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How big a house would you really want?

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18 replies to this topic

#1 of 19 OFFLINE   Dennis Nicholls

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Posted May 25 2009 - 02:34 PM

Here's an interesting story from the LA Times about how builders are going smaller in square footage to survive.

Home sizes change with the times - Los Angeles Times

I lived in a 1,040 square foot stucco box in San Jose for 25 years, and it just wasn't roomy enough for me - neither did it have central heat nor air.

Retiring to Boise I bought what for me was a mansion: a 1985 square foot house with a three car garage. To me I mostly wanted a single-level home I could retire in - old folks don't want to climb stairs. I could actually ignore the upstairs bonus room and half bath should I become disabled. Everything else is "cripple friendly". The upstairs bonus room is now a dedicated front-projection HT.

This place is about the right size for me. A master suite, two bedrooms to serve as an office and as a guest room, and a great room for kitchen/dining/living space (there's a smaller RPTV HT in the living space). I'm guessing the house without the upstairs is about 1,800 square feet. I'm not sure what I would do with more space: and I'm sure if I had a spouse we wouldn't bump into each other much.

At what size house would you feel that it has become "too big"?
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#2 of 19 OFFLINE   nolesrule



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Posted May 25 2009 - 03:15 PM

Well, I grew up in a 3000 sq ft. house (family of 6) with 6 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, so I got used to having space growing up. Currently, I live in a 4/2 1100 sq ft house with my wife and daughter with another kid on the way. I work from home so one of the bedrooms is an office for me. The house is just too small. Some friends of mine had a 1500 sq ft house and even that seemed cramped to me. That said, I'm thinking the family would be comfortable in 1900 to 2100 sq ft. More than that would be too much space.

#3 of 19 OFFLINE   gene c

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Posted May 25 2009 - 03:36 PM

I'm single and live in an 1160 sf house which is about right most of the time. You can always use more when you need it, less when you clean it, but it's enough for me.

If I were filthy rich I'd have the biggest house that would fit on my lot. But I'd probably live in a bungalow in the back. I like to feel cozy Posted Image .

Speaking of older houses, it's interesting how small kitchens were back in the 30's, 40's and 50's. I used to deliver for WebVan so I got to see all those older (and newer) houses in the South Bay/Silicon Valley. I couldn't believe how much those little houses went for back then. It was crazy.
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#4 of 19 OFFLINE   Tony Whalen

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Posted May 25 2009 - 04:10 PM

I have a 1400 sq ft house that I share with my wife. No kids... none planned.

It *should* be enough... but I want about another 600. Posted Image First off, I want a dedicated home theater room (big surprise), and I want an office on the main floor....

#5 of 19 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted May 25 2009 - 04:51 PM

I grew up in a very small house, and that's what I've been comfortable with ever since. I actually have plans drawn up for a 200 sq. ft house (with the bedroom area lofted above the ground floor) that I hope to be able to build some day. In my current bedroom, I'm about three inches shy of touching one wall with my toe and the opposite wall with the tip of my finger. You get really skilled at utilizing vertical space, and then discover that you need a lot less floor space.

Like Gene, I like to feel cozyPosted Image

#6 of 19 OFFLINE   Henry Gale

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Posted May 26 2009 - 01:42 AM

Are you writing from jail? Posted Image
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#7 of 19 OFFLINE   DaveF



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Posted May 26 2009 - 02:05 AM

I've been pondering this for a few years now. I bought my first and current house four years ago. It's a 2000 sq ft colonial for me and my wife (no kids). It's both too big and too small. I have too many spare bedrooms. Yet I wish my living room and master bed and bath were larger. The office is great, but I have a large "morning room" that is largely wasted space. I want a larger house to increase the living room and master bedroom. But that will give me other rooms that I don't need. Going smaller typically reduces the size of important rooms, like the office or bedroom. I've realized I need a more effective floor plan for an overall smaller house but with more square-footage to the rooms I care about.

#8 of 19 OFFLINE   Matt^Brown


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Posted May 26 2009 - 02:16 AM

That is amazing. I would love to see the plans on your 200 sq. ft house. I can not even imagine what it would look like. I currently have a 1100 sq. ft. house with a full finished basement. Not including the laundry room I have about 1800 ft. of livable space between the upstairs and basement. I share this with 1 wife and 2 kids and I feel like it is enough room for us. Now the real problem with my house is that I have only one bathroom and that is a problem I hope to resolve in the next year. The last house that I had was a about 1500 sq. ft. but it had two bathrooms so moving back to one was a big change.
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#9 of 19 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted May 26 2009 - 02:45 AM

I don't know the square-footage of the house I live in now, but it's just about right - 2BR, 1 bath, smallish living room, decent sized dining area. It's crammed into a tiny Cambridge, MA, lot, but that just means I have no lawn to mow. Posted Image No wife and kids and none on the horizon, so much more space would be a waste.
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#10 of 19 OFFLINE   Jay H

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Posted May 26 2009 - 02:48 AM

One small house for me, one large house for my cats to frolick in... Posted Image

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#11 of 19 OFFLINE   Michael Warner

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Posted May 26 2009 - 03:05 AM

I live in 2200 sq. ft. house with a wife and two kids and it's just about right. As the kids morph into teens they'll need some space away from the main area of the house so we're planning on adding an addition above the attached garage. If the house had a basement it would be perfect.
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#12 of 19 OFFLINE   Ockeghem



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Posted May 26 2009 - 06:35 AM

My wife and I rented for the first eighteen years of our marriage. We shopped around for years before we decided to design our own home. We came to the conclusion that we could not find a home that had what we really needed. We were looking specifically for a home with a library and a music room in it, as well as a couple of other 'specialized' rooms.

My wife designed the home, and worked on it for a couple of years. It's a six-bedroom 3,500 square foot home on twenty acres. (We have several children; otherwise, the size of the home and the land would no doubt be considerably smaller.) Some of the rooms were not built with resale in mind, which to us was not a factor. We have a music room, a 400-square foot library, a sewing room, and a school room. The home has a finished basement, two pantries, four bathrooms, and a couple of other rooms built specifically for storage. It's our 'dream' home, and one in which we plan to live for the rest of our lives. We chose not to have a garage; we decided instead to put that money into increasing the space of the home.

About one hour from where we live, the price for building a home at the time we built our home was approximately $110 per square foot. Our builder put up our home for $52 a square foot. This price would have been a tad lower (approximately $46 per square foot) if we hadn't had to have brought several utility (power) poles down our road for about one mile. That alone cost $8,600 to do. We've since recouped $2,500 of this due to five homes having been built in the area since we completed our home, as these homes have tapped off of 'our' poles.

When our builder was finished with the project, we had $5,000 left over to do with as we pleased. That's one of the reasons we have a 57" television in our family room. Posted Image

#13 of 19 OFFLINE   Bryan X

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Posted May 26 2009 - 10:28 AM

I have a 2,500 square foot single story house for me, my wife, and son. Certainly not huge by most standards, but nice for us. Including the basement its somewhere around 4,200-4,300 square feet but we don't use the basement much at all. I think the house is just about right, size-wise, for the three of us. There are some rooms we don't use on a daily basis, but its nice to have the extra space for family and friends when we have them over for holidays and get-togethers.

#14 of 19 OFFLINE   Nathan*W



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Posted May 26 2009 - 10:58 AM

My house is a three-story (two + full walk-out basement) colonial, and each floor is 868 sq. feet. (2604 sq feet) The basement is unfinished, but with a 7 and a 4 year old, I want to finish that space ASAP so I can have as much livable space as possible...

#15 of 19 OFFLINE   Todd Hochard

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Posted May 26 2009 - 11:01 AM

Tumbleweed Houses

We (family of four) have about 3300sq ft with the basement included, and there are spaces and rooms that we don't use effectively. A kitchen nook AND dining room are a waste to us- we'd rather have a big eat-in kitchen, since we never eat in the dining room. The "family room" and living room are a waste, especially considering the dedicated HT in the basement- one great room (off the huge eat-in kitchen) would suffice (in addition to the HT, that isPosted Image ). It's what was available in this area, though.

If we ever build a custom home, it will more closely match our living style.
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#16 of 19 OFFLINE   drobbins



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Posted May 26 2009 - 11:23 AM

I grew up in a big old farm house that had a history of being a stage coach stop, post office, and hotel. It was three stories including the attic that had 2 sets of steps. Including halls and bathrooms we counted 22 rooms. The second floor had 6 bedrooms the classic big hall and one bathroom. The smallest bedroom was probably about 11 x 15 and the largest was 11 x 32. It was so big and not insulated that we used a wood stove for heat. I don't really know the total sqft. Two years ago we built our house. Including basement theater, it is around 3,300 sqft and this year we added another 195 sqft for a Mother-in-law suite. Just bedroom added, we converted some of the laundry room, pantry and mudroom for her Bathroom. Total house is a 4 bedroom, 3 1/2 bath house. The kids rooms are 15 x 18 with sloped walls where the roof line is. It is very comfortable to live in with enough room to walk with out crashing into things. Looking at it from the outside though I am amazed at how big it looks. I often think we got carried away.

#17 of 19 OFFLINE   Paul D G

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Posted May 26 2009 - 08:33 PM

Our first house was 1250sq ft with no basement or attic space. It was fine for the two of us and the dog but then we had kids. We now live in a 2400sq ft plus a 1200sq ft basement (yep, it's three times the size of our last house). There were bigger models (new build) but this one seemed right for us. I had a good sized bedroom growing up so I feel the kids' rooms are too small so I wouldn't mind a bigger house if they got bigger rooms. Then again, more effective use of space would've been a good idea. Our master bedroom is huge and it's mostly wasted space. We've driven around neighborhoods with the giant houses and I can't imagine living in places like that.

#18 of 19 OFFLINE   Randy_Sh


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Posted May 27 2009 - 03:15 AM

Interesting question... I don't think how big the house is, it's really a question of is the space useful to you. I grew up in the same house that my Dad did - about 1300 sqft with a 3 bedrooms, single bath room. Built in 1940. My folks finished the basement and added a bathroom down there. Space for us as kids/teens to hang out with a TV, computer, etc. Never felt really cramped in that house growing up. My wife and I bought our current house seven years ago - it's 2300 sqft. 4 bedrooms / 2-1/2 baths. 2 car garage. Dowstairs - kitchen opens to family room along the back of the house. Formal living room and dining room. No basement. No kiddos when we moved in - have 2 now. We have baby in 1 room. Son in another. Use the last bedroom which is the largest as a combo spare bedroom / office / playroom. Downsides are the family room needs to be larger - not enough space to really spread out along with some of the kiddo's stuff. Have the AV gear setup here - LCD TV over the fireplace. We never use the living room save for setting up the Christmas tree. Our dog spends more time on the couch in there than anyone else. Kitchen is eat in and use that every night. Happy to have the dining room though as we have hosted friends and family for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, meals, etc. I would really like a basement and more garage space. One to finish off the basement for media room and more kid space. Garage - I like cars and need more space for tools and the increasing car collection. I have a '65 Impala SS back in Pittsburgh at my Mother-in-laws because I don't have space, my Dad has a '60 Vette that will be coming to me eventually and I have '85 BMW which I drive and tinker with here in VA. So, I am not really looking for larger per say, but more useful space to us. Randy

#19 of 19 OFFLINE   BrettV


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Posted May 27 2009 - 08:35 AM

I'm presently living in a 277 square foot guest house. I have no idea how or why anyone would want to live in something smaller then this place. I can barely stand it and I live alone! My ideal house is 1800 - 2500 sq ft. As many of you, I need a dedicated home theater / music listening room. I do not mind multiple levels via stairs or firemans pole.

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