Is your house smaller than you thought it would be?

jzinckgraSeptember 16, 2012

We are building a 2100 sqft chalet, 3 bed, 2.5 bath. like everyone else that is building, we try to get to the build sight as much as possible especially now, while they are framing. When the foundation was poured, our initial reaction was "this looks really small". Out came the tape measure, thinking the foundation guy screwed up the dimensions. Lol. Nope, all was correct.

Then the framing started and things were looking more "normal" with respect to size. The 26' tall prow wall looks awesome and really gives the house prominence. Yesterday, we went back and more walls had been put up. We quickly realized things were yet again too small. For instance, our large couch won't fit comfortably in the great room as it will be too close to the sliding doors. The loft area upstairs, where we figured we would put the computer desk also likely won't fit. Seems like we should have designed our house around our furniture. It's not all bad as we wanted to replace some of the furniture with something a bit nice and mature. This is our 1st house build and according to my wife will be our last:).

Anyways, it's funny how things on paper look so much bigger. We're very excited and know everything will work out, but just wish things were a bit larger here and there. Coming from a 3700 sqft colonial, we knew we wanted to downsize and have an open floor plan, but this seems to have gone almost too far towards the smaller size. Looking back, we probably should have visited more of the builder's homes in progress and brought a tape measure to get a better idea of how our house plans would compare. It will certainly be a cozy house and very energy efficient.

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Another pic of the "great room" or as we're now calling it, the small room....

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 10:13AM
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Do you have exterior photos of one that's been completed?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 12:39PM
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Have you drawn in the furniture, on your floor plan? That's why I do that all the time. It's not the size of the much as how much space you need for everyday and entertaining.

If your furniture fits and you have comfortable walkways, then the home should be just right for you and your family :)

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 4:33PM
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I do think its important to have a furniture plan in the drawing stages. Even if you don't own the furniture yet, a quick internet search will give you some dimensions to go by,then make sure everything is to scale. This is where a home design software comes in super handy. Sweet Home 3D is the one I'm using currently and is a freebie, very useable tho. Apparently you guys missed that step in your experience and I do hope it all works out! Looks like a lovely location!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 4:45PM
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Your previous home was massive...and you probably purchased furniture that suited that larger scale. Honestly, I wouldn't fret too much about your old furniture being too large for your new house. Even if it technically would fit, the proportions would likely look awkward in your new, cozier home. Take this as a sign from above that it's time to go furniture shopping, or maybe to ask your builder to do some built-ins (for example, the nook where you wanted a computer desk sounds like it's just BEGGING for a built-in desk!)

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 5:37PM
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You really have to wait for drywall. I have heard this from a lot of people who build. When my footers were set I thought...this is waaaayyyy to small. Heck I even thought the house was going to be to big for the lot. It's 1.5 acres...but wooded so the cleared area made me question it.

It still seems small and my house is 4600 sq ft above ground. The Basement adds another 2600. So I know I am delusional. However, I have started playing with furniture placement online and know that I have more than enough room.

But no matter how big the house is, just about every owner questions the size until the drywall and lighting are in.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 6:41PM
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Yes, our old house had a 28x36' great room and easily swallowed all our current furniture. We'll wait for the drywall, but a trip to the furniture is probably in order. Didn't think to play with house plan software and furniture.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 6:45PM
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Our house isnt near your previous house of almost 4k sq ft (ours is 2,250) but when the foundation was first poured and cured. I remember walking on the slab like this doesn't look like all of our rooms on the 1st floor are going to put let alone the 3 car garage. Once framing went up the house even appeared smaller to me so thats why I had to laugh with your post because I remember at that point pulling out the tape measurer to make sure the dimensions were correct. Let me tell you that if you feel its small now, you will start to think its even smaller once the drywall goes up because you wont have the depth perception of being able to look between all of the In the end the specs of the rooms were on but for some reason during the build they just appeared to be smaller than they really were!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 12:37AM
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We were told that it would look small until the roof was on. Because your perception is skewed when the sky is the roof! lol

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 12:36PM
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I kept thinking that there was a mistake during framing because all of the rooms felt so small. It was not until drywall and the roof went in that the rooms felt the right size for us.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 1:49AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I didn't have that issue. I had spent so much time in our house in my head before we built it, that it all seemed exactly right as the framing and then the sheetrock went up.

The only time the space felt huge was when the hole was dug as they had to excavate under the garage as well. Then the place seemed ginormous.

Especially with the mountains of material that came out of the hole.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 9:32AM
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Layout trumps raw square feet.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 9:43AM
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Very neat looking house!
I hugely regret not furniture planning before framing. Our keeping room is way too small and might not be usable the way we intended--to comfortably relax on couches and watch the tv above the fireplace. Our architect assured us it'd be a great size, but everyone comments on how it's just a tad too tiny :( oh well, live and learn (though there is no way in hell I'm building another house--I agree with your wife)!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 11:58AM
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Beth Parsons

I have very poor spatial reasoning - I can't gauge, for example, how a 10x10 room would feel until I'm in it. And yes, I'm a major clutz because I'm constantly misjudging distances & steps...

When the walls went up on our build a few weeks ago I freaked out because it was so big! Of course, we're coming from the opposite scenario (2000 sq/ft house to almost 4000 sq/ft) but still. Although I love the flow of the house I'm thinking we should have found something smaller. The roof is being framed this week so I'm curious to see how that's going to affect my perception.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 2:19PM
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