Roll Call and biggest concern

jasonmi7January 11, 2008

If you don't mind, perhaps as a way of introduction.

Name, rank, serial number. Ooops. I mean, Name, location, house size and style. Biggest concern.

I'd never guess it. Jason.

Mid Michigan.

House is 1650....perhaps too big. Style is Cape Cod. Timberframe and SIP construction. Biggest concern generally is generally type of house, size, and 'value', although that isn't as big a concern as it once was, since so many are downsizing now.


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My name is Sarah. I live in Texas. My home is 1200, and the style is cookie cutter. No concerns as of yet.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 10:24PM
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I'm Mari from NH. House is ~1350sf, built in 1900 in a simple vernacular style locally known as a "New Englander" - 1 1/2 stories, end gable, bay window, wraparound porch - although it could also be classified as a very plain Folk Victorian. (We nicknamed it "Victorian Lite". :-)) Biggest concern right now is settling into this house (moved in late Sept.) and getting a handle on all the work the house needs now that we've finally unloaded the other one.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2008 at 1:43AM
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Hi! Jay here- 1580 sq ft ranch in FL. Soon to be building in rural upstate SC, our biggest concern is finding a small (

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 11:40AM
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Jannie,I'm in Long Island NY with 800 sq ft. My biggest concern is people who tell us we should move. I'd rather live in a well kept small house than a bigger house I couldn't manage.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 4:19PM
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I'm Anmarie, in Phoenix. 1250 square feet, 1952 built block ranch. Two adults, 2 kids. My main issue is how to keep clutter down and have a nice looking space.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 6:25PM
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Hello! I'm Penny from Massachusetts; 1100 square foot, but the upstairs in my 1958 1 1/2 story cheaply constructed cape functions mainly as storage since the upstairs insulation must be nearly non-existant and the temperature can't be well controlled...therefore I really have 780 fully usable sq. foot, the upstairs area plus a basement. Concerns I have about my house are to get a door installed at the top of the stairs, and this year to grade the foundation area...

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 8:44PM
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Hello! This is Teresa from North Carolina; 1910 brick-bungalowesque, 1565 sq. ft., single story house with a large attic (I don't climb to) and partial basement (I don't go there either). Biggest concern is my neighborhood; I like some things about it, but I've had renters on both sides of me and at present we have 7 empty houses on our street and quite a few for sale. Lots of turnover on our street.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 11:39AM
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Doug from Southwest Michigan. 1840 sq/ft farmhouse being built (drywall phase). Here is a link to the plan.

We are currently in a 900 sq/ft house 2bd 1bath that we have been in for 10 years. We now have a 1 year old and a 2 year old so we wanted (not needed) more space. Biggest concern initially was building too small for our market.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 12:47PM
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I'm Crystal in Massachusetts. Cape, 1580 square feet. I'm in a similar situation as lightlystarched--2 adults, 2 small kids (boys) and trying to find room for toys and to accomodate playdates, especially in winter!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 3:22PM
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I'm Jennifer in Alabama. 2,000 square foot mid-century-modern post-and-beam (that's a lot of hyphens!) I know 2,000 sq. ft. seems a lot for this board, but the interior garden (got to love it) and the attending layout of the home brings usable square footage down to about 1650 sq. ft.

This home is a big change for us, and is somewhere we plan to stay for many years. We came from a 2,600 sq. ft. 1920s Spanish bungalow with a basement, attic, etc. The style of this house required a lot of paring down and a big change in decorating style.

My biggest issue at first was storage, but we have worked that out by putting shelving units in several closets. I think now the problem is how to properly purchase, adapt and place furniture in a glass box!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 4:57PM
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Hi, I'm Patsy from Texas. Current house is an 1168 s.f. rectangular box on 2 acres although the house does have great traffic flow and even has two bathrooms. DH and I just bought a "big" old farmhouse at 1400 s.f. although we won't move in until some major renovations are done. Concerns: house has no insulation to speak of and 1 miniscule bath off the kitchen (obviously tacked on when indoor plumbing was added). The piers are still the original cedar posts and since my DH is afraid of termites, we are replacing the posts with cement piers. The attic roof has no decking and when you look up you see neat rows of the original cedar shakes laid atop the roof beams with a metal roof added at a later time. Amazed there isn't water damage. So, roof work is needed in order to insulate properly if we want to make the quite large attic a living space. No closets, either. One of the workmen we spoke to said people in that era (probably 20's or 30's) kept their few clothes in free-standing "chifferobes", which, I gathered, are sort of like a combination armoire and dresser. So, adding a small master bedroom with two large walk-ins (for overall storage) is also on the agenda. I told DH I am not moving until we get that second bathroom in there as he spends an inordinate amount of time in there. Pluses of the property are the 8 acres and a stock pond and two working wells (I like to plant things and watering gets expensive). I'm even toying with the idea of starting a pecan orchard. Still, my main concern is how do you say "money pit"?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 11:56PM
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hi all
i am karen in Pennsylvania and we have a 1920s bungalow with about 2000 sq ft (gradually moved up from 900 sq ft, to 1400 sq ft, to this house). it's really a 2 bedroom one bath bungalow with some oddly arranged bedrooms and a strange bathroom upstairs in the 1980s finished attic. there are no remaining built-ins and i am not sure there were any (cheaply built bungalow) i don't think it is actually 2000 sq ft, but that is the figure from the county.
our biggest issue right now is a big enough space to entertain large groups. our tv den accomodates about 4 adults only. also, the closets. there are no closets on the first floor. there was one in the past, but the previous owners removed it. why why why??? also, the basement is damp because of poor drainage around the foundation (hill behind the house). it's been nice lurking here...i think that many of these issues are really small room and storage issues, rather than only small home issues.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 9:54AM
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I'm the Central Texas Jaybird... Our home is a 1950's ranch...two SMALL but usable bedrooms and baths. Worst problem is aging electrical and water systems!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 10:57AM
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I usually just lurk on this forum. So here goes, name is Dee, we have just moved into a 960 sq foot, west coast contemporary, after living in a 1800 sq ft 1890's victorian. The only concern I have in this house is it's too tightly built. I constantly have to leave a window open to keep some fresh air moving in & keep the windows from steaming up.

We never had this problem in the victorian :)

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 2:10PM
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Carol, live in Kensington (next door to Berkeley, CA). Live in a 50s Bungalow, 1050 sq ft. Perfect for me.

mfrog, you want and need a tight house, much less expensive to keep warm in winter and cool in summer.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 10:17AM
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Oh, Jaybird, I hear you on the electrical & plumbing issues. We are having to spend a not-insignificant chunk of change to upgrade our electrical panel. And re-roof. At least in a smaller house, there is less electrical & roof!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 9:08PM
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No, houses need some ventilation/air circulation - a too-tight house develops some seriously foul air inside, especially if you have offgassing from new furniture, carpets, building materials, or paints. If exhaust fans are used without a sufficient supply of makeup air, radon, carbon monoxide, and other nasties can be sucked into living areas. According to the EPA, air quality in homes is a major problem - even if there are no smokers in the home, the level of pollution in a house's indoor air can surpass that of outside air on a day with smog warnings! "Sick building syndrome" isn't restricted to office buildings. A very tight house should have some kind of whole-house ventilation system for the health of its inhabitants. There are systems that maintain the heated or cooled temperature inside the house.

I really miss having a coat closet. :-( We have one ridiculously-tiny closet on the first floor, in the kitchen - even though it's original to the house, because it's pretty much useless we'll be removing it when we redo the kitchen so we can put the refrigerator there. More efficient use of the space, right now the fridge and stove are mashed together in a corner so it's hard to work on that side of the kitchen. I am very blessed with a good-sized kitchen, I eliminated a LOT of houses because they had weenie little kitchens! One bedroom upstairs has no real closet, just a little space closing in the furnace ducts, but thankfully there are three wide and one little closets in the wasted space where the slanted ceiling comes down to headwhacker height. Jaybird and Lightlystarched, I hear ya loud and clear! We are going to be doing a LOT of the boring and expensive stuff in the next couple of years when I'd really rather be decorating and remodeling; we're praying the roof holds out for a few years while we work on the rest of the list.

Even though our previous house was almost 2000sf, the living room could fit seven people if they were very friendly, without anyone sitting on the floor (and our friends and family are all getting too old for that!). It was pretty aggravating. When we had our House Swarming, we had some 30-odd people there and we were packed in like sardines! When we were househunting this time around we kept having friends over in mind; we're turning the dining room into an additional sitting room at least partially for that reason (also because it would be rarely used as an actual dining room, and wasting 12% of a small house is IMO daft). Once we get all the furniture we need - I'm short a couch and a loveseat - I think we'll be able to get about twenty people in between the living and sitting rooms without resorting to folding chairs or people sitting on the floor. With folding chairs we'd be able to fit another dozen or so. Yippee!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2008 at 10:11PM
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Clever, that is the first set of house plans I've seen that included a room for home school. Neat. :^)

I'm Melody, in a >900 sq ft house on a little farm east of Bowlegs, Oklahoma. Our biggest concern is wondering what we're going to find when we peel off the wretched vinyl siding a PO had installed. Other than that, the house hadn't been updated since sometime in the 60s, so we're doing plumbing, wiring, and other death defying things. I know plumbing and wiring aren't usually that exciting, but imagine our amazement when we were planning to use the sawzall to cut a large hole in the back room to install a window and discovered that the person who put in the hot water heater ran the 220 horizontaly across the middle of the back porch wall. It's little surprises like that that keep us fresh and on our toes. (and double checking our life insurance policy)

You're welcome to stop by and see how it's going.

Here is a link that might be useful: Meanwhile, back at the house...

    Bookmark   January 18, 2008 at 10:19PM
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My name is my 'user name', and it's pronounced noon-yes.
My wife and I designed our own 1,715 sq ft for-retirees house, and we are owner-builders, and we selected San Antonio for reasons too many to list. I will post a photo so that you can tell me the style that you think it is. Right now, my biggest concern is paying cash, and installing, the Dixie Pacific Quick-Rail porch railings/ballustrades, the yard walkways, the shutters, and the landscaping. Sorry, the exterior photo will come after I do the above. The interior photos are in another thread, on this page.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 10:45AM
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Oops, the interior photos are on the 'Pics Requested by...brutuses' thread. Sorry

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 10:50AM
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Great location Willie. It's JMHO, but San Antonio is one of the nicest big cities in Texas.

"Sorry, the exterior photo will come after I do the above."

You know, the fun of posting exterior shots is being able to marvel at the hard work and planning as we compare the before and after. I'm trying to remember, didn't you post somewhere the sq footage of your garage? (which was about as big as our whole house...LOL)

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 1:11PM
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OK, here's a before and an almost-after photo of all the work. It's looking at the back of the house, and it reflects the size ratio of house-to-garage. We were fulltiming/traveling in the big motorhome when we designed the house. We moved the motorhome onto the property as soon as we had the special permit to have the electric utility company install the standard meter. This motohome requires two 50 amp circuits (both 120 volt). We lived in it until we could move into the house. The garage had to be 27 ft deep so that I could store my bassboat in it (straight in). The garage doors are 8 ft tall, and 10 ft and 18 ft wide. I always wanted a hidden rear-attached garage, and two driveways to the backyard.
BTW I used my 7 hp tiller and the 25 hp garden tractor to remove all the grass/weeds from the foundation area. My concrete contractor brought his offset trencher to dig for the many beams in the slab foundation.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 6:58PM
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Live in an 1100 50's ranch. Chose it primarily for the large yard and one story. It has character with wood shingles for siding and arched doorways. New landscaping in front my first year, tons of flowers in front and back. Have done most of the changes myself, both inside and out, a fault in some ways as I've always been far to capable. A one car garage and no basement is a big change, but built a large log cabin in back for storage and also a small cute unit for gardening. Realized I really never liked going into past basements even with great ideas for using them and stuff out of the garage works well.

For some reason I worry about the plumbing, even though nothing has gone wrong. Everything else has been upgraded and finally getting where I want the house to be. Age finally told me to quit attempting huge projects and go for a couple hours a day in getting things done.

Am an artist and maybe that is what my concern should be. Always coming up with something else to change, create. So...I'll never be done, but less is more in the scheme of small.

Have to comment on the garage/house pics. Used to joke about the last home my husband and I lived in. Would tell him we bought a 5 car garage with a house. He was a major car guy and the garage area was big enough to hold two of this little house I now live in. I wouldn't go back, a huge house is beyond in upkeep.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 9:23AM
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I'm not sure if houses should be this tight, I have to clean mold off the window wells about once a week. I can't say for sure that the heat bill is much different yet. But I'm having to leave the kitchen window open 24/7.
Also I forgot to say I'm on the west coast of BC, so very mild, major heating & cooling bills aren't a huge issue here.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2008 at 2:43AM
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I'm rivka, and I have a 1500 sq. foot bungalow in Orange County, CA. My biggest concern is our 5 year ARM ;)

Space-wise, our house has turned out to be just right for my husband and I. If we had kids, it would be a different matter! Realistically, my biggest concern is probably some of the older systems in the house, like the roof and the heating/AC -- they're probably all going to need to be replaced soon.

We also have grandiose plans to remodel the garage sometime in the next year or two to make it into exercise space, so that we can reclaim our third bedroom as a guest room.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2008 at 3:37PM
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Hello. I'm located in Eastern PA. We have a 60s ranch with a walkout basement. The top floor has 988 square feet. The basement area adds another 250 or so square feet so it's a flexible plan. The front is stone and it has a lovely bow window. I'd call it a cottage style.

My biggest concern is the aging systems. We've done some electrical work and spiffed up the kitchen.


    Bookmark   January 23, 2008 at 8:27AM
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Mfrog, get your house audited and find out the problem(s). Mold can be caused by bad or uneducated contractors. Tightness can be relieved with venting through the attic. Mold can be caused by leakage, bad materials, bad foundation, no insulation or damp insulation. An audit can tell you a great deal.

Good luck

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 9:26AM
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It's a well built house, there are vents in the attic. The foundation is very sound, no dampness even with the plastic test on the floor. There is plenty of insulation, they demand 6" walls which we have tested. We believe the problem is the house is very, very tight. We called about an audit, they won't come over here, we live in the boondocks. I think part of the problem is I have a number of plants which add humidity plus the electric heat. I seemed to have solved the problem with leaving the kitchen window open.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 1:13PM
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Moved last year from a 2700 sq ft to 1100 sq it just big enogh for 2 empty nesters but still declutterring after almost a year and I thought I got rid of everything I would not use!!!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 1:24PM
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mfrog; a tight house isn't a 'problem'; it's only when you don't get rid of the excess moisture inside that it's a problem. Do you have a humidity-sensor-reading-thingie?

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 7:19PM
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Jason, do you mean a humistat? (sp) Yes, we have one, the fan on it is quite loud, (& it's right outside our bedroom door) so I tend to open a window instead. But I have to disagree with you & others that tight houses aren't a problem. There are several studies showing sick building syndrome because of this exact problem. I think it's a great idea to make houses tighter, but I don't think enough thought is put into recirculation of fresh air. When we do our remodel we are going to add an air exchanger which was not required when the house was built 12 years ago.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 2:40AM
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I'm Lauren in the western suburbs of Philadelphia, I'm in a 1288 sq foot townhome. Huge living space downstairs, living room and enormous diningroom, but a Barbie Fun House kitchen. But that's ok, it's useable, and I can entertain easily in the rest of the space.

My biggest concern? I'm on a five year plan, then after that I can move on if I choose to. So my concern is getting all work done, VERY economically, in these five years, and the market is in a good place, so that I can realize a good profit. My goal after that is to find a similar sized single family home, that I can green up. It's very important to me, but there are only so many green efforts I can do in a town home, and I find that frustrating.

But I do love my little place!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2008 at 12:44PM
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mfrog; tight houses aren't the problem; improper ventilation is. I'm of the 'build it tight, ventilate it right' camp. ;-)

Welcome laurnk....I did a lot of remodels, so ask away; I know a lot of people here are also experts at it at this stage.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2008 at 8:20PM
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Hi, I am new here but have been around as a lurker. My wife and I build/remodel houses for a living and also work as consultants to owner builders. Currently we live in a 1400 sq. ft. gambrel roof cottage that we converted from a garage / workshop on a half acre on the edge of Madison, Wi.

We love the creative outlet and doing things green and healthy. We are considering a move to Asheville, NC and would like to find land to build four or more 800ish sq ft cottages with a common courtyard. Our concern is encouraging others to build small and green.

I hope to get to know you all more.


    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 1:59PM
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Hello, thought I'd pop in and introduce myself. I'm Pam from just outside of Philadelphia. I live in a house that's about 1300 sf, plus a basement and small garage, on maybe one-fifth of an acre.

Concerns? I have several, none fatal. I wish I had a good place to store my vacuum cleaner and an out of the way place to set up my ironing board. I just don't have enough closet/storage space. Next is being too close to the neighbors. I'd keep my small house but I'd love to have it on a bigger plot. I also love to garden and wish I had more space for that, but maybe I should be careful what I wish for, as I can barely keep up with what I have now.

It would be nice to have a second full bath for when I have guests, but --- oh well!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 10:33AM
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Hi ! Always a lurker, here I am. I'm Shari, my family and I (total 4, plus 2 dogs and 2 parrots) live in a 1167 sq ft. 3 br/2bath/1cg in South Florida, on barely a quarter acre. We always say, its not the perfect house, but it will be when ever it is that the kids move out !!! Adequate, but not roomy enough, but its more than thought we could get when we were looking for a house 12 yrs ago....and yes, its all the cleaning (or lack of it) that i can handle... HI EVERYONE !

    Bookmark   February 15, 2008 at 6:43AM
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i live in the coastal south in a 1,700 sq ft (no other storage, no basement, attic unusable due to heat and humidity issues) ranch home with gorgeous, original true divided light floor to ceiling windows (this is why i bought the house-- this and the alley-loading garage). my biggest challenge is storage and energy efficiency.

i am passionate about building smarter and city/town/neighborhood planning that encourages a good, healthy life within the community. walkability, local food sources, etc.

mfrog-- yes, tight houses are a problem for the very reason you mentioned. when a home is very tight, it can also lead to a phenomenon where leaks suck in other words, where the "fresh" air comes from is almost equally important as having it. e.g., air that leaks in from under the house can bring a lot of bad things with it (mold, allergens, etc). air often leaks in from under doors going to the garage. air leaks in from the attic, where there are things i won't mention here that are not healthy.

i am lucky enough to know a lot of folks in the green building industry. my older home did not have good ventilation. everyone i spoke with told me to get a "fresh air exchanger" attached to my furnace system. it brings in fresh air every five minutes (you can alter this to your liking).

if you do not live in an area with excessive humidity, this is a great idea. otherwise, make sure the windows you open are not near the garage or other areas where you would be drawing in toxins, like a dryer vent, busy street, etc.

i experienced the difference a fresh air exchanger and good filter system make for myself as i have visited a lot of "healthy homes" while working and i could feel a difference immediately. it is disturbing to me that so many people think it is wacky and new agey to think that what you breathe impacts your health. scientific study after study proves this. and people who work in hospitals know it, too ( i won't go here). it is also, in the end, good plain common sense.

of course, i know that builders have been taught to build tight and it makes sense to do so-- but the issue of good ventilation also has to be addressed. a tight house is a good house, but you also need ways to get fresh air in and bad air out, from the right sources. before we knew this, leaks may have been our saving grace:-)

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 1:23PM
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Hi all,
I do a lot of lurking, but thought I'd introduce myself. I'm Arianna and my husband and I own a 1050 sq ft california bungalow in San Diego, CA.
This is our first home, so we have many concerns (a few just coming up as first-time homeowners!). We're getting new post & piers and footings starting Thursday and they're going to try to level the house.
We love the charm, the mouldings, the character. I guess our biggest concern is getting things organized and paired-down well enough. Our house feels disorganized and messy a lot of the time (some of it could just well be us :)).
Nice to meet you all!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 2:36AM
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I'm Nora, and DH and I live on 7 idyllic acres in an approximately 1450 sq. ft. house (depends on who's doing the calculating LOL). My biggest concern (actually pet peeve) is that we don't have a dining room or an eat-in kitchen large enough to accommodate more than 6-8 people comfortably. Actually it's a tight squeeze to fit more than 8 people anywhere in the's very oddly laid out. And we love to entertain so it becomes a challenge, except for in the warmer months when we can fit 20-30 people out on our deck comfortably. But it's ours and we have 2 rental incomes on the property; a cottage and a studio apartment, which more than makes up for it's shortcomings ;o)
Another concern is the landscaping. We're on a mountain and there isn't one piece of the property that's level, except down in the "lower 40", which is not easily accessible to the main house. So we have to figure out what to do with the very hilly and rocky front and back yards. A work in progress, indeed. We've gotten ridiculous estimates for professional landscaping. DH and I figure that we can do the majority of the work ourselves because we're pretty able-bodied. We've done amazing things with the house as a whole, so hey! what's a bit of earth-moving and stone-laying, right?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 10:18AM
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I'm Hank and live near Kalamazoo. Moved from a 2200 sq ft to a 970 and added 280 so we could seat 21 once a month. Empty nesters and the biggest concern is running out of things to do. Replaced the roof and garage floor, repaired a leaning driveway, expanded the bathroom, remodeled the kitchen and, of course, the 280 ft addition.

We hosted a party of 50 at Christmas and never ran out of room.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 10:53AM
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Hi, my name is Kris. My husband and I live in Montana and are embarking on the rollercoaster of building our first home. We have overcome a lot of pressure to build bigger and pander to re-sale value, but stuck to our guns.
Our overall concern is material and energy efficiency. I'm sure our biggest concern will coalesce and evolve as we build. Right now it is a nebulous presence I can't put my finger on.
The house will be about about 1,500 sq ft, 32' by 32' with a kind of tri-level layout, ICF basement-ish first floor and SIP walls above ground. 2 bedroom, 2 half-baths and a shower/bath room. Radiant floor heat, heat-recovery ventilator, probably domestic instant hot water heater, central vacuum, clay plaster wall finish, low-U windows, etc... There are so many details!
Comparitively, there are not many resources out there for space efficient homes, so thank you so much for getting this started! I've got questions for sure, and am hoping that I may be of some use with knowledge we've gained through our reading.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 2:33PM
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Hi, I'm Colleen. I just moved to a 900sq.ft. rambler in western Washington state. First home I've owned! I guess it's common in these 1950's houses that there is only one plumbed wall. The washer is in the kitchen on the same wall as the sink and the other side of that wall is the bathroom. The washer&dryer will need to get out of my kitchen! So some plumbing & electrical will be needed once I decide where those appliance will go and then kitchen reworking will be needed. Also, I can't imagine how the former owner lived with only one electrical outlet in the kitchen (and that has the washer plugged into it). So some additional electrical will also be needed. Once I figure out what I'd like in these areas the concern is how to find trustworthy plumbing and electrical folks to do the work. Any tips?
I'll be needing to paint the outside and I think I'll be able to do that myself later this summer. The yard needs renovation and landscaping which I'll be doing over time. The driveway needs to be evened out since it's got some potholes and bumps. Has anyone used something called a "cold patch" to repair a blacktop driveway? Is this possible to DIY for a new homeowner?
It's good to be here. I look forward to participating in these forums!

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 1:29AM
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Congrats, honeybea! Sounds like you have a nice little project home- take your time, it doesn't all have to get done today! Cold patch will work OK, although it won't be pretty. It's not hard to do, but it is heavy work. I always used it on a hot day, which makes it easier to tamp into place. My recommendation for finding tradesmen is to try to find out from people who have been in the area a long time who they use, and get several estimates. Avoid contractors who send out a separate 'salesperson'- they're usually too expensive. And you might be wary of anyone who is really cheap. I've had my best luck with smaller companies that have been around a long time.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 5:14PM
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Thanks very much for the tips Flgargoyle! This little house seems to have been ignored for years by a PO. Now I'm enthusiastic to start making it into the comfortable small home I know it can be--though I realize I don't have time (or money!) to do everything right away. Prioritizing has been tough, but I think getting the laundry appliances out of the kitchen will be a good place to start.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 1:09AM
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Hi, I've been browsing on the Garden forums & just discovered this one!

I'm Linnea from western Illinois. I don't know the square footage of my house - and I'm always terrible at estimating that sort of thing - but it's pretty teeny. It's a 2-BR, about the size of my last apartment, except it has a yard & garage. I rent.

It's a post-war prefab slab house (so no basement) in a neighborhood full of identical houses. Luckily, we like to paint our houses & shutters cute colors so we can tell them apart. Here's a blog with pictures of another house in my neighborhood (10/5/07 post) - - mine is almost exactly the same, only rotated so the front door doesn't face the street, and I don't have those fancy bay windows! Or a satellite dish. :) But I have a nice back patio that his house appears to lack!

I do love my teeny house & mostly I don't need any more space. I could go for a larger kitchen, though, even if it meant less space in other areas. I have minimal cupboard & counter space, which is a bummer for a cook. Also, the washer/dryer, furnace, water heater, garbage can, and dog's dish are all jammed into a slightly-too-small nook off the kitchen, which can get a little exciting when it's dog dinnertime on laundry day.

Since the house is getting on in years, it has a few maintenance issues. The one driving me nuts right now is that the garage floods whenever we get fast snowmelt. There are a few cracks in the slab, and I think the slab has also settled so its top is slightly below ground level on one side. Snowmelt water just pours on in over there. A possible summer project is going to be digging some kind of drainage trench along that side of the garage.

This house has radiant heat (warm water goes through pipes in the floor) and my jury is still out on whether I like it. The floor is always nice & toasty in the winter, but it takes forever to warm up in the morning. I'm not sure if it's more or less cost-efficient than other types of heat. Does anyone else have radiant heat?

OK, I have written a book about my house, so I'll close for now.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 6:03PM
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Linnea...a pretty name. Where did it come from?

I love your little house. And hope you enjoy gardening as it has some wonderful area to play in the yard. Very nice catch with all the options included.

Looked at your blog. I want to see the bike. My son has one and worry every time he is on it. Not because of his driving, but all the other drivers who just don't see him. Hope all is well on the healing end.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 12:38PM
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Thanks emagineer, Linnea is a Swedish name. It's also a flower & the state flower of the Swedish province Småland!

The blog isn't mine, I just found it when I was browsing for photos of houses similar to mine. That guy happens to live in almost exactly the same house (probably laid out exactly the same inside too, it's kind of funny visiting neighbors & seeing everything the same as my house).

My place does have a lovely yard & lots of garden areas that the last tenant carved out. Lots of sun in back, so I can have a pretty spectacular vegetable garden for a lot this size. The yard & garden areas were what absolutely sold me on this house - I peeked in the back yard before I even looked inside & knew I had to have the house (unless there were major issues inside, which luckily there weren't)!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 4:33PM
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Hi everyone. I'm new to this forum, but have been on GW a long time.

I am in the process of buying a 1,566 sf home built in 1942. 972 sf is on the first floor. The remaining sf is basement, unfinished, but definitely habitable & not spooky. A true playland for my daughter. There's no 2nd floor. It's on a double lot in town and the lot is cute and very woodsy. It's got a 12x20 screened porch attached to the back (south) side of the house. Detached 1 car garage. It's everything I've ever really wanted.

I moved out of a 2700 sf house about a year ago (divorce...and it's a good thing!), came to my current 1000 sf apartment until I could find a place to buy for me and my 2 year old daughter.

I grew up in a small home, so having that big house fit the criteria of my "dream". After that silly marriage and the facade of "having it all", I knew I didn't want to have anything to do with all that house space and everything fake that went along with it. the only thing real about that house was all the $$ and time I put into it myself to try to make it cozy. I spent all my time cleaning, paying utility bills, and trying to keep an image up.

With that said, my only real concern for the new small house is the closet space in the bedrooms. I'm a clothes girl and that's my thing. Plenty of built-ins and storage in the house and basement for other "stuff"...but I've never been one to have and keep a lot of stuff to begin with. I'm not really concerned because I have plenty of's more of an adjustment I'll have to figure out a solution for.

I'll post pics at some point. Saying hello to the folks on this forum and looking forward to the chats!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 1:58PM
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What you need to measure the humidity is a "Hygrometer" you can get one at a cigar store.

1eyedJack and the Dawg

    Bookmark   March 21, 2008 at 5:28PM
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I have been a gawker for a while now. What I am planning is a VERY SMALL PLACE. I got the idea from a large two story storage shed I saw at HD. Only $7,500.00 on your slab! LOL
16 x 16 with storage/sleeping loft. I would add a basement.

I would change it somewhat to allow for more headroom on the first and loft. Use 2 x 6 instead of 2 x 4. Very small kitchen and small Bathroom on the first floor. Basement would be the home for the WH/Laundry and workshop. Walk out type

I would also allow for beefing up the joist at the rear to allow for me to add a chain/cable hoist for when I can no longer climb up.
I.e. Home made elevator.

Hyper insulate it to keep the energy bills down. Windows only with no sliding glass doors.

Land is still cheap up here in the up country of SC, but I would probably have to spend more on the land than framing in the house and doing the basement. Got to have water to garden you know.

So we are looking at a little over 700 sq ft. Only myself and the Dawg and would suit me just fine. I have already lived in a 25 x 25 square cottage with front porch so I can handle that.

My main concern? Living long enough to finish it.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2008 at 5:46PM
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Hi, I'm Sandy and I currently live in Gainesville Florida in a 900 sq.ft. house with two small kids and my husband. We are about to move to a I believe around 1,300 sq ft 1930 house in Brooker Florida. We have completely gutted and fixed up the inside. I believe it was a crack house for a few years and then an elderly couple bought it and sold it to us. SO anyway, I love this forum and would love to meet some other Florida people. Or any people for that matter. I'm a stay at home mom so I'm bored a lot. LOL

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 4:47PM
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Actually husband just said it's more like 1,100 sq ft. Sorry. I forget because we bought it in October and are still waiting to get in it. I'll have to look at the house papers and see what it actually is.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 4:50PM
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Another Kris here, and another from Massachusetts. For 9 years now we've lived in a 1950 Cape Cod, 1200 sq ft, but disproportionately large kids bedrooms in the attic/upstairs (about 400 sq ft up there), so about 800 sq ft for the main floor (kitchen, bath, living room, two bedrooms). We've also finished 400 sq ft in the basement (with a full bath, kitchenette and t.v. room). Biggest concern -- the 8x16 eat-in kitchen (no dining room). Second biggest concern -- tiny closets, and no linen closet. From what I've just written you'd think I don't like the house, nothing could be farther from the truth. I never thought I could love a house so much. It's nice to find others who seem to have similar feelings about their not-so-big houses.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 9:01AM
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I wish we had a gallary to see all that has been done to our small homes. And am really enjoying all the new posts.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 10:04AM
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My name's Heather. I live in Orange County, California. House is just about 1,000 sf 1958 ranch. Trying to pull some mid-century modern style out of it. But it's not going so well.

My biggest concern is what mistake am I gunna find next? Had a really bad GC in the beginning of our remodel and now just working our way through it with out going crazy.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 1:46PM
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Hi I'm Danielle from central California. I'm not new to GW but I am new to this forum.
We live in a 6 year old single story 1565sf tract home. There's four of us plus two dogs and two cats. I have been starting to feel discontent with our little place and wishing I had something larger. We aren't in a position to 'move up' so I came here to meet other people living and thriving in smaller homes.

My biggest concern right now is wondering how this house will contain two soon to be large teenage boys and what will become of this neighborhood after all of the foreclosures.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 3:05PM
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Hi, I'm Diana. Hubby and I are Angel & Cubs fans, hence the screen name. We live and garden on the northern slopes of the San Gabriels in So.Cal. We had our home built 18 years ago, our design, built by a local builder. There was nothing here but the usual pinon pines, scrub oak and junipers but we've managed to make it into the cottage style we love. It's 1910 or 1030 s.f., depending on the appraiser one chooses to believe.

Our only concern right now is deciding on whether we want to continue living here when DH retires in a few years. All of So.Cal is growing exponentially but I hate to leave, as we're both natives and love being close to our sons. I also don't know where else I'd want to live. We've traveled quite a bit but nothing is jumping out at me or him. Guess we'll just see how the cards play out.


    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 3:24PM
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That should have been 1910 or 1930 s.f. Wish this site had an edit button - sigh.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 3:56PM
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Hi, I'm anele from Illinois. I live in a 1500 (I think) sq ft Cape Cod from '59 with three young children, three cats, and one DH.

My concerns are just the basics . . .updating our very old bathrooms (for functional and aesthetic purposes). On the trivial side, I'm always trying to figure out how to give the house more character. The ideas are flowing but the cash is not, so most projects are still in the design phase. For the future, I'm wondering how long I can keep 3 children in the same bedroom.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 10:14PM
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Hi - I'm Amy, San Francisco bay area. Live with DH, DD, and a small dog.

House size is difficult to determine. The house was built as a church (don't think fancy; think small town 1946.) The main living area (2/1, LR,DR, galley kitchen) is about 750sf.

We also have a semi-finished attic, but that is not counted as living space as nowhere is the ceiling higher than 6'. We use it as storage, but it is difficult to maneuver without whacking your head on a beam.

There is also a walk-out basement which is about 900sf. (This was the meeting hall for the church.) This includes an unfinished utility/laundry room. The rest of the space is finished and is DH's music studio (for lessons, rehearsals, recording etc.)

No garage, but we have a 10'x10' gardening shed.

Our lot is 75'x100' - very large for this area, and I love our garden.

Total space? no idea.

Main concerns:
Storage! Priests don't need closet space, but we do.
Tiny ugly bathroom!!
Poor remodeling has made the layout of the house difficult to work with.
Finding contractors to do small jobs. In this area, they don't want to touch anything under an $80,000 kitchen remodel.
Keeping clutter under control. We are homeschooling and it is taking over everything.
General decorating concerns - I want the house to be a pleasant, peaceful place, as well as functional. It is hard to get everything we need into place and still have it look halfway decent.
I would like to finish the attic as a bedroom for dd, but don't know where to begin.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 5:23PM
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Hi !!!
My name is Erica, and I live in Warwick, Rhode Island. My DH, two kids, 1 dog and 2 cats, and myself live in a 1000 sq. foot ranch from the 50's. We've recently put on a new roof, and remodeled the kitchen. We are planning on a huge deck (current deck is small) this fall. We have a partially finsihed basement, where DH has his pool table (it is sort of a kid-friendly man-cave :)

Biggest concerns:
I would love, love, love a dinning room. We love to have big dinners with friends and family, and we just all squeeze around the kitchen table. It's fun, but a dinning room would be great. I would love a larger living room, and higher ceilings, but otherwise, I am pretty happy with our small, cozy, house.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 11:22AM
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I'm Jen and live in Seattle (suprise!) and my husband, Bernese Mountain Dog & I share a 900 sf bungalow built in 1942. Our big project right now is remodeling the kitchen, after which we will tackle the bath and some landscaping. We love our cozy house!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 12:36AM
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Im cindy, we are in NE pa. Our house is DIY we have been working on it for 3 years, and its going to be around 1600 sq ft. My biggest concern is by the time the house is done I will be in a nursing home!!!! LOL

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 10:29AM
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I am in Sterling Heights, MI in a 3 br 1 % 1/2 ba brick ranch. It is 1675 sq ft. We moved here two and a half years ago from a nearby city and a 3/1 at 1430 sq ft and a recently over-remodeled kitchen. We never though we would leave that house, but DH's dad moved in. The 5 steps down to let the dogs out multiple times a day, the loss of the extra bedroom that was my project area, and DH's new drive to a further location for work added up to discomfort in that home. Then I got hired at three times my income and we had the money to look at other houses. We found this house quickly, and two months after getting serious about moving, closed on a second house. It took a year and a half to get the old one into a rent-to-own situation, so we lost a lot of money that could have been used on this house. So far - by necessity - we have replaced the water heater, gas furnace, front door, and slider. We also redid the porch, adding a wheelchair ramp for Dad when his health failed. I already had aluminum wheelchair ramps for every one of the 4 elevation changes in the house (largest is 6 inches, smallest is 2 inches). We need to insulate the attic next, then replace all of the windows. Decorating and such will wait until after the house is no longer serving as a private nursing home. Currently, I am working on a low-cost project of landscaping. The foundation plantings were original 1978, and overgrown. The ramp construction put a pile-o-dirt in the front yard. So I had friends dig up the big bushes, plant them in the back yard, and dismantle the dry-stacked sandstone border rocks. I reshaped the front bed, added 60 bags of peat and topsoil, and planted my new bed. Once I get around to finishing the mulching and fix my little gutter-runoff stream, I will take pictures. That is my project for this summer.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 9:10PM
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Wife and I just completed a 1900 sq ft home in cent FL. Tried to use every cost effective strategy we could find to keep power bills low and hurricane resistance high. The efficiency planning seems to have paid hurricane season is upon us...we'll see...Would have built smaller but didn't want to be the smallest home in the area.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 5:50AM
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Hi, I'm Marilyn in NW New Mexico. We live on 1/4 acre in a 1260 sq ft home. There's just DH & I but we raised 2 children in our small home. Rooms are small as we have a family room/dining room combo for this 3 bedroom, 2 bath home. We love our old house and our old yard with big trees. We strive to be energy efficient, living green as much as possible in our area.

I think the best benefit to a small home is the lower energy bills. I sure wouldn't want to cool off a 3000 sq ft home.....
Nice to meet everyone.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 10:05AM
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I'm Meldy and I'm in Northern Virginia. Came to GW about 15 years ago, lurk more than post.

Have a 65-year old, 1500± sf ranch-style; bought as a fixer-upper to update and re-sell. Family matters prevented the re-sale, and now we're into updating the fixes done 20 and 30 years ago.

No major concerns because this was one of those higher-quality custom-built houses with oak floors, real plaster walls, copper plumbing, and an all-brick exterior. It even has decent closet space! (Nothing like having an Admiral oversee the build to be sure it's done right; or maybe it was the admiral's wife, lol.)

After years of working with friends and relatives as they built houses, I'm happily [more or less] planning our retirement home, trying to get everything I want into 1200 sf.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 2:48PM
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Melissa Houser

I'm Lissa in southeastern FL. I live in my 2/2 with my DH and 1 ds full-time, 1 ds who visits part-time. Both of the boys are supposed to be leaving soon for work purposes, but.... Our house is a fixer on 1/3 of an acre. When we bought it, I was making killer money, but the mortgage industry drop has killed my money. ;)

I run a small business out of here and we have 2 dogs of our own and 1 that's "visiting" from SC, where DH's mom is having some health issues. My biggest concern is getting things done on a very tight budget right now.

The biggest project is the kitchen, which is in desperate need of a remodel. Apparently the PO had a huge water leak that she never reported to the insurance company, so the bottom cabinets are disintegrating inside. This, along with many other issues with no-maintenance for 20 years, is taking everything we've got to fix.

We're probably $15,000 and zillions of man-hours into fixing things up and there is very little in the slush money fund for projects. We're doing lots of painting and "surface" fixes for now, with an eye towards future bigger projects on a DIY basis. It's a good thing that DH and I are both handy, or we'd be in big trouble! ;)

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 12:14AM
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Oh, my goodness, it's been a while since I checked in and look at all the new folks! I think I was one of the first folks when this forum started, as I was thinking in terms of buying a cottage. I live alone except for three cats (I'm turning into a cliche).

I found it about 4 1/2 years ago, and had a lot of fun sharing it with other folks and planning what to do to fix it up. LOL- I had a four year plan and am just now starting year two (about 2 1/2 years late!). I have a tendency to want to garden rather than do house stuff.

The garden is starting to look great. The house... is still pretty much the way it was when I moved in, temporary kitchen and all. That's starting to change, though. The one big change inside is that slowly my art is taking over the space. My cottage is turning into a studio with attached bedroom! One of the upstairs rooms is my framing room and the other is full of stuff I don't use. It's supposed to be a guest room, but the bed is way off in the corner somewhere.

The house: Vermont Victorian era accretion, about 1300 sq ft, or so they say. That includes all the odd little spaces here and there that really need creative solutions to be usable. The core of the house is of unknown age, probably mid 1800s, post and beam on stacked stone cellar, 14x15 feet, one room down and one room up, stairwell, and a small enclosed cooking porch in back.

Over the decades it acquired a total of 8 additions- a little here, a little there-- which added two bedrooms, a decent sized living room full of light, a small but sweet dining room, a bath and mudroom, and a tiny pantry. And resulted in an 9x15 kitchen with no windows and eight doors, to which someone added a dropped ceiling with just 6'10" clearance. I kid you not. The ceiling is long gone, but the doors took creativity (I don't dare move any walls or change the layout).

But I got the house for cheap. The year before I bought it, it sat empty for a winter and suffered serious water damage to plaster along one side (I still live with lathe walls in two rooms). The three things I did before moving in was have it completely rewired, replaced aged water pipes, and had metal roofing put on the additions. It was still cheap.

My biggest concern right now: This year's fuel costs took installing a wood stove right to the top of my priorities. I just bought the stove and arranged to have a metal chimney installed for it. I've begun scraping the outside paint, and this summer all the corners and seams will be sealed and the worst of the windows rebuilt to reduce infiltration. Then: plasterboard to cover the lathe, and KITCHEN CABINETS!!! YAYYY!

Dayle Ann

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 5:35PM
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I have not been here in awhile and remember you very well Dayle Ann and your sweet house and your carriage barn. Nice to see you here.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 7:50PM
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Dayle Ann...Do you sell your art? I paint in chalk pastels. What medium are you into? Would love to see a house full of ones' art. It does so much for our creativity and inner thinking.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2008 at 10:58AM
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Hi, Anicee and Imagineer! Wonderful to see you still here!

Imagineer, I think we've PMed, or I've seen you somewhere else: an art forum? Well, I TRY to sell my art! Two galleries so far, still getting established. I do soft pastels too, also am working again in oils, but haven't taken any of those to the galleries yet. Nor my kiln worked glass, which is taking a hiatus while I work on the house (I had to make myself do this). Seeing my own work on the walls is depressing - I'd rather see it hanging on someone else's wall!

If I can figure out how to post images again, I'll post some before and after pics of the house-- what a difference a garden makes, even if the paint is still peeling!

Ok, here we go:

The day I decided to buy the house in March 2004:

July 2008: Still not painted, but garden is almost there!

I guess I should get back over to the Cottage Garden forum and post my progress pics too!

Dayle Ann

    Bookmark   July 19, 2008 at 6:00PM
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Dayle Anne..PMd? Hmmm. Do you hang around Wet Canvas Pastels? I've been into all types of art also....but love soft pastels and messing with oil too right now. In CO, but lived in Corrales, NM a few years ago. There was an artist into glass. She created "miniature rooms" and had a huge studio, ovens, ect. Was known world wide with many of her pieces in museums.

Love your little house and I have a cottage garden too. It has grown beyond expected in 2 years. Will be transplanting this fall.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2008 at 11:06PM
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We live in Northern Saskatchewan, Canada in a 1000sq. ft. cottage by a lake. This is a resort area but there are a number of us who live here year round. It's by the Boreal forest and is a beautiful area. We're empty nesters but have children and grandchildren visiting especially in the summer. There is no basement as the water table is too high. My biggest concern is sleeping space when family is home, the rest of the time I love living in a smaller space. We moved from a five bedroom, three bathroom 2400 sq. ft. house so we've downsized a lot. Enjoy your smaller homes!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 1:22PM
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I'm new to the forum as well..I'm de and live in Florida with my hubby of 35 yrs. We have two grown children..that have finally flown the coop, but now have a 4yr.old grandson that loves staying with We have two golden retrievers and one sassy cat.

We live in a 1400sq.ft. one story home,..not sure just what style you would call it. It's a CB (cement & brick). Built in 1973, 3bdrms., 2bths., oversize garage. It has an eat in kitchen, dinning room, living room. The only down side to this home is that one entire wall in the living room is glass sliding doors, (which goes out into the screen porch) another is sliding wooden doors going into the master bedroom, and a third is 1/2 open to the dinning area which there is a "stepup" seperatiing the dinning room and living room as well as two long planter walls on either side of the room. Other than that,..I am very pleased with our home. Originally from Long Island NY., I moved here with my family back in '73, and I have loved Florida ever since.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 11:05PM
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I'm new to the forum but have been a long time lurker of gardenweb. :) My name is Erin and my husband and son and I live in NJ. Our house is a 1100sq ft cape cod. It was built in 1950 but had a fire and was rebuilt/fixed in 1985. We bought it in 2003.

My biggest concern is size. While we're a family of 3, things still get cramped. Especially when we have guests over. Although, I often feel like my home is homier than some of our friends larger homes.

This is our house (Halloween time, lol):

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 10:32AM
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I'm Cara, I live in Northern NJ, and our house is a small 2-story Colonial (that sorta looks like a cottage/bungalow to me), built in 1939. I don't know the exact sf but it's under 1500: entryway, LR, DR, office, kitchen and powder room downstairs; 3 bedrooms (one very tiny) and a full bath upstairs. We also have an attic and semi-finished basement. My biggest concern is that there are 5 of us- me, my husband and 3 girls, the eldest of whom is almost a teenager. It's a sweet house and a lovely neighborhood, but I'm just not sure we can live here happily for too much longer... hard for any of us to get any privacy, and storage space is a big problem.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 1:11AM
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Hi, we live in Portland, Oregon, in what was supposed to be a very briefly occupied starter house... but it's looking like we will be here a lot longer than planned (the housing market is rough here!). The house was built in 1929, so it's very charming. There's 900 feet on the main level and a partially finished basement. As for our biggest concern: it's that we need to fix many things (siding, windows, electrical) and want to make some upgrades, but the house is probably worth less than when we bought it. Tricky!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2008 at 9:52PM
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Hi, I'm Christy. I just found this thread. We (DH and I) live in N. VA in a 1 1/2 story house built in 1938. Footprint is about 950 sf; it is on a 5000 sf lot (1/8 of an acre). Basement is about 800 sf. We finished the basement last year; adding insulation made a huge difference. First floor closets are tiny; the doors are only 24 inches wide. No foyer or coat closet, tiny DR. Attic ceiling is only 6 feet high, so it does not meet code for BR space. I am half way through insulating the attic - hauling out the old insulation and installing new insulation with vents.

The house is brick, but there is NO lathing - two layers of brick and then plaster. Someone told us that when the houses here were built (during the depression) they used whatever was cheap. We do have the original hardwood floors and brass plates/glass door knobs on the interior doors.

We have a computerized thermostat and keep the heat low (68) when we are home and 60 at night and when we are not home. Other way around in the summer - we don't crank the AC on high. Keeps the utility bills low.

As it is, so much heat leaks out of the house that the side of the car right next to the house rarely gets ice on it! We have a detached garage but have never tried to get the car in it as there wouldn't be enough space to get out of the car!

    Bookmark   December 18, 2008 at 7:28PM
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I'm Carrie. I am from Ontario, Canada. I live in a 1680 sq ft. brick house in a subdivision. Built in 1990, it is a 2 storey with a small front porch. When it was built they tried to make it look old fashioned with a gable in the middle of the 2 story and gingerbread trim.

My house is not open concept at all. It has a bunch of small rooms. I like the privacy of having separate rooms for different functions. We are a family of 4 and there is always a quiet place to go.

The main concern with our home is the age. When it was built everything was basic builder grade. Things are wearing out. We have replaced the roof, some taps and all the flooring in the house. We are facing some major expenses in the next few years when we wil need to replace our aging heating/AC systems, wood windows, cheap melemine cupbords and laminate counters that are wearing out.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2008 at 11:18PM
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Wow, this thread is almost a year old!

I live in a 135 year old 1,000 square foot house. My biggest concerns are items that will need replacement in the coming years including the roof, siding, and appliances.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 10:00PM
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This is a wonderful thread with so many participants. I can't believe I didn't post in here when it started. I hope some of you are still lurking and look forward to seeing posts from you about your homes, gardens, etc.

Our little cottage is around 700 sq ft. which was built in 1950-1951. We live in s.e. FL. on 1/3 of an acre. We've lived here since 1973, and have made improvements and built outbuildings (with permits) over the years. Gardening is my favorite hobby, which is possible 365 days a year here.

We are working on decluttering, remodeling, and living each day.

Thank you all for posting in this thread. It's nice to know there is a 'community' of us small home dwellers. Do come back and post again. We all need inspiration and encouragement to live large and fully in our small homes.

May you all have a wonderful 2009.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 6:58AM
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We live in Ohio and bought a 1270 1952 ranch. We have replaced the roof, put hardwood floor in the kitchen and updated our kitchen which isn't completed yet. (DH has back issues) so we've been on hold for the last 7 years.
We repainted the outside twice (didn't like the first color which was supposed to be beige but turned out a peachy color), did some landscaping and updated our little shed out back. We have trim to stain and install which hopefully we'll get around to doing in the spring.
I like looking at all of the big houses and yes, they are beautiful but I like mine, one floor and the perfect size. I couldn't imagine cleaning a house larger than 1500! I love all of the ideas garden web, there is always someone to chime in if you have a problem or a question!

Happy New Year to all!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 7:20PM
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I just discovered this forum and read this post with interest. My guest cottage on what used to be a horse farm is 600 ft square on a slab. No basement, no attic. It's interesting to see what other people consider small.

After 4.5 years, I'm over most of my adjustment to moving here from a 3000 ft square antebellum farm house. Being able to keep the house clean is wonderful. I have jettisoned a lot of stuff over time, but storage for books, CDs, and LPs (!) is still an issue. I rent, but have great landlords who are open to my making modifications. I'm running out of wall space for shelves or cabinets, though.

Some of the space-saving adjustments I've made:
Flat screen TV (no longer need a large cabinet for TV to stand on) I don't really watch TV, mostly use this to watch DVDs, may eventually just stick with my IMac
Undercabinet hanging glassware racks for stemware
Pots and pans hanging on hooks
Hotel-style towel shelf in bathroom
"living room" furniture is wicker - I can move it around easily to make space for yoga practice

The next thing on my biggest concern list is transferring all my LPs and tapes to CD to cut down on the amount of space they take.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 11:38AM
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I live in a house that started at 1406 sq ft when we moved in. We have since closed in the garage so we now have about 1800 square feet, plus a separate garage and storage building. My biggest concern is storage and clutter; this house has very little storage and tiny bedrooms, and we still have all the stuff that came out of a much larger house with a lot of storage. My goal this year is to sort and cull - everything must have a place.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 2:33PM
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hi, Rose in New Haven, CT. I just bought a Cape Cod Bungalow built in 1918. So far I've replaced all the windows and upgraded both electric and plumbing to code. I have a gorgeous, small backyard with a pergola and arbor and water garden. The front of the house has an enclosed porch that's not heated but is great in warmer weather. I've never tried to post photos here so hope the link works. My big concern is that the house needs so much work in addition to the two car garage that's a bit of a disaster. But I love it.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 11:54PM
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This is the middle of the back yard this past August '08. The water garden is on the other side of this pergola. rose

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 12:01AM
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buddyrose--what a sweet house!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 9:42AM
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thanks crystal386. it's funny how little the TinyPics site makes it look. It's actually not quite a "doll's house". I'm still figuring out how to size my photos for these forums. I think if you click on the tiny pic it enlarges. (yes, I just clicked here in the "preview" and the photos enlarge. HURRAY)

I love this thread because I'm so over those MacMansions and love smaller homes. Excellent idea for a thread jasonmi7. I love looking at the photos.

Here is a link that might be useful: TinyPic

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 10:55AM
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I'm a little late to the party, as usual!!!
My name is Barbara (Declan is my dog). My husband and I and one of our 3 sons (along with Declan) live here in our tiny 1350 sq.ft. Sears built home in Larchmont, NY.
I adore this little house. My biggest concern is trying to
keep up with paying the astronomical taxes here in Westchester County. I may be forced to move in the next few years.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 6:54PM
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I LOVE IT!!!!! Your house is like a gorgeous doll house and I mean that in the nicest way. And I think that's a Viburnum bush with the white flower. gorgeous. I'm jealous that you have a fireplace. It's the only thing missing from my bungalow.

I finally figured out how to put a photo in the post instead of just a link. Here's the front and part of the back garden. rose

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 8:31PM
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Hi Rose.....just saw your post.
Thanks for the compliments.
Your home is gorgeous, too.
Your back garden is absolutely beautiful.
That is a Kousa Dogwood tree in front of the fireplace. It is the very first thing I planted when we moved here!
Where are you located?

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 5:03PM
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declansmom, of course, a flowering dogwood. I should have recognized it since there's one in front of my co-op. My Cottage is in New Haven, CT right off the Long Island Sound but I live most of the time in Jackson Heights, NY in a Co-op. I just bought the Cottage a few months ago. And I love it. I could never live in a large house. this is a fun thread.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 9:36PM
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Hi all! I'm a new homeowner in western WA state. We bought our little post-war bungalow (?)-type house a few months ago. It's just over 1100 sq feet. I think the size is perfect and I love all the little details. The house has been recently updated (wiring, plumbing), but the yard needs serious help. I'm totally out of my element as I'm a city girl who raked her first pile of leaves a few months ago and had to look up on the internet how to "weed." But I love the house and can't wait for spring to start trying to plant something. It's inspiring for me to read these posts and see your photos. Looking forward to seeing and contributing more!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 8:28PM
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Hi, I am Lauri from So. Cal. I live in a 1980's tract home. It is 980 sq. ft. I do like that it has 2 bathrooms and 3 bedrooms, even if they are small. What I don't like is that it is a tract home. I would really love to live in a cottage, craftsman, or bungalow style home.

We just finished our kitchen and I love it now! I am now moving on to the bathrooms. Speaking of.... where on GW is a good place to ask about pocket doors.

Oh, loved all your pics!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 12:04AM
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