What's the smallest home you'd live in? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 27 Old 09-24-2011, 12:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Let's assume you can have a couple outbuildings up to the same size as this main house (sheds, outdoor kitchen, greenhouse, anything you like). What would be your minimum sqft for a home? I've seen pics of a nice 80 sqft cabin someone lived in before, I don't think I'd like that small a space though. What would be your minimum size in a main building of your home, and how many are in your family?

 

On our land I'm actually considering building my husband's workshop first (150sqft with a loft), moving into the workshop, building a greenhouse/bathhouse (another 120sqft), and then building the big house (1200sqft) the next year. We're a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 kids that'll be ages 5 and 9 at the start of this). Not sure if I can sell DH on the idea but I think the kids and I could do it with no problem for a year.

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#2 of 27 Old 09-24-2011, 04:50 PM
 
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well, my DP and i have just bought a school bus and plan on outfitting it for family living. it will be around 250-300 sqft i think? i have no problem with that at all. i lived in a 96 sqft school bus with my dog for a summer and loved it. i need outdoor space, not indoor space! 

 

i also love the idea of having a central building with satellite structures to serve different purposes. kind of a pain in cold climates though.

 

i think your idea is great and similar to what i will want to do when we have proper land.

 

eta: we are a family of three, and ttc another. plus a largish dog.


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#3 of 27 Old 09-24-2011, 05:22 PM
 
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We are a family of 5 and 2 largish dogs in 867square feet. We do fine. I wish it was a different configuration, but the square footage is fine.
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#4 of 27 Old 09-24-2011, 07:15 PM
 
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We're currently a family of three in a one bedroom apartment - I think we've got around 750 square feet. It's functional, and I like small homes. We would like another child down the line though, and a single family home, so I think the right size for us would be between 845-1000 square feet. We like the Tumbleweed Enesti and the Universal Cottage from Country Plans.

 

As far as additional buildings/space, we'd also have a greenhouse/potting shed, chicken coop, patio with herb/kitchen garden and a larger preserving garden and dwarf orchard. So plenty of different areas to "live" in aside from the smaller dimensions of the actual house. 


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#5 of 27 Old 09-29-2011, 10:19 PM
 
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Fun!  I think you'll have a grand adventure and that all of you will adapt along the way.  You are all going to learn so much too--seeing it all built, etc.

 

We live in 1000 sq ft with great outdoor space in a decent climate, so we're outdoors a lot.  I LOVE small-ish spaces for so many reasons--the most important one is that conflict gets resolved...no one can go stomping off to the upstairs of some 4000 sq ft. place to escape and avoid.  We tackle things head-on, for sure...and we are so so so happy!  Also, I know what my kids are doing 90+% of the time, etc.  and am aware/involved when I need to be. 

 

I think we could lose about 200 sq ft and be fine still w/ 800 sq ft. BTW, we have only one bathroom and my DH would like a second (he's the only male in the house...). 

 

When we're not in our little house, we're in our camper van.  The kids love that even more, I think!  Lots of family closeness! 

 

It's all doable!  Have fun!

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#6 of 27 Old 09-30-2011, 06:28 AM
 
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I've always been impressed by this 89 sq. ft. cabin, but it's occupied by a single guy. I'd think 2 small children would need some space to move around, especially if you live somewhere with extremes of weather in winter and summer.  

 

Our family of 4 has lived in approx. 1000 sq. ft. and it was do-able. I always wanted a little more room (a second bathroom, more closet space, an island in the kitchen and a pantry....the list goes on), but we were comfortable. If it was temporary, I'm sure we could manage on a much smaller footprint. 

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#7 of 27 Old 09-30-2011, 09:41 AM
 
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We're in 1100 sq ft right now, plus a full semi-finished basement (another 500ish sq ft).  We are still working on paring down our belongings, but I can't imagine us in much smaller accommodations.  I store lots of food, as well as can/dry/freeze my in-season produce, so a decent-sized kitchen and room for a pantry - ours is in the basement - is a must.  A home of this size also allows us to have a large living room (about 13 x 22), a separate dining room, and a bathroom on each floor (luxury!).  The basement is DH's workshop, so that could easily be moved to an outbuilding if we were building from scratch. 

 

I find it both humorous and sad that our kitchen is the size of some people's bathrooms, and our living room is smaller than a "modern" kitchen.  Our bedrooms are smaller than some walk-in closets.  Our home is much smaller than most of our friends', but it's perfect for us.  Even with a (hopefully) growing family, it's exactly what we need.


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#8 of 27 Old 09-30-2011, 10:04 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diana_of_the_dunes View Post
Our home is much smaller than most of our friends', but it's perfect for us.  Even with a (hopefully) growing family, it's exactly what we need.


That's the great thing about the small house movement - spaces that work for families.  Human scale is really important - being close to loved ones and putting the focus onto relationships instead of materials and having space you don't need, just to have it. 

 


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#9 of 27 Old 09-30-2011, 10:12 AM
 
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SO much of this comes down to how the space is used and laid out. 

 

Our current home is about 900 sq feet.  It's not well laid out though, so sometimes it feels a little crunched. 

 

Our new house is about 2500 square feet, with two kitchens and two living areas, as well as extra bedrooms.  To me that seems enormous, but I realize that it would feel small to some people. 

 

With a well laid out 700 square feet, we could manage, but I admit I like having a little more space these days than that would allow. We are a family of 5, and will soon be 6. 

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#10 of 27 Old 09-30-2011, 10:20 AM
 
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our family of four lives in about 1200 square feet.  it's totally doable (and we could do less).  i would, however, LOVE a second bathroom or perhaps a larger first one.  that's my only complaint.


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#11 of 27 Old 09-30-2011, 10:56 AM
 
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At 1800 sq ft our apartment is huge for our needs.  We are 2 pregnant adults and 2 school aged children.  We spend almost all our time in the dining room, kitchen and bathroom.  Well, mostly the dining room, which is 14 x 14.  Add in the kitchen and bathroom (which could be half that size easily) and you've got another 14 x 14.  We mostly only use the bedrooms to sleep and store clothes but a loft or even cabinets and murphy beds would work pretty long term.  

 

Really, any hotel room would probably be large enough.  The problem that first comes to mind for a family all living in a very small space is when one or 2 people are earlier risers than the others.  I think dark curtains around the beds would really help with that, tho.

 

 


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#12 of 27 Old 09-30-2011, 11:25 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seraf View Post

We are 2 pregnant adults and 2 school aged children. 

 


i know this is OT, but you're both pregnant?  how cool.  i see you're about 6 months apart.  just enough time to adjust to baby before another one comes along. :)  congrats (to you both).

 


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#13 of 27 Old 09-30-2011, 11:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kitchensqueen View Post

That's the great thing about the small house movement - spaces that work for families.  Human scale is really important - being close to loved ones and putting the focus onto relationships instead of materials and having space you don't need, just to have it. 

 


+1 on the "human scale" remark.  We have an older home, and I've never lived in anything newer than 1950s.  I love how the rooms are decently-sized without being overwhelming.  And you are right, the house is designed to maximize the living areas.  Small bathroom, small bedrooms, and smallish kitchen (about 9.5 by 10.5).  It's all small by today's standards, and we had a hard time finding a sofa that didn't overwhelm the space...  But it's cozy without being cramped.  And I love how we really live in and use the entire house.


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#14 of 27 Old 09-30-2011, 11:40 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samstress View Post

i know this is OT, but you're both pregnant?  how cool.  i see you're about 6 months apart.  just enough time to adjust to baby before another one comes along. :)  congrats (to you both).

 



Thanks, we are both pregnant, and I said that just yesterday, "hey, as soon as we get used to one, we get another!"

 

And I guess to bring it back on topic, people keep saying we will need a bigger house.  And I keep saying remembering that my mom was one of 7 in a 3 bedroom 1200 sq ft house.  How times have changed.


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#15 of 27 Old 09-30-2011, 01:15 PM
 
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And I guess to bring it back on topic, people keep saying we will need a bigger house.  And I keep saying remembering that my mom was one of 7 in a 3 bedroom 1200 sq ft house.  How times have changed.


they certainly have.  my mom was the oldest of seven children.  their family of nine lived in a 4 bedroom home.  my mom's mom was one of 11 and didn't live in any bigger of a house.  i feel that if we had more space, i would just find more stuff to fill it up with and goodness knows we don't need any more stuff.

 

i would, however, like to come up with creative ways of making the most of our space.

 


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#16 of 27 Old 09-30-2011, 02:50 PM
 
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The interesting thing, for me, has been finding that we don't actually use the second bedroom we have.  The kids sleep with me in the master bedroom.  It's actually quite cozy.  However, I do crave a little more space for  myself at times, but it's certainly not impossible to manage as things are. 

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#17 of 27 Old 09-30-2011, 03:42 PM
 
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We were a family of four in a 450 sq foot 2 bedroom house for a while.  We could still do it if we had to.  It was packed though.   Now my house is about 2400 sq ft.  There are still four of us but we are bigger.  two of the floors are unfinished (half that space).  I would gladly give up those two floors for another bathroom.  That is the one thing I wish we had.  at least another toilet.  I like that we can get away from each other.  outside is not always an option.  we get extreme heat and cold for months and months.   At 5 and 9 this would not have been a big deal though.  150 does seem small though.  I mean i think our tent is bigger than that.  I am pretty sure my little living room is bigger than that.  Of course I could see us living in a camper too.  Especially if we had storage space somewhere and could go be outside.  


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#18 of 27 Old 09-30-2011, 04:14 PM
 
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I lived with my 2 kids for 1.5 years in a 480 sq ft house. It was tiny. Two bedrooms one bath and a "great room " lol. It worked for us tho and the bills were tiny as well.


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#19 of 27 Old 11-07-2011, 11:28 AM
 
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we are a family of 5 (with another on the way) in 1000sq/f. the space is fine, it's just lack of storage that's killer.  I don't know if I'd want to go smaller for good but temporarily would be fine.  I mean I think maybe 800 sf well laid out with the proper outbuildings could work.  A workshop for my husband, and arts, craft, and sewing outbuilding, chicken coops, outdoor kitchen, and a root cellar!! plus chicken coop and barn for the animals we would have..see we would need land.


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we are a family of 5 (with another on the way) in 1000sq/f. the space is fine, it's just lack of storage that's killer.  I don't know if I'd want to go smaller for good but temporarily would be fine.  I mean I think maybe 800 sf well laid out with the proper outbuildings could work.  A workshop for my husband, and arts, craft, and sewing outbuilding, chicken coops, outdoor kitchen, and a root cellar!! plus chicken coop and barn for the animals we would have..see we would need land.



That's what I worry about - storage.

 

We currently live in a house that's about 1600 sq ft and it's just too big for the 4 of us, but we don't have much outdoor space.  We're currently looking for house to buy, and the houses in our price range are between 1050-1300 square feet, which will be a big change for us.  I'm up for the challenge, since we have too much stuff anyway, but DH is nervous that some of these houses just won't be big enough.  They do have more usable outside space than we currently do though, which is going to be great.


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#21 of 27 Old 11-07-2011, 11:52 AM
 
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We are a family of four in about 1000 sf. I don't feel it's very well laid out though. Given our amount of 'stuff' though (very little), I think we could happily live a significantly smaller space. I could probably go as small as 400-500 sf -- especially with sufficient outdoor space/outbuildings. I ♥ small, intentional spaces.


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#22 of 27 Old 11-07-2011, 02:49 PM
 
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the storage is especially a problem in our small house b/c it was built in 1928. No pantry, no coat closet, linen closet and very small closets in the 2 bedrooms. So with 5 people currently 2 small closets just doesn't cut it, especially when you consider our 2011 possesions vs what a person in 1928 might have had.


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#23 of 27 Old 11-07-2011, 02:53 PM
 
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Quote:
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the storage is especially a problem in our small house b/c it was built in 1928. No pantry, no coat closet, linen closet and very small closets in the 2 bedrooms. So with 5 people currently 2 small closets just doesn't cut it, especially when you consider our 2011 possesions vs what a person in 1928 might have had.


That seems to be a common theme with old houses.  They either have too much storage, with all sorts of built-ins, pantries, nooks, and closets, that a minimal-ish household could never fill...  Or they have one teeny closet.  My house was built in 1925, and we actually have enough storage.  Each bedroom has a decent closet, and we also have a large linen closet.  But there is no storage on the main floor, and our vacuum is always sitting out because it has no home down there.  I keep trying to think of a way to add in a closet, but haven't come up with anything functional yet.


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#24 of 27 Old 11-12-2011, 01:39 PM
 
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My son and I are in a 650 and a little more apartment. What sold me on this was the layout and the large walk in closet in the bedroom. We also have a nice pantry, which houses the washer/dryer with shelving about for all sorts of things. I do so enjoy it. I, too, had a problem finding a small but comfortable couch to fit but I did eventually find one.

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#25 of 27 Old 11-13-2011, 06:27 PM
 
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we are a family of soon to be 5 living in about 900 square feet. i am desperately trying to get rid of junk before this baby comes. we will actually hopefully be moving into a bigger house this spring, but the plan is to have an in home daycare, so our actual family living space will probably still be small. we'd be using the living/ dining area for the daycare, and probably an extra bedroom as a "family" room. and of course after hours my kids could play in the daycare space, which would be helpful.

 

i feel like we could be doing find in this apartment if i could just get the clutter under control. i hate feeling like there's always something under foot. i've been looking through this forum today for some inspiration!


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#26 of 27 Old 11-24-2011, 01:24 PM
 
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I have friends (a couple) who live in a 60 sq ft tiny house with their two cats. I think it's amazing. 

 

We live in 700 sq ft, but my mom lives with us now, so it works well for us.


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#27 of 27 Old 11-28-2011, 01:38 PM
 
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We currently live in a 650 sq. ft house, and we are admittedly bursting at the seams.  I think it would be a LOT better if we had some storage space!  The only closet can barely be called that, and it's in the unheated porch.  (I live in northern Canada, so in the winter, it's too cold to keep our coats and boots out there.)  We live pretty simply, but we have a lot of books and craft supplies of various kinds.  Storage space and built-ins would be great!  If we had better storage or had a very slightly larger house, it would be great.  The second bedroom doesn't get used much yet as a bedroom anyway as DD sleeps in our room.  I would also love some place to do laundry, as we installed a washer in our kitchen so we could wash diapers (no dryer so they get hung up in the living room) and it takes up valuable space in there.  

 

But our house isn't really worth working on, since it's in bad condition and wasn't well-built to begin with, not to mention incredibly energy inefficient.  I can't wait until we can build a house that we can grow into as our family expands!

 

(There are three of us and a sizeable dog.)

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