or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Small house thread
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Small house thread - Page 39

post #761 of 790
I love reading this thread so I guess I should just get it over with and post

We are a family of 4 living in a 700sf apartment style condo. Location is very important to us and we are just outside of downtown. It is a really modern and stylish layout, very open, no hallway. One of the big selling points of the place was a walk through closet between the master bedroom and bath - perfect!

We bought 2.5yrs ago when we had one 18mo child. I grew up in a house but have lived in apartments for 11yrs. DH and I have been together now for 9yrs. For the past 5 we have shared a car and DH works downtown, which meant that the price of living in the inner city was more worth it for us than for some. Before kids we scorned the whole idea of buying a home and cruised through many happy years of a renter's market, living cheap, traveling and paying off debt. Sigh, the old days

I can easily see the practicality of a larger space now...more room to entertain, backyard, home office. As much as I'd appreciate these things I don't ever think I could live in a really large house - who would clean all that?? I also don't want to trade the neighborhood - by far the most walkable place I have lived, even by 3yo standards. I think about 1000 sf with a small yard sounds perfect
post #762 of 790
Thanks for the suggestions to my lament! I do think we could probably get rid of even more stuff, it's just that we actually do use these things because we homeschool and my kids are tinkerers. They are project happy.

I feel like part of this is sort of a huge dilemma in feeling like I am shifting away from my previous values. I used to value simplicity, staying home with my kids, not consuming more than what I need for the basics. Now, I look at other homes and feel a twinge of jealousy. I want a neighborhood where my kids can go out and ride their bikes, I don't want to be so close to a busy street, I want a second bathroom! LOL. I am grateful to have what I have, so when I talk to DH about this, I feel like I am being greedy or something. He is more of a "making do" personality. When it comes to life in general, he just kind of rolls with it, whereas I tend to always be like "okay, what's next??" I think I need to get myself busy thinking about other things and get my mind off of this. But part of me is just feeling so stuck in this house. The clutter is overwhelming and making me feel like I just can't focus on anything else. I keep thinking things like, I just need some more bookshelves and then I could put some of these stuff up and out of the way. But then we are waiting to fix the floors to get any more shelves. It seems like everything is waiting on something else. So it makes me want to just make a decision and do something about it. Either put my energy into making this home what it can be, or look for something different.
post #763 of 790
Quote:
Originally Posted by momofmine View Post
I feel like part of this is sort of a huge dilemma in feeling like I am shifting away from my previous values. I used to value simplicity, staying home with my kids, not consuming more than what I need for the basics. Now, I look at other homes and feel a twinge of jealousy. I want a neighborhood where my kids can go out and ride their bikes, I don't want to be so close to a busy street, I want a second bathroom! LOL.
I totally feel your pain on this. The social pressure to live in a bigger house is really prevalent here. Virtually all of DD's friends have backyards and I am embarrassed to host playdates and parties, except for our very close friends. I know most of these people are in debt up to their eyeballs but I still feel like a bad provider The only children in our neighborhood are those of recent immigrants who are renting for a couple years before they get their big single family house. It is a weird vibe...I feel that walkable/central location vs. 'neighborhood feel' is a pretty close judgment call and it's odd that we are the ONLY ones with children who picked location. I think that personally I need to find some middle ground. A 3000sf home out in the sprawl would make me hate mysef too.
post #764 of 790
Can I join? Oh the dilemmas and joys of a small home!
We are myself, DH of nearly 5 years, and our son who's 4 months. We bought our home a year before getting pregnant, when we still had two incomes and before pay cuts. The house is a 1100 sq ft duplex on a 6600 sq ft lot, just at the edge of downtown, our ideal location. We own the whole thing, so the plan was to combine the units when kids came along, but with pay cuts we can't afford that, so we are living in the back unit, which is 500 sq ft, with a nice back yard and a 1.5 car garage. It's a bit cramped with only one small bedroom, but we fit! We love it that it takes 20 minutes to clean, you don't have to shout to be heard, and you don't have to have much to make it homey
post #765 of 790

Bumping this thread back up to show off our basement renovation. smile.gif  Our house has 850 sq. ft. on the main floor -- 2 BR, 1 bath -- and the full size basement, pre-renovation, had a storage room, a large open area we used as a playroom and computer area, and 1 bedroom with a window that barely met code. Which meant we were not comfortable having our oldest down there. With the 5 of us squeezed into the 2 small bedrooms upstairs, it was getting cramped. Moving to a bigger house was out of the question, as our area has not been affected by recession and housing prices are very high compared to when we bought 5.5 year ago (we could easily sell our house now for double what we paid for it).

 

So in late March of last year, we gutted the whole basement down to the concrete walls and started over. We DIY'ed the whole job, including cutting out openings for and installing 2 new windows in the 2 bedrooms, we even did all the plumbing for the new 3 pc. bath and all the electrical. We now have a basement with 2 bedrooms, a 3 pc. bath, storage/utility room and a lovely family room. Our home is now a 2+2 bedroom, 2 bath home and it will allow us to stay here in our house for years to come.

 

As I said, we started in late March of last year and the major work was done and the basement was habitable by the time the big kids started school in September. I'm not going to lie, it was a very long, tiring and trying project and I had more than one hissy fit about not having a usable basement for such a long time. But it was worth it in the end. Each of my kids has their own room and they love having their own space!

 

Finally a link to my flickr with before and afters... don't mind the dates on my pics, I never set the correct date on my cameras!  LOL!

 

 

 

post #766 of 790

wow, great job!

 

quite an undertaking.  i wouldn't even know where to begin with such a project.

 

what a great feeling to finally have it done.  kudos to you!

post #767 of 790

love the basement renovation.  great job.  we have that exact same kitchen set.  My kids use it on a daily basis.

post #768 of 790

The basement renovation looks great! thumb.gif

post #769 of 790

Wow, what a great use of all the space you have!  It came out great!!!

post #770 of 790

Beautiful renovation!

We are considering buying a larger home (1000 sq ft vs our current 500), but it would need to be totally gutted and renovated...Your project gives us hope!

post #771 of 790

Wow, great renovation with the basement, it's so bright and pretty now!

post #772 of 790

Gosh I love this thread though I've never posted. I haven't felt our space is "too small" until just recently as we are planning a kitchen renovation and I just don't have big enough areas to do what I want!

 

We are three: dh, me and ds who is 8 in a house that is I think total 1100 sq. feet. The basement is not finished and used only for storage. Can I ask...what do other people have as far as an eating area/area to sit around a table and play a board or card game/workspace (non-computer) and workspace with the computer? I am trying to figure out how to fit these areas into our eat-in but small kitchen and living room area. We don't have a dining room. The areas can be combined - like I do plan the eating area can be the game playing and non-computer workspace but I am having trouble fitting in a table that will sit even as many as 4 as well as have a computer area. (Currently the computer is in the living room which totally works for us.)

post #773 of 790


 

Quote:
We are three: dh, me and ds who is 8 in a house that is I think total 1100 sq. feet. The basement is not finished and used only for storage. Can I ask...what do other people have as far as an eating area/area to sit around a table and play a board or card game/workspace (non-computer) and workspace with the computer? I am trying to figure out how to fit these areas into our eat-in but small kitchen and living room area. We don't have a dining room. The areas can be combined - like I do plan the eating area can be the game playing and non-computer workspace but I am having trouble fitting in a table that will sit even as many as 4 as well as have a computer area. (Currently the computer is in the living room which totally works for us.)

 

I have spent the past 2.5 years trying to figure this out.  Seriously.

 

We have a kitchen/living/dining room in a 700sf apartment.  I will try to describe it for you and let me know if you want a pic and I will post it when I'm at home.

 

The west half of the room is the living room with a flatscreen TV and cabinet on the west wall.  The couch faces the TV and divides the room.  The east half of the room has a kitchen 'peninsula' coming out from the east wall.  One side is kitchen and the other side is dining room/computer area.  Basically the dining room is a skinny rectangle.

 

Our computer is a laptop and it lives on a console table against the back (east) wall of the dining room.  I couldn't find a skinny desk when we were furnishing but I've seen great options since.  Under the console table we also have two stools which we bring out if we have company.  I have a rectangular dining table  along the side (south) wall with its end to the wall.  We have two chairs on each side.  The other end goes out into the room.  There's just enough room between that end and the 'peninsula' to walk through and sit at the chairs.

 

For the longest time I tried to put the table lengthwise in the dining room - it seems so intuitive!  We even bought the narrowest table we could find.  I had the table's side against the wall, which worked fine as long as we were seating three (one end has a leaf so you would have to sit sideways.)  Then came baby :-)  I tried to put the table lengthwise in the middle of the room but there wasn't quite enough clearance for chairs on both sides and I was always having to get out if our 4yo had to go pee etc.  Putting the table END to the wall actually created a narrower space to walk through, but since there are no chairs there it works better.  There is tons of space now to pull the chairs in and out.

 

I wanted to have the capacity to entertain in our place which is why we have a leaf table and the console table also folds out into a 4 seat dining table.  When I had 9 for Thanksgiving I pushed the couch into the dining room and had the dining table and console table set up in the living room.  Totally worked!!

 

The previous owners of the home had a round dining table in the same space.  It looked OK but not a huge amount of clearance for chairs and no capacity to entertain.

post #774 of 790

I am glad I'm not the only one trying to figure it out. Thanks Nina! I can picture what you are saying and can see how turning the table made a difference. I am toying with the idea of a wall of bookcases (I like that look) with a desk that comes out at right angles for the computer. I do need something that can accomodate a printer and we have a big monitor (I'd rather have just a laptop - so much more convenient).

post #775 of 790

Katiecat, we have a floor-to-ceiling wall of bookcases... it rocks for space-saving.  BUT right now it's gotten cluttered with games and a few boxes and books wedged in on top of books standing up and some other miscellaneous stuff shoved here and there, and there's not one free space to put one more thing... with the clutter it's a really imposing eyesore, and it's really affecting my chi (or whatever that is).  I MUST declutter and organize it!!!  

post #776 of 790

I think that is a common problem with open shelves!! Are the bookcases built in? I am just thinking to buy 3 bookcases or something like that. I know I love pictures in magazines of a wall of books but in reality it's easy for it to get too cluttered and filled with other things that don't look so nice.

post #777 of 790

i agree bookcases either look nice, but then are just full of dusty nicknacks or are full of stuff and look cluttered.  maybe try ikea, they had lots of shelving units where you fit bins or baskets which would look much neater

post #778 of 790

Well, the shelves are in our kitchen... there's a built-in upper/lower kitchen cabinet in the middle of the wall and then we put matching floor-to-ceiling bookshelves on either side.  They aren't custom (dh made them, but not specifically for this space) and aren't built-in, but they fit pretty well.  It's just so easy to put stuff on them!!  And when it's a whole wall that looks cluttered, it can really make a huge negative impact on the room... and our kitchen is the first room you enter when you enter our house, making matters worse.

 

We have another small wall of bookshelves in our bedroom (2 matching shelves side by side between a wall and the door) that I bought a few baskets for.  The baskets look great, but they were expensive to find the right size... so everywhere there's not a basket, it looks cluttered.  If we used the shelves for just books and anything else was in baskets, it would probably look good.  But we have so much other miscellaneous stuff that doesn't have another home!  Think I need to do some spring cleaning!!

 

post #779 of 790

just found ya'll (again?). We solved the small house issue 3 years ago by doubling our square footage (754 above ground to 1200 above ground).  There are still issues.

I'm so impressed with the basement work. I'd LOVE to do that to our basement -- it could mean we have the tv not in the living room and my husband's "office" space could move there as well.

post #780 of 790
We're a family of 4 (soon to be 5) and a cat. We currently live in a horribly layed out 4 level split that totals 2215sqft including the basement (furnace room & cold room included). There are 3 br upstairs, and 2 more on other levels, and FOUR bathrooms! Oh and a huge hard to maintain lot & double detached garage. My bro-in-law has lived with us most of our time here (and we renovated the basement for him to live in) but he's moving out May 1 and we're itching for a smaller place.

We're considering moving to a 3 br & 1 bathroom 1000sqft house in a small town within commuting distance to dh's work. It would seem like a crazy move to most of the people we know (esp my mom!) but is actually exciting to think about. We'd find it so fun to sell our furniture & start fresh with new stuff to fit. It's a 100 yr old house but recently modernized so quite nice and fresh looking. Anyway, I just wanted to say that this thread is motivating me to do this & we are having a viewing of the house tomorrow. orngbiggrin.gif
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: The Mindful Home
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Small house thread