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Small house thread - Page 7

post #121 of 790
What a great thread! I live in a 720sqft house with dh, ds and our very big lab. We don't have a basement but we do have a detached garage. We just made the commitment to stay in our house for a few more years (we were planning on moving in 08). So we are now trying to declutter.

I think the entertaining issue is the biggest one I have with living in a small space. We had ds's 1st b-day here and with 8 guests it was crammed. We are contemplating seeing if we can tear down part of the wall that separates our kitchen and living room. Our kitchen is pretty big for such a small space and it would make entertaining easier.

As to the craft question. I have no room for my own space. It actually doesn't really bother me. I have been contemplating learning to sew. If I do, I think I would have to start using part of the garage because it just wouldn't work in the house!

post #122 of 790

I am so glad I found this thread!!!

We are a family of three, soon to be four in a 700sq ft house with 2 dogs, a cat, a large skink, and a rabbit. We have one room that is the playroom and we co-sleep in a big bed in one side of the living room. We pay $500 in rent here in california and since there is no way we would get anything else we could afford, we stay!!! Totally outgrowing it! I also teach Bradley classes on the other side of the living room. It is very cozy, but frusterating at times. I am glad I am not alone...
post #123 of 790

I think we qualify! Ours is barely 500 sqft. We do have a garage though and a full attic (but it's unfinished). If it were our we'd put some dormers up there and make it living space, but it's a rental. We have NO storage. Can't wait to read the rest of this thread to see what you all have to say.

ETA: Currently it is just two of us, but in a month it'll be three. We have 6 cats, a dog, a guinea pig, a turtle, 2 finches and fish. It's quite tight. Mostly the issues I have are storage. No counter space in the kitchen. We also have no yard at all. We had to break up a concrete patio to have a garden!

post #124 of 790
Originally Posted by lisa72 View Post
Takes me about 7mins to vaccum the whole thing and I only have to unplug it once.
I can do the whole thing in about 5, closer to 10 when I get the attachments out and do corners, but 10 is pushing it. I put an extension cord on the vacuum so I don't have to unplug once (I keep it wrapped up with the vacuum cord). There are benefits to the small house!

post #125 of 790

New topic bump

So many of us have professed to love our small spaces. If cost weren't an issue, would you move if you could.

I have to be honest...we would probably go up in size so that we could have a 4th bedroom and another living area.
The reality is IF I could find a house that didn't raise our mortgage more than a few hundred/month we'd go for it. I wouldn't move if it meant suddenly increasing our expenses. Since we currently can't go up in space without going up significantly in cost without getting a fixer up (and dh ain't handy!)
post #126 of 790
Yes, we are in 513 sq ft and ideally I would like another room so I could have a room of my own. Also, we don't have a tub in the bathroom and I would like one of those. I don't think I'd want anything much over 1000 sq ft though. I'm a lazy housekeeper and I really like being able to deep clean the house in like 2 hours. Plus bigger houses have always felt un-homey to me.
post #127 of 790
Oh, I wanna join! We're a family of 4 (DH, myself, DD1 27 mo, DD2 who is due any day) plus 8 cats. We had 2 dogs when we moved here as well, but have since found a new home for them. Our house is 800 sq ft with a screen porch on the back & a deck on the front. No basement. An attic for storage, but it's only accessible by a ladder outside. We do have a 2 car detached garage that is currently *full* until spring comes & we can move our storage stuff into the attic for long term storage. On the plus side we're on a very private acre of land, back off the road in the woods, and my kids have a rockin' yard to play in during nice weather!

Our situation is a bit different though. This house belongs to my family & I lived here from birth until age 6 when my parents built a bigger home next door. DH & I also lived here for a couple years while we were engaged & first married. Since we're buying the home from my Mom our payments are VERY flexible, which is part of the reason we moved back. It allowed DH to finish college.

I wouldn't mind having another decent size room. At the moment we have a living room, eat in kitchen, 2 bedrooms, washroom/pantry, and a full bath. We've talked about converting the back porch (8'x24') to a playroom/entry/office space/extra 1/2 bath. Honestly, if we were to do that I think I'd be OK with the size for quite awhile. DD1's bedroom could become just a bedroom & would have plenty of space for her & DD2 to share. DH would have some office space back, which he desperatly misses. We'd have room for a few book shelves. And of course the extra toilet is always nice.

That's assuming we stay here though. DH graduated & is now looking at grad programs & jobs. There's a possibility we may relocate to a neighboring town in the next year or so. But if we do the place we get more likely than not won't be any bigger. Housing prices there are very high and we just couldn't afford a bigger place, even if DH's salary was twice as much as it is now.

post #128 of 790
hi....haven'tread all the posts, but hope to...we are a family of 6 living in a 2 br, 900sf house...it's my fil's house that we don't even pay rent on, so can't complain too much...but i really do like my little home...and it's amazing how much bigger a small house can get when you utilize all the space...when i was pg with dd (baby #4), we finsihed the basement...moved our bed down there...we now spend the majority of our time in the basement that is even smaller than the upstairs, but just love the coziness of having our tv right where the wood stove is...so it's our family/bed wroom. i also have a soap kitchen in our basement that dh built last spring/summer for my little biz. when dd gre out of her cradle that sat right next to me by our our bed, she had to have her own space as she was too easily woken while the other kids watched tv...so we turned our only (little) storage closet into a little br for dd...i LOVE her room...it's as wide as her crib and has just enough room for a glider rocker....just perfect! the boys are upstairs...older two share a room and ds3 has his own room. before dd came the boys were all in the one br.

we don't let the size of our house stop us from what we love most....entertaining....we do it all the time!!

now....two years ago this march, we purchased a 5.6 acre acreage that dh is (someday) going to build a timber frame home on...i don't want huge, but i would like the kids to have a little more space to run around...with there being 4 kiddos underfoot, it can get pretty wild with all the rough housing....and as they get older, i want them to be able to have their own space where they can go have time to themselves, if they need it.

what i love about our small house is the ease of cleaning and picking up...my whole upstairs can go from disater to very well picked up in under an hour...and i can vaccum the whole upstairs at one outlet.

am looking forward to reading the whole thread and learning all your tircks and tips to living in a small home.
post #129 of 790
I would move for a better layout rather than for space. Right now we have one really large master bedroom, a regular sized bedroom, and a "bedroom" that is not even big enough for a bed I would like to have 3 regular rooms so that I could eventually put 2 kids in one room and 2 kids in another then have a master bedroom/office for dh and I. Of course that won't be necessary for a long time yet (they all will be with us mostly for a while to come), but I would like to just have a house and keep it forever rather than trading up and up and up. I prefer to have a smaller house and less stuff. Simple and sustainable living is a value I wish to pass on to my kids
post #130 of 790
so my house must be like 400 sq ft, cuz it sounds wayyyyyy smaller thatn you guys' houses. i have one bedroom that has just enough room for a double bed tucked over on one end of it. there are not closets, just a wooden wardrobe. then i have a livingroom that is about 12 by 15 feet? and a kitchen which is the largest room in the house, and a little mud room in the back that has just enough room for my washer and dryer ( but the hookup doesnt work)

ther is a small metal shed in the back i can put a few things in . we do have a nice big yard.

but i think my entire house is about the size of a 2 car garage. maybe a little bigger. seriously. just me and ds lilve here. the bedroom is essentially his, but i do keep my clothes in there , on one of those cheap metal target rolling rack thingies, and in the wardrobe. his bed is a bunkbed, so i have 3 laundry baskets on the top bunk right now, to store extra clothes in. i put the skinny mattress from the top bunk onto the double-sizede bottom bunk, and alongside that wall, on the actual bunk frame itself, is a cubby-style shelf holding alot of his toys. the futon from the bottom bunk is on the futon couch in the living room, which is hardly ever folded up into a couchm, becasue its my bed!

anyway just wanted to post on here. i like my small house!
post #131 of 790
Originally Posted by sabrinat View Post
So many of us have professed to love our small spaces. If cost weren't an issue, would you move if you could.

Well, we talk about this a lot actually because we love the simple frame/design of our house. It's a rental, so we talk of what we'd do if we owned it. First we'd move it (incredibly simple well built house) to some land, right now we have no yard at all and actually have a driveway that goes all around our house - not our driveway, but goes to houses behind and beside us. We would change the garage into living space and add dormers and insulation to the attic so that we could use that space. We'd still be at about 1100 sqft, but it would be the perfect size, maybe even a little too big. I would probably also add about 5 feet to the kitchen, out the back. I definitely have no desire for a huge house. We could never afford to heat/cool it, and you lose so much closeness as a family in a big house.

post #132 of 790
I love my little house too. It is 925 sq ft for me, DH, 2 DDs, a lab dog and a cat!! We had considered moving before DD2 was born but we decided not to because I love my house too much! It is cramped because the kitchen, living room and 'master' bedroom are all pretty big rooms. It seemed perfect when it was just DH and I. There is a second bedroom that barely fits a toddler bed and changing table (but no worries about bed space when you cosleep!). There is also a small sunroom which sometime around DD1's second birthday became a playroom. No closets except in our bedroom.
post #133 of 790
Today is a day that I'm feeling like our house is tooooooo small. I'm doing laundry (we absolutely have too many clothes) and since we have no extra room the laundry is piled about 6 feet high waiting to be folded. I don't have time to fold it all today since I have a meeting in about an hour. It's frustrating. DH and I are trying to clear out our garage of "stuff" to use for laundry. I'd say I'd get rid of the clothes...but the reality is that I have a super hard time doing it and stressing about doing it will just feel me with anxiety!
I've followed that simplicity thread and while I thought her place looked great and spartan, It's not for me. I have to be honest. I really do like my stuff. I use my stuff. I like having lots of tupperware and more than one pot. It really is just the clothes and the toys...I need to have a garage sale! Too bad I work weekends!
post #134 of 790
Originally Posted by sabrinat View Post
Today is a day that I'm feeling like our house is tooooooo small. I'm doing laundry (we absolutely have too many clothes) and since we have no extra room the laundry is piled about 6 feet high waiting to be folded. I don't have time to fold it all today since I have a meeting in about an hour. It's frustrating. DH and I are trying to clear out our garage of "stuff" to use for laundry. I'd say I'd get rid of the clothes...but the reality is that I have a super hard time doing it and stressing about doing it will just feel me with anxiety!
I've followed that simplicity thread and while I thought her place looked great and spartan, It's not for me. I have to be honest. I really do like my stuff. I use my stuff. I like having lots of tupperware and more than one pot. It really is just the clothes and the toys...I need to have a garage sale! Too bad I work weekends!
It really helped me to realize that we dirty the laundry at the same rate whether we have less or more clothes. So you do the same number of loads regardless - but the difference is, with less clothes, it can't pile as high - so I feel its less stressful that way.
post #135 of 790
My house is almost 1000 sq. ft.--the basement is included in this number. It's a castle for my neck of the woods , actually(downtown Phila)! It was definitely one of the bigger houses we looked at in the same price range.

Right now it's me, husband, and dog, but we are adding one more person in May.

The layout is actually pretty good--the first floor is all open, so we are able to entertain more easily than if it were broken up into separate rooms. Our living room furniture crushed a lot of our space, but it's comfortable so we don't mind too much. We have a table that converts to a smaller size very easily (the leaf simply folds into the table--no disassembly and storage needed) in the dining room and we keep folding chairs for extra seating.

The kitchen is an issue, but I think the space is managed well. I use a lot of hanging baskets for produce and snacks.

My only complaint is our only bathroom--it is only accessible through the 2nd bedroom (which is to become the nursery)

We have a small yard, surrounded by planting boxes and with a little deck--a lot jammed back there for the size, really. It opens into a nice alleyway that we and the neighbors keep clean and pleasant.

We're mostly concerned about where to store all the baby gear that is going to flood our place. Really, all I need is a few things--but people are alreayd buying us a bunch of stuff. This happened when we got married too. People just don't realize that we only want what we need!

I'd love to post pictures of our setup if I can remember!
post #136 of 790
Originally Posted by sabrinat View Post
So many of us have professed to love our small spaces. If cost weren't an issue, would you move if you could.
We wouldn't. Cost really wasn't the reason we chose our small house. I mean, it was to a point because we had a budget and had to find a house that fit in our budget, but we could have picked something larger if we wanted. The only thing that we would change is add a shed dormer to the upstairs--it's a 1 1/2 story.
post #137 of 790

Advantage of small house. Easy to heat. We've been having a bit of a cold snap and even with our high ceiling, I've been able to toss a log in the fire and keep us toasty warm.
post #138 of 790

I have so much to say...

Where to start?

First I want to tell you all about the book that really turned me on to small houses: _Creating the Not So Big House_ by Sarah Susanka. The book looks at smaller homes from an architectural point of view and explains the reasons why your house feels so warm and cozy compared to the big drafty houses they keep building these days... by reading it you might get some ideas for how to improve the beauty and efficiency of your space, but I warn you, a lot of it will probably give you the urge to do some remodeling projects.

I read this book before DH and I married and bought our home, so when I was looking for a house, I was looking for something Not So Big. (The added bonus is the ability to pay the mortgage on one income!) My house is 1600 sq feet w/4 bedrooms, 2.5 small baths, has a 1 car garage and a half finished basement. It is less than half the size of the typical McMansions in our area.

After living in the house for 2 years and figuring out all the things we liked and didn't like about it, we remodeled the entire main level (which consists of living room, dining room, kitchen, foyer/bath/pantry.) We added the pantry, also a phone/mail center, and I took the opportunity to 1) open the space so that I can keep an eye on the playing kidlets while cooking/etc. and 2) precisely configure the kitchen so as to increase the storage as much as possible. I also added three windows on the south side, and I swear, it looks like a totally different house with all the additional light, much bigger despite the fact we didn't add ANY extra square footage.

In order to make this big remodel worth it, we are committed to living in the house for at least 20 years. As a result, we are looking to invest in very long term upgrades and furniture. In addition, every piece of furniture has to earn it's keep. Everything has storage space, even the bench in the foyer has storage under the seat and hooks for guests' coats/bags. The coffee table has drawers and is big enough to double as a train table (the only toy DS has played with in months). We added cabinets around the fireplace (right now they hold toys), and put a closet system in the pantry (elfa when it was on sale--again making a long-term investment) which I LOVE because every once in a while we reconfigure it a little better and fit more stuff in there. Even the bathroom vanity has the drawer underneath the cabinet where the kickboard is. I can get so much stuff in that drawer! Making these big changes has a more significant price tag, but it is worth it to me to pay $99 for a new vanity to get the extra storage that I will use for the next 2 decades.

CRAFTS: We kept the old kitchen cabinets and countertops, and we put them in the laundry room/unfinished part of basement. They aren't installed, but make a perfectly useful counter/storage area. I can store a bunch of craft stuff there (for me, it's mostly photos and scrapbook stuff), and the idea is to eventually finish the room as the laundry/craft room.

STUFF MANAGEMENT: The main use for the countertops right now is that they are the drop off place for any New Stuff coming into the house. I gradually work on finding a specific place for each item, and I am RUTHLESS about not keeping stuff that we don't want or need. One of my projects right now is getting a variety of china/dishes together that I don't have room for/don't want so that I can sell them all at once to Replacements.com where someone else who wants them can have the oppportunity to buy them! I consider purging to be a constant project. I give things away to people who want/need them, sell stuff at consignment sales, donate to goodwill, and we did hold a yard sale, although I am hoping that we won't get that much stuff built up again.

ENTERTAINING: We have hosted successful events up to about... 18 people or so including kids. (We have big families). This has become much more pleasant since opening up the main level. My mom has a set of bamboo trays that we regularly borrow so that people can eat a meal without sitting at a table. We pull out all the chairs as well as folding chairs and maybe the folding table.

The long-term plan is to purchase a extending dining room table that fits through the opening b/tw the living and dining room; hopefully we can seat 12-14 people depending on whether we use benches or chairs. Also, we put a bar counter on the wall between dining room and kitchen w/barstools for additional seating, buffet serving, and for keeping the cook company while not being in the way

This works for us b/c the get-togethers are of the type where people are mainly sitting around talking and eating. In warmer months we also utilize the outside for larger get-togethers.

DECORATING: Well, we have started to hang things on the walls, and its been about a year since we remodeled. Again, I look thru the stuff we have to see what would be an approximate fit. I don't worry about things being exactly perfect (except measurements, those are pretty much in stone). But just group things together and see what works pretty well. Otherwise we don't decorate other than easy houseplants seeing as DS is 2.5 and likes to play football in the living room. A couple green things here and there really adds to a room even if the leaves are a little brown here and there (I'm not sure what color my thumbs are but they sure ain't green)

I feel so good about our house because I love the recycling aspect of improving the space. (I have a ton of additional remodeling plans, poor DH hears about them all the time!) I got the sense when we bought the house that no one had really ever thought of it as a Home, and I have really enjoyed making it into one, even giving birth to DD in my own bathroom, what better karma could a house wish for?

OFF TOPIC(?): I am trying to carry the recycling theme forward as much as possible. When I get the urge to buy something, I try to think, "What do I have already in the house that could be used for this purpose?" Then buy the minimum new items required to complete the task. Just a few weeks ago I put together 6 little baby gifts for pregnant friends: I reused cute baby gift bags (of which I have dozens) and gave each mom a few newborn disposable dipes I had leftover, a couple big underpads leftover from my homebirth kit (you never know when one might come in handy!) a little newborn hat, a few pregnancy tea teabag packets, a bunch of herbs for a perineal compress, and a backissue copy of Mothering Magazine. It got rid of a bunch of stuff I had lying around that was no longer useful to me as we are finished having babies, and I hope it was useful to them...

I have pictures of my remodel, and could probably put together some 'before' pictures but I am a bit Internet-illiterate and don't know how to share them with you all. Any suggestions?

Thanks for reading, sorry for such a long post! It felt so great to write!

post #139 of 790
Loved your post.
Curious, I see you're in north. VA. knowing what a hot expensive market that you're in did that also influence your housing choice?
post #140 of 790

We were lucky to buy before things got really 'hot', and we were lucky that DH owned his previous place and was able to sell for a profit. We were also limited as to where we could buy because DH rides his bike 7-8 miles to work in downtown Wash DC, and I fell in love with Arlington and I cannot think of another place I would rather live. We actually live about a mile from his previous place. We are within a mile of Metro, shopping, multiple parks, bike trails, etc. A grocery store is 3 blocks away.

But even if we could afford a McMansion we wouldn't have wanted to buy one. If we had unlimited resources, I would still want a house about the size of the one we have now, maybe with some green design/energy saving features.

We looked at houses with more square footage, but weren't interested in them because the layouts weren't very efficient and the locations weren't as good. I wanted a small space that was well laid out and efficient, not only inside but as we relate to the community around us. It goes back to our values of wanting to avoid waste and conserve resources. When you have a smaller house, you need less furniture to furnish it, less heat to warm it up, and that less cleaning factor is nice, too.

Also, it just seems like the more space you have, the more stuff you get to fill it up. The more stuff you have, the more time you have to spend managing it/taking care of it. Then you have less time for the fun stuff, whatever subject that may be.

I still have a number of boxes of Stuff that I have to go through that I have been hauling around for way too long. It's a neverending process, but at least now, I can think of several places in the house where there are half-empty shelves.

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