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#1 of 41 Old 10-21-2009, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm just curious how small of a house (not apartment or townhouse, but single family unit) you would be willing to live in.

DH and I are planning on buying our first home within 6 months, and we will be living at this place for about 4 years, expect to have at least 1, probably 2, kiddos while there. We also have a cat.

So how many bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, would YOU be looking for?

We are getting more into simplifying our lives, but we do have a lot of recreational equipment that must be stored inside the house. We plan on at least sleeping with the babies in our room (trying to get DH to go for co-sleeping). We absolutely need an office space.

We had been thinking a 3 bedroom, 1,000 to 1300 sf, 1 1/2 - 2 bathrooms. But now I'm leaning to <1,000 sf, 1 bathroom, 2 bedrooms. Would I go nuts?

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#2 of 41 Old 10-21-2009, 08:53 PM
 
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I wouldn't mind a two bedroom house with two little kids as long as the common spaces were larger. Probably 1200 sq ft? We have 1.5 baths now and are fine with that. I don't need another full bath. A three bedroom would be ideal though, because all our family lives out of town and it would be nice to have a guest room. I wouldn't want anything more than a three bedroom- too much space for us and I wouldn't want to clean all of it! A two car garage is a must though, for all of DH's gear.

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#3 of 41 Old 10-21-2009, 08:57 PM
 
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We are moving to our home state in about 6 months. We have started looking for our dream home. We have lived in several different types of housing over the past 8 years and I ***think*** or hope I know what I want now. 2 bedrooms/2 baths or even 1.5 baths, large-ish family/kitchen open area. I would love to have a nice pantry and laundry area. I would also like to have a spot for a built in office area...something simple and small. I could live comfortably in around 1000 sq.ft or a little less. It would have to have a large master closet, 1 hallway closet and something decent in the second bedroom. I would mind a more open concept kitchen either. We would love to have a 2 car garage with a nice spot for our bikes, outdoor toys, garden items and a few this and thats.

We downsized a lot over the past 3 years and plan on selling 1 HUGE tv stand/shelving wall unit...I mean HUGE and just get a flat screen. I also am donating 2 more bags of stuff. I want super simple and easy. My style is a little beachy meet 1950's vintage (mostly the bright colors of turquoise and cherry red, etc), so I think it would be cute in a small space.

We want a yard for vegetable gardens and eventually, a nice size pool and deck area for my hammock and adirondack chairs.
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#4 of 41 Old 10-21-2009, 09:00 PM
 
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I'd want more space...

1,500-2,000 would be my preference. Kids fill up a space quickly. It's great to co-sleep but kids grow up so fast and they often want a bedroom. We have a 4 bedroom (well, really a 3 bedroom + bonus room) and we have 3 kids.
The kids have a place to play, read books/study, we have computer/office space, etc. Our house is about 2,000sq. feet. It's not huge by any means but not cramped either.
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#5 of 41 Old 10-21-2009, 09:02 PM
 
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We live in a 1000 sq. foot house and it's just...too small. Partly because of the way it's laid out I think?

It has 3 bedrooms and they are tiny. Our king sized bed and two kid dressers take up our bedroom. DD has a full sized bed and a couple shelves that take up nearly all of her room. The third room has a computer desk and two dog crates and 2 book shelves and the room is packed and always cluttered. The living room has enough space for the piano, tv, and couch. No room for an end table or more seating. We just have one child, and I'm pregnant, and I feel like there is no where to go in this house! There are no open spaces and we own barely any furniture, certainly no nice or large furniture.

If I were you I'd look for something in the 1,300 sq. ft range at least. There's nothing like being stuck in a house that makes you feel trapped.

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#6 of 41 Old 10-21-2009, 09:13 PM
 
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It would depend on the circumstances. For instance, I'd rather have a family of 5 kids in a small BR house on an acreage in a lovely rural area than a one-room-per-member home on a lot in a development or urban area. That's just my preference. IDEALLY I would like to have a 3-5 BR home - with about 1800-2000 sq ft. We're currently a family of six in a 2 BR apt (940 sq ft) and while it works okay for now, we're beginning to feel a bit crowded. Having a dresser for each person is simply impossible, for instance.

I think that double our current living space would be just about perfect, especially as my kids get older. I may not need as much sq footage as someone else. I think expanse of floor is overrated. More to mop. LOL

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#7 of 41 Old 10-21-2009, 09:36 PM
 
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We are a family of 4 (soon to be 5) in a 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom, just under 1000 square feet. We are totally fine, but I would not want to go any smaller. Both dh and I grew up with 1 bathroom just fine (me, family of 4, dh, family of 7) so I really don't care about having more than that. We do have a garage and a full (unfinished) basement so that makes a big difference too.

The only real complaint I have is noise. The house is so compact, so something like dh getting ready for work at 5:30 AM wakes us all up. He's not overly loud but when the two main floor bedrooms share a wall with the bathroom we can't help but wake up to the toilet flushing and the shower running. And the bedrooms/bathrooms are right off the living room so things have to stay quiet if someone is sleeping--no late night guests, or loudness during naptime, or anything like that.

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#8 of 41 Old 10-21-2009, 10:33 PM
 
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The smaller you go, the more it affects your lifestyle. Also, layout and budget to customize a home start to have more and more of an impact as you go smaller. Our apartment isn't too bad at 1000 sf with 3 small bedrooms, one main living/kitchen area, and 2 bathrooms. We have 2 children and 2 home offices, though, so that's where it gets tight -- the bedrooms are really too small to be multipurposed. "Bonus" spaces with a house would be helpful (sheds/garages/attics, etc.). I think there are a lot of benefits to having 2 floors!! One floor living is too noisy for my taste, and that causes a lot of conflict when people have different kind of work to do (i.e. dh has to go to bed early for work but I have to do housework now that the kids are in bed). Having space for recreational/hobby stuff is major too. Ya gotta put it somewhere! Our camping/outdoor equipment definitely adds to the storage challenge.

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#9 of 41 Old 10-21-2009, 10:36 PM
 
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Whatever you do, try to get 1.5 baths. Really. Once you have kids, you'll want more than one toilet.
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#10 of 41 Old 10-21-2009, 11:25 PM
 
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2 parents, 2 children, one dog and we've lived in 3 homes:

#1 - 650 sq. ft. house, 2 small bedrooms, 1 bathroom

#2 - 1800 sq. ft. house, 3 good-sized rooms, 2.5 bathrooms, family room

#3 - 2500 sq. ft. house, 5 normal-sized bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, family room

I think the first was way too tiny and we moved after 6 months. It was just not enough space. I'm a SAHM and I felt as though I was constantly tripping over something (and we had almost no clutter, it just felt closed-in).

The second was perfectly fine. The kids had their own room and had plenty of room to play and it was laid out well. Although, it was in a development and our yard was small (not tiny, but not large)

The third, and current, is (honestly) too big. We have one bedroom with no purpose whatsoever, just empty. The kids are outgrowing the playroom, there is just too much space. I cannot imagine why DH wants to keep this house even when the kids go to college. We do really like the 1/3 acre lot, though.

So, I think a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house around 1400 sq. ft. would be about as small as I'd go, I think it'd be nice and cozy.

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#11 of 41 Old 10-21-2009, 11:33 PM
 
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We are 2 adults and 2 kids in 800sq/feet main floor + unfinished basement. 2 bedrooms up, 1 will be downstairs when it's done. 1 bathroom up, there will be another bathroom in the basement when it's done.

We like our place. It is well laid out and doesn't feel small partly because we don't have tons of stuff and get rid of stuff often. I will be happy when the bathroom is done in the basement though.
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#12 of 41 Old 10-21-2009, 11:43 PM
 
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I think, for my famiily of 6, the smallest I would be comfortable in is 1800 sq ft.

But, that's because we are in ~3000 sq ft now with 1/2 an acre and not so many years ago we had 5 people in 600 ish sq ft with not even a balcony (apartment) and I was MISERABLE! sooo, that's where I'm coming from. We don't use a lot of our space (my kids would all prefer to sleep in the living room, the master bedroom, or all together in one of their bedrooms) but I love not being cramped.

As for your house hunting: with only 2 kiddos, and not a forever home, I would be content with 1200, maybe a little less...

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#13 of 41 Old 10-22-2009, 10:33 AM
 
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DH and I just bought a house. 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 935 sq ft, 1.5 story home. It feels HUGE to me right now. We don't have kids yet, but definitely feel we have room for them.

I find we have a really nice layout. The kitchen/DR are one big room with a wide door opening onto the (soon to be) family room, all in one big long line. At the front of the house to the left of the dining room we have a smaller, more private living room with french door. (could also be used as a home office, a bedroom etc)

Upstairs, we have a nice "big" bedroom with soon to be walk in closet/sewing room (need to move doorway). The other two bedrooms are a little small due to slanted ceilings but still fine. DH and I are using the smallest bedroom right now while we work on the others.

We also have a 1/3 of an acre.

If you cut down on possessions, get creative with storage, have a good layout and private/quiet areas, I think you'd be surprised with how small you can go.

Oh, as for bathrooms, I grew up in a family of 7 with one bathroom. We managed. DH, family of 6 but kids were spread out in 2 groups grew up in a 4bathroom house. FYI, his Dad's been trying to sell the place for 3 years but no one wants it. Too big/expensive to buy and upkeep.

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#14 of 41 Old 10-22-2009, 11:11 AM
 
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We are two adults, two kids (5 and 2) in about 800 sq ft. One bathroom, two bedrooms (one shoebox, one decent size that the boys share). When you get down to small spaces I think layout becomes really important. A bad layout can make a place that has plenty of room simply not work.

Personally I would like to upgrade to around 1000. Another bathroom (half would be fine) would be good and I wouldn't mind a bedroom that had more than a few inches on either side of the bed. Ideally some sort of spare room or secondary living space for things like computer desks. What we have right now has actually been fine even though a lot of people act like we are crazy to not have more space. I have found that having a small space all on one floor has been great for taking care of little kids. I'm always within earshot of them and don't have to worry about stairs.

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#15 of 41 Old 10-22-2009, 11:21 AM
 
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We have the same issues with one floor living--it makes so much noise when DH gets up at 5 in the morning for work that it wakes us all up even if he's very quiet. No visitors during nap time when DD was little either. I'm hoping the new baby will be a sound sleeper or he/she will never get to nap with DD running around.

And the good side is that I always know where DD is, and I have been very thankful more than once that we never had stairs for her to constantly try to climb on when she was smaller.

I've noticed when reading these posts that people who are happy with their 1000 sq. ft. or less houses seem to have either two floors or an unfinished basement.

I think I would be thrilled with this house if it had an unfinished basement!! The way it is right now, there is just no where to go since our kitchen/dining room/living room are all one room, and though we have nearly everything we owned boxed up and stored out of our house...we still have no space and it seems cluttered!

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#16 of 41 Old 10-22-2009, 11:26 AM
 
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Our current house is 1700 sq feet. It's laid out all weird though. The downstairs i(which just has our bedrooms, a bathroom, laundry room and a storage room) is nice and open and we all have plenty of space there.

The upstairs is way more crowded. The rooms are fairly small and it tends to feel really closed in when there's more than the 4 of us there.

I think if we did go smaller, it would have to have a perfect layout. But honestly, I don't think I'd want to go smaller than we are. We have 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. We've turned one bedroom into an office space and the master bedroom is now a playroom. I definitely want both of those in our next house.
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#17 of 41 Old 10-22-2009, 11:32 AM
 
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I think it's just so individual. It depends on your outlook. Depends on the floor plan. Depends on your land.

DH and I sometimes think about getting a tiny house (approx 100 sq ft) and putting it on a wonderful plot of land. I just don't see it working with DD too - but if it were just me and DH I think it would be grand. But of course 100 square feet is too small to LIVE in - so you have to live outside a lot, you know?

We currently live in 1200 square feet, me and DH and 4 yo DD. 1 bath, 3 bedrooms. Honestly it feels very large to us. We have tons of space. I can't say there hasn't been maybe ONE time I wanted another half bath, but really, it was probably once. And I lived. But perhaps one reason we feel like we have a lot of space is because we don't have any proper living room furniture at all. No sofa. No chair. No coffee table. No TV. So this room gives us a great deal of flexible space. It's a playroom, and in the winter I set up a nylon house with a door for DD, and we put her play kitchen inside. She loves it. Could not possibly fit if there was a sofa in the way. Or we can exercise in the room, running around in circles, or dance. Or I can move a small table in from the porch or office and set up my sewing machine and do a project there. Or DD can paint on a huge canvas. The room is always changing depending on our interests and projects.
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#18 of 41 Old 10-22-2009, 12:08 PM
 
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I agree that it depends on your personality, and also layout makes a HUGE difference. A smaller well laid out home will feel bigger and more spacious. This is personal too, because it depends on how you use the space (more smaller rooms vs. fewer larger ones, rooms connected to each other like kitchen/dining or kitchen/family, especially those where you'll spend a lot of time).
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#19 of 41 Old 10-22-2009, 01:19 PM
 
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Keep in mind once they are around 12 they are the size of a small or regular sized adult. If you plan to stay there for a long time. you can no longer have a tiny kitchen table, a loveseat and rocker aren't enough when friends are over, their clothes take up more room, shoes are bigger to store, etc. You get what I'm saying. When my kids were little we lived in 2000 sq ft plus garage and basement. We thought it was huge. now it would be perfect. but i like open spaces. areas with nothing ie in front of windows, spaces of wall, etc. depends to on ur decorating style. btw i love the vintage beachy look too
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#20 of 41 Old 10-22-2009, 01:19 PM
 
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With one kid and a huge dog, we lived in a 720sqft 2 bedroom. The only thing I really missed was having a bigger eating space. But we had a garage for storage. When we found out we were pg with #2, we moved to a 2 bedroom 1100sqft house with a real dining room and a bigger kitchen. We do have 1100sqft unfinished in the basement as well for the washer/dryer and storage. By far our biggest challenge is the toys. We have a couple bigger things-playstands and a train table and with 2 beds in their bedroom they just sit in the basement where its cold half the year and they don't get used a lot.

I think if you have to have an office space and will likely have 2 kids, go for the 3 bedroom or a 2 bedroom with something that can be remodeled-like an unfinished basement or attic. That way you have the option for the office space if the kid(s) need their own room or play space. Although that being said, in our house we put the office space in the kitchen eating nook since we have a dining room.

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#21 of 41 Old 10-22-2009, 06:46 PM
 
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We had about 1200 sq feet in our old house= 3 bedrooms, 2 baths (1 w a shower downstairs) and it was a split level. Really it was more like 1 full bathroom because the other bathroom was way downstairs and off the laundry room.

We moved when we were outgrowing the space and the neighborhood. We wanted a real kid friendly neighborhood plus walking distance to everything.
DH would not move unless there was a master bath. That was his top priority. We have 2 girls and he is already seeing the privacy factor and I agree. I wanted a larger master and a larger kitchen plus a full basement.

We now have a 4 bedroom, full bsmt, large yard, and walk to all. The 4th bedroom is on the main floor and near the 3rd full bath. Great for visitors and they get privacy.

This house was orginally a 2 bedroom ranch plus full basmt built in 1948. Someone in the 70s added a 3 bedroom addition on upstairs plus 2 full baths. So when we bought the house it was 5 bedrooms and 3 full baths (all needing desperate updating). We took out the 5th bedroom and now its a tv area, pulled another wall out and now we have a larger kitchen and the main floor is very lofty. Upstairs we have finished both bathrooms and rearrnaged ours so the sink area is in our bedroom. Put in a gorgeous shower and tile too. Eventually we will finish the basement and put the tv down there because I miss a quiet sitting area where the tv is now. As we live here longer, we are growing into the space and how we use it. The basement now is the toy area, laundry, workout room, plus a workbench area. DH also has a workshop in the garage and its heated.

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#22 of 41 Old 10-22-2009, 07:33 PM
 
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We are a family of 5 (the kids are almost 16, 13 and 11) and 2 good sized dogs and one temporary mouse in 967 sq. feet. We are mostly fine. If we had more house we wouldn't see each other as much . I second the 2nd toilet though.
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#23 of 41 Old 10-23-2009, 07:13 PM
 
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Well, we are 2 adults and 3 kids. DD6, DS2, DS7 mo. We've lived in a 1100 sq ft house since we were married 8 years ago. It's a 3 br 2 baths, with nice open living areas and hardly any closet space. (2 3' closets, a 5' master closet, and itty bitty hall closet that's very organized with bins and drawers.) We're in Florida, so no basement and my washer and dryer is in the 1.5 car garage that one car also lives in. We also homeschool. I found that the house got smaller when we started homeschooling since that was nother activity to fit in and more stuff to store. I wish I had somewhere to hang school stuff, but the desks are in the dining room and there are no walls since it has a sliding door and the rest is open. DD has her own small room, and DS has a larger room that the boys will share when DS2 is out of our room. It's also the play room except for DD's stuff that the boys can't play with.


I've thought long and hard about what's perfect since we will probably building on our 5 acres soon. Budget is a concern. Our goal is to have a 3 br, 2 ba house with an additional living area for homschool/play off the kitchen. We want more closet space so we can have less bedroom furniture. We'll also have attic space that we will be able to convert into two more bedrooms in case of another child (possibility in a few years) or to move th ekids up there someday and have more room on the main floor.

I'd say 1200-1500 is great for 2-3 kids depending on the genders and such. If you are seding kids off to school you'd have more room. I have a friend with 4 that live in a house only slightly larger than ours, but since they are all boys they all sleep in one room and play in another, so in that sense it's much easier. I could put mine together now, but DD is starting to want her privacy already. :

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#24 of 41 Old 10-23-2009, 08:07 PM
 
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we are a fam of 4 and we live in a 1300 sq ft house/cottage. The layout is 700 sq ft living room w/ vaulted ceiling. Kitchen is big enough for 4 seat table, small bathroom w/ shower and stacking w/d in closet. Girls room in upstairs/loft. We don't really have a master bedroom, its more like a "cubical" off of the living rm. So an addition of a master would be nice. I LOVE having a big living room. I can be in one end, working on computer or crafts, the girls can play and we are still together, but no on top of each other.... I would like a bath tub though.
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#25 of 41 Old 10-24-2009, 12:36 AM
 
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We're a family of six in 1600 sq ft plus three-car garage for storage/tools/bikes, etc. We could go smaller but I would prefer next time to have a one-story house to cut down on the noise. We have 2.5 bathrooms but would be fine with 1.5. Two toilets is really a lifesaver! Three is a luxury but sometimes much appreciated. We have four small bedrooms (plus a 8x8 den that could make a fifth bedroom) but would be fine with three. My husband often works from home so a separate office (the den) is pretty necessary. The layout on our house is not ideal--with tweaking it could be great. I don't often feel like I need more space but I do wish I could rearrange the walls easily!

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#26 of 41 Old 10-24-2009, 09:17 AM
 
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We're a family of 3 with one on the way, and we recently moved from a 1500 sqft 3br/2ba house to a 960 sqft 2br/2ba apartment. I really miss having an extra bedroom, ours was an office/craft room/guest room and I miss the peace and privacy I had in there. As it is, I can only sew on the dining room table now and since it's a part of our main living space there's no sound barrier which means I can only sew when everyone else is out of the house. Hopefully this is temporary and we can find a better place to rent next summer when our lease is up. I think for me, the actual square footage isn't so much important as having an extra bedroom. And I definitely agree with the pp about having more than one toilet, although I prefer having two full baths.
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#27 of 41 Old 10-24-2009, 09:21 AM
 
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we live in a small 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom house, and it's big enough. Sure, another bedroom and toilet would be great, but we are okay without it.
I think long term we will eventually need 3 bedrooms plus an office, since we are both planning to be self employed, and 1.5 bathrooms since we hope to have more children and a big family with one toilet seems tricky.

BC Mum of four ('05, '07, '11 and 06/14!)     
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#28 of 41 Old 10-24-2009, 09:53 AM
 
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I was living with my h and two kids in a house that was probably about 1500 sq. feet. I moved just myself and my two kids into a house that is about 450 sq. feet. The size of my new house works most of the time because it is very space efficient. It started with a decent layout and I added wall to wall shelving units in a couple of places. It is only two bedrooms, though. Unfortunately, there is no exterior storage, although I could purchase a pre-fab shed pretty easily. If this small house had a basement it would also help -- not just for storage, but also to give the kids more room in which to move. My kids are older, 6 and 11. I have been thinking that for the three of use, a house with about 1000 sq feet with some unfinished storage space would be just about ideal.

I would prefer to get four bedrooms or three bedrooms and a separate family room type space if given a choice. We all have a lot of hobbies, some of which are space gobbling and some of which are noisy and some of which require quiet, so I would rather have extra small rooms in the same amount of space.


I also realized that even if there are certain space consuming things that are difficult to do in a small house (like throw big parties), the space for those things are relatively easy to rent from the local church, fire house, etc. It is also possible that extra rented storage space (even from a neighbor or friend) might be cheaper than adding more square footage and a bigger mortgage.

An extra half bath would be lovely, as would room for a washer/dryer.

If I had an extremely active or large spouse, it might make me wish for something a bit bigger. My sister's h is very tall and would totally be claustrophobic in this space.

Also, I would love enough space to practice yoga without having to brush against walls or furniture.

I am renting now and if/when I buy or rent again, I will look for something between 750 and 1000 sq feet of usable space.... and some unfinished space for storage and messy projects.

Edited to add: I think I should mention that I pretty much a minimalist and don't like to have alot of "stuff".
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#29 of 41 Old 10-25-2009, 10:59 PM
 
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We are 2 adults and 3 kids. Our house is 800 sq feet with a basement. It's doable with the basement but I don't know how we'd manage without the basement. One of the bigger issues here is that the house came fully furnished and some of the furniture is way bigger than what we would have chosen.

I'm dreaming of a house about 1200-1600 sq feet, compared to this, I'd feel like I had tons of room. I need to do a massive de-clutter though, I've found that clutter tends to fill the space available. I don't want to get a bigger house if it will just mean more clutter.

Gillian - Wife to an amazing DH, Mother to 4 wonderful kiddos . . . and now another on the way.
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#30 of 41 Old 10-26-2009, 09:00 AM
 
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We have lived in our current house for about 10 years now. It's about 850 sq ft. We are a family of 5 and we have 2 BR's, 1 bath. I don't like the area we live in all that much but the house itself is pretty nice. At times I wish we had 1 extra bedroom just in case we ever have another child or it would be nice to set up a schoolroom area maybe, but overall I like really living in a smaller house.
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