how small a house is unreasonable for a family of 5 (or more)? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 44 Old 05-09-2010, 01:56 PM
 
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The Ithaca climate is twitchy... snow starts in late October, generally stops in April. Though it's snowing right now It doesn't get super duper cold, but the windchill knocks it into the negatives regularly. So not an ideal "living outdoor" climate, but not horrible either. Check out the Scandinavian styles for ideas that can maximize space/light during winter and of course the architect will have ideas for passive solar and green building.

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#32 of 44 Old 05-09-2010, 02:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's snowing here, too. Down in town in bingamton is a bit warmer than where I live (up on a north face of a hill), but I think Ithaca (well, Danby) is about the same as up here on the hill, from what i can tell.

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#33 of 44 Old 05-09-2010, 08:34 PM
 
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I think the layout is almost more important than the amount of sq ft. We have about 1000 sq ft with a basement but the layout is what kills us, we have no place that we all fit together as a family when we eat on the main living floor. But we have plenty of storage.

If I had it to do over again, I'd have chosen a more open layout that made use of the amount of sq ft because right now with 6 of us it would be nice to fit around a table together in one room comfortably (the eat-in kitchen with dining table isn't very comfortable).

We've also found that lately we've been decluttering, parring down & making better use of the space we do have. It's helped us be more mindful & we've found we have more space than we realized when we were holding on the excess items that had no use or purpose in our lives anymore.

--lots of love from one busy momma of 4 & loving wife of 1--
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#34 of 44 Old 05-09-2010, 11:32 PM
 
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We are a family of 4 in 900sq ft, no attic, and the basement is only good for the washer and dryer due to some flood damage/environmental reasons. You cannot store anything down there really. The amt of sq footage is not the problem. If the space was better managed, it wouldn't be a problem. I have 3 girls that all share the massive master bedroom. If that could be 2 bedrooms, the house would be more than fine. And I want more counter-space in the kitchen. 2 sqft really doesn't work. But there's room in the kitchen, it's just not properly managed space. But we rent so. . . . . . . . .

But 900 sq ft is enough for us. I don't see the need for these massive houses that most Americans think they need at 3000 and 4000 and more sq ft. How do they even find each other in those houses??????? If you need an intercom to find each other, it's too big!

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#35 of 44 Old 05-09-2010, 11:47 PM
 
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If you need an intercom to find each other, it's too big!
The intercom means I don't have to yell as loud.

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#36 of 44 Old 05-10-2010, 10:47 AM
 
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layout-def. the most important thing. People usually say that our house seems much larger inside than from the outside. The living room,dining/kitchen combo have most of the living area-and there is a lot of light from the double doors and the windows-this is the space we use the most and even with everyone here its ok. Furniture that is convertable is a must-our kitchen table has a leaf that is built in-you pull the table apart and it flips open in the center-this means when we are all here for dinner it takes about 30 seconds to adjust the table size-which is convenient enough to make it a non issue. the layout and your furniture choices make a huge difference in a small house.

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#37 of 44 Old 05-11-2010, 01:10 AM
 
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I can't comment on house size, we live in a house that is way too big for our family of 4. But, I can comment on a long commute. My commute is 20 miles, DH's is 24. We have to leave 90 minutes early most times during traffic just to be safe, and sometimes it does actually take us that long. We don't go to work everyday so it is not a 5 day a week commute. We LOVE where we live. It is almost like a commune in that our cul-de-sac is a private rd with 7 houses, we know the neighbors well and whenever we go outside, some else usually comes out to play with us. We share tons of meals together, during the summer months we have 'cocktail' hour. Our kids frequently hang out at one of the neighbor's houses (they are like grandparents.) In addition to that, our town has great schools, community center, and a true sense of 'community' that we take advantage of. Some days I hate my commute, but we love where we live and it is sooooo worth it.

For ideas on design/small space living, DWELL magazine is fantastic! They have a lot of articles/pictures online now, so if your library doesn't have copies you can still check out great ideas. I dream of someday retiring to a prefab home like the ones I see in Dwell!

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#38 of 44 Old 05-13-2010, 02:37 PM
 
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I think the layout and specific room sizes is more important than actual square footage. We are a familty of four and we have lived in two different 1,700-sf houses. One had more rooms but every single room felt too small and cramped. The other had fewer rooms and every room was plenty big (and could have been slightly smaller and still comfortable). We loved the house with fewer, bigger rooms.

We currently live in a 1,500-sf house and it is a good size for our family. We would like a slightly bigger kitchen, though.

Figure out what rooms you want and how big each room needs to be to fit your furniture and be comfortable and then add the numbers up - you will have your ideal square footage.
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#39 of 44 Old 05-14-2010, 10:00 PM
 
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I'm actually really considering the White Hawk Eco Village outside of Ithaca in the future if things work out right. I get emails from them. We will be a family of 5 too.

I plan on building a small straw bale house with 3 bedrooms about 1200 sqaure feet. Right now we are in 1050. If it was layed out differently I could definately live in a space this size but the kitchen is really small and I prefer another bedroom for the future since we have boys and girls. We just looked at condos with bigger kitchens and an extra bedroom and a 1350 sq foot place seemed really big and definately plenty. I like to make use of a small space rather than build bigger to really make use of resources and to keep with the sustainability theme of an ecovillage.

I think if you are going small it is important to really think through the design. You want lots of built in storage and mini walk in closets. I like a small mudroom entrance with lockers for winter gear and shoes. I hoping for a nice size kitchen with lots of storage but I don't mind if the bedrooms are a little smaller if there is storage. It is important to keep up on decluttering and to keep things simple. I will also make use of outdoor unheated storage.

Good luck! Since my dh found a new job here recently and we are living pretty tight we aren't as close to my ecovillage dream as before and haven't started the membership process yet but I still hope to make it possible. I really loved everything I saw about White Hawk. Ithaca seems like such a cool place and I like how you design your place in White Hawk. If you do move into White Hawk and build a place I would love to hear about it and what you decided to do.

Dianna environmentally educated tree hugging mom of dd 9/06 and ds 10/08 newbie dd 9/10
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#40 of 44 Old 05-15-2010, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Good luck! Since my dh found a new job here recently and we are living pretty tight we aren't as close to my ecovillage dream as before and haven't started the membership process yet but I still hope to make it possible. I really loved everything I saw about White Hawk. Ithaca seems like such a cool place and I like how you design your place in White Hawk. If you do move into White Hawk and build a place I would love to hear about it and what you decided to do.
We started the membership process a couple years ago, but sort of backed away for a while and now we're leaning toward moving forward with it, but we need to figure out house plans and financing options.

Tomorrow we're heading to Danby for our first WH meeting in a couple years.

Jenna ~ mommy to Sophia Elise idea.gif  (1/06), Oliver Matthew  blahblah.gif (7/07) and Avery Michael fly-by-nursing1.gif(3/10)

 

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#41 of 44 Old 05-15-2010, 05:49 PM
 
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Since there is a wider audience, I will throw my standard "Ithaca disclaimer" into the mix.

Please move to Ithaca/Ithaca area! It's an amazing region socially and geographically. BUT... please take a hard look at the job market first. The big employers are colleges/universities (with plenty of over qualified grads being churned out each year), there isn't the sort of "temp market" you'd get in a bigger city, and 10-12 months is a pretty normal span between "looking for a job" and "getting a job" here. This is not a good region to move into without a realistic financial plan.

I don't want to discourage people, but please do take the job market into consideration. If you can tele-commute, or if you have academic connections, or if you WAH or have a private business, or if you have the financial room to fund the small farm of your dreams, or even just enough savings to last a year or so.... huzzah! (and feel my envy ) But if you're in a specific field don't just hope to find something similar or assume the skills will transfer to Ithaca.

OK... soap box away! Please do come visit Ithaca even if you can't move now. It's a great summer destination!

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#42 of 44 Old 05-15-2010, 07:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That's true, Wombatclay... beyond that, we found that the pay range isn't as good as even the binghamton area... or at least not in Dh's field (which is why he'll be telecommuting part time, real commuting the rest down to endicott). It was part of the reason we backed off from the Ecovillage move, for a while... we weren't ready to commit to that kind of commute or a drop in pay.

Jenna ~ mommy to Sophia Elise idea.gif  (1/06), Oliver Matthew  blahblah.gif (7/07) and Avery Michael fly-by-nursing1.gif(3/10)

 

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#43 of 44 Old 05-15-2010, 07:31 PM
 
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Our house is 940 sq ft and we are going to be a family of 5 in October. I always complain about wanting a bigger house, but we don't need it really. Its a cape cod, and the entire upstairs is our bedroom, which we really don't use. The 2 and 4 year old share a room, and the baby will be upstairs obviously. I wish I had a bigger kitchen and bathroom and nice furniture, but all in good time We have a nice big yard, and a lot of storage so that nice.

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#44 of 44 Old 05-16-2010, 01:38 PM
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We have a family of 4 in 800 sq. ft. and are fine-- but we're moving this month and having a new baby so we are looking for more like 1200 sq. ft. Our current house has a living room, eat in kitchen, small office, 2 bedrooms, and a bathroom (which is very small and has only a shower). We'd like to have a little more space for our soon-to-be 5. Also, my husband works from home so an office is a must.
We used to live in cohousing and you could get by with a lot less space since you could just watch TV there, use the playroom for playing (and even put your toys there as long as you don't care if they get ruined/lost), use the kitchen for large cooking projects. And the kids did play outside most of the time so they didn't need a large room. I don't have teens yet but the common house is a good place for teens to hang out together.
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