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#1 of 94 Old 01-25-2007, 12:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Is there anyone here with a larger home, or am I the only one? I've got a 5000 square foot house, : and although it's a big one, we do utilize the space. DH and I both work at home so we both have work-spaces here, we have a comfy guest room and bath for long-term company, we have room to spread out, etc.

I know the trend on MDC is to downsize, but I'm just wondering if anyone has a larger home and is using it well?
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#2 of 94 Old 01-25-2007, 10:48 AM
 
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Our house is pretty big counting the finished attic. We moved from a tiny bungalow a couple of years ago in anticipation of DH eventually working from home and my mom coming to live with us. Although neither of these things has happened yet, they probably will in the next year or two. We homeschool and like having the room to spread out projects. Plus we have a lot of pets. Our house is very energy efficient, though, about the same utility bills as the old house, and has a small footprint since it's tall. Some parts of it don't get cleaned as well as the old house did; that's the main downside to me. But it's comfortable and we do use it all.
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#3 of 94 Old 01-25-2007, 11:46 AM
 
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i would say we have a larger home....about 3000 sq. ft including the finished basement. we just moved within the year & seriously debated getting something smaller but everything smaller we looked at needed a lot of work (and we just moved from a 1946 cape cod that we bought from the original owner with original everything! we weren't ready for more of the same).

even though we could live with much less space right now, we're expecting baby #3 in may & are having an 18 yr. old girl come live with us starting in august. the 4 br's will be used up & i'm sure the addition of a teenager will put better use to the basement! i'm confident that our now seemingly huge house will feel well lived in within the year!

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#4 of 94 Old 01-25-2007, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mugglemom View Post
Our house is very energy efficient, though, about the same utility bills as the old house,
Can you tell me more about that? We are thinking of getting solar water and electric to help cut down on our electric bills. They are about $400/month. I don't know if that is due to our electricity usage, the size of the house, or just that electricity seems to be expensive here.
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#5 of 94 Old 01-25-2007, 04:42 PM
 
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Five would be a bit too big for us, but we are perfect with 3,000. It was built in 65 and is better quality construction than I could get with anything new. We did a whole house remodel and made it fit how we live. Six bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, large kitchen, but a small living room. No family room, but DH and I both have home office spaces. I used space to make hallways 5 feet wide, so movement in the house flows really well. We are just on a typical urban lot.

I don't feel like we need to justify this. DH and I have busted our proverbial behinds for the last 30 years so we could enjoy ourselves. We spend a lot of time at home and it is very comfortable for our family. I'm not going to join the myrtar bandwagon here on MDC. If people like a small home, I don't care. I don't want to live like a sardine when I have other choices.
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#6 of 94 Old 01-25-2007, 06:28 PM
 
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We are building a big house. At times I'm embarassed at the size, most of the time I'm pretty comfortable with our decision. The domes are on a full walk-out basement and will end up somewhere around 6500 sq ft when all is said and done. We did plan toward the future, my gram and dh's mom, will end up living with us. Add them to the 2 preteens (and another that's always with us), the toddler and dh & I both working from home and that's a recipe for a big house. Also one of our reasons for building was to have a large enough home for all of my family to be relatively comfortable at holidays, everyone elses' homes did not fit all of us very well We were mindful of choosing renewable, recycled or efficient products the whole way through, that's gotta count for something huh?
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#7 of 94 Old 01-25-2007, 07:16 PM
 
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hi, yes we have a big home... 4000 sq ft, we purchased it last summer almost complete from someone who fell on financial hard times... so while the walls and plumbing was done we got to pick colors, appliances etc... that being said the floor plan is totally wrong for our family... dh knows it ;(

we have a huge room as the nursery dh has an office... i have a quiet room... ds 6 dd 3 have thier own rooms... there is a playroom...we have a huge great room a huge kitchen and a wonderful backyard... i dont see us staying here past the nursery years... 2 more years... we are just a family that needs space..

eventually i would like to move us to a midwestern state . yes i long for a basement !!! but we will have to see how that goes... DH has been with his company for 15 years... i dont want him to leave them now

while bigger is not alway better it definately works for us
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#8 of 94 Old 01-25-2007, 08:46 PM
 
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We're buying a 2700 sq ft house now, including unfinished (but eventually will be) basement. DH and I want a bunch of kids, I'm self-employed and need a home office for my clients, and we have a rather large library. I can fully sympathize with the urge to downsize, and we have very few possessions we don't consider necessary. But, we will never give up our large and growing library

Ashley, Pagan treehugger.gif mama to E (6/09) and my beautiful hbac.gif baby T (4/3/12)
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#9 of 94 Old 01-25-2007, 08:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamasaurus View Post
Can you tell me more about that? We are thinking of getting solar water and electric to help cut down on our electric bills. They are about $400/month. I don't know if that is due to our electricity usage, the size of the house, or just that electricity seems to be expensive here.
By comparison, our house is about 3500 square feet and our electric plus gas bills for last month totalled $200. That's for the Chicago area in winter, our most expensive time. In summer, our bills would total about $50 if we didn't run the AC (which we don't unless it's over 90 degrees). We have gas heat, range, dryer, and hot water. Our house was built about 3 years ago to Building America standards (http://www.eere.energy.gov/buildings...ca/about.html), so it has tons of insulation, etc.

I'd love to eventually get solar something, too, but the payoff just wouldn't be enough for us right now. Sometimes I go stare at our big south-facing roof and dream about solar panels...Are you in a location where solar would work well?
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#10 of 94 Old 01-25-2007, 09:28 PM
 
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I think our house was around 3,500 sq ft before we finished the basement. It's 4 bedrooms and a study. I don't know how much "living area" that project added. There are things I love about the house and things I hate too.

The master BR is a good size but the other BRs are actually on the small side. To me that's actually a good thing. I hope it will encourage people into the main areas of the house when the kids get older instead of having everyone treat their rooms like small apartments.

On the other hand we have a formal living room and dining room that hardly ever get used. We use them for family parties and holidays but otherwise we're in the family room, basement, or study. I often feel like it's wasted space.

I also laugh because each child has his/her own room but everyone sleeps in my bed. The kids rooms are mostly just for storing clothes right now. Dd sometimes plays in her's when she needs alone time but otherwise they're empty. I'm hopeful that they'll eventually move out of my bed but for now we do most of our upstairs living in the master bedroom.

The guest room sees guests a few times a year... right now it's trashed because that's where I was hiding/wrapping Christmas gifts and I haven't cleaned it up yet.

On the other hand... we have a full bathroom on the main floor with a door off of the study. MIL is not in good health and may end up moving in with us eventually. If she does the study will be her BR and she'll have her own bath attatched. This was definitely something in our plan when we bought the house. There's also a good chance my mom will end up with us someday so I'm glad we'll have room for her if needed.

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#11 of 94 Old 01-25-2007, 10:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Are you in a location where solar would work well?

Yes, Hawaii.
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#12 of 94 Old 01-26-2007, 03:18 AM
 
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What a great thread! We are adding on to our house and remodelling at the moment--it's 2900 right now and with the addition it will be almost 3500 plus our porch. But the space works for us and it doesn't feel big to me, but really right. At the same time, even though people are building much, much bigger houses around here, I'm still embarassed at the size when talking with people....ah, well.

Jen, former attorney and now SAHM to 11 yo ds and 8 yo ds

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#13 of 94 Old 01-26-2007, 10:02 AM
 
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Yes, Hawaii.
Oh! Well, I guess you do have sun, then! I envy you, it's absolutely grey here right now.

As for electricity use, have you done things like getting a blanket for the hot water heater, changed to compact fluorescent bulbs, etc.? I've noticed some difference in our bills just from changing burned out lights to compact fluorescents. Older refrigerators are huge energy hogs, too.
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#14 of 94 Old 01-26-2007, 10:13 AM
 
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At the same time, even though people are building much, much bigger houses around here, I'm still embarassed at the size when talking with people....ah, well.
I know exactly what you mean. Most of our friends live in pretty small places and sometimes I feel sort of embarassed, too. But, been there, done that, and we moved to a bigger house for a reason. And we plan to be here forever.
Or at least until I'm too decrepit for the stairs.
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#15 of 94 Old 01-26-2007, 10:58 AM
 
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Wow, I'm really surprised to see this thread on this site.
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#16 of 94 Old 01-26-2007, 01:40 PM
 
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We purchased a 200yr old home almost 2yrs ago half is for rent right now, the half we are living in is 2100sq ft and we plan to return it to SF use in about a year or so and we'll have 4100 sq ft at that point in time. 6br's etc and we have even discussed finishing the attic which would give us another 2000sq ft of living space. Like a previous poster mentioned we'd like a big family and bought the house with the intention of staying a LONG time.

FTR I'm HAPPY to see this thread here. It takes all kinds of people to build a diverse community we can all learn from.
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#17 of 94 Old 01-26-2007, 02:04 PM
 
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My home is just about 4000 square feet of living space. We live in maybe about 2600 square feet of it, we rent out a 900 square foot apartment, and there is another 500 square feet that I am hoping to get turned into an efficiency apartment this year. My house is 150+ years old. It is perfect for my family. I have three kids and they each have their own space (my oldest just moved into a very cool attic room we finished for her this summer), and the income I get for the rental really helps out.
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#18 of 94 Old 01-26-2007, 03:06 PM
 
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Our home is 3500 - we use every square inch of it! I wouldn't want or need to get anything bigger than this, but I certainly would hate to go any smaller.
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#19 of 94 Old 01-26-2007, 03:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What a great thread! We are adding on to our house and remodelling at the moment--it's 2900 right now and with the addition it will be almost 3500 plus our porch. But the space works for us and it doesn't feel big to me, but really right. At the same time, even though people are building much, much bigger houses around here, I'm still embarassed at the size when talking with people....ah, well.
Well, no worries. I'm over being embarrassed, actually. I know why we bought this house, how we are utilizing it, and I know we do a lot in other areas to still be "mindful home managers".

People who have large homes to accommodate aging parents, relatives, guests, work-at-home spaces, rentals to help their income, etc., are not just living in McMansions to satisfy some need to keep up with the Joneses.
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#20 of 94 Old 01-26-2007, 05:24 PM
 
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Not to mention some of us are living in big *old* homes. Would it have been more enviornmentally friendly to let this house rot? Knock it over and build something smaller? Would it have been more frugal? Should I have done that just so I wouldn't have lived in a big home? I don't think that would have been smart at all....
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#21 of 94 Old 01-26-2007, 07:18 PM
 
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Wow, I'm really surprised to see this thread on this site.
Why?

Jen, former attorney and now SAHM to 11 yo ds and 8 yo ds

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#22 of 94 Old 01-26-2007, 07:21 PM
 
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Well, no worries. I'm over being embarrassed, actually. I know why we bought this house, how we are utilizing it, and I know we do a lot in other areas to still be "mindful home managers".

People who have large homes to accommodate aging parents, relatives, guests, work-at-home spaces, rentals to help their income, etc., are not just living in McMansions to satisfy some need to keep up with the Joneses.
You are right, of course. I'm getting over being embarrassed. Part of my problem is that we just moved into this house in an older neighborhood, paid the highest price for a house in this neighborhood and then immediately proceeded to put another 350K into remodelling and adding to it.

People think we're : but I love the house, the lot, the location. It allows us to walk to school, walk downtown and generally be mindful of our resources in other ways. And I would rather remodel an older home than buy a brand new one...

So I'm over being embarrassed now too...

Jen, former attorney and now SAHM to 11 yo ds and 8 yo ds

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#23 of 94 Old 01-26-2007, 08:12 PM
 
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This is an interesting thread. While I don't technically live in a larger home (our home is 2920 sq ft total including the garage - so 2300 sq feet of actual living space) I can identify with some of the comments about having more space to live in. We love our 50-yr old home and it is th absolute, perfect amount of space for us.

I can't imagine being squeezed into a tiny home like a sardine, either. Oh, wait - yes I can - because our first home was 790 sq ft on the main level. It had tiny closets and only 1 person could fit in the kitchen at a time. We had to store the vacuum cleaner in the basement because there wasn't anywhere to put it on the main floor.

I celebrate the day we moved into our more spacious home!! I must have a mild form of claustrophia because house #1 was slowly destroying my soul (I'm kidding, but only sort of). So, let's celebrate a good amount of space - one that works for every one of us!!
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#24 of 94 Old 01-26-2007, 08:38 PM
 
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We live in a large older home and actually I would like to downsize - we simply don't use all the space. That said, it would not be a smart financial move for us to try to sell and move right now so here we stay.

Our electric bill is outrageous and we are struggling to try to figure out why. We have all energy saving lights, all new energy saving appliances, we don't have electric heat. We would love to get solar panels put in but that's not something we can afford to do right now.

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#25 of 94 Old 01-26-2007, 09:06 PM
 
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Why?
Because some of you are living in *gigantic* homes, mansions really. I grew up in a 3500 square foot home and our neighbourhood was labelled "monster homes." I hear people saying that they use the space, and that's all well and good, but I don't think we *should* be using that much space for a single family dwelling. Seems pretty contrary to NFL values IMO.
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#26 of 94 Old 01-26-2007, 09:44 PM
 
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Do you think we should knock down all those big older homes like mine (150+ years old) and build a bunch of small ones? I'm not trying to be snarky...Technically I know you aren't talking about mine because it isn't single family, but if it were, would it be better to destroy it and build new in your eyes?
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#27 of 94 Old 01-26-2007, 09:46 PM
 
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Is everyone here talking about living in old homes instead of knocking them down and building newer, smaller ones, and debating the merits of that as it impacts the planet? If that's the case, then my apologies, but that was not my perception of the discussion here.
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#28 of 94 Old 01-26-2007, 09:48 PM
 
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No, I'm not saying that! I'm honestly just asking your opinion on those big old homes. Like I said, I'm truly not trying to be snarky, I'm just honestly wondering what your thoughts are!
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#29 of 94 Old 01-26-2007, 09:57 PM
 
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Because some of you are living in *gigantic* homes, mansions really. I grew up in a 3500 square foot home and our neighbourhood was labelled "monster homes." I hear people saying that they use the space, and that's all well and good, but I don't think we *should* be using that much space for a single family dwelling. Seems pretty contrary to NFL values IMO.
This is what she thinks. I thought it was very clear.
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#30 of 94 Old 01-26-2007, 10:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I hear people saying that they use the space, and that's all well and good, but I don't think we *should* be using that much space for a single family dwelling.
But not everyone is using the space for a "single family dwelling".

There's been talk here of WAH office space, extended family living with the main family, grandparents moving in, renting out part of the home to help support the family, etc.
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