how small of a house? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 41 Old 10-26-2009, 11:13 AM
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we've lived our brick cape cod almost 10 years now and will more than likely not move until the kids are off to college (our mortgage is small and we send them to private school so this has been perfect).....the kids are 10 and 12 now.

we currently have a total of 3000 sq.ft. of living space.....this includes a 1200 sq.ft. basement, so 1800 sq.ft. of upstairs living space. we have 3 bedrooms, 1 bath (our house was built in 1935), living room with a big wood burning fireplace, dining room, kitchen, and then the full basement which houses my laundry room, a large pantry, tv area for the kids, and storage space. right now this is working out great for us.

our next house i would like to be a tad bit larger.....not in square footage as i'd be fine with exactly what we have, but in an extra bathroom or 2 and a much much larger kitchen.....better layout. we're planning for the future for kids with spouses and maybe grandkids coming to visit......none of which could fit comfortably in our current house. and of course, my hubby would like that new house to be sitting next to a lake. we'll see

: : vicki ~ wife & mom of 2 amazing kids
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#32 of 41 Old 10-26-2009, 11:26 AM
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We are two adults and two kids, living in a 1700 sq ft house. Officially, 4 bedrooms, 2 full baths. Currently, it is 2 bedrooms, 1.5 bath (will be a 2nd full bath when we get around to fixing the tub!) It feels just right. Two of our bedrooms (about 200 sq ft of the house) are totally devoted to excess junk storage at the moment, but we intend to have maybe 1-2 more kids, so if we end up with 3-4 kids, we will be able to clear out that junk and eventually turn those rooms into bedrooms.

A big part of why I love our house is the open layout. The living, family room and kitchen are basically one huge area, so I can cook or do dishes and still keep an eye on the kids. And the kitchen is set up a big square, so that DD can ride a bike around it when it's yucky outside. The family room will eventually be converted to a homeschool room/ play room (we don't really use that space much at the moment really, other than as a place to toss laundry).

Amount of space that we could comfortably live in, as a family of four? Probably 1000-1200 sq ft, if we got rid of some of our useless junk that just clutters things up.

Our previous house was also 1700 sq ft, and was actually a much better quality house, but the layout was just not so great for kids. It felt too small just because it was laid out in a big line, no open spaces at all really.

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#33 of 41 Old 10-26-2009, 11:40 AM
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Our house right now is about 800-900 square feet, although that is just a guess. I find it works just right for us, with two adults and a 2 year old and 4 year old.

It is very small, 2 bedrooms, 1 bath. We took the smaller bedroom for ourselves (it is exactly big enough for a king sized bed, with a small path to the closet with exactly enough room to open the closet doors. That is IT!) The kids' room is slightly bigger, but it doesn't have a closet. There is a decent sized kitchen, dining room, and living room. The bathroom is miniscule, with a sink, toilet, and bathtub crammed into a space smaller than a handicap stall at Walmart.

I'm not counting our backporch/laundry area since it is non-heated space, but it does at least work for storage.

I'm quite comfortable in the house. I have to be absolutely meticulous about organizing, and there is a place for everything in our house. We also don't have much stuff. Our bedroom closet is about a standard sized closet, although perhaps not as deep. It holds: All of my clothes (I hang everything but underwear) all of the kids' hanging clothes, all our movies, all my sewing/crafting gear, as well as random storage things along the top and one side. It is CRAMMED full but it is so organized it doesn't seem so bad.

Our last house was 1200 square feet, 3 bed, 2 bath, and I thought it was perfect for a family of four. The layout of the house was so well thought out that it felt much bigger than 1200 sq feet. (Actually, it was 1147 sq feet.) There was not one square centimeter of wasted space. My only complaint about the house would be that the master bedroom was wastefully large, I would have preferred to have a slightly larger living room.
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#34 of 41 Old 10-26-2009, 12:16 PM
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As some of the PP have said, with small houses it all comes down to layout and storage. We are 2 adults, 1 baby, and pets living in ~850 sqft, with 2 beds and one bath. Which sounds like a lot (to me, anyway) but feels smaller than it is because the layout and storage are awful. I think it would be perfectly feasable for us to live comfortably in 850 sqft, just not these sqfts. When I think about what we need/want, extra beds and baths don't really come into play. These are the things that do:

Having a garage would make a huge difference, b/c we have both camping equipment and woodworking tools. You mentioned having a lot of recreational equipment-- when you go house hunting, think about where you can put it.

Having a good-sized pantry would be a big help, at least for me. I like to have a reasonable amount of food on hand-- not like these mamas on MDC that have huge stockpiles (I wish) but it would be nice to have at least enough space so that when, say, oatmeal or toilet paper goes on sale, I can buy plenty without wondering where on earth to put it.

Having a nice porch or deck would also be awesome, even though it doesn't add to the size. Several previous posters mentioned that the size lot or acreage the house is on makes a difference; I guess the subtext is whether your indoor space is ALL you have, or whether you have more space to spread out that is out-of-doors.

Although it's not a space issue, we don't have a fireplace. It's just one of those things that, for us, is a huge quality-of-life thing. Wherever we go next will have to have either a fireplace or woodstove, to keep DH happy. That, plus somewhere to keep (and use!) his woodworking stuff.

What is funny to me is that our last place was a good deal smaller-- an apartment of 730 or so sq ft (1 bed 1 bath)-- but it was a new, very well-laid-out, upscale kind of apartment, that had a private one-car garage, a wood-burning fireplace, a huge (9'x12') balcony, even a pantry. It was much easier to live in that 730 sq ft than this 850!

I think we could actually go even smaller, if the above things came into play!

Mara, mama to two boys born 05/2009 and 04/2011, after four miscarriages. 

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#35 of 41 Old 10-26-2009, 12:31 PM
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For me, it's all about the kitchen and the closet space.

We (family of 4) lived in a <1000 sq. ft. home with 3 very small bedrooms, 1.5 bath and it worked well because the kitchen had fairly good counter/cupboard space and we put in a lot of built-in shelving. I would have liked a little more storage and an island in the kitchen.

We are living in a much larger, 5 bedroom house now, but it has a tiny kitchen with almost no counters or cupboards. There's also very little closet space anywhere else. 2 of the bedrooms have been built into the renovated basement, but without closets. It's driving me crazy.

I prefer smaller homes, just because the upkeep is easier.
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#36 of 41 Old 10-26-2009, 01:30 PM
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If you are only going ot be there 4 years, wy are you buying?
are you not worried about re-selling or getting stuck or upside-down?
I'd definitely make sure, as best i could, that wouldn't hapen, etc.

Our house is 900 sq ft, and tehre are 4 of us all teh time, and 3 more teen boys some of the time. It's excrucistingly small.

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#37 of 41 Old 10-27-2009, 11:46 AM
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I think it really depends on whether or not you have a basement.

Where we live now there are no basements. And, we use our garage for our cars (which makes us weird around here). I wouldn't go smaller than 1,000 square feet. We have 1700 square feet (though right now we're using only about 1,000 of it I'll bet (one guest room, one storage room out of a bedroom, and the room outside of our laundry room we moved furniture out of 2 weeks ago but haven't done anything else with it yet.)

That's with 6 people, when Grandma stays with us it's 7! Our inlaws house (2 adults) is just a little bit smaller.

If we had a basement it would be very nice!

Perpetually breastfeeding or pregnant ENFP mom to a lot of kids...wife to a midwestern nice in tropical cats and homebirths rock!

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#38 of 41 Old 11-04-2009, 11:24 AM
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We lived in about 800 sq ft with one baby and it was way too small, so we added on and now have 1400 sq ft and I love the addition, but really it's too much space!

It's not too much space for all our STUFF by the way, just for the three of us (and baby on the way). I'd rather have a smaller space and less stuff.

I want to live in under 1000 sq ft next time, but it has to be laid out much better than our house was before the addition.

I'd like a large living/dining/kitchen combo, because we have a big living room now and I love the space. Then bedrooms can be nooks--just somewhere to sleep. And I go back and forth on number of bathrooms. When potty learning, it's nice to have a bathroom free NOW so maybe 1.5 baths. But if we had only one, we'd manage with a potty seat in the living room, I'm sure!

When we built our addition we gave ourselves 10 ft ceilings and found that adds tons of storage space. For example, above the coat closet, above the pantry, shelving up to the ceiling in the laundry room, etc, all has lots of up high space for storage so maybe a smaller space with high ceilings to maximize storage and also provide lots of vertical space for shelves and books Plus, then it won't feel as small.

Diana, homebirthing, homeschooling, homemaking wife and mother of two (plus one more coming this Spring)!
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#39 of 41 Old 11-04-2009, 12:50 PM
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Square footage is important, but don't forget to think about layout! That is sometimes more crucial than what the numbers say. If the house isn't laid out in a way you can use it functionally, it doesn't matter how big it is. From my experience, anyway...
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#40 of 41 Old 11-04-2009, 12:57 PM
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Our house is around 1150sq ft and I think it is too small. There are two adults, a baby, and a cat. It is a 3 bed/2 ba house. The layout isn't great though. The biggest issue for us is storage. We have NO basement, crawlspace, or storage attic. Not even a closet in the hall. It makes it tough for us.

If our house were on a full basement, I would say it was fine. But since it's not, we hate it.

I would say, if you can afford it, buy something bigger (not big, just bigger). You may need it.

Also, we bought this house over 5 years ago thinking we would be in it for 3-5 years. Then the housing market tanked. We will NOT be able to sell anytime soon. Houses in our neighborhood are not selling. So, if you know you will need something bigger in the near future, skip the small house. I wish we would have! We will probably be here at least another 2 years IF the economy makes a recovery. We may even have to sell for less than what we owe
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#41 of 41 Old 11-04-2009, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by MonkeyPrincess View Post
Square footage is important, but don't forget to think about layout! That is sometimes more crucial than what the numbers say. If the house isn't laid out in a way you can use it functionally, it doesn't matter how big it is. From my experience, anyway...
Ha! Shoulda read before I posted.

We are a family of seven in a 00 sq ft house. The house is almost a split level. Its mostly one floor, but there is a half flight of stairs going up and down at the far end of the house. Upstairs has two bedrooms, a large hall closet and a full bathroom. Downstairs is a family room that leads to a smallish one car garage. The space is perfect, though I'd prefer to convert the garage and family room to two more bedrooms - then everyone would have their own space, and the whole house would be used. Right now, we only use the main living room.
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