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What is a reasonably sized house? - Page 4

post #61 of 106
I read recently that the ideal you should shoot for, ecologically speaking, is no more than 500sf per person. We've *never* had that much space. Our tightest fit was 4 people in an almost 900 sf condo, and it would have been fine with one more room. Now we're in 1400 sf, with a big yard, and it's plenty of space, although we could stand to declutter. I don't have an office, so I've taken over the dining room table, but we eat in the kitchen or outside during the summer, and it's ok. I could stand one more bedroom, but it's not a necessity.

Dh said he wanted a lot more space in our next house, and I said, "Who do you think is going to *clean* it??" Long pause...
post #62 of 106
Thread Starter 
I asked dh the other day what kind of house he would like, given realistic affordability, and he said a house like ours but with a bigger living room and one extra room. That would probably make around a 1000 square foot house, I reckon. I think that is probably reasonable. But, it's funny how everyone thinks their house would be fine with one extra room. It never ends

I have never lived in a house with a basement.
post #63 of 106
We are moving from our 1500 sq ft home (with full finished basement) on an acre to a tiny seaside island cottage, about 1000 sq ft with no basement and hardly a yard (it might be 20'x20'). There's a barn we can convert to living space, so there will be room for dh's home office (he works from home) and downstairs we can convert a third of it to shed housing the freezer, generator, snowblower, etc and the rest for a living room for the boys as they get bigger and want to hang out with their friends.

My folks live across the street and will allow dh to use one of their 5 bedrooms for dh's office until then.

Our new cottage will have 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom upstairs and the downstairs is basically one open room with a staircase going upstairs. It was built in 1770 (or earlier) and my great grandmother was born in it in 1906. It'll be nice to have it back in the family.

But we're still worried about the lack of personal space. Our current home has lots of little rooms and places to get away. The new one will have hardly any. My saving grace is that the kids will go to school (ds1 starts halfday K and the 3 yr old will go to preschool 2 mornings/wk).

I'm looking for colonial style furniture with dual purposes if anyone has suggestions.
post #64 of 106
since dh and i have been on our own (end of my senior year), we've been in about 1000sf- 2 seperate apartments, one of which felt super small because we always had roommates (once it was dh and i, in one br, a sil and her 2 kids in the other br, my sis and dh's bro each sleeping on a couch in the living room)

our apt in germany was just under 850, and while it was good for the 2 of us, it would have been too small with a baby- we used the extra room for all of dh's army stuff, desk and computer and file cabinet and my craft table as well as the dog kennels. we had a small storage room in the basement, maybe 50-60 sf, and thats where we kept all the christmas stuff, dh's army gear, stuff like that

our house we're renting now is a 2br 1 bath with a den/family room thats about 1000sf, and its perfect for us and the babe on the way and the dogs, except for the lack of closet space.

i dont think its that easy to decide what is a good size, since every family is different. the only thing that bothers me is when on home shows (i watch too much hgtv, lol) a couple has one baby, declare their house is too small, and move into a 4000sf house
post #65 of 106
Originally Posted by momuveight2B View Post
To me a reasonable size home is one we can support on one income or less that way we have more time together as a family and the freedom to pursue other interests.

This was our starting point for finding a house. We wanted something with a decent monthly payment (ended up at 22% of DH's income). Then we looked at neighborhoods we liked. We also looked for a split floor plan with the bedrooms separate from the master, a central open kitchen, and one story. We really didn't look at size, so the house ended up too big for just the two of us at 2200 sqft. We have two rooms we don't go in and we don't use the formals. However we have no intention of moving once we have kids and we do feel really comfortable with room to grow.

My MIL made some comments about not showing off with the house, it's too big, etc. I find their house a little crowded (would never mention it of course!) It's all a matter of perspective about what you find important I guess.
post #66 of 106
How do you calculate square footage? Do you just take the footage of the major rooms, or do you include the entire space (hallways, too)?
post #67 of 106
Originally Posted by Thalia View Post
How do you calculate square footage? Do you just take the footage of the major rooms, or do you include the entire space (hallways, too)?
Entire space - usually, the outside dimensions multiplied. So you also include space taken up by walls in many cases.
post #68 of 106
Oh I am glad I found this thread because we are looking into buying a house in the fall, and these opinions have really put my ideas into perspective. We currently, dh,ds and I live in a 1550 sq ft. double wide and it seems to be about the right size, although I don't really like the layout. We have a huge mbathroom, that I realized I only use and a rather large laundry room that could be a bit smaller, and we have one spare room that is really the junk room as we don't have an attic or basement for storage. I would like to buy a house w/the same amount of footage, but a different layout. Oh and we must have 2 toilets, awful when pg and needing to pee, kwim?! When dh and I were first married we were always needing to use the restroom at the same time, w/just the two of us, so 2 toilets are a must have for us.
post #69 of 106
We're a family of 5 in a 1400 sq ft house, no basement. It's a good size for us right now.
post #70 of 106
I agree with the previous posters who've said its all about the layout.

We are five people in 1100 square feet, with a very small amount of storage space in the garage.

We have four bedrooms, one bath and a dining room. We also have a kind of unusual way of using the rooms - the dining room is my office, the lounge functions as a combined lounge / dining and one of the bedrooms is DH's office. Then DH and I have a bedroom, DS1 and DS2 share one and DS3 has his own room (even though he sleeps with us at night he naps in there during the day).

Our last home was about 2000 square feet with a terrible layout and it always felt cramped and suffocating, where as this home is perfect for us.
post #71 of 106
Our house is about 1200 sf, a bungalow with 2+ bedrooms and 1 bath. (The "plus" room is our home office/craft and giftwrap storage/music practice/catchall room, and it has the coat closet in it since there isn't one near our front door.) We've got attic storage space and a tiny detached garage-turned-workshop. (We park in the driveway.) The layout of the house is really very good, but it is just a little bit small for the four of us.

I want another bathroom, and as soon as DD is fully potty trained I'm going to REALLY want another bathroom! : And I'd also like one additional bedroom, so that the kids can eventually each have their own room and so that they'd have a little more private/semiprivate play and study space. Because of the layout of our house and the small size of our lot, we'll have to add mostly up rather than back, so that means more square footage to account for a stairway, and we might end up adding a little more space to what is now the office to turn it into more of a "family room" just because that would make sense floorplan-wise. So I can see going up to around 1800 sf without feeling like the house was too big. And I am definitely not a fan of too-big houses with rooms that never get used!

Before we bought our house, DH and I lived in a townhouse style apartment that was probably around 900 to 1000 sf. Two bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths, with a large storage closet and a shared laundry room next door. It was a perfect size for just the two of us, although the downstairs did get pretty crowded when we had parties. The living room was kinda cramped for the amount of furniture and stuff we owned.

That apartment was built in the late '60s IIRC and when we moved into a late 1920s house it was interesting to me to notice the way the allocation of space has changed over time. Our house isn't THAT much bigger than the apartment and the number and type of rooms is very close to the same. But in the 1920s home, the bedrooms are small, the closets are tiny, and the living and dining rooms are relatively spacious. Whereas in the 1960s home, the bedrooms and closets are spacious and the "common area" rooms are cramped. I dunno, it says something about the meaning of "home" in our culture and the way our lives and expectations have changed.

Nowadays, of course, in newly built homes everything is gargantuan. : I used to read a shelter mag that had a regular feature on "small houses" -- I believe they defined "small" as anything under 2000 sf. Some of the featured homes were little vacation cabins or quirky custom places, but there were lots of things that qualified as dream homes for me. Those were usually right around 1800 sf.

post #72 of 106
For me, it's all about layout, less important is the square footage.

When we were a family of three we lived in an 1800 sq ft house that seemed cavernous and was more than we needed.

We're now a family of four and live in a 1200 sq ft house that seems too tiny. It's not, it just has a less than ideal layout due to the age of the house (build in the 1880s). Ideally we'd knock out some walls and open it up a bit, then I think the footage would work well for us.

If were house shopping again, I'd give some serious thought to how we live and how we use space. Then I'd search around for a house that matched or build one to suit us (ideal situation).
post #73 of 106
We recently bought a 19th century farmhouse and it is 1400 square feet. We moved from 2100. I have plans to eventually enlarge the kitchen and add a master bedroom with bath on the first floor (for my old age. lol) I would like at least 600 more sq feet. I would like a large kitchen-family room for all my future grandchildren with enough room for them to move my wheelchair around the kitchen when we bake cookies. I would like french doors leading to a huge garden so my nurse can wheel me out there and I can watch my chickens. I have penty of land, but I would like some more room indoors, esp for having large family gatherings. Our barn is bigger than our house.
post #74 of 106
DH and I live in a less than 800 sqft house and have a babe on the way. After combining two households when we got married into this house we felt the pain. The house is great if you're single or starting up/first home couple with a child, but for us, two established adults... argh!

Lately we've had plenty of time to think about what's a reasonably sized home. We purchased a plot of land out in the country and are working on the drawings. The main question we keep in mind is how are life will be when we move in? Are we going to entertain a lot, when do we do what on a daily basis and how we use each room, are we going to have many visitors from out of town, how sustainable can we afford to be, etc. After all those questions, it became pretty clear what was essential and what was not.

Since we are not royalty, we figured we'd do without a formal dining room and a formal living room. We make the plain vanilla dining and living area larger than the usual variety to make up for that, but at least we'll use those areas daily. We go on the premise that we're not going to be buried with our furniture and want to use them until they turn to dust. Ultimately, with bedrooms and a special interest area/room, all we need is about 1800 sqft of inhabitable quarters and we'll use every inch of it (that doesn't include garage and unfinished basement.)

Looking forward to move in next year:
post #75 of 106
Originally Posted by Thalia View Post
How do you calculate square footage? Do you just take the footage of the major rooms, or do you include the entire space (hallways, too)?
Originally Posted by boingo82 View Post
Entire space - usually, the outside dimensions multiplied. So you also include space taken up by walls in many cases.
How do you figure for multiple floors though? I have three full floors and a full basement. I was once told to only calculate the first floor for square footage - but that seemed like cheating given that we have three times more living and storage space than that.

In any case though, I would love more space. My house sounds big, but it's really only modest size. I have a 100+ year old twin, so it's narrow with extremely narrow stairwells and hallways. The one bathroom is gnat-sized. I can literally touch the opposite walls at the same time. With a family of 5, it gets difficult. And few closets. We do have four bedrooms, and that is a great blessing. My ideal house has similar bedrooms but has closets, a second toilet, an eat in kitchen and a larger yard. Ahh... that would be heaven.
post #76 of 106
Different appraisers and assessors and builders and the like calculate square footage in different ways, actually, which is why it's hard to get a consistent number! The simplest way is to measure the exterior footprint of the house and estimate that way. If your house is a rectangle 30 feet by 50 feet, with two stories, you've got approximately 3000 square feet (30 x 50 = 1500, x 2 stories = 3000). But that's going to overstate the living space because it doesn't subtract the space that's inside the walls, and it counts the stairwell space twice when that's really only one "living area". Some appraisers use some sort of rule-of-thumb adjustment formula to account for that.

Another way to do it, and appraisers often do this if they have access to the interior of the house, is to measure all the rooms and add up the area of each. So if you have a 15x30 living/dining room, a 15x20 kitchen, two 12x12 bedrooms and an 8x10 bathroom, you've got 450+300+144+144+80 = 1118 square feet. Of course I'm ignoring hallways and closets and such in this example but you get the idea.

There's no real consistency about whether you count unfinished basements, attached garages, and similar areas that aren't technically living space.

But I will say I've never heard of just not counting upper floors at all!

post #77 of 106
We have 1800 sq ft plus a full unfinished basement and attic. We are a family of 4, soon to be 5.

We go back and forth about the house. I want to downsize to something smaller, but the neighborhood is great and we love living here. We have a nice sized yard, a huge vegetable garden, we can walk to the YMCA, we can walk to the river, all these things have kept us here paying for a biggish old house.

We have a lot of unused space. People come over and ask if we are moving. And then they ask where all of our stuff is.

Oh, and our layout rocks. Nice big living room, big dining room, no formal rooms. It is all very good space, just a lot of it.
post #78 of 106
Thanks for the help with calculating square footage. Our two-bedroom apartment is just shy of 850 square feet. Which is good to know, because although it is not huge, it doesn't feel tiny either. When we are looking to buy next year, it's good to know that 1600 square feet will be double our current space!
post #79 of 106
Originally Posted by momuveight2B View Post
To me a reasonable size home is one we can support on one income or less that way we have more time together as a family and the freedom to pursue other interests.

We currently own a 10 year old house w/1250 square feet and we're about to purchase a 85 year old house w/1300 square feet. Everyone assumes that we're getting a bigger home (yeah, it's 50 sq. feet bigger) but we're really moving for location. Our current house is perfect for our family of four and if we could take it w/us we would.

Our friends and family don't understand why we're not upgrading to bigger digs and definitely can't comprehend why we're buying such an old house. It has so much character, as does the neighborhood we're moving to. Everything is within walking distance, tons of mom and pop shops, parks, library, etc. Right now we have to drive to everything, even to the park to ride bikes. The most important reason for moving is the fantastic school system. People don't understand why we're even thinking about high school now b/c our children are "only" 7 months and 4 years old.

I have friends who have McMansions and can't afford to furnish rooms and can't afford to heat and cool their house. I just can't understand that. It's all about appearances.

To answer the OP's question, I think anything between 1200 -1500 sq ft is comfortable for a family of four, at least ours.
post #80 of 106
Ours is 1100 sf, which has been perfectly adequate for three. We're adding a fourth, though, which is going to mean eliminating the study, which is a bit of a bummer. Our other issue is storage--we have no basement, attic, or garage. I am going to have to chuck a lot of stuff and be creative.

Having only one bathroom has become slightly more of an issue since DD potty-trained, too! ("Mama, I neeeed to gooooo!")
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