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Small house thread - Page 35

post #681 of 790
Yesterday, I was feeling a bit bummed about the size of our home (1700sf/ 6 people) and then I remembered...affordable mortgage. Thank goodness! It's allowed us the flexibility of dh being able to go to grad school and me to still work parttime. I have to admit sometimes it is hard and I wish we had one more room, but not "being house poor" or overly stressed about staying afloat is a blessing that I need to remember from time to time.
post #682 of 790
Well, we just spent way too much money on a flat screen TV and one of those IKEA storage unit thingies for it, but oh, my gosh, if the money spent on this (since dh is unwilling to get rid of the TV altogether) can keep us sane in this house for a few more years, it was money well spent. The storage space is FANTASTIC. I no longer feel like my house is too small, although it's still true that the only space in the whole house bigger than what's necessary to walk through is in our bedroom, and even that is only big enough for a pack 'n play. Still. Bring it on, baby!
post #683 of 790
Originally Posted by Juliacat View Post
Well, we just spent way too much money on a flat screen TV and one of those IKEA storage unit thingies for it, but oh, my gosh, if the money spent on this (since dh is unwilling to get rid of the TV altogether) can keep us sane in this house for a few more years, it was money well spent. The storage space is FANTASTIC. I no longer feel like my house is too small, although it's still true that the only space in the whole house bigger than what's necessary to walk through is in our bedroom, and even that is only big enough for a pack 'n play. Still. Bring it on, baby!
This is so true. Something I'm struggling with a little bit right now. I was just talking to DH last night, wondering out loud about how people allocate fund for big items. Right now we have a very affordable mortgage, no car payment, and we have the luxury of spending money on things like activities for the kids, alternative health care, things we want to do. Not frivolously of course, but we have the opportunity to do things we wouldn't if we had a more expensive house and a new car.

Which IKEA thing did you get? I really want to get better storage too, because we basically have to live *with* everything all the time. I was thinking about getting a whole wall of IKEA bookshelves in one room. The closest IKEA is 2 hours from here though, so I need to do my research and know what I am going to get ahead of time.
post #684 of 790
I also want to have more of an attitude of "my house is huge" instead of always going around thinking we don't have enough storage, we don't have enough space for people to come over, we only have one cramped small bathroom, etc.
I feel like we don't really use the space we have very efficiently. I want to create spaces around my room, where each room has specific spaces in it, zones I guess, where it is very clear what goes where and what activity that space is for. I am having a hard time with that though. I think I expect it to all be perfectly laid out before I can begin.
post #685 of 790
We just bought our "small" house on Tuesday . Now that we are trying to paint every single room before we move in on the 27th, the house doesn't feel that small at all! Actually, I really think it's the perfect size (1200 sqf for six of us), and I continue to be surprised by the comments from people who come to see it and exclaim over how small it is. My mom can't stop talking about the addition(s) we'll need to put on. I love that it feels totally manageable for us as first time home buyers.

One thing that we're doing to conserve space is that we just bought a low-loft bed for our kids (we already have a bunk-bed). The ceiling in the kids' room slants down so that there wasn't enough ceiling height for a second bunk-bed, but we realized that we could get a low-loft bed and turn it into a shrunken bunk-bed (with a mattress on the floor as the bottom bunk). In general, I think "lofting" as much as we can will add tremendously to the space. We are putting a small loft into the playroom as well, thereby nearly doubling the amount of play space.

I'm also planning on drastically cutting back on the amount of clothing that is readily available for the kids, putting the wrong-season clothing in storage in the basement, making sure no one has more than 2 sweaters/hoodies, 2 pairs of pajamas, etc.

post #686 of 790
Congrats! :

We're putting an addition on our home to bring it up to roughly 1200 and I agree... 1200 just "feels right" for a family (in the 4-6 member range).

Feeling huge- my MIL gave us a few books that profile Japanese homes and modern "minimalist" spaces. I'll confess that there are maybe three homes total between the two books where I could imagine living without going totally nuts. But it is very inspiring to flip through the books and see all the "space" available in a home with a 400 sq/ft pad when it's beautifully arranged. I think so much of the "problem" in modern Amerinca housing is the lack of planning. Like the "Not So Big House" books point out... people keep building sq/footage in an attempt to get the quiet/privacy/storage that is possible in a much smaller space if it's planned for. So it's not that you need more space to live in comfort, you just need planning... but it's often easier or more socially acceptable to choose "more".

Ah well! It's all good.
post #687 of 790
We are 3 hours from the closest IKEA, but we happened to be in the city for an unrelated reason AND we happened to have a friend with us who happened to have a pickup truck, so dh decided to bite the bullet and go for it. (We have money sitting in checking that we are afraid to use because dh works in an industry that could lay him off at any time and it would be very difficult to find another job in this economy.)

We got something like this although the back is all solid, not see-through like in the picture. It holds oversized books, photo albums and record albums, which are hard to find a place for. I'm also thinking of reserving a couple of the bottom cubes for toys for the kids so they can keep some in the living room and not all in their room. (I am reminded of when I was little and my grandmother said "My friends don't like toys in the living room" and my dad replied, "They don't?! What's WRONG with them!?!!?" )

Anyway, the only drawback was that dh had to move the coathooks all the way to the wall, and the other side of the unit does overlap our bedroom doorway by a couple of inches. But it's fine, and the living room looks a thousand percent better now.

Originally Posted by momofmine View Post
Which IKEA thing did you get? I really want to get better storage too, because we basically have to live *with* everything all the time. I was thinking about getting a whole wall of IKEA bookshelves in one room. The closest IKEA is 2 hours from here though, so I need to do my research and know what I am going to get ahead of time.
post #688 of 790
I lurve IKEA! We're a solid 5-6 hours to the closest IKEA, closer to 8 hours to the IKEA near friends so we generally combine a 'visit friends" with a "shop IKEA" long weekend. We used to live in Stoughton and now there's an IKEA there. Probably a good thing it wasn't there when we were though.

Ideas needed- the weather is turning cold. Outdoor temps are in the 40s, warming into the 50s at midday. It's nice, but soon it'll be hard core winter outerwear season. How does everyone handle the outerwear problem?

Our front door (only door) open directly into the kitchen. There are no closets or cubbies, and no real "wall space" near the door (counter top on the left as you enter, shelves behind the door on the right). Last year we hung hooks on the only available wall but it's not a good location (all the way across the ground floor, between the stairs and the bath so bulky coats get in everyone's way assuming they make it to the hooks). We need space for indoor shoes, outdoor boots, snow pants, coats, hats/gloves/scarves for a 4yo, a 2yo, the babe, Dh, and I.

How do other cold weather small house mamas cope? I see these amazing "mud room" articles in magazines and drool...
post #689 of 790
As I've said before .... less than 800 sq ft for a family of 6. It felt great when the twins were tiny. But now I feel my home shrinking right in front of me. Today I look around and think: there is not one space that is not cluttered. Just a bad clutter/mess/junk/crap day. And so I feel like doing nothing and looking at it and, well, whining about it.
post #690 of 790
I haven't been on this thread in a LONG time We are a family of 6 (plus an assortment of critters big and small) in around 1000sqft. I really don't feel like our house is too small most of the time. Only when tripping over something for the millionth time in a day

We are in a bungalow with a basement that is unfinished, so we can only use it for laundry (and litterboxes!). It is cozy, but functional. We could use another bathroom though.

How do other cold weather small house mamas cope? I see these amazing "mud room" articles in magazines and drool..
I scored some really old school lockers off of Freecycle. They were being used in a work truck and were really rusty. I repainted them and put them next to the back door. There are six lockers and each is painted a different colour (to correspond to a family member). All coats/shoes/outside necessities go in the locker. On the other side (behind the door) I hung up pegboard. That way we can hang up bags, keys, and other things. It is working really well!
post #691 of 790
dd1's preschool uses the "repainted school locker" idea and I really like it! We don't have the space for it in our house though because of the way the house is arranged.

It's one 20x22 ft room (toilet/shower walled off of this) with a single door and lots of oversized windows. Which makes it light and airy but limits wall space. Upstairs is a 20x24 sleep loft. The ceiling is full height only in the very center of the room and then slants straight down to the floor (the knee walls ar only 18 inches tall). Turns out the previous owner/builder intended to build a house but only finished the one car garage... it's one reason we're putting the addition on. Despite the bank, insurance, and lawyers going over everything, the structure was never approved as a residence. According to the county it is a garage, no one can sleep in it, and they can make us leave at any time since it's not a legal habitation. The addition will fulfill the "convert to residence" requirements. But it's slow going since it's all DIY as we have the budget.

Anyway, the only door opens into the space with the stove and sink (so "kitchen") and you then walk past the wood heat stove and into the "living room" (a couch) and "play corner" (piano, play stove, bookcases). There is no wall area for hooks or shelves, and no floor space by the door (it is in the corner so it can't even swing open the full width... we have to remove it to get large items in/out).

Once the addition is up this wont be a problem... and it's not a problem in warm weather. Just now when I know I'll be pulling out heaps of bulky outerwear and dealing with nasty wet/snowy/muddy boots! It's one reason I rant about planning... this house has plenty of "space", but it's not arranged in a useful way!

Let me see if I can find pictures...
post #692 of 790
I just got notice that I will need to move from my 1400 sqft rented home.
With three kids, two being girls...I can put the girls together. But my son is 13 and I know he doesn't want to sleep with mom, and he probably needs his own space. I need my own space too. How do you manage it?

I'll be moving into a smaller (possibly 1 - 2 bedroom) house.

Also, how can I find these types of homes? I live in a city.

post #693 of 790
How old are your girls?

In a two bedroom scenario you could put the girls in bunk beds in "your" bedroom with your son on his own. You could put all the children in one larger room using a divider to create privacy (an oversized headboard can create two rooms... one on either side for example). Or you could put the girls in one room, the boy in another, and a futon/fold out/convertable bed in the living room for yourself.

The real trick in terms of creating privacy is to try to see the space as a blank canvas and then focus on function. It may be that a roomy "living room" would make a nice "three kiddo bedroom" and a "bedroom" could be adapted as the tv/media/homework/comfy couch space. If a bedroom is strictly for sleeping it doesn't need to be large, or even private (in terms of private = alone in the room). It just needs a comfy sleep surface and some white noise/light blockers. Recruit your kiddos in the process too... it's possible that your son would enjoy having a murphy bed or lofted bed in what might otherwise be the living room. Or if that gives him too much "late night" freedom, you may find that having your own sleep space in the living room is a better idea (so your "private space" is more based around time... kiddos in their rooms, you have the rest of the house to yourself!).

Books, magazines, and design shows that focus on loft living and open concept design may be a good place to start browsing. They'll show you ways to create themed/private spaces within an open space and even though you'll be working with a smaller footprint, the techniques still apply. Curtains, freestanding bookcases, loft beds, ceiling mounted storage or appliances, area rugs that define specific living spaces, etc can all be scaled up or down to suit a space.

But... a lot depends on how the space is laid out. And I'm not sure how it would work if you could only find one bedroom places... with a single bedroom and the desire to give/get some privacy I think you'd really need to consider the "sleep in the living room" option. (growing up we didn't heat the upper floor of our old farmhouse. So in summer we all had our own rooms but in winter we all slept on fold out mats in the living room... making the beds each night and hiding them away again each morning. It's very Japanese actually, so books on Japanese home design might inspire you and your teen as well!)
post #694 of 790
We also had the problem of winter gear.... so we are in the middle of building on an entryway and HUGE closet! It will add about 75sqft of space and its awesome. We plan on using the closet for coats, boots, sports/outdoor gear, gun safe, vacuum, christmas and halloween stuff, and *maybe* a freezer. I can't wait!! We wanted to have it done before it got cold, but we were a bit late starting, and the money issue sucks. Oh well, we have it all dried in, insulated, wire run but not hooked up yet... Now to cover the walls inside, paint, and put in wood flooring.
post #695 of 790
Woohoo! We're finally in our new house! Well, we have the keys and we've been visiting each day to clean up and will start doing some renovation work this weekend. (Hopefully! )

We officially move in the 1st of October (when the lease to DH's place runs out), but will wait to move EVERYTHING that's stored at my parents until we've done most of the bigger work.

Welcome to my home! It's roughly 935 sq ft on 1/3 of an acre but feels incredibly HUGE after the small space we've been living in.
post #696 of 790

We are a family of 5 (3 adults, 2 children) living in roughly 900sf. Its 2 bedrooms, two bathrooms, which works just fine. We are in need of a MAJOR declutter though. It was originally just DS and I, which was way more space than we needed of course. But then DS's dad moved back in, bringing with him his entire apartment. Then my sister and her DS moved in, bringing in even more stuff. So a lot of things need to be purged, like toys (had that pared down to just the basic good quality toys until they moved in), dishes, blankets, clothes (did I mention DS's dad hasn't gotten ride of one article of clothing in like 5 years?). I am constantly tossing stuff and bringing stuff to goodwill but it doesn't seem like I'm making any progress! DS and I might be living on our own in an RV around this time next year though so I really have to learn to simplify!
post #697 of 790

I declutter too and yet there always seems to be more.

I sooooo envy mudrooms. We're building an addition slowly but surely and once it's done (or even roughed in) there will be plenty of room for winter gear but till then I'm stuck! I'm planning on hanging hooks for the girls below the shelves, putting a shallow mudtray under that for the really messy boots. Then an over the door hook (fingers crossed the draft wont be too bad) with several hangers for DH and I. Maybe bags to hold hats/gloves/scarves? The girls can't reach the bottom shelf easily so bags hanging with their coats may be easier and visually less cluttered.
post #698 of 790
i am moving into temporary housing with 1ish bedrooms it's this 100 yr old place on an old ranch that has literally 3 rooms. a "living room", a bedroom, a kitchen and a bathroom. i have 2 little kids and i enjoy my own sleeping space however i have no idea where to start (and no money for stuff). since it's a temp housing thing the owner will furnish 2 twin beds and a futon for us to sleep on (and whatever else but i have my own stuff). i am afraid of sleeping on a futon (it felt better than crap though) as i already have a bad back and am pregnant now. i would love a trundle bed for the kids but i can't afford that. if i use the 2 rooms as bedrooms then i suppose my room will also house the tv or i could put us all in one room and curtain it off, then all the kids toys and media will be in the other space. there's one semi largish closet (2 linen closet size) and i can fit all of our clothes in there however i also have stockpiles...ugh. i am hesitant to part with what i have left (it's all precisely what i want) but i may have to pare it down more. my washer, dryer, couch, bed, and bunk beds i am HOPEING exdh will use/store for me since he has the 3 bedroom house. i'm excited (i've been searching for rentals for too long and this isn't even what i want exactly) but i know i'll be moving again (who knows where) in 3ish months so i don't want to delete my options (i.e. get rid of to much then have a new empty place AND no money). i'd say the place is roughly the size of my 70's single wide trailer i am in now if that gives you any idea on size. i want my home to be homey, inviting, loving...i really need that right now.
post #699 of 790

350sq ft

for Dp,myself a 4 year old and a 6 month old. But we live on a rather large farm and have a giant boxcar for a storage container and various other storage units around. It took about a year to get used to but it has been wonderful after the initial shock of it. Because our overhead has been so incredibly low, DP has been able to stay home most of the time and go to school as well. It has been great to have him be able to see and be involved with the kids as much as he is. However, we both know that it will be too much for both of us to have our kiddos turn into teenagers in this space lol, so eventually we will get something bigger. I have to say that even though I fought it tooth and nail at first (and it was a completely VOLUNTARY decision on both our parts), I am going to miss our teeny tiny house days. But that time is far enough off yet that I can still enjoy the fact that I can take 5 big steps and cross my entire place.
post #700 of 790
dhinderliter- Is the closet big enough to be a sort of "snuggle nest" for the girls? Friends of mine turned a large closet into a sleep space for one of their kiddos and although there were a lot of Harry Potter jokes from the older sibs, the kiddo in question adored it. He had sleeping bags and pillows and hooks on the walls to hold special "preschooler treasures". It was more or less just a sleep space, and they replaced the door with a curtain so there was no real risk of him shutting himself in. I don't know if your littles would like it, but if they were snuggled in their "special space" (let them cover the walls with art/pictures/fabric?) then the bedroom could be for you and for the stockpiles/clothing. That would leave the "living room" for living. Especially since it's short term it may work? Good luck! I hope you find a really great tiny house soon.
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