Building a smaller home

pokesaladJuly 21, 2006

Hi all! So glad to get this new forum.

Me and my husband are in the process of building a small home. The size will be around 1500 sq feet. That is enough room for us. We still have our son living at home, he is 16. Only now am I finding out how much everything costs. For one, pouring the slab is going to be an expense I never thought much about and concrete prices have been up for some time and show no signs of lowering. Another thing, I was wanting to have wood flooring in our living room and the rest of the house with the exception of bathrooms and kitchen. I just about fell over when I added up what that would cost!

We decided to just go with the concrete stain first. I really like it, and we'll use area rugs as well.

Glad to see everyone here :)

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Hello and welcome.

You dont state where you are in your process. Do you have a plan?

If you are designing or building a small home, take a look at the books by Sarah Susanka, The Not So Small Home. It has some great ideas about quality of space, but maintaining a reasonable size. Her theory is to utilize the same budget as a big home, but build a better quailty (space, materials and finishing) home. Many of her concepts can be applied without adding the expense of all the stained wood.

Also you can develop alot of style by using alternate materials without using expensive ones. Pick and choose what is important and trade off here and there. For instance instead of getting stone countertops, use formica and upgrade the doors to solid pine with raised panels, and paint them.

This is a very enthuastic forum and I think that you will get alot of help here. Also if you are building, check that forum out also, lots of good info there.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 8:41PM
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Just as a clarification, Susanka's first book is "The Not So Big House", with the other titles variations on that. Check out her website at (logically)

    Bookmark   July 22, 2006 at 12:55AM
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Fancy "meeting" you here...(you were one of my first plant traders, way back about four or five years ago)!! We are also going to build a small home, around 1400 sq. foot. The builder we've chosen is coming tomorrow to look over our building site, our plans, and to answer our questions. Hopefully we can begin building our new home in the next month or two. You and I have so much in common in living on small farms in OK, having the gardens and greenhouse, and now building at the same time. We will have to share ideas! I am hoping everyone on this forum will continue to share their space saving tips and ideas on decorating our new small home. I have really enjoyed reading the posts on this new forum, and promise to stop lurking and start posting. :)

    Bookmark   July 22, 2006 at 1:14AM
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I can give all of you a tip. Spend the extra money and go for the basement. My builder talked my hubby into it (I wanted one from the start) and said the space was the cheapest space you will build. We ran into rock so the space cost an extra $3000 over what was budgeted for it BUT the furnace is there, the water heater is there. Lots of hubby's junk is there too. If you don't have a basement they will take space upstairs and that is usually closet space. Hubby is thankful we talked him into it.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2006 at 4:47AM
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We are just now getting started but we've been gathering estimates on just about everything. Next step is getting the ground prepared to pour the slab. That will happen next week. We plan on having the foundation done in around 2 weeks. There is just so much that goes into doing this but it's much fun as well. We're going to have a 10 ft porch built on after the rest of the building is completed. It will run the length of the house. I will be so glad to have a big porch. The small one we have now is like 8x4.
It will be a steel framed home, don't know if I mentioned that. The cost was a factor for us as well as the fact that my husband got a great deal on some steel this year that was a godsend. It's so funny, the name of this forum really, because a home under 2000 sq feet is big to me.
Thanks for the tips candace :)

Johnmari- Thanks for that link, it looks like it would be really helpful!

Dawna - OMG :) it's so neat to see you here! Our building will begin at the same time it looks like because our builder will be here in the next 4-6 weeks to start.
I haven't spent as much time in my garden or greenhouse this year dawna since we've been busy making plans on building but next year I will for sure :)and we have to trade again. A friend took me to some of her friends homes and I had a look see. It really helps to see pictures here too. I am in a quandry dawna about kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Do you have any ideas or good cabinet makers in your area? Funny about lurking, I have been doing that until I started this thread lol. I knew I would have to come out of hiding and contribute since this small home board was started. I will probably be posting here a lot.

Thanks for the tip :) I so wish I could have a basement but it's not in our plans and there would really be no way to budget it in but we are going to be building a cellar later in the year, have always wanted one :)
When you said, "If you don't have a basement they will take space upstairs and that is usually closet space".--very true. We will have an attic so I guess they can cram that junk in there lol.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2006 at 4:49PM
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