only complaint about the house would be that the master bedroom was wastefully large, I would have preferred to have a slightly larger living room.
post #34 of 41
As some of the PP have said, with small houses it all comes down to layout and storage. We are 2 adults, 1 baby, and pets living in ~850 sqft, with 2 beds and one bath. Which sounds like a lot (to me, anyway) but feels smaller than it is because the layout and storage are awful. I think it would be perfectly feasable for us to live comfortably in 850 sqft, just not these sqfts. When I think about what we need/want, extra beds and baths don't really come into play. These are the things that do:

Having a garage would make a huge difference, b/c we have both camping equipment and woodworking tools. You mentioned having a lot of recreational equipment-- when you go house hunting, think about where you can put it.

Having a good-sized pantry would be a big help, at least for me. I like to have a reasonable amount of food on hand-- not like these mamas on MDC that have huge stockpiles (I wish) but it would be nice to have at least enough space so that when, say, oatmeal or toilet paper goes on sale, I can buy plenty without wondering where on earth to put it.

Having a nice porch or deck would also be awesome, even though it doesn't add to the size. Several previous posters mentioned that the size lot or acreage the house is on makes a difference; I guess the subtext is whether your indoor space is ALL you have, or whether you have more space to spread out that is out-of-doors.

Although it's not a space issue, we don't have a fireplace. It's just one of those things that, for us, is a huge quality-of-life thing. Wherever we go next will have to have either a fireplace or woodstove, to keep DH happy. That, plus somewhere to keep (and use!) his woodworking stuff.

What is funny to me is that our last place was a good deal smaller-- an apartment of 730 or so sq ft (1 bed 1 bath)-- but it was a new, very well-laid-out, upscale kind of apartment, that had a private one-car garage, a wood-burning fireplace, a huge (9'x12') balcony, even a pantry. It was much easier to live in that 730 sq ft than this 850!

I think we could actually go even smaller, if the above things came into play!
post #35 of 41
For me, it's all about the kitchen and the closet space.

We (family of 4) lived in a <1000 sq. ft. home with 3 very small bedrooms, 1.5 bath and it worked well because the kitchen had fairly good counter/cupboard space and we put in a lot of built-in shelving. I would have liked a little more storage and an island in the kitchen.

We are living in a much larger, 5 bedroom house now, but it has a tiny kitchen with almost no counters or cupboards. There's also very little closet space anywhere else. 2 of the bedrooms have been built into the renovated basement, but without closets. It's driving me crazy.

I prefer smaller homes, just because the upkeep is easier.
post #36 of 41
If you are only going ot be there 4 years, wy are you buying?
are you not worried about re-selling or getting stuck or upside-down?
I'd definitely make sure, as best i could, that wouldn't hapen, etc.

Our house is 900 sq ft, and tehre are 4 of us all teh time, and 3 more teen boys some of the time. It's excrucistingly small.
post #37 of 41
I think it really depends on whether or not you have a basement.

Where we live now there are no basements. And, we use our garage for our cars (which makes us weird around here). I wouldn't go smaller than 1,000 square feet. We have 1700 square feet (though right now we're using only about 1,000 of it I'll bet (one guest room, one storage room out of a bedroom, and the room outside of our laundry room we moved furniture out of 2 weeks ago but haven't done anything else with it yet.)

That's with 6 people, when Grandma stays with us it's 7! Our inlaws house (2 adults) is just a little bit smaller.

If we had a basement it would be very nice!
post #38 of 41
We lived in about 800 sq ft with one baby and it was way too small, so we added on and now have 1400 sq ft and I love the addition, but really it's too much space!

It's not too much space for all our STUFF by the way, just for the three of us (and baby on the way). I'd rather have a smaller space and less stuff.

I want to live in under 1000 sq ft next time, but it has to be laid out much better than our house was before the addition.

I'd like a large living/dining/kitchen combo, because we have a big living room now and I love the space. Then bedrooms can be nooks--just somewhere to sleep. And I go back and forth on number of bathrooms. When potty learning, it's nice to have a bathroom free NOW so maybe 1.5 baths. But if we had only one, we'd manage with a potty seat in the living room, I'm sure!

When we built our addition we gave ourselves 10 ft ceilings and found that adds tons of storage space. For example, above the coat closet, above the pantry, shelving up to the ceiling in the laundry room, etc, all has lots of up high space for storage so maybe a smaller space with high ceilings to maximize storage and also provide lots of vertical space for shelves and books Plus, then it won't feel as small.
post #39 of 41
Square footage is important, but don't forget to think about layout! That is sometimes more crucial than what the numbers say. If the house isn't laid out in a way you can use it functionally, it doesn't matter how big it is. From my experience, anyway...
post #40 of 41
Our house is around 1150sq ft and I think it is too small. There are two adults, a baby, and a cat. It is a 3 bed/2 ba house. The layout isn't great though. The biggest issue for us is storage. We have NO basement, crawlspace, or storage attic. Not even a closet in the hall. It makes it tough for us.

If our house were on a full basement, I would say it was fine. But since it's not, we hate it.

I would say, if you can afford it, buy something bigger (not big, just bigger). You may need it.

Also, we bought this house over 5 years ago thinking we would be in it for 3-5 years. Then the housing market tanked. We will NOT be able to sell anytime soon. Houses in our neighborhood are not selling. So, if you know you will need something bigger in the near future, skip the small house. I wish we would have! We will probably be here at least another 2 years IF the economy makes a recovery. We may even have to sell for less than what we owe
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