I feel like the odd duck out, but space is relatively important to me.
This is our 3rd house, each house we've bought is bigger than the previous house. Our current house is a 1400 sq ft 3 bedroom 2 bath rambler, it had an unfinished basement when we bought it. To start with, our children all shared bedrooms. But shortly after moving here, we decided to give each of them their own room, and it was a HUGE help to family harmony. When we moved them, we put the oldest kids in the basement and literally hung sheets from the ceilings because there weren't walls yet. And even that was an improvement over sharing rooms. The kids were thrilled to have their own spaces.
We're slowly finishing our basement, and by the time it is done we will have 2800 sq ft of finished space, which I think most people posting on this thread would consider a big house. But most of that space will be used frequently. My home is where I spend most of my time, and to me it's worth it to pay more for a home that will allow me to live in a way that is comfortable and enjoyable.
You're not the odd duck out. Space matters to us too, for essentially the same reason. But we're fine with smaller-sized bedrooms, and some well-designed living areas. A big enough kitchen for two of us to cook together, a big enough dining area to feed up to 12 people (we like to have friends over), and a big enough family/play room to set up our home theater/game room (again, we entertain! lol), and a nice outdoor space are kinda must-haves for our preferred style of living. That's just what we like to do - and we're homebodies, we spend most of our time at home. =)
When we were renting, we were in apartments/rental houses at about 1000sf (just the two of us) and that was tight, because there was never enough room for entertaining. This house (the first we've bought) is about 2200sf, with about 1800sf of that currently finished/usable space. We have some issues with the way this floorplan is laid out, but space-wise we'd probably be all right with 2200sf of usable, well-designed space for our (eventual) family of four. Especially if we had a nice patio for some seasonal outdoor living. =)
Just a grad student hopelessly in love with her amazing DH and wee baby Eli (12/06/11).
1394/2012 in 2012
I was talking to dh about this thread - interesting to me because we lived in tiny spaces for the first 13 years of our marriage and for the past two years have been living with more space. We are really enjoying the extra space though I never felt cramped in the other two houses - space was not our main motivation for moving. Anyway, DH pointed out how this issue sort of changes overtime. When we were in our really small space houses - we did not have enough space to host a holiday for his family (he is one of 5 kids and we have lots of nieces and nephews) but that was fine because we always went to his parents. Now that they have both passed away, we have had the last several holidays here - we don't need the space, but we are really using it.
Likewise, when my kids were really little and sleeping in our bed - the tight space was cozy. Now that they are getting bigger, I like to have their friends hangout here - so I enjoy the extra room when I have 8-10 BIG boys here playing or sleeping over or whatever. Now that my son spends sooo much time in the bathroom alone rather than me sitting on the floor and giving them a bath - I really appreciate the second bathroom.
I agree with the pp who said that these years with tight space are really very few - we are sort of looking at living in the larger space the sameway. Once the number of people living here is less - we will downsize, but we during this crazy busy time with a houseful I am enjoying a little extra elbow room.
To the pp - as an aside - we bought a COMPLETE fixer upper so that we could get the space we wanted without spending more than we could afford. We fixed up a couple of rooms immediately and lived in that small space while we worked on other areas of the house. We still haven't finished our basemet, but the kids play down there anyway so we got the extra room without the price tag. You might want to look into some nonpolished larger spaces if you are concerned about the cost.
I completely agree on your thoughts regarding space. We are already running into problems on holidays/birthdays. We can fix 6 people comfortably at our kitchen table - and we have no dining room! Also, I do want my kids to hang out at home as much as possible when they get older. So I'd like to have some sort of "cool" boy space for them. Our current basement has low ceilings and huge ductwork running through it - so not much head room.
We unfortunately do not want a fixer-upper though. We are not handy people. I would rather spend more money to buy a house in good condition and just work more hours to pay for it!
Thanks again for all the thoughts and replies!
We are fine where we are for now, but I keep looking anyway. At some point, we will want more space. I don't care if the bedrooms are super tiny - I still think it would be nice for each of my boys to have his own room through the teenage years. We don't homeschool, but we do spend a lot of time at home and eat all of our breakfasts and dinners here. (We rarely eat out.)
And as a PP said, it's true that newer houses waste tons of space! It's really pretty unbelievable. In our area, they are starting to build "smaller" (around 2000 sf) houses that are very nicely laid out. Of course, these houses are WAY out of our price range.
Just a thought, I personally don't think a jump is worth it if you're only going to move up from 1300 square feet up to 1800 square feet. Of course there are other factors as well (how the house it cut, etc. and usable space) but for me I would rather focus on decluttering and making the space work for me.
I'm in around 1700 square feet now, and before lived in about 1300 square feet. Not a substantial difference. Smaller bedrooms in the smaller house, but otherwise it somehow seemed about the same.
I think if I moved it would have to be to 3,500 sq feet or more. Honestly I *doubt* it's going to happen. We're living beneath our means now in a house which will be paid off in less than a year, and I know what taxes and insurance are for a home that size would have and to me it's not worth it!
The only thing I would change is basements. We have none and there are none where we live (so it's not going to change). I could most definitely live in a smaller home (900-1100 square feet) with four kiddos easily if there was a basement!
Of course, this doesn't stop the *nagging* from my family/inlaws. In particular, my mom...she somehow wants her kids to look 'wealthy' and 'successful'. Sorry Mom, just because you make money doesn't mean you have to spend it!
Perpetually breastfeeding or pregnant ENFP mom to a lot of kids...wife to a midwestern nice guy...living in tropical paradise...pink cats and homebirths rock!
We have lived with dd in:
a 1 bedroom apartment- shared a bedroom with baby dd, had one cat... it was fine while she was tiny, small closet space and kitchen
a 2 bedroom apartment- dd had her own bedroom... a little cramped and cluttered, not much storage space, dinky and average sized bedrooms, big kitchen
a 2 bedroom duplex- dd had her own room... worked out well, good closets and flow
a more modern 3 bedroom house with large very usable unfinished basement- mostly good house, the kitchen was super tiny (couldn't hold more than 1 person really), bedrooms were average size, good closets, no garage, the basement was absolutely glorious for dd to play in or hang out in even though it was not finished
a 3 bedroom house built in 1910 with a finished attic space and scary unfinished basement (not someplace you'd hang out or store much stuff) and garage- we homeschool, are home a lot, cook a lot, do crafts and hobbies, have 2 dogs, 3 cats and a hamster... the space is pretty nice for us even though the living space really isn't much more than the previous 3 bedroom house, it does cost more to heat than the other house did
I mostly love our biggish old house even though we definitely could live in a much smaller place.
I grew up with my family of 5 (3 teenagers) in a 1 bedroom (officially) apartment. My parents slept in the living room , my sister and I shared a room and my brother got a dinky room that was supposed to be for storage. It was annoying not having any private space or not being able to be awake doing stuff when others were sleeping.
I've learned that I love big kitchens a lot and really like not being on top of the other people in my home all the time. I like that we all have somewhere to retreat to. I like having areas set aside for certain activities like sewing or the computer.
Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)
For me it is really important to have a space where I am invisible from the world. A place to which I can withdraw when things just get too much, to just be alone with a book or sometimes just my thoughts. It doesn't have to be anything as fancy as my very own room. A staircase with a window, leading up to the attic, works well enough. Just as long as it is a quiet, calm space where other people are not likely to disturb me where I can sit with a book or paper and pen.
A bedroom of ones own isn't always the solution to create privacy, because privacy is about so much more than just having your own space. For one thing, it is about other people in the household accepting that space. I know my mum was really driven insane, when we were growing up, because she did not have a space that we children accepted as her private "do not disturb" place. We would come knocking asking: "Mum..."
In an ideal world, of course it is very nice to have your own bedroom to withdraw to, but really there are other aspects that are more important in a home. One such thing is having a place for the children to play. I would not consider a home where the bedrooms were tiny (but allowed each child their own space) if it meant there was no space for them to build blanket forts, nor space to spread out the sofa pillows to play "hunted by a pirate", or space to help with the cinnamon roll baking in the kitchen. All that, while also allowing for a quiet corner for anyone who wants to just be left alone, reading or drawing. Because, what is "private" space worth, if there is not space enough to live in the rest of the house?
I haven't read all of the replies, but I think your living space is pretty important ESPECIALLY if you are a SAHM or homeschool. No one should make you feel ashamed for wanting a space that's fits you. CAN you live in a smaller space? Of course. Do people with bigger families do more with less? Absolutely. But what matters is what works for you. I'm totally crazy about our location and the house I can cope with. Right now I'm cooking on 2 burners and one is tilted. Do I NEED a new stove? Not technically, but eventually this one will fail and I've got my eye on a NICE 5-burner gas stove with grill. And by god, I'm gonna get that soon. I like, I sorta need it, and I deserve to have the stove I want. Just giving you a little boost there that it's OK to spend money on your house if you want.
We just downsized. We left the 6 bedroom 3 floor house with 2800 sf on almost 1/4 acre to move into 1900 sf (on a good day LOL) 4 1/2 bedroom (one room is an addition and really too small for a bedroom, so Dh keeps his music stuff in it).
We have 8 kids still at home. But with that being said we cut out house payment in HALF. That was far more important to us then space. And honestly it has been really freeing to get rid of so much random crap. (Still working on getting rid of a lot more though I wont lie)
I find I just need to be more organized and realized what is most important to keep around in the house.
Waldorf Mom to 9 blessings ~6 by birth and 3 by fost/adopt~
This IS what we're hoping to do. I've been "looking" for several years. And now home prices have dropped more than ever. If we can get a good deal, we will likely go for it. Of course, we would then have to sell our house, which could end up being a problem. I am prepared to sell our house for a low price, but we're not financially prepared to have it on the market more than 6 -12 months (but that would be a whole other thread).
We moved this year into a 3BR with a big bonus room and office (no door, no window, no closet, so it's not considered a "bedroom") with a huge unfinished basement/garage (room for three cars, plus it's roughed-in for a bedroom and an additional bathroom.) Kids are 6 and 3, with a baby on the way and plans to adopt at least two more in the coming years.
The kids had previously shared a room, but now that they have their own rooms, still prefer to share a room. (Actually, my older one would probably prefer to sleep alone, but her little brother feels the need to sleep in the same room as her.) They very rarely spend any time in their rooms - the bonus room is mostly theirs (with room for some of my craft stuff), we do our homeschooling at the dining room table, and one day we will get around to finishing off the basement to give them some more room, especially when bedroom space starts to get tight.
As far as having more space and filling it up with more stuff, we actually have gotten RID of a lot of stuff. We like that the more we get rid of, the more floor space we have. I realize that that's probably abnormal, but it has worked for us. My MIL lives alone, with about 1000 square feet LESS than we do, and every inch of it is covered in furniture and "stuff." She is constantly on us to get another end table or "something" for the foyer, or to decorate our "plant shelf" above the cabinets, but she sees empty space as space to put more stuff in. Her house literally has a piece of furniture lining 90% of the wall space - curio cabinets, tables that hold picture frames, random desks and shelving and whatnot. Some people just need to live like that; we are not like that.
And as far as payments and whatnot, the kids and I spend a LOT of time in this house. I am totally a homebody. I generally only leave to go grocery shopping in the winter, and we spend a lot of time on our own property (outside - our house is on 4 acres) in the summer. On weekends, when DH is off work, we'll do day trips, but it's really important to me that I have a comfortable home, where we all feel, I dunno, homey. I love to travel, but my home is my favorite place to be, and DH and I were both okay with spending a little bit more money to ensure that we got a place that we love.
DD 06/05, DD 02/07, DS 02/08, DD 01/12
Wonderful topic. Whenever we move someplace the layout seems strange and then later on it seems perfect because we meld into it. Well, not perfect, but we make do.
I love love love looking at and designing home plans. I am so interested in making space work, too. We're currently in my parents basement while DH finishes college and DS has the bedroom all to himself. DH and I have our bedroom area in what is really just a wide hallway and we have moving divider doors to close it off. We don't have a stove or an oven or a disposal but we do have a dishwasher, although it's the little detached kind that has to be moved to the sink to run. Our computer desks are on the far wall of our dining room next to the hutch and we have a lovely dining table area and a great family room. DS is 2 and loves to run around and climb. I like having so little now if only for the fact that when we do buy our first home it will be so luxurious even to just have a bedroom of our own. We have a full bathroom and a wetbar and I do all our prep work cooking down here and what's more is the backyard entrance where DS has his little play structure. I look forward to having land since our backyard is like a postage stamp but after going trick or treating with DS this year for the first time I think we might still want to be in some kind of a neighborhood area. Only time will tell.
What's a lot to one person is a little to another, and layout is sooo important.
We rent a 1100sq ft town house. It is in a nice area, with a large yard and extra storage in the basement. We are a family of 5 with pets. It's sufficient for our needs, but I would love more space! I would really like to have a playroom for the kids right now, that could be turned into a 4th bedroom when the kids got older. And more counter/cabinet space in the kitchen. it's getting really hard to prepare meals/school lunches in such a limited space. Keeping the house clean is very hard because the kids each take out a couple things and we have a huge mess. It's hard having family/friends over too. There really isn't enough room for everyone. I don't eve n like inviting friends over for the kids. In the summer it's much less of an issue because we do have a nice large yard. in the winter ack! We drive each other nuts. lol Anyway I love where I live and am very thankful for this place, but I would be thrilled with a 1500-1800sq ft house with a good lay out and a nice big yard. :)
Oh and our problem is not stuff. Our stuff is not excessive at all when compared to "normal" people.